Friday, December 2, 2011

Seizures- And we are testing!

Chey hasn't had a seizure since July of 2010. Sooooo EXCITED!!
She is still delayed in school, but is retaining about 1/2 of what she is taught. Chey is earning A's and B's in her subjects that are adjusted to her 3rd grade level( remember- she is 13 & in the 7th grade....). She started this year on a First to Second grade level. We are not sure why her seizures are causing her delay- but we are so grateful for the improvement!

Today we are at university of Utah Primary Children's Medical Center. (this place TRUMPS Stanford Children Center with friendliness, compassion & remembering we are PEOPLE not NUMBERS!) Cheyanne is undergoing another sleep deprived EEG to see if there is any improvement and if we can reduce her medication even more. We could only sleep between midnight & 4 am last night. We couldn't make it til midnight so we slept from 11pm to 2 am... Oh yea!
The past few months we reduced her Depakote. She was on this for over 10 years. She had to have blood work every 3-4 months to make sure it wasn't killing her liver & other organs while it was controlling her seizures. Although I thank Depakote for the help it gave her, I am soooo relieved to have her off of this! She is a different girl and is finally successful in school... Along with the fact we don't have blood work!
Anyway- this is what they are doing today to test for SEIZURES...



Chey was "fitted" with 32 electrodes at key points in her head to monitor her brain waves and 2 heart monitors. Then warped with the most stylish head wrap... I know your all jealous!




She just LOVES sharing her pictures during these times!



Then they put her thru some tests...
-Keeping eyes gently closed for a minute.
- opening her eyes
- Closing her eyes tightly
- Then doing fast breathing blowing a pin wheel for 3 min.



I compare this to the "Don't push" breathing in Lamaze.

Then she was told to sleep for 25 min



The Nurse then had her go under a strobe light



Supposedly, these lights trigger seizures... It's never happened for us.
These are what brain waves look like:



And they video tape the entire time in case she has a seizure. That way they can see what the body does as well as her brain during a seizure...



The video is the little box.

Still no physical manifestations of seizures. Hurray!!
Hopefully the test will reveal something.....
What fun are YOU having this Friday?


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Sunday, April 3, 2011

Subway Art(? Kinda?) chore chart

My chore charts for my kids were getting "out dated" or rather getting my kids to stay positive and excited about doing chores wasn't happening. So I came up with this. And so far it's definitely exciting!



I took an old cookie sheet and sealed it with Mod Podge. Then I drilled a hole in the top enable me to hang it on my wall.


Then I again Mod Podged all over the bottom and chose some paper from my scrapbook stash...






Then I put an additional mod podge coat over all of it.



Then using my computer, word perfect word art and some Avery Ink Jet Magnet Sheets, I created different size magnet chores. Easy to change around as I want to teach them more skills... And keep a clean house.



Then I made some magnets with our names on them.



Used my Cricut to cut out chore letters...And wah lah! A beautiful chore chart...






And when I get really cranky I can take all the names off and only pay by completed (and approved) chores...


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Wednesday, March 30, 2011

My New Tattoo... and it's meanings...

Tattoo's. You either like them or hate them. Reasons for people getting them are as unique as the tattoo's themselves. If you've only met or seen people who have gotten one because "it seemed cool at the time"... or because "I like to see people's faces", then you have only been exposed to a small cast of the tattoo world. My approach and take on tattoos is MUCH different. Maybe it's because I'm truly unique ... or because I'm such an artsy person, I read into creativity more than most.
I currently have 2. I'd like to get one more.... but that is a few years away as I'm still really developing it in my head.
My first tattoo I got in 1994 when I was 18 and came out to Utah to visit my brother. When I came back to his house, he called my parents scared to death that they would be mad at him and disown him for not taking care of their baby girl. I'd actually planned it for 8 months or so I just didn't know where or when to go. The opportunity presented itself, so I went. And I haven't regretted the decision.






Tigger is located slightly above my right shoulder blade. I loved him growing up and then got the nickname my freshman year in high school as the only Freshman on the cheer squad who was equally as loud and bouncy as the seniors.
My second tattoo is an arm bad on my right arm. This is the one that I just had redone. This is a picture of the original. Do you know how hard it was to find?? I'm 98% of the time the photographer not the subject! But I was smart enough to take one before I got it fixed.

This is a little hard to see clearly. As you can tell it was small. It was supposed to be ribbons... one green for me, one blue for my oldest son and one red for my oldest daughter. I got this for a couple reasons. Some too personal to share but the others were 1- a constant way to have my kids with me while I worked. and 2- a representation of how we are each individuals but our lives are intertwining and stronger as we support one another.
I warned you! I over think and try to come up with many meanings for the art I create. Yes I designed the tattoo. But NO(!!!!) the artist didn't do it right.

Actually, I have to correct myself on another point. I said I was smart enough to take a picture before I got it fixed but honestly I did it to "design" on it.

Since I got this tattoo in 1997 and since then I've been blessed enough to gain a hard working, handsome and supportive husband as well as 2 more beautiful children. I wanted to "update" and fix this armband. I've been playing with different options for a few years. But money always needed to be spent elsewhere. This year... with my job and some other things that have happened... I really wanted to get it done. And things worked out for it to happen.
I started researching tattoo studios in the area. I emailed many artists with 3.5 stars or better on google and yahoo search engines rating scales to get their opinion's as well as stopped into 6 places. 4 of which were VERY smelly and just gross dirty places. But everyone who looked at it and responded to my emails unanimously agreed.... the "ribbons" were too small to add to. But all their prices were about the same to get it covered up.
Yes - I did look into removal. It was about $800-$1000. Wwwwaaaaayyyyy outta my price range. I couldn't believe it was more to get it removed than to cover up. Dumb. And since I am not in jail or leaving my "gang", I don't qualify for the free tattoo removal. And - strange as it may seem - I'm TOtally OK with that!
Anyway, research... I called one place that I could see into but they were closed the day I ran by. It was SUPER clean looking in. So I called the next day - and I think the guy had forgotten that he made his living by CUSTOMERS.... holey crap... so rude. So I stopped by the studio that was the highest ranking on my way home from work.
CHRISTINA at LUCKY BAMBOO greeted me when I walked in. This place is BEAUTIFUL and smelled clean. This was seriously unlike any studio I had ever been in. Just looking in their window you'd think it was some sort of Dr. office instead of a studio. Anyway, she was knowledgeable and made me feel comfortable as I was babbling through my trouble and ideas. She showed me each tattoo artists book before she told me which was hers. She shared some thoughts, took a pix of my arm and we swapped contact info. We then emailed and/ or talked on the phone for about 3 weeks playing with ideas trying color combos etc. She was so patient and amazing.
The shop owner & tattoo artist ended up responding to an email a day after I went in that I forgot I sent. He talked with her and gave me some of his thoughts. I was impressed with him as well.
So we designed and played ... tweaked and colored... My girls sat at the kitchen tabled and colored with me.... I had decided to run butterflies along the ribbons and make it a little bigger. But then Christina pointed out that the butterflies would have to be super small and not holding any detail. Then my hubby decided that a BUTTERFLY did not represent him & his manly-ness (no he didn't put it in those exact words).
Here are some of the other "top" ideas...
1- Tattooing "ZOO" and Zebra striping it in different colors over the ribbons (however true it just seems wrong.)
2- Everyone choosing their favorite animal and tattooing them down my entire arm. (Tiger, Lion, Donkey, Cow, Dog, panda bear.... And why didn't I choose this option?)
3- Tattooing "The Fallen" on my chest with his eyes my nipples... (T thought this was the best Idea ever!!)
There were some others "helpful" suggestions of dragons, princesses, unicorns and fairies but this is what I executive decision-ed.






I love butterflies and dragonflies... flowers and beautiful gardens. So in talking with everyone they all picked something "garden-y" they loved. Yes it's much bigger... but it is also beautiful. As a family - and wanting to stick to true nature - we all picked what we liked in colors we liked. But with Christina's expertise she made it all flow n work together. I wanted to make sure we were all individuals but completing a circle of life, love and support. I also wanted a hear to represent the love. Can you see it? Here's the "bug" breakdown...

Jamie- Again - I love butterflies.


My favorite colors are green, blue, red and black. The teal is a mix of the blue and green... but this IS and ACTUAL Butterfly! Its a Coral Hairstreak Butterfly found all over North America. Did you know that Butterflies are as essential to pollinating as Bee's? Here are some more FACTS of butterflies :
The Aztecs saw them as a reincarnation of dead warriors. They are the top insect depicted in art. 2 butterflies in one artistic piece is consider a depiction of love. Japanese believer butterflies are a personification of a persons soul & rebirth.

Joe-


He finally agreed to this. Especially after I threatened a dung beetle... What??? they are extremely hard working bugs... very masculine .. but always full of - well - dung! Hee hee hee. But in all honesty, Dragonflies are also very hard working. They help to keep the insect population under control! They eat flies, mosquitoes and bees but very VERY rarely Butterflies. They are also frequently found in works of art. Native Americans believe them to be symbols of swiftness and activity and the Japanese see dragonflies as courage, strength and happiness... all things my husband is or has brought to my life. Again - this is a "type" you can find in nature. This is a Blue Dasher Dragonfly.

Justice- He decided upon a wasp.


I wont go into all the details on why he made this decision... but to summarize; A wasp is social but is highly protective of its home. They can live just about anywhere and can make it's home out of discarded items of other insects or humans.They are extremely resourceful and hard working. But it's hive means everything. It's defends and then asks questions later! It helps to control overpopulation of other bugs especially spiders by eating them.

Cheyanne - her nicknames are "red" and "sunshine".


She rarely gets down in the dumps and can usually brighten a room with her smile. She wanted a butterfly because "they are friends and go visiting everywhere in a garden. everyone likes butterflies and everyone should like me." Well said! We decided on a Monarch pattern even though you can't find one in nature with this exact fading. It also resembles a California Sister Butterfly which is also fitting for her. The coloring is more like a magnificent sunrise which is her favorite time of day....

Tristin -


"I don't really care mom as long as I'm on there and it's green." The boy has been abscessed with green since he learned his colors. He hates crickets and grasshoppers and I figured a green aphid wasn't a good choice either. So I found this beautiful Green Pondhawk. And I thought it fit with the "hawk" included. He's thrilled. Baby Dragonflies are called nymphs.

Keriana - She spent HOURS looking in books and coloring with me trying to find what she wanted. We'd settled on a butterfly when one day I called her "ladybug". And she squealed and said "When I was a baby you always called me your little lady! Ladybug is perfect because I just llloooooovvvvveeeee red!".


And so it is. How she remembered what I called her more than her name before she could speak, I'll never know. But it works and its true! She is more "lady-ish" than anyone else in the house... She also loves and tends and weeds my garden than I do. That's probably why it lived last year! Anyway Ladybugs are the "GARDENERS" of the insect world. They eat the aphids, mealy bugs and other harmful garden eaters. In the art world they are considered symbols of LUCK. My 'Ana to a T...or rather an A ... but you get it!

As I said, this tattoo (or Fern Gully as my husband refers to it) was incredibly thought out. It has my 2 most lucky numbers intermixed. It has many hidden meanings, thoughts and loves displayed. And all very important. But most importantly, it is a SYMBOL and REMINDER to me of how lucky and blessed I am to have this circle of unending love. Like a garden, it is always growing, ever changing and all inclusive. And uniquely mine....


Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Class Thankful Quilts




My volunteer art lessons this last week were on Pilgrims and what little they actually had.
We talked about fabric and where it came from. How they made different colors and then what they did with clothes when they wore out and couldn't be fixed.it was really interesting to watch their reactions.
I found this cute book at the library. Its called " That Summer" and written by an imaginative guy by the name Tony Johnston and beautifully illustrated by Barry Moser.
There was no way I could read the whole book because it is a story about a boy spending the last summer with his Grandmother and his really sick brother - who died- but this part of the story I could make it through without sobbing. Plus it is a great description on what goes into a quilt.
.... "How do you make a quilt?" Joey asked. "Cut scraps into shapes of all the things you love," Gram said," then join them with thread."
So in the hallows of the night when he could not sleep Joey pieced a quilt - a patch with an owl because he loved it's call, the cow he squeezed from clay (first grade), and his fishing pole and a lightning bug and a country road and his baseball glove."......
Since I knew that I didn't have time to actually teach kids HOW to sew and how to MAKE a quilt square, I came up with this idea. I gave them 9 3" squares in a rainbow of colors, 2 5" squares - they could choose their 2 colors and one 12"x12" black square. These were the instructions I gave each class.
1- You have to stay within your 12"x12" paper.
2- Anywhere on your quilt square you need to write 1 thing you are thankful for.
3- The square needs to represent you in some way. And you need to have fun and be proud of YOUR square.
It was so fun to hear the quiet chatter of little brains at work. They were so cute creating. They are thrilled with their squares. But they were even MORE excited to see their squares made into a quilt. Even if it's a paper one.
1st grade:



2nd grade:



3rd grade;
Pix to come

Special Ed: 3rd-6th grades
Pix to come

I'd like to encourage you to borrow that book... And even more - to make a quilt with your kids... Even if it's a paper one.

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Thursday, October 28, 2010

Reflections... Great program. Greater mess!

Now that all the finishing up, cleaning up and refinding tables that were long buried, I'd like to share my kids projects. Well... A couple of them anyway. And I'll have to update this when I get their literature back up on my computer.
The theme was "Together We Can....

Cheyanne;
Wrote "Me and My Sister". A little poem about things she can do better when with Keriana.
I got a call yesterday and this piece has won at her school level and will advance to District competition. Of course I started crying and her smile got that much bigger... She really needed that news. She's had a rough patch lately.
Chey really wanted to sew something. But just could not work everything. -though she tried... Then she said she wished she could just make cupcakes. Wah lah!
This project won at school level as well.











Keepable cupcakes by Cheyanne. I think she could start a business!!
Chey did a visual art but I didn't get a pix of the picture. I'll post it when I get it back.

Tristin:
He went sports theme..
Together we can score a touch down.





His 3 d was "...play ball together"
Pix to come I forgot to take one. Bad mom!
Literature






Photography







Keriana
Visual Arts






3D "...help flowers grow"












Liturature:











Photography
"...plant flowers."







Yep!! I'm pretty dang proud my kids have a little bit of my love of arts nestled in them somewhere.

Now you think about it... Together we can.....????


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Sunday, October 10, 2010

Bedroom safe Jack-o-lanterns




I ran across this cute project in a magazine. My kids love it- but they couldn't cut it. Older kids could.

Wonder what could be done with Milk Jugs? Here's an idea!




After your kids have drained a gallon, wash with soap and let dry. Then peel off the sticker as best you can.
Spray paint orange and let dry 24 hours.





Hold can 6" from jug and let coat one dry about 15 min before adding coat 2 or you end up with drips. The drips DO add to the spooky -ness though.
Have your kids draw what they want their jack-o-lantern to look like.


Using an exacto knife, carefully cut out your shapes. NOTE: the jug does weaken with every cut. Go slowly and carefully.









Get a small flashlight and duct tape it to the top of your bottle. I used a piece 1/2 width and I stuck it to my pants first to get rid of some of the sticky so the tape wouldn't leave residue on my flashlight.



The original instructions said to use brown craft foam for the pumpkin stem. Since I didn't have that, I used a paper towel roll cut to the size of my flashlights. I got three stems from one roll.



We then added chenille wires for vines. We curled them around pencils, but you could leave them straight or use raffia or whatever you have laying around. Quick, fun and mold free! Yea!



My kids are thrilled to have their "Halloween room spooky pumpkin things"..... Keriana says. And Tristin told me "you just have the best craft brain".... I'm a smiling....

Happy Haunting!

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