Monday, March 26, 2012
I just couldn’t pass up this A Boy’s Life line from echo park paper co. on my last stop at my local scrapbooking store! The washed out colors seem perfect for a boy’s scrapbook. And, there’s a lot going on in this book…airplanes, cars, video games, Rock & Roll, skateboarding…so fitting for boys that have a lot going on in their lives!
Can you believe the school year is almost over? With less than 8 weeks to go, now is the perfect time to stock up on teacher appreciation gifts! Lovin’ these very 3-D stickers from Paper House Productions!
I’ve done a lot of Baby on Board scrapbooks but this one is a bit different! The 3-D embellishments (again from Paper House Productions!) with lots of silver glitter really add a punch to this pregnancy scrapbook.
Whether it’s for prom or a Sadie Hawkins dance or any other school dance, this paper bag scrapbook will have you digging through your pile of pictures! The bright colors and fun designs are perfect for those dance memories.
Friday, March 23, 2012
Eight years ago today my life came crashing down around me. Three little words… “there’s a spot” were all it took to transform an ordinary day into a nightmare. Thirty-six hours later, my son endured a 9 hour surgery to have a juvenile pilocytic astrocytoma tumor removed from his brain stem. In the days, weeks and months that followed his prognosis was uncertain and his recovery was like a never-ending roller coaster ride.
I am notoriously lacking in patience. Seriously, I have almost none. So waiting 8 hours longer than the doctors expected for him to start breathing without the assistance of the respirator almost did me in. Then there was the feeding tube that he continually pulled out. The fevers that spiked. The non-responsiveness. The non-existent answers from the doctor. The attempt at rehab. Hallucinations. More surgery. More rehab. Infection. Vomiting…numerous times a day for months. Mood swings. Having to learn to walk again and use his hands again. And all the other things that we take for granted like being able to bathe ourselves, brush our teeth, put on our clothes and tie our shoes. And then, more surgery…and more surgery…6 in all.
As any parent who has slept in a chair in the PICU for weeks on end knows, the hardest thing in the world is to watch your child struggle to survive. My son has told me many times that the whole experience was way harder on me than it was on him. I hope and pray that it is true. At the time it was unbearable for me that he was so “out of it” all the time, but in hind-sight it truly was a blessing. Those days were bleak to say the least and there were times when I honestly didn’t think we’d all survive it. But he did…and we did. He was an imaginative 14 year old boy when this journey started and now he is a wise-beyond-his-years 22 year old man living 2,000 miles away from home and following his dream of being a screenwriter in Los Angeles.
So why am I telling you all this? Well, mainly because it’s the anniversary of the diagnosis…but there are other reasons too. Before all this happened I would hear people say that their cancer (for instance) was the greatest gift they ever received. I remember thinking how crazy that was. How could anyone see it as a gift? As we were going through this with Elliot, I would cringe when I’d hear people say things like that. At the time, it seemed like a cruel punishment…not a gift! And while I’m still not 100% convinced it was a gift…with the passage of time I can see that there are some good things that came out of the experience.
I know Elliot has his own list of positive outcomes but those are his stories to share. For me, the lessons learned are these:
- I love my kids more that I ever dreamed possible. All 3 of them.
- I no longer take their health and safety for granted…however, I refuse to limit their choices out of fear of the unknown.
- If I am strong enough to endure the numerous near death experiences of my child, I can pretty much deal with anything else life sends my way.
- Life does go on. It may be different than I planned but different is sometimes better.
- A crisis has a way of either bringing people together…or not. It strengthens some bonds but magnifies problems that already exist in others.
- This too shall pass. I remember my mother and my grandmother both saying that phrase and at times I probably rolled my eyes when I heard it…but it was the one thing I kept repeating to myself over and over during those weeks and months as life presented one obstacle after another.
- Determination and love are strong allies.
- Not every situation is life-and-death. Keep things in perspective.
- Some battles are worth fighting and some are not.
- When people show you who they are, believe them.
- One experience teaches us things we will need to know for later experiences.
- You never know what tomorrow may bring so find your happiness in today.
- Happy “endings” do exist…so expect one!
These days I’m finding myself in the midst of another life altering crisis. As I said, the experience of Elliot’s illness may not have been an outright gift…but I’m able to use the lessons I learned from the experience. Now, at least, I know that I AM strong and I AM capable. Oh…and this too shall pass.
Monday, March 19, 2012
Sunday, March 11, 2012
It’s been awhile. You probably thought I fell off the face of this earth…but alas, I did not. I just needed a little break to deal with other things in my life.
I spent most of February house-sitting for a friend, thinking it was perfect timing. Winter in Illinois. Her house is 4 minutes from where I work. Mine is 65 minutes. I assumed I’d be avoiding many days of icy roads. As it turned out we only had 2 days of snow during the entire time…and both of those times the snow disappeared almost as quickly as it came. But it was still a nice break from my usual daily commute.
Staying somewhere else also made scrapbooking a challenge. I tried to take a bunch of my stuff with me, but you know how it is…you never have everything you need. My studio at home is 12’x11’ and I use every inch of it. There, I was “working out of a box”. The biggest obstacle though was the fact that I had no internet access! Ouch! Thank God for my iPhone or I would have been totally out of touch.
Gotta love the irony of it all though….February was the busiest my business has been in a long time. Lots of orders coming from several different venues. Which is why my shop has been a bit…well, shall we say…on the empty side lately. I’m trying to fix that though. Four new items were listed today and more to come this week. Here’s a little preview of what’s new…