*cough* hello?

Is my wordpress dusty? Poor thing needs some activity.

I feel like I’ve been asleep for a few months. So. Stinking. Busy.

Kids in school, mommy in school, hubby working. Add in kid activities and volunteer roles… I think I might be overextended, just a little.

Well, back into the fray.

Bye WordPress. I guess I’ll see you in… April??

😀

Squirrel!!

Squirrel!!

Funny story… I started culinary school this week. My first Chef Instructor is a nice guy, funny, knowledgeable and can take boring material and make it, well, less boring. He also has a habit of saying, “Squirrel!” –like the dog from the movie ‘Up’
He goes off on tangents. Wild stories and funny memories dot his lectures and when he realizes he has strayed from the current topic, he says, “Squirrel!” and then gets back on track.
Being my sarcastic self, I thought it would be funny to make a squirrel on a stick to hold up in class when he’s gone off topic.
*It was totally Hilarious*
Chef was going on about something and quietly, from the back row, comes a squirrel… He did a double take and then said, “Ha! Squirrel!”
He liked it so much he took it to show the other classrooms… I hope he doesn’t dock my grade too much. =D

My Media Console is FINISHED!!

My Media Console is FINISHED!!

It took a while… A lot of self-doubt had to be addressed, but I did it!! I built a beautiful piece of furniture that won’t fall apart the first time someone touches it! I couldn’t be more pleased.

Panhypopituitarism. Multi-syllabic words aren’t always fun.

Image

This is Little Man.

It has taken me a long time to be able to write this story, so bear with me….

My little boy is my youngest and my last baby. He is a lucky boy because in addition to having me for a Momma <giggle>, he has three big sisters that keep him well mothered at all times.

Little man has a big heart, and huge smile, and an awesome little personality. He’s funny and sweet and a big troublemaker.

I call him many things, Little Man, Tubby, Bubba, Trouble, and Superman.

Most of those names are pretty usual I suppose, Little Man, because he’s a “he”; Tubby because, well, he’s tubby. I call him Bubba sometimes because he has the three big sisters, and Superman because he is Superman.

Image

We adore our little girls, but we knew our family wasn’t complete without a rough and tumble, mud-covered, mess-machine of a little boy. We waited with bated breath through the first 16 weeks of my pregnancy for the ultrasound that would tell us the gender of our fourth and final baby. When the Dr. said he saw a little BOY, our joy was immense.

We planned his room, purchased our first baby boy layette, we decorated in blues and browns and zoo animals… our world was perfect. My due date came and went in late October of 2011 with zero activity, then Finally, Halloween morning, contractions started. He was 10 days late, but he was finally on his way.

IMAG0198

As soon as he was born, the Dr’s knew something was wrong. He seemed ok, but his blood sugar was dangerously low and he wasn’t bouncing and lively like he should have been. He was taken to the NICU to “perk up” for what they assured me would be no more than 12 hours. Unfortunately, he couldn’t stabilize his blood sugars so they took some blood for labs. His liver numbers came back all wrong which was strange. The NICU Dr called for an endocrinology consult, got an MRI of he brain and waited for the “gland specialist” to evaluate him.

IMAG0231

That never happened because before they could get the specialist in to see my baby boy, he crashed.

They transferred him to a larger hospital in the Seattle area for an emergency surgery, his bowels were inexplicably dying. They call it Necrotizing Enterocolitis. That long unpronounceable diagnosis translates roughly to: an infection causing death of tissue in the small and large bowel. This is something that usually only happens to preemies. Babies born too early can have underdeveloped bowels that just aren’t ready to work yet. My son was 10 days late, so this made no sense. How could this be?

After the surgery, they said to prepare ourselves because our son was in big trouble. There was nothing they could do besides relieve the pressure and pump him full of antibiotics. They said he likely would not see the next day.

To say we were devastated or crushed or pulverized would not adequately describe the way it feels to have someone tell you that your child is going to die and that there is nothing anyone can do to stop it. There are no words for that. When people say to me that they can’t imagine how it would feel, I say, “Don’t try. You don’t want to know.”

We stayed by his tiny hospital bed in the NICU of that big hospital all night. At about 4 in the morning, I had been awake for so long that I couldn’t see straight so they led us to a temporary parent room and practically ordered us to rest, if only for a little while. I slept for a couple of hours and dreamed things I won’t torture you with… Even now, almost 2 years later, with my (now very big) baby boy at home, those dreams are still too sad.

After 2 hours or restless, tortured sleep we went back to the NICU to find our son much unchanged. We were so afraid to leave him and so relieved to find he was still there when we returned. It had been more than 12 hours since the surgery, and he still lived.

After 24 hours of watching, the Dr came back and asked for permission to go back into surgery and see if there was any improvement. He should not still be alive, they said. He could have made a small improvement but Don’t get your hopes up. If there is no change, be prepared to let him go.

A baby needs 30 cm of salvageable small bowel to live without artificial help, when they left for surgery they expected to find less than 12 cm, when they returned, 3 agonizing hours later, they had salvaged __49 cm__ of small bowel. It was like Christmas mixed with winning the lottery and finding a genie in a bottle. We were ecstatic. When I couldn’t describe the feeling of impending loss, this is the same, only pure joy. The most exalted feeling you could have outside of the gates of Heaven.

They said he was still in danger, he had been through a severe trauma and could still decide to give up at any time. Give it 7 days before you get too excited, they said. Pssshhh. yeah right. He WAS ALIVE! And he was expected to STAY ALIVE! We didn’t care about the diagnosis of Short Bowel Syndrome from losing so much small bowel (over 200cm). We were just happy to have him at all.

It was a LONG 7 days. But they passed. After 3 days, he woke up. After another few days, they let me hold him, and after 2 weeks, he was finally able to breathe on his own. Which is the day we took this picture, one of my favorites:

IMAG0253

After a few days of watching my baby boy get better, we finally had our visit from the endocrinologist. So much had happened that we totally forgot about the reason he was in the NICU to start with. It turns out that my son’s MRI showed an anomaly, where the pituitary should be, there was an empty space with a tight cluster of cells near the area where the stalk of the pituitary should be. They call that cluster an Ectopic Posterior Pituitary.

My sweet, long-awaited, baby boy was born with Congenital Panhypopituitarism, a rare and complicated Endocrine disorder.

What happened  was that as the brain developed, the pituitary tissue was somehow blocked from reaching the area it should be and therefore stopped developing. That means that ALL of the many things the pituitary controls, will never work. The Thyroid, the Adrenal Glands, the Reproductive Glands, and production of Growth Hormone are not functional in my son. That one tiny, pea-sized bit of tissue controls THAT much in our bodies and his was just not there.

IMAG0305

He would need daily medications just to live. He would appear perfectly normal, but any tiny cold could send him to the hospital, and add missing bowels to that… imagine what a stomach flu can do. I live in a constant fear of germs, though I can’t keep him quarantined, especially with three older sisters, so I spend a lot of time Praying that he will kick whatever cold he has caught and that he will not get another anytime soon… When he does become ill, he needs extra medication and, depending on the issue,  a broken bone, or an episode of vomiting, loss of consciousness, he will need an emergency injection to keep him stable until he can get to a hospital.

As you can see, there are many reasons why I would call my boy “Superman,” if anyone deserves the title, he certainly does.

IMAG0565

I think my Little Man had some sort of shock in the womb or in the NICU that caused him to crash somehow and that contributed to his bowel problem, but there is no way to know for sure.  We just Thank the Good Lord that we still have him.

After his last surgery, he continued to improve, very slowly. The hospital stay became a large part of our lives. We changed our schedules, learned to rely on friends and family. We learned a lot about ourselves and our ability to handle anything the world can throw at us.IMAG0544

It took him four long months to be able to leave the hospital, and a lot of dramatic medical things, but he finally did come home to us, a little broken, missing a few parts, but we like him that way. At least he will have battle scars to impress the chicks when he gets older.

2013-06-17 20.55.172013-06-25 14.20.33

*I  Love this little Rough and Tumble, Mud-covered, Mess-maker of a little boy*

Thanks for reading his story.

I can be crafty. Right? – Part 3 *Results*

It has been a crazy summer…

We have had Gymnastics

2013-06-19 17.50.29

swimming lessons

2013-07-15 14.36.48

random illnesses (leading to 1 hospitalization for my son, but that’s a different story)

2013-07-03 15.38.54

The biggest Garage sale I’ve ever seen

2013-07-26 11.06.24

a vacation and a few day trips

2013-06-25 14.20.05 2012-09-08 11.01.46 2012-07-06 13.11.29 2012-07-16 13.59.21 2013-07-29 15.21.07

and even Girl Scout camp

2013-06-24 16.57.41

… whew, sounds exhausting.

It was exhausting, but fun.

Between projects and activities, I managed to find time to work on my media console.

To refresh your minds, I found an awesome website, ana-white.com, which is full of FREE plans to build your own furniture.

I was inspired to create a media console based on this Printer’s Triple Console Cabinet.

Printers Triple Console Cabinet

I took my time getting started, the story of that is here. Once I did get started, I gained a little confidence and had gotten to this point in the build before ending my Day 1 build:

IMG_20130721_185737_668

That’s the back frame and the assembled door panels.

On Day 2, I finished assembling the doors and built the front frame:

2013-07-26 18.15.28

Then I got excited and stopped taking pictures… **sorry ’bout that**

I remembered again at this point:

2013-07-26 18.14.10

I had joined the front and back frames with the 2×2’s, as seen at the side there. I then screwed in the top panel in which I had pre-drilled the guide holes with my handy-dandy Kreg Jig. I then began attaching the divider panels, and finally the base panel which left me with this:

2013-07-26 18.46.17

I set the doors in the frame to check for fit and called it a day.

I was pretty proud of myself at this point. I had demonstrable evidence of my handiness! Kind of, anyway…

The next part was a bit tricky. I had the brilliant idea to deviate from the plans and add in cubby-bases instead of drawers at the top. Then I would have a Media Console instead of a sideboard. It was a good idea, but I couldn’t cut the panels until I got to this point because the measurements were uncertain. Once I had this built, I was able to measure and cut the panels which I fit (almost exactly) onto a 2’x4′ piece of 3/4in plywood, that worked out well.

Over the next weeks, I stained the doors and the pre-cut cubby base panels:

2013-07-27 18.43.17 2013-07-27 19.27.51

I used Varathane Stain+Poly in “Kona”

At some point I attached the drawer pulls:

2013-08-05 19.06.38

Let me be clear about that little step… that. is. a. pain. in. the. butt. They sell drill guides for this purpose, I Highly recommend investing in one if you plan on doing something like this.

Then I sanded and sanded and sanded my cabinet, first with 150 grit, then 220 grit sandpaper before staining it as well:

2013-08-05 19.06.21

Next I attached the cubby-base panels, placed the doors in the cabinet to get a feel for how the finished product will look (forgive the dead grass and the neighbor’s car)…

2013-08-05 20.40.25

I stepped back and went, “Holy Crap!!” …. I can’t believe I built that!! I did it! The woman who falls off porches and can’t catch ANYTHING you throw at her *built* that!!

Unbelievable. Awesome. Now all that is left is to attach the doors and move her inside. I’ll post a pic update as soon as I get that done. For now, I sleep, satisfied with my success…. Goodnight!

Your crazy is showing, you might want to tuck that back in…

I saw this today:

secrets

and I thought…. woah, are there any?

It would be a cute 1 page book.

It made me realize that there are some things we probably should keep far more private than we do.

Everyday we post random info about our families and lives to Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Tumblr, WordPress, etc. Is there any one of us that can say they don’t regret a post here or there? That they maybe should have waited to post vacation photos until they got home from vacation so the creeps out there wouldn’t know the house was empty? How about that drunken Tweet to the ex, or the questionable pic on facebook?

For example, I posted a picture of my kids from Instagram today and some random strange man “liked” my picture…

**Dude, that’s creepy.**

Time to change the privacy settings, ASAP.

Then what about the things that you just don’t fully think out before you post them online, for everyone to see. The things that you leave out there, publicly, that are never going to go away….

There was this incidence of cyber-stalking I witnessed via Twitter/Facebook Fan page last night. There’s an actor named Sam Heughan that I recently blogged about (here). He’s a nice guy, plays to the twitter fans, responds to comments, posts teases about his upcoming role in the Outlander series coming to Starz in 2014. Then he goes and posts this picture:

sh 2013

…and the fans went <WILD>

But one girl took it too far…. Apparently she lives near the area in which this picture was taken. So she tweeted inappropriate comments to him, she BEGGED to have him meet her nearby. Flooding twitter feeds and Facebook posts with a frankly creepy stream of consciousness on how she was going to Find Him and Meet him and get him to Sign Her Poem, etc.

I don’t want to rag on the girl too hard, I think it was mostly meant as a joke, all in good fun, but I don’t think she considered the perspective of the strangers who were seeing her (apparent) mental breakdown at the prospect of being Near this guy. (which subsequently got her banned from the fan page)

We all just sort of *cringed*

can you imagine the way that would play out?

Girl: HI! I Found you! See I did! AND I wrote you a POEM!!

He: Umm…. Gee, thanks??

Regardless of how eloquent and beautiful (and not creepy) that poem may have been, it just SOUNDS creepy! Doesn’t it?? It just makes you want to tap her on the shoulder and say “Excuse me, I think your crazy is showing, you might want to tuck that back in…”

We need to Really reflect on what we put out there. What secrets should we keep from the internet? Who is watching what we do, how do they perceive that info and what do they do with it?

With that in mind, I post this on my blog for the world to see… let me know if I need to tuck anything back in.

Son of a &*@#%….

So there’s this book:

Outlander (Outlander Series #1)

It is Incredible. If you like a good story, read this book. Here’s the link again, go buy it. You will NOT be disappointed. I promise. In fact, if you read it and don’t immediately want the next book in the series, I’ll buy it from you ’cause you don’t deserve to keep it anyway…

This book is one of those stories that really lives. A British WWII nurse is our heroine, forced out of her own time to a Scotland 200+ years in the past, who longs to return to her own world while simultaneously falling in love with the world she has landed in. Let me be clear, this is not a sappy love story. It is action, adventure, sci-fi, history, and *sometimes* a little romance. I won’t go to much into it because, while this is my favorite book, it it not the reason for this post.

This is.

Ladies, meet Sam Heughan.

The actor chosen to portray the hero in my favorite-book-of-all-time which is being turned into a massive series coming to Starz in March of 2014.

BTW… I saw this RIGHT after I heard about the show and thought… that’s the job I need, right there. mmmhm.

Book slappers…

*Ahem* anyway, back to the man, Sam Heughan…

That’s right, James Alexander Malcolm Mackenzie Fraser (or Jamie, sometimes even  “JAMMF” on Twitter), in the flesh.

My. Heart. Has. Melted.

He’s perfectly Jamie. Tall, handsome, emanates strength without being “too macho.” He has soulful and trustworthy eyes with a touch of playfulness. A man you would get on a horse and follow through the Scottish Highlands without question. Plus he’s actually a Scot. You can’t beat that.

So why is this a problem??

Personally, it means Alexander Skarsgard finally has some serious competition for the heart of this happily married mother of 4.

Sam Heughan has been cast as Jamie Fraser in the upcoming Starz adaptation of the "Outlander" series by Diana Gabaldon. *Yes, Sam. I’m talking about you.*

I don’t know if he’s straight or gay and I don’t care. I like him so much that he’s about to get his own board on Pinterest, and that is a serious commitment from me.

Really though, I think poor Heughan doesn’t know what he’s getting himself into… Outlander fans are a loyal and committed bunch. We’ve all lived with these characters for decades now. We’ve followed their triumphs and failures, heartaches and joys, lives and deaths with complete surrender. We Love these characters, and now we love Heughan.

*Poor Guy*

I only hope the woman they choose to play your Claire is worthy… Heaven help her if she’s too skinny 😉