Friday, December 28, 2012

Into Africa

Instead of "Out of Africa."  Get it?  I'm my own best audience.

So my amazing, jet-setting sister, Lex, is off to Arizona for two months for another clinical (she's almost done with her Physical Therapy Doctorate), and then will immediately fly to AFRICA for her last clinical.  South Africa, to be exact.

Could she BE any cooler?

We had a partay tonight to wish her farewell.  We ate at Papa Kelsey's (yummmm) and then went to Les Miserables.  (I plan to devote an entire blog post to Les Mis, don't you worry.)  Dylan and Gage have the flu, so I just took Sades and Mikey with me while Benny stayed home with the sickies.
Lex's hubby, Chris, is so sweet.  He put this whole party together, and then ordered her a going-away cake to boot:
Lex, looking at it:

So they'll be separated for four months, which bites, but you know what's cool?  He's going to Africa with her when she flies there, and they'll spend two weeks on a delayed honeymoon (they got married 1 1/2 years ago and never had time for a honeymoon because of schooling) before she does her clinical there.  They're going on a safari, swimming with sharks, the works.  So that will be cool.

Bye, Lex.  We already miss you.

Thursday, December 27, 2012

I threw these together tonight.

My sis, Lex, is leaving town for four months in just a couple of days. She needed some last-minute thank-you cards made, so I made these for her.
They turned out nicely.  I need to make a whoooole lot more for my own use and for my etsy, but I'm out of zots.  So I'll be heading on over to Michael's tomorrow.

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

If our house stinks....

There are two reasons.  This is the first:

Ben got me these paperwhite bulbs this fall.  My mom planted them in a nice pot for me when I had my surgery, and they bloomed beautifully, just in time for Christmas.  They're so pretty and make me so happy every time I pass my dining room table.  The only problem is...

They smell like urine.

It took me a couple of days to realize what was going on.  I kept thinking, "Did someone leave a dirty diaper out somewhere in my dining room?"  I kept checking the bathroom to see if someone forgot to flush...and then I realized it was my paperwhites.

I just can't bear to get rid of them, though.  This is an epic war raging inside of me - my love of flowers vs. my hate of smelly things.  I feel quite torn.

The second culprit of nasty smells is this:
Another ca-razy gift from Micah to Ben.  (Though I have my suspicions that Ben heavily influenced the buying of this monstrosity.  I mean, he was there with Micah when he chose all of his gifts.  If Ben hated it, he'd be like, "Um, I don't want that.")  It's an incense burner.  And no offense to those who like incense; but I HATE IT.  I think it smells gross.  And it really made my cough a lot worse tonight.  I begged Ben to unlight it, or stub it out, or whatever you do with those little incense bullet thingeys to make them stop smoking.  The smoke comes out the dragons' mouths.  It's just awful.

So now my house smells like a cross between an outhouse and my old Salt Lake City landlord's apartment.  (And he was a pothead.  I'm just sayin'.  There are a lot of potheads who happen to like incense....)

There is a light at the end of this stinky tunnel, though.  The paperwhites look to be almost done blooming.  Then I can pull them out, keep the bulbs, and plant them outside this next fall.  I'll plant amaryllis inside next winter instead or something.  And Ben is wanting to take the ugly, many-headed, smelly dragon to work.  Be my guest, dude.  Be my guest.  I really hope he doesn't try to burn incense in it there, though.  I don't think any office would take too kindly to that...

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

We Wish You a Rockin' Christmas

Hahaha!  This is Micah's present to me:
Pretty hard core.  They totally hurt my earlobes, but I'm trying to work through it. :)

As it turns out, Ben didn't want the kids to shop at the little Christmas shop at the school, not because we didn't have the money, but because he didn't want the kids to get us "crappy presents."  (Which is true, really.  Dylan's gift for me from the school Christmas shop - a pen.)  He wanted good-quality presents.  Like spikey earrings that literally reach my collarbones.  Haha!

We had a great day.  We opened presents, I took a little nappy-poo, we went to Wreck-it-Ralph, and then we visited my sistah for a little while.  It was chill.  Which is good, because all of us are under the weather.  All six of us are coughing.  Ben officially has bronchitis; I'm hoping the rest of us can avoid that path. :)

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Heart-Antlered Reindeer Card

Ohhhhh I am so in love with these stamps.  I love how they're long and skinny.  I love how the reindeer's antlers are shaped into hearts. 

I made three different kinds of cards this year to send out.  My thing is that I make so many of one card, and then I get bored and want to move on to a different design, different colors, etc.  So I did three different kinds.  This was my third.  (And maybe my favorite.)

Monday, December 17, 2012

Moondrops as Snowman Parts

I can't take credit for this idea - my mom saw it on a friend's facebook page, and I think her friend had seen it on Pinterest somewhere?  So. Just to let you know.

You make these cute little snowmen with paint sample cards.  The ones my mom showed me online were different colors of white, and I had the danged hardest time finding those.  First of all, a lot of paint sample color cards are just solid. One little three-by-five card per color.  It's hard to find the old-fashioned ones that go from light to dark nowadays, but Wal-Mart does carry a brand that has these kinds of cards.  The second problem I had was that I think someone else saw this idea on Pinterest and cleaned all of the white sample cards from both Wal-Marts in our city.  So I had to cheat a little and get really, really light blue sample cards.  Then I put a little black hat on the top of these rectangular snowmen and put a flower on the hat:
I wanted to put the buttons on the front of the snowmen first, so I clipped the nubbins off the moondrops I wanted to use (I used Celestial Blue, I believe):
Then I put a mini-sized zot on the back of each moondrop (sorry, not pictured).  Then I pressed those suckers where I wanted them:
I used black moondrops for the coal eyes (yes, I have a picture of zot-pressing for this one):

Then I just cut out little elongated orange shapes for the nose and glued them on with Elmer's glue.  I picked a cute bow to tie around each snowman to make a scarf.  Oh, and I put another Celestial Blue moondrop in the center of each flower on the snowman's tophat.  Then I mounted each snowman onto a longer-type card, and put some clear moondrops to the side, just for fun.


My kids were crazy jealous of my snowmen and begged to make some of their own.  I made theirs into Christmas tree ornaments by gluing their choice of ribbon onto the top hat so they could hang easily.  Here's Micah's:
Sadie wanted a mouth on her snowman, so she picked some pink moondrops and made the cutest little crooked smile on hers:

Sunday, December 16, 2012

My Recovery - Week Four

Yeah.  It's 3 in the morning.  And my RLS is kicking my ARSE.  Instead of, say, cleaning my house, or, say, working on my church lesson for tomorrow, or, say, finishing up my Christmas cards, I'm poking around on the computer. 

So.  I had a major hiccup in my recovery on Tuesday.  I woke up with such intense pain in my abdomen on one side that I was convinced I had somehow torn one of my inside stitches.  It hurt so badly that I was on my back the entire day.  I cried off and on for about five hours.  It was just horrible. 

I was trying to figure out what caused it.  I was a little bit more active than usual the day before.  I made dinner and rinsed the dishes.  Heaven forbid.  Apparently that was too much. 

Wednesday was a teeny bit better, and the last three days, I've done well, pain-wise.

I was so distraught on Tuesday that I made an appointment with my gynie for Thursday.  I wanted to bring up three things with him:  1.  My insomnia/restless legs, 2.  My pain in my abdomen, and 3.  My weepiness.  However, Tuesday night and Wednesday night, I slept really well.  I started taking this herb called Alpha Lipoic Acid, which is supposed to help with RLS.  And I didn't have it at all.  So I didn't bring that up with him.  Also, the pain in my abdomen was gone, so I didn't bring that up with him, either.  I did, however, bring up the moodiness. 

He feels like my lowered mood is related to my present circumstances.  He asked me if I wanted to add an additional, small anti-depressant to my regular regimen, just temporarily.  I readily agreed.  I'm not okay with crying five hours per day.

I heard his nurse call it in, but when Ben went to the pharmacy for me yesterday, they had no idea what we were talking about.  Sighhhhhh.  So I gotta take care of that.

My abdomen is doing lots better - still sore, but not searing pain.  But my RLS is through the ROOF the last three nights.  It's enough to drive a person to drink, I tell ya.  I need to try this stuff called Ionic Fizz that my friend recommended to me.  I'll have to pick it up on Monday.  If I can last until then without going stark raving mad.

I've lived with RLS for years, because I didn't want to add "one more pill" to my life. But I've come to the conclusion that I'm no use to anyone as a zombie every day.  And I am so, so miserable with it.  It's time to call in the big guns.  If the Ionic Fizz doesn't work, I'm going to have to add that "one more pill" and just accept the fact that, if I want to be a functioning human being, I need to take medication for this.

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Kar at Work

I actually felt good enough to go to work today!!  I'm terrified that this constitutes "overdoing it," and that I'll be in a lot of pain tomorrow, but I sit when I scan, so it's better than doing janitorial, right?  (Ben's upstairs doing that.)  It just feels so, so good to be out of the house.  I'm crossing my fingers that I won't be paying for this tomorrow.

I haven't scanned in a month; it took me a second to remember how to do it.
Mikey came with us.  He's hanging out with me. 

We're having deep conversations on various issues, such as Sadie's love of "Fancy Wancy" (Fancy Nancy):
 And his love of "Lyka Na Keen" (Lightning McQueen):

Moondrops as Centers of Flowers and Snowflakes

Moondrops, like brads or eyelets, are the perfect dimensional element for the centers of flowers or snowflakes.  I decided to try a moondrop on the center of the snowflakes on the Christmas cards I made this year.

Again, you trim the nubbin off with fingernail clippers (I used Peridot Light Green for this project):
 Then you stick the flat side of the moondrop to a zot - the mini kinds are the perfect size:
Then press that sucker to the center of your flower or snowflake:
Et voila.  A snowflake with a little bit of pop.
And yes, I was wearing a moustache t-shirt in this picture.  It's my favorite shirt. :)

Friday, December 14, 2012

The First Three

Oh gooooooooossssssshhhhhhhhhh.  Sorry for not posting lately.  It was a rough week for me, physically and emotionally.  But I'll write about that later.  Right now I want to talk about this adorable boy:
My kids have this thing at their school called the Santa Shop, a place where they can buy small presents for their families at low prices.  The kids asked me earlier this week if they could have some money to use at the Santa Shop, and, unfortunately, I had to tell them no.  We don't really have the fundage for even the smallest of gifts.  Lots of medical bills.  Lots and lots. 

So the kids raided their own spending money jars.  I paid them $2 per week most of this year for their allowances.  (Ben has put a stop to that since my surgery, haha!  Again, lots of medical bills. Lots and lots.)  Sadie had $6 and Dylan had $17 (!!!).  Ben and I were wondering about Dylan having so much, since past experience has taught us that when Dylan has money, it burns a hole in his pocket.  He likes to spend money as soon as he get it.  We are suspicious he raided his savings or tithing jars.  But we couldn't prove it - there was still money in those jars.  So we let him take it and go.

That funny little Sadie Girl spent her $6 all on herself. :)  She cracks me up.

But Dylan...he spent his entire $17 of hard-earned (or hard-stolen) money on his family.  He wrapped them with utmost care and placed them under our tree.
When I think about him doing this, I get emotional.  Sometimes Dyl can be a hard person to deal with, but he has such a good heart.  And I'm so grateful to have him as my son.  I'm grateful for all of my kids, and in light of what happened in Connecticut today, I've been giving them lots more hugs and smiles and snuggles and loving words. 

Oh, and we must include that fact that Micah used spare ribbon as his "hair" today.
Haha!  That kid...

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Rigging Up the Lights - 2012 Edition

So.  I rigged up the lights last year, and I thought I was going to seriously die.  I kept waiting and waiting for Ben to do it, and he did that Ben Thing where he just puts it off and puts it off until I do it.  So I tried to set aside my extreeeeeeme fear of heights and put the lights on the house.

I was so scared while I was doing it that I was shaking.  I remember the postman came to deliver the mail and yelled up to me, "Are you okay up there?"

"Uh....yeah...but will you come back and check on me to make sure I haven't fallen off this ladder??"

I was really, really scared.  By a miracle from heaven, somehow, I didn't die putting those dang lights up.  And I decided that I'm never, ever doing that again.  I'd rather not have lights at all than do it again.

I asked Ben a few times whether he was going to put lights up this year, and he kept putting it off, so I figured we were going to have a bare house this year.  He surprised me by putting them up on Saturday!

The kids, as usual, were eager to help.  I was glad to have them out of the house for awhile.  I waddled outside to take some pictures.

Dylan actually posed this way - it reminded me of Napoleon Dynamite:
Sadie's two front teeth are taking their time to grow in, and I'm glad.  I loooove when kids are missing their two front teeth:

After awhile, I started hearing major thumping on the roof.  I was like, "Hmmmm."  I was feeling horrible, so I didn't go investigate.  Then Micah came in and insisted I come and "take a look," and this is what I found:
Ben let Dylan and Sadie hang out on the roof!  Yikes.  Bikes.  I was kind of freaking out, but also, I was feeling so horrible that I was just eager to get back inside and on the couch.  I was like, "Welp, I hope they don't die..."

When they started running on the roof, Ben finally banned them from it, thank goodness.

I suppose they haven't inherited my fear of heights.

Here's Benny.  Look at that cute butt:
 The end result:
I still need to put the lit garland on our porch railing and the netted lights on our privet, but it feels nice to have this part done.  And let's be honest - with the way I'm feeling, the porch and bush might not get lit this year.  Which is okay.

My Recovery - Week Three

Ben took a picture of Xena last night that depicts how I feel today:
Haha!  Her face is mooshed right against the couch.  She cracks me up.  I love her.  She's been my therapy cat today.  It's been a rough day.  Very emotional.  Very exhausting.  She's come and butted her head against my hand and shoved her butt in my face to show that she's concerned about me. 

This is how my recovery feels:
I thought it would be like the white line - slowly better and better every day.  Not so much.  It's definitely all zig-zaggey like the greenish-reddish line.  That second big green canyon is me today.  (I have no idea what this graph is truly showing.  I googled graphs.  It was about something financial.  Which means that it went immediately over my head.)

I finally weaned myself off hydrocodone this week.  (Standing up to thunderous applause, gasping, hugging Ben, and waddling slowly up to the stage in my beautiful gown.  Talking into the microphone.) Thank you, thank you so much.  I'd like to thank my mom, who said I couldn't borrow her car for parent-teacher conferences if I was on hydrocodone.  I'd like to thank my sister, who told me I could get arrested for DUI for driving while on hydrocodone.  And I'd like to thank my hairdresser for gasping when I told her I had hydrocodone and saying, "OMG, you could totally sell those on the street for some serious money!!!"  All of you made me feel ready to take the leap into Tylenol Land, which should just be called I-might-as-well-swallow-pills-made-of-air-because-it-doesn't-help-me-at-all-Land.  (Holding up my award)  I love you all!!!

Anywho, my recovery reminds me of that Bruce Springsteen song, "One Step Up and Two Steps Behind."  One day, I'll feel pretty great.  So I'll maybe do some dishes.  Cook some dinner.  Go to a work Christmas party.  The next day, I pay the price for doing those things.  I'll be on my back on the couch for the entire day.  

But you know, sometimes I'm really good and don't lift a finger, and I still feel crummy the next day.  It's really unpredictable.  The pain isn't too bad.  Some tenderness at the incision site, of course.  What is really bad is just the exhaustion I feel.  For some reason, the hydrocodone kept the exhaustion at bay.  I mean, it made me a little sleepy, but I didn't feel a bone-crushing exhaustion.  But now, yeah.  Just so stinkin' tired.  More tired than I've ever been, and that's saying something.  Because I've been tired for years!!!  Having kids does that to you.  And having thyroid disease.  Kind of a killer combo.  But those are nothing on this.  Nothing.

I told Ben tonight when I had another cry-fest (Why do I always get those on weekends?  Any thoughts?) that I had Buyer's Remorse.  I really miss my old life.  Sure, I had pain from my prolapsed uterus and bladder, but it wasn't horrible.  It was manageable.  I could still exercise.  Cook.  Clean.  Take care of my kids.  I'm just kind of sick of lying down all the time.  Tired of TV.  Tired of reading.  I want to be jogging.  Visiting friends.  Doing fun things.  I'm sick of feeling gross. 

I was telling my friend that I feel so sorry for people who have cancer or other horrible diseases or infirmities.  They feel crummy for months and years.  I can't imagine how hard it must be, to be basically trapped inside a body that's not working.  I'm catching a small glimpse of what that's like, and it's awful.  It makes my heart go out to them even more than it already did.

And I'm starting to feel some major guilt - Ben had a very small surgery a couple of years ago.  It wasn't as invasive as this has been at all.  But still.  It was a surgery.  And he felt crummy for a couple of weeks.  And....I don't think I was there for him emotionally.  I had a newborn, and I was trying to cope with that and with taking care of the kids all by myself and doing all of the cleaning, and I was maybe a little resentful of Ben, thinking, "What he had done is no big deal. I don't know why he can't just dust himself off and get himself off the couch and help me."  I had just gone through a very difficult pregnancy, and when he would talk about how awful he felt, I was just like, "Dude.  Try to feel this way for nine months and then we can talk."  But now I feel bad.  I was a jerk for treating his pain so lightly.  And he's been so incredibly supportive of me through all of this.  Such a sweetheart.

And may I announce a disturbing development in my recovery - I have an abdominal "apron" now. Kay.  So before the surgery, I obviously had a bit of a spare tire in my tummy area.  But it was smooth, right?  It sloped out, and it sloped back in where my legs meet my torso.  But now?  It slopes out, and where my incision site is, it goes in drastically and drops straight down.  It's hard to explain.  Like how guys who have a really big belly fasten their belt below the belly.  And the belly hangs over it.  I look like those guys!!!  Ugh, it looks awful!!  Dang it!  Ah well.  Am I planning on wearing a bikini anytime soon?  No.  So it will be okay.  It's just kind of disturbing.

I just have to keep chanting this mantra in my head:  "At least I don't have that stupid catheter anymore.  At least I don't have that stupid catheter anymore."  That helps me feel better. :)  Sorry to be such a Debbie Downer.  Hopefully I'll feel better tomorrow...

Saturday, December 8, 2012

It's a Major Award!!!

Ben's office throws seriously fun Christmas parties every year.  I always feel a bit awkward at first, because I don't know ANYONE, but sooner or later, I work the ole' Kar Magic on whoever we're sitting by and become friends with them.  A couple of years ago, we sat next to a couple and I couldn't crack 'em.  Which was perplexing to me.  There usually isn't a nut I can't crack. 

This year's couple took lots of Kar Magic, but by the end of the night, we were chatting like old friends. :)

I wasn't sure I'd feel well enough to go - I ran out of my second bottle of hydrocodone today and started using Extra Strength Tylenol.  The pain was okayyyy - I was a little more tender than usual at my incision site, but it was tolerable.  It was the sheer exhaustion that really hit me.  I wanted to sleep all day long.  I felt like a zombie.  Walking around in a tired daze, bumping into stuff...  Even ten minutes before we left, I was lying in my bed, going, "Ohhhhhhhh....."

But I got my butt up and we went, and I felt better and better as the night wore on.

We had a white elephant gift exchange; I loooove those.  We did one at a work party back when I taught school, and we laughed and laughed.

I was number 49:
The guy sitting behind me was also at our table.  He's super-duper nice. 

Through some very strategic moves, Ben and I scored an A Christmas Story lamp!!!
We are both seriously so excited.  We set it up as soon as we got home:
Fra-gi-lay.  It must be Italian!

It's not as big as the one in the movie, which is fine with me.  Oh, and the wrong size of lightbulb is in it.  Which is why the lampshade is cockamaymee.  We need to go get a smaller lightbulb, and then it will be just perfect. 

One of the waiters stopped me on our way down the stairs to leave the party, and he was like, "I am so jealous of you.  I'm seriously thinking of offering you money for that." I chuckled.  It really is so cool.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

After yeeeeears of hunting...

I have wanted a card-holder for, like, 15 years.  One where you display the Christmas cards you get each year.  I get around 30 cards every year, and I never know where to put them.  I want to display them, because they're beautiful.  To me, cards are works of art.  Obvey. 

Every time I've seen a card holder at a friend's house, I've been like, "WHERE DID YOU GET THAT??"  And always, it used to be their mom's.  Or it used to be their grandma's.  I've searched far and wide.  I was wondering if I was going to have to make one of my own one of these days.

And then, during one of my many, many hours of watching TV, I saw a commercial for Pier 1 Imports, advertising what?  A CARD HOLDER!

I immediately texted Ben and begged and pleaded to let us get one.  Now.  Before they're gone forever and I never find another one again.  Being the nice dude he is, he said yes, and we went over to Pier 1 tonight.

The one I saw on TV was $40, and it matched nothing of mine, but I was just that desperate that I was ready to get it.  And then I saw this little beauty:
 Yeee!!  Look how cute!!! 
It was $25 instead of $40.  Much better.  And look!   It matches my decor perfectly:
Lime green, red... perfect.

Last night, I finished my prototype for my Christmas cards I'm sending out this year:
I tried it on my new cardholder to see how it would look:
Aw yeah.  Perfect.

So, friends, you can go ahead and start sending some Christmas cards my way.  They have a guaranteed home.
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