Sunday, June 20, 2010

Pray for Abby

This is my sweet, tiny niece, Abby. I've blogged about her before when she was born 6 weeks early. Well now she is 6 months old and she started having seizures. Her parents took her for some tests where they found out she has INFANTILE SPASMS. It is a rare and catastrophic type of epilepsy. It manifests itself between 4-7 months of age. This causes clusters of seizures (sometimes as many as 100 seizures at a time), usually after Abby wakes up and after eating. Infantile spasms go away by themselves. But the damage they do if you do nothing is catastrophic. If the doctors can stop the seizures, that minimizes Abby's chances of mental and physical retardation. Then around age 5, she will get some other form of epilepsy which will then be treated with other medication.

The best treatment is steroid shots for 6 weeks. The steroids are like liquid gold. One vial cost $30,000. If they can't stop the seizures with the steroids, she still has to do the full 6 weeks of shots and then the doctors will try other things, treatments, drugs, diets, etc. Her chances of retardation go up to like 85-95% if the steroids don't work.

Please, please, please pray that the steroids work!! Abby and her family need all the prayers they can get.

We LOVE you baby Abby!

Our Recent Happenings

I have some major catching up to do. So check out all my posts. I figured I'd just get it all done at once.

Brian lost his job the same time I went off track. I spent my time writing, studying for my teaching license test, working my second job and going to too many doctor appointments. I had to switch hip doctors because the one I was seeing stopped taking my insurance. It was like starting all over again with tests, x-rays etc. But I did get another hip injection and sleep has become my friend once again.

Brian looked for jobs and applied for jobs and went to a few interviews. Nothing really panned out. So he headed to Idaho for a fun trip with friends and family. (I stayed because I had to work my second job and there was a freak blizzard in Idaho with multiple death car accidents, so I didn't go.) Then he came home to more hunting and applying and working on our house remodel. He got the house all ready for carpet! And...he GOT A JOB!!!! Brian started working last week for a company called Eaton. He welds huge gas storage tanks that go underground.

So here is my handsome, employed man working on the house!

We went to my Shannon's wedding. It was like a little Early Head Start reunion with several people I worked with there, as well as the people that started working there after I left. I loved getting caught up on everyone's life. And it was wonderful to see Shannon so happy.

For Memorial Day we went to Tooele. We celebrated Ellie's birthday with a cool flower cake, dinner together and going to the Drive-In. They had a triple header that included How To Train Your Dragon, Diary of a Wimpy Kid and Percy Jackson. Here is our group, from left to right: Micheal, Holly, Ellie and me, Josh, Ashley and Ann, Brian, Jason and Emma and Heather is taking the picture.

We started out all happily outside, eating junk food and making smores using one of those flame things that go under buffets to keep the food warm. You could lite your marshmellow on fire and it was still solid in the middle. And it was soooooo cold! I got to a point that as long as I didn't move, at all, I could stay warm. But by the end of the first movie the cold was coming through the back of the chair. Heather, who was inside her car, turned the engine on and I ran - "Heat! Heat!" We all watched the second movie in our cars and then headed home before the third because we were so tired. It was a great time! Happy Birthday Ellie!

Other than that, we have been working, working, working on our house. I can't believe how much we have gotten done. I thought we wouldn't be able to do much when Brian lost his job. Then I realized we already bought and paid for lots of stuff so we needed to get the work going! And WOW - does our house look good.

Writing and Illustrating for Young Readers 2010

This last week I spent at the Writing and Illustrating For Young Readers Conference. It was purely incredible! This is my second time going and so worth it.

We spend four hours every morning in small work shops with a published author. The author for my class was Brandon Mull, author of Fablehaven and Candy Shop War! He is amazing! Everyone brings their manuscripts and we read and critique them, including lots of input from Brandon himself. I learned so much and have already been busy editing my manuscript with the amazing feedback I got.

The afternoon is spent in plenary sessions and break out sessions. It is like writing bootcamp. I'm totally exhausted and my head is unbelievably filled. But I'd love to be back there right now. I made some great friends and met some incredible talent. Now to get my novel edited and sent off!

Here is my morning workshop class - back row, left to right: Michelle, Gwen, Joel, Brandon Mull, Jason, Gaylene and Lana - front row, left to right: Ali, Jeni, Chersti, me, Kate, Leisl and Gina.

I really wish I had taken more pictures!

2010 Remodel Fest - Craft Room

This room we call the Craft Room. It's really the third bedroom that's downstairs. I have lovingly turned it into my own personal room. I write, scrapbook, craft and exercise in this room. I love this room. It contains all things fun and wonderful. Except it really needs a comfy chair.

And it is a bit messy - but it's crafty messiness! Anyways I packed up this room...

Brian painted it and we ripped up the carpet and padding. That took maybe all of five minutes and I can't believe how much it would have cost to have someone else do it.

Then we got carpet installed and I put the room back together. Check out the vacuum lines on the new carpet - LOVE it.

Now I can spend time in my COZY craft room and really get my inner writer working. I see lots of novels in my future! And maybe a smaller waistline.

2010 Remodel Fest - Carpet

I LOVE carpet! For four looong years I have been waiting, dreaming and longing for carpet. Especially on our stairs. The guy we bought the house from painted them green and laquered them so they are slippery. There have been accidents from people falling. And I was terrified every time a child would play on them they would fall and spilt their head open. Well, I don't have to worry any more. Hallejuah!

Take the last look ever at the ugly green steps...

Here they are all pretty and soft and cozy...

And the downstairs before...

And now! LOVE, love, love it! :) The only problem is, the cats now plunk themselves down any old place they want. Which quite often is on the stairs. And they aren't too inclined to move.

We also got area rugs in the living room and the two bedrooms. Here is a picture of the living room. My feet love the squishy, softness and no more freezing cold floors!

2010 Remodel Fest - Lights

We redid almost all the light fixtures in our house about a year ago but I don't have pictures of that. We got an AMAZING deal on a set of lights and now our entire house is matching and modernized. However, we didn't replace the kitchen light and during the renovations, we broke the living room wall light.

Here is the living room wall light before, it's the tiny thing under the MORRIS sign.

And here is the new one...

Here is the horrible kitchen light, that really didn't offer any light...

And the new, wonderful, amazing one, that is beautiful and actually gives off light...
It's amazing what a difference small changes can make.

2010 Remodel Fest - Light Switches and Plates

How I loathed the light switches and plates in our house. Who in the world likes gold plates that flake and rust? Really, it's horrifying. And then to match it with black switches? UGH! Just looking at these pictures makes me so happy that we changed everything. Even though, some people, thought I was crazy for wanting to change them all in our old house. It was one thing, very worth, fighting for. After all, not only was the ugliness overwhelming, the plugs would fall out all the time. Now they stay put and the flaking, rustiness is GONE!

So here is the previous look...
And the glorious new ones that I LOVE! And yes, they are basic and therefore don't stand out in screaming horror.