Thursday, November 1, 2007
We need all types of papercrafters, stampers, scrapbookers, and digi designers, so if you fall into one of those categories, give it a try! All you need to do is upload 5 samples of your work, so it couldn't be easier!
Check the ASB Challenges blog, or the ASB Forum for more information!
Monday, October 22, 2007
Thursday, October 11, 2007
Here it is, I hope you like them!
Wednesday, October 10, 2007
The band has been revamped, and we put a couple of rough clips up on the MySpace page. Now they're really rough, just quickie recordings made in the basement, so don't judge us too harshly. We wanted everyone to get a glimpse of the direction we're moving in though, and as time goes on we'll add more clips, and improve the recordings that are up there.
We have some great songs that we're working on that aren't even ready for a rough recording yet that I can't wait for you to hear. One is a fractured fairy tale, and another is a Heart-type hard rock song with an opera intro. I know it sounds strange, but it works! lol
Oh... the new band name? ChupaRosa
Pretty cool huh?
It's a flower that blooms in the American Southwest, it's called a "Sucking Rose" because it has a petal that looks kind of like a tongue. I really like the slightly twisted variants of roses, hence my nickname StormRose. I totally relate, because just like me everything looks fine and good on the surface, even beautiful sometimes, but underneath there's something not quite right. Describes me to a T.
To celebrate the Band's passage from the Blues into something else (we're not quite sure what it is yet) I have the start of a new Digi kit for you!
It's been awhile, I know...
In my defense, I've been working on a kit that was just stumping me. I didn't make a single element or paper for it that I liked. So I'd work on it awhile, and when nothing clicked I'd just walk away. Well, yesterday I decided that instead of walking away I was going to start a new project. A kit built off of a paper I made awhile ago...
That one sparked, and within an hour I had 10 papers made.
I have to remember to move along when I hit a creative roadblock. I have a really hard time setting a project aside when it just isn't working.
This zipped file contains 15 papers:
5 Solid Textured Papers
5 Grunge papers
5 Patterned Papers
Download them here:Sing the Blues Papers
The element pack will be posted Tomorrow, so keep an eye out!
Monday, September 24, 2007
Sean and I make a good writing team, John's happy to be able to make his own bass line, and it's all coming together faster than I thought it would. We have 3 new original songs that we've written in 2 weeks, and I'm proud of each one of them. That's an unusual thing for me. lol
Friday, September 21, 2007
I love Hickory trees though, they're beautiful shade tress with a full canopy and rich Autumn colors. The nuts they shed in the fall are edible, and quite yummy. I'd take a Hickory nut over a Walnut anyday.
Wednesday, September 19, 2007
One day, when I was a freshman in high school, I saw a kid from my class walking home from school. His name was Kyle. It looked like he was carrying all of his books, and I thought to myself, "Why would anyone bring home all his books on a Friday? He must really be a nerd."
I had quite a weekend planned (parties and a football game with my friends tomorrow afternoon), so I shrugged my shoulders and went on. As I was walking, I saw a bunch of kids running toward him. They ran at him, knocking all his books out of his arms and tripping him so he landed in the dirt. His glasses went flying, landing in the grass about ten feet from him.
He looked up and I saw a terrible sadness in his eyes. My heart went out to him. So, I jogged over to him as he crawled around looking for his glasses, a tear in his eye.
As I handed him his glasses, I said, "Those guys are jerks. They really should get lives."
He looked at me and said, "Hey thanks!"
There was a big smile on his face. It was one of those smiles that showed real gratitude.
I helped him pick up his books, and asked him where he lived. As it turned out, he lived near me, so I asked him why I'd never seen him before. He said he had gone to private school. I would have never hung out with a private school kid before. We talked all the way home, and I carried some of his books. He turned out to be a pretty cool kid, so I asked him if he wanted to play a little football with my friends. He said yes, and we hung out all weekend. The more I got to know Kyle, the more I liked him, my friends thought the same.
Monday morning came, and there was Kyle with the huge stack of books again. I stopped him and said, "Boy, you are going to really build some serious muscles with this pile of books everyday! "He just laughed and handed me half the books.
Over the next four years, Kyle and I became best friends. When we were seniors we began to think about college. Kyle decided on Georgetown and I was going to Duke. I knew we would always be friends, that the miles would never be a problem. He was going to be a doctor and I was going for business on a football scholarship.
Kyle was valedictorian of our class. I teased him all the time about being a nerd. He had to prepare a speech for graduation, and I was so glad it wasn't me having to get up there and speak.
Graduation day, I saw Kyle, he looked great, he was one of those guys that really found himself during high school. He filled out and actually looked good in glasses, and he had more dates than I had. All the girls loved him, sometimes I was even a little jealous! Today was one of those days.
I could see that he was nervous about his speech, so I smacked him on the back and said, "Hey, big guy, you'll be great!"
He looked at me with one of those looks (the really grateful one) and smiled. "Thanks," he said.
As he started his speech, he cleared his throat and began, "Graduation is a time to thank those who helped you make it through those tough years. Your parents, your teachers, your siblings, maybe a coach but, mostly your friends...
I am here to tell all of you that being a friend to someone is the best gift you can give them. And now I am going to tell you a story."
I just looked at my friend with disbelief as he told the story of the first day we met. He had planned to kill himself over the weekend. He talked of how he had cleaned out his locker so his Mom wouldn't have to do it later and was carrying his stuff home. He looked hard at me and gave me a little smile.
"Thankfully, I was saved. My friend saved me from doing the unspeakable."
I heard the gasp go through the crowd as this handsome, popular boy told us all about his weakest moment. I saw his Mom and dad looking at me and smiling that same grateful smile. Not until that moment did I realize its depth.
Never underestimate the power of your actions. With one small gesture you can change a person's life for better or for worse.
Tuesday, September 18, 2007
Monday, September 17, 2007
What's a spotlight contest? Well it's when our members enter their gorgeous artwork for a chance to win some time in the "Spotlight!"
The best part of these contests is looking over all the entries and voting for your favorite! Have you voted yet? Well go vote! All registered members can do it, and if you're not registered, now is a good time! It's free and easy, what more could you possibly ask for?
Then, once you've registered, you can enter your gorgeous artwork in next month's contest!
Go! Go now!!! :D
Saturday, September 15, 2007
Check it out; it's the new challenge blog for ASB! It will keep you up to date on all of the new challenges going on over on A Shade of Blue, and maybe it will even inspire you to step out of your box and try something you otherwise might not have.
For you digi gals out there, every Tuesday there will be a free digi card template, and every Friday a digi scrap template.
Add it to your feeds so you don't miss a thing!
Thursday, September 6, 2007
Sunday, September 2, 2007
This year he decided to take his birthday trip to the EAA Air Museum in OshKosh Wisconsin. It was really cool, he took a ride on a flight simulator, and flipped it a couple of times. Watching, I was afraid he was gonna break the thing. The coolest part of the trip was this though...
Not only did he get to ride in that plane, but he got to fly it! The pilot took off and landed for him, but he got to take it for a spin around OshKosh. He was really psyched, and if he didn't want to be a pilot before, he does now!
It was only a day trip this year, so today we'll stay at home and celebrate with brownies and cheesy movies.
So on to the real reason you're here... :)
I did get some elements put together for the Cherry Cheesecake papers. I'm not totally happy with these, so you may see another embellishments pack for this kit somewhere down the road. I think I need to walk away from it for a bit though before I try again.
You can download them here.
If you guys make anything with my freebies, send me a copy! I'd love to see your layouts!
Friday, August 31, 2007
Now, I wasn't going to post these papers until I had the whole kit done, but I'm hitting a roadblock with the elements, and I thought that the papers are pretty cool on their own.
I found this color palette on Kuler; for you designers out there, it's a great website to play with color combos and to find inspiration. This palette was created by a user named donald.agarrat, do a seach for his gallery, he's got some great palettes in there!
Thursday, August 30, 2007
I got to thinking about it though... Did they ever cancel school for power outages when you were a kid? I can remember sitting in darkened classrooms reading the chalkboard from the light coming in the windows. We never got sent home in the middle of the day unless we were puking or the building was on fire.
Yesterday, the power was out for less than an hour when they made the decision to send the kids home, and by the time I got there to pick up CJ, it was back on. They said they were sending them home anyway because they didn't want to risk it going out again...
Risk? Risk what?!?!
It was a beautiful day here yesterday, cloudy but warm. The kids weren't going to freeze because there wasn't any heat. All of the classrooms except one have windows, and that class could have easily gone to the commons room that has windows. I think the biggest risk for the school is that the teachers would have had to rely on books and chalkboards to teach the kids instead of PowerPoint presentations and videos.
It's an odd world we live in...
Anyway, on to the artsy stuff. I had someone ask for reds on the Creative Dreams blog yesterday, so I pulled out this old kit I made and dusted it off. It's the very first kit I ever tried putting together, and I posted it on ASB awhile ago, but since it's my first I'm sure you'll find things I could have done better. the papers are cool though, and that's the most important part, right?
I made the kit so that I could do this layout for my band:
So, without further ado, here it is:
Tuesday, August 28, 2007
Last spring, some of you might remember, I took a bunch of pictures in my garden. This one of my Columbines was by far my favorite:
I just love the colors in this picture, so I ran it through a palette generator, and came up with the inspiration for my next kit.
This kit contains:
4 Textured Solid Papers
8 Patterned Papers
4 Twill Ribbons
I hope you enjoy it!
Awhile ago John and I were playing with some blog software, we were thinking of adding blogs to ASB but it was way too much of a pain, and so I had this premade blog sitting there that can now be put to good use. So if you want to skip the personal stuff in my life you can just go to Creative Dreams instead!
I'll still be posting my artsy stuff here too, I think, so if you like reading my twisted tales along with my attempts at creativity, you can keep dropping by. :)
Ok, so on to the good stuff. I made a digi kit! Well, actually I've made a couple, but this one is packaged up and ready to be shared. So here it is...
It's called "Spumoni" because the color palette reminds me of Spumoni ice cream.
This kit includes:
4 Textured Solid Papers
10 Patterned Papers
5 Twill Ribbons
I'd love to hear what you think!
Monday, August 13, 2007
Tiana's done with her first adjustment. It went really well, and it's nice to see her nearly straight again. There was very little pain this time around, within a few days she was mostly back to normal. She's still a little stiff, but hasn't needed so much as an Advil since the day of the surgery.
Overall a piece of cake... No sweat... Right? Yea right...
This whole thing has caused me to become very introspective, examining myself, what kind of person I am, what kind of parent I am, and more importantly, what the hell is wrong with me.
Ok, I've been sitting here staring at my screen wondering where to go from here without sounding like a whiny twit. That's really not how I want to come across. My idea isn't to try and gain sympathy, or even understanding, it's merely journaling therapy for me, getting it out of my head so that maybe I can walk down a path of normalcy for a little while. I could do a private journal I guess, but what fun would that be, and maybe there's someone out there like me (fat chance I know) who might get a little comfort in knowing that they're not the only nut job on the planet.
So onward bravely I wander, damn the torpedoes, and if I whine then so be it.
In the weeks leading up to Tiana's surgery I often wondered if I'd deal with this differently if I didn't have this lovely serotonin imbalance in my brain. The lengthening is supposed to be a pretty minor surgery, and really it is, so why doesn't that comfort me? Why do I look at my child like this may be the last time I see her whole? Why do I count the days with dread? Why do I see these vivid pictures flash through my head, pictures of my baby in a wheel chair, or the nightmare images of her in a coffin.
What the hell is wrong with me?
There's some comfort in knowing that while I may be a little father into the deep end than others, I'm not all that alone out there.
You can see it in the eyes of the other parents at Shriners, that terrible fear that no matter how minor the surgery, your child could easily become a statistic. Sure, the odds are in your favor that everything will turn out alright, but the odds were in my favor that I'd have a normal healthy baby without any muscular-skeletal defects too. The parents sitting in the waiting room, or out in the smoker's corner, have learned not to play the odds because sometimes you lose. We don't have the option of bowing out of this messed up game when we've had enough, or wagering just a little bit to play it safe. Once we're in, we have to stay until it's done, and with each hand we have to bet it all... When we lose, we lose everything.
That's what's doing me in right now, and for the last couple of weeks... I didn't want to play this game, I was forced into it. Now that I'm here, I can't stop it, can't back off, I have to see it to the end, no matter how it plays out.
I've had enough... I want to quit, I can't do this anymore. I want whatever twist of fate, nature, or God that made my kid this way to fix her with and be done with it. I don't mind that she's not the perfect healthy baby that I dreamed of; I can live with her being broken, but I can't live without her. I don't care anymore if it's character building, I don't care if we'll come out on the other side of this stronger, better people. I want to be able to take my kids health for granted, I want the fear to go away. I want to lay down in bed at night and not count the days to the next time my child will have to go under the knife. I just want it to stop... Is that too much to ask?
You may be sitting there thinking that in the grand scheme of things I have it easy. Life could have been a lot worse for me and my kid. She could have been born with a thousand other problems that would make things a lot harder, a lot scarier. Trust me, you don't need to tell me this. I've met the kids that are worse off, seen their parents chain smoking while they're in surgery, talked to them in an effort to figure out how they get through it all. I hold them in awe for their strength, but this isn't a road they chose either. Most, just like me, are hiding in a locked bathroom every once in awhile, crying while the shower's running, and railing against this long hard path they have to walk and the fates that put them there. We keep ourselves together because it's what our kids need us to do, but that doesn't mean we like it. They don't begrudge me my feelings, they understand it, and as we sit together watching the clock, we all know that fear cannot be contained by how minor a doctor ranks a procedure. When you've already lost to good odds, you know that something as simple as a tonsillectomy can go terribly, horribly wrong.
So I live a diet of avoidance and repression... Tamp it down, don't let it control you, don't let your twisted imagination gain the upper hand. As life moves inevitably forward, and the surgeries get closer I push everything into the back of my mind, emotion, deadlines, anything that may cause me the tiniest amount of stress. Because one little crack will cause the dam to break, and then I'm in the bathroom with the shower running again.
Some people in my life are finding they're having a hard time dealing with the month or so that I'm completely unavailable to them in any way. They may talk to me, but I'm emotionally distant, unresponsive, and pretty much in a comatose state. My body may be moving, but the mind is in another place. To these people that I love dearly, and who I know love me back, I can only say I'm sorry. If I could be any different, if I could walk away from this, if I could be a normal person dealing with life in a normal way I would do it in a heart beat.
I can say this now, share these feelings, because Tiana's a week out of surgery and I have six months until the fear and anxiety grip my life. Three weeks or so before her next surgery I'll be repressing again and you'll be lucky to get anything more than "I'm fine" out of me. No amount of Lexapro is probably gonna change that. Sorry...
Anyway... I wanted to say more today, but it's almost time for me to run. Maybe tomorrow I'll share the rest. There is more to this story, this unsolicited glimpse into my psyche, but this is probably enough for anyone to digest in one day.
Tuesday, July 3, 2007
I love these ladies, they're a lot of fun! The circles in the background are from a River City Rubberworks SOTM set, that I'm really loving today. They makes totally awesome backgrounds!
Isn't he the cutest little guy?!?! The credit for the dragon artwork goes to a guy named Darrien who creates some awesome freeware artwork.
To make the background for that card, I ran a piece of glossy cardstock through my D'vine Swirls CB embossing folder, and then brayered over the embossed image with the Desert Heat K-pad.
So that's my baby... I'll show you more as I make them!
Monday, July 2, 2007
We finally have a solid date on Tiana's lengthening surgery. She'll go to Shriners on August 9th to have the surgery done, and she should be home on the 10th. This is a short one, a piece of cake considering what she's already been through. She should grow another inch or two afterwards also, so I'll probably wait to buy school clothes!
Last week I had some time to myself, so I got to play a bit. I purchased a polymer stamp maker with a bit of the tax money last winter, and I worked on getting my technique down. I had to make a couple of calls to the company before I managed to work out some of the kinks, but I think I finally got it.
My big issue with making stamps was sticky polymer (sounds like a band name). See how it works is that you pour this goopy polymer into a mold, it's kind of the consistency and feel of honey or light corn syrup, and then you shine a UV light on it. Wherever the light hits, the polymer cures and hardens, where it doesn't hit, it washes away. I couldn't get it all washed off though, and so even when the stamps were finished, they were sticky in the areas that were recessed. I'm not talking a little tacky either, they were nasty, disgusting, can't get it off sticky. You didn't want to touch those stamps to any part of your body that had hair on it, let me tell ya!
So I called the company and whined, asked what I was doing wrong, and it turns out it wasn't me (do try to hide your astonishment). They gave me a couple of tricks that weren't included in the instructions for curing the sticky polymer, and now I'm good to go. They're still a bit tacky, but they no longer remove bits of skin and hair wherever they touch. A big improvement in my opinion.
I made some cute stamps last week, and have some ideas for some others I want to try. Once I get all of the sticky polymer off my desk, I'll make some cards with my new stamps to share with you.
So what else is new...
We had some changes in the band last weekend. Jim our drummer wasn't happy with the new direction we've been taking, and how things are going in general, and we decided it was probably time to part company. We'll miss him, he's a good man, but this way we can still be friends in the long run.
Sean and I are going to start cranking out some new music. It's time for us to move away from playing the Blues, and we've been working on some awesome new stuff. I'm really excited about what we'll be doing in the future. The music that I'm writing has a lot more feeling for me, and I'm finding that I can really feel it pouring out of me as we play it. So I think it's going to be great.
So we'll be writing, and possibly doing some recording while we start the search for a new drummer. If you're interested, you can always check out the bands web page or myspace page for updates.
Well, that's all the exciting stuff in my life right now... Pretty boring over all, I know.
Friday, June 22, 2007
So, if you know me, you know about my papercrafting forum A Shade of Blue, and you probably know about the drama that took place there this week. If not, I'll give you the cliff notes... I shut down the hidden Angel's forum there because I was advised that having inside information on my site for a company I was no longer a part of was going to create a serious legal issue for me very soon.
While I was being advised of my impending doom, I was also advised of some talk that had been going on about me, and when I announced that I was removing the Angel's forum, I also took the opportunity to address some of these very hurtful rumors. Needless to say, I pissed a few people off.
Things have been moving along happily on ASB since then, sure we had a momentary lull, and our base of regular posters has gotten a bit smaller, but the forum is established, it's a fun place to be, and has a ton of useful information, so really, nothing outside of global catastrophe is going to bring us down for long.
I thought that was the end of it, and life was getting back to normal... Right? Wrong!
Now I've often alluded to things that happen "Behind the Scenes," (insert ominous music) but I never go into much detail because other than it being a pain in the ass, it's typically no one's business but mine and whoever else is involved. I tend to play my cards pretty close to my chest, and I'm a pretty private person. The one place where I do express myself with very little restriction is here on this blog.
I received a message today though... A comment that someone left for me on this blog, and I decided that I am going to address it publicly, and let people really see what's going on "Behind the Scenes."
This is the post that the comment was left on: So Much Going On. Go ahead and take a moment to read it, at least the top entry where I announce I'm leaving the Angel Company, I'll wait.
Back? Ok, good!
This was the comment I received for approval today in my email...
Subject: [Storm's Cellar] New comment on So much going on....
Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "So much going on...":
So you left TAC..Does that mean that TAC has Crappy Stamps and Artist?
The way your post reads that TAC doesn't have any Talented Artist!!
If this is they way you feel I'm glad you're not a part of TAC anymore. Cause we don't need people like you.
Also you Left your partner already? You must not know what you want to.
I hope life treat's you better than you treat other's.
Nice huh? Now I'm sure this Anonymous person (wow, your mom must not have liked you, even John Doe got a better name) didn't expect me to publish it to my blog. Wow are they in for a shock the next time they drop by. The simple fact is, I'm putting it up for everyone to see because I have nothing to hide. I've done nothing to be ashamed of, where as this Anonymous person has... otherwise they would have left a better calling card.
So... since my reputation seems to be in question, still, let me address these accusations, again, one by one...
1. "So you left TAC..Does that mean that TAC has Crappy Stamps and Artist? The way your post reads that TAC doesn't have any Talented Artist!!"
Um... Did I miss something? In my post I specifically said that I'm "Sad because I hate to leave TAC behind, they're a great company and my time with them has been wonderful."
Or perhaps you are referring to my comment that "I'll be working with some really talented stamp artists?" Now if I'm understanding this correctly, because I called a different artist talented, that means that TAC's artists must be crappy? So by your logic when a mother calls one of her children beautiful she is therefore implying that her other children are horrible disfigured trolls? Right?
Or perhaps you have some repressed issues with TAC that you should seek therapy for.
2. "If this is they way you feel I'm glad you're not a part of TAC anymore. Cause we don't need people like you."
And I'm sure that if Mischelle ever reads this she'll be thinking that I'm not the only one they could do without.
3. "Also you Left your partner already? You must not know what you want to."
Yup, the rumors are true, I did. I haven't really said why, except to say that I couldn't give what Kat and the company deserved at this time because of personal issues. I guess I need to lay it on the table and spell out what those issues are.
For those of you who read my blog for more than cannon fodder, you know that I've struggled with anxiety, and have been being treated for intense anxiety issues for the last year. Part of my anxiety is how people perceive me, I like to put on a good face (that's also why I'm a doormat), and so I'm really, really good at hiding these problems until it all blows up on me.
Unfortunately, the timing of Rubber Inspirations was all wrong for me. Dealing with Tiana's medical problems in combination with the stress of a start-up business was way too much for me. I literally started to fall apart, I could no longer take phone calls, or even read emails because each additional stress was making me crack. If you were paying attention you might have noticed that I even nearly disappeared from ASB for about 2 months, only checking in if I was needed. During this time I suffered from phantom pains (various pains through my body with no underlying medical cause, muscle aches, chest pains, abdominal pains, etc.), and could barely take care of myself let alone my kids. Patti and Jenn will back me up on this, both were very concerned about me, and let me know it.
John and several other people that love me very much had an informal intervention and let me know that I was riding a dangerous line. I had to do something for my sake, and for the sake of my kids. So I stopped all of the things that I could that were causing me stress and anxiety. I ended all of my design contracts, and turned RI over to Kat.
I didn't leave Kat high and dry, at least I tried not to, I left her with an established web store, and gave her all of the files that I worked so tirelessly on, so that she could continue easily without me. RI is a great business, and Kat is a wonderful and capable lady. She's going to do just fine without me, even better probably. I never meant to hurt her, and I hope that she knows and understands that.
So is that enough? Can you say that in my shoes you would do anything else? Perhaps you'd like for me to talk more about my daughters multiple surgeries, how they tried to delay her rod lengthening for 3 additional months which would have left her with a spine that was curved more than it was when she had the initial surgery. Can I tell you about her coming home in tears because of her classmates making fun of her brace, and how hard that was to deal with in the midst of the phone ringing non-stop for RI? At what point have I justified my actions to you, and why should I even have to? The people who count, the people who care know what's going on in my life, why should I have to explain myself to some Anonymous person who thinks they know it all?
4. "I hope life treat's you better than you treat other's."
I tell you what, there are plenty of things I've done in my life that I'm not proud of, but the things you accuse me of aren't among them. I can also honestly tell you that I've never left trashy comments Anonymously on someones blog. So Perhaps you might go look in the mirror the next time you feel the need say that.
I treat all of my users on ASB with a high level of respect and compassion, in some cases way beyond the point that they deserve it, and it takes a lot to make me do otherwise. It's a shame that a small group of users ruined things for everyone, but make no mistake, I was not among that group of people. I have a sneaky suspicion that you were though.
If I'm correct, and that's the case, then you have plenty to be ashamed of. If I'm wrong, well then perhaps you can leave your name when you comment this time and prove it instead of hiding in the shadows behind sharp words and indignation.
Anyway... This is the kind of thing that I've been talking about when I say "Behind the Scenes." Full grown adults acting like children. I get blamed when the users can't play nice and I have to take their forum away. My name's on the bill so it therefore becomes my fault.
Perhaps I am to blame though... Their father and I tried so hard to raise them up as civilized stampers... I just don't know where we went wrong...
Saturday, May 5, 2007
That's in a perfect world though...
Thank god we prepared her for the eventuality that she might not get the brace off, because that's exactly what happened.
So let me start at the beginning. Tiana was supposed to go a week and a half ago, but her doctor has had a personal medical emergency that will keep him from working for two months. So they did a quick shuffle and rescheduled her appointment for yesterday with another doctor.
He was a very nice man, and we brought him up to speed on Tiana and her progress so far, and then let him know what her Doctor had told her would probably happen at this visit. He put her new x-rays up on the board next to her x-rays from two months ago, and immediately my heart sank. Her back is all out of whack again.
Now part of that is to be expected, as she grows the rods don't grow with her, so her back will start to curve until the rods are lengthened. The problem is in the amount of curvature that Tiana has gained since her surgery. In a nutshell, she's growing to fast for the schedule.
When Tiana had her surgery, her back was at a 67 degree curvature. At her one month pre-op appointment, the X-rays showed that the surgery had corrected her back to about a 42 degree curve. Now, two months later, her back is at a 56 degree curve... That's almost 15 degrees in two months, and she's got two more months to go before her lengthening surgery is scheduled.
The doctor was concerned that as she continues to grow, and the curve progresses as she approaches her lengthening procedure, that there will be too much pressure put on the rod hooks, and that she could be in danger of popping a rod. So he's keeping her in the brace to alleviate that pressure, and keep the rods firmly attached to her spine where they're supposed to be.
The good news is that she doesn't have to wear it 23 hours a day anymore. She can take it off when she's sleeping, and just laying around the house. She can also take a bath, which she was really happy about since she doesn't like showers. She was cleared to start swimming lessons, but not to start playing Soccer, or even go back to gym class. Yet, having the good news mixed in with the bad was enough to make it a little more tolerable. She took it well, she was disappointed, but she's a trooper.
So that's the latest update... I wanted to share it with you because so many people ask about Tiana and how she's doing. It's wonderful to have so many people who care!
Monday, April 23, 2007
This normally isn't a problem for me because I don't have to get up on Monday mornings...
Alexi and CJ, our two oldest kids, usually spend the weekend at their dad's house, which means that John can get up with Tiana on Monday's and drop her off at school on his way to work. I only need to sit up in bed long enough to do her hair, give her a kiss and a hug, and then I can sleep until the two foot tornado wakes up.
This was my weekend to have Alexi and CJ though. Don't get me wrong, I love having them and wish I had them for more weekends. We had a great time, the weather was beautiful so we took a nice walk on Saturday. We went down to the little shopping area near our house and found that it was the Annual Racine Arts Walk, so all of the stores were doing special things. We watched a wood turner make a little top at one store, had coffee and treats at the local coffee shop, and just had a good time being with each other. On Sunday we got some much needed cleaning done around the house, and while there's still a lot that needs to be done, we managed to accomplish quite a bit.
I had to get up this morning though, to do my usually morning runs, and I have to say I'm not so thrilled about it. I could use an extra hour or two of sleep...
Anyway, I wanted to catch you up on a couple of things. First of all...
The last thing is that Tiana got some disappointing news on Friday. She was scheduled to get her brace off on Wednesday, but Shriners called... Her doctor had a medical emergency and has had to take a personal leave. Her appointment had to be rescheduled for May 4th. So she's in the brace for another week and a half and she's really not happy about it. We did make a flurry of phone calls on her behalf though, and they said that she could keep the brace off while she's at home until her next appointment. So that made things a little better for her, but she still has to wear it at school, and she's not cleared for PE class, or any extra curricular sports yet.
All in all she took it well, she tried not to cry, but she was really disappointed. Poor kid, she just wants to get back to her normal life again.
So that life at my house... So many exciting things going on, and I'll keep you posted on them all!
Have a great day!
Thursday, April 19, 2007
It was actually really cool to see I was in her top 5 list. I never expect anyone to remember my name, let alone think I do anything of note. So it's always a shock anytime someone gives me a compliment. Jennifer's a real sweetie though, she sent us a big box of chocolates after Tiana's surgery, which was a wonderful and unexpected treat. She's also an awesome papercrafter! If you haven't seen her Doodleblog, go check it out!
So now as I understand it, I'm supposed to list my favorite 5 blogs and bloggers. So here goes...
#1 - Patti Talbot - Patti is an Admin on ASB and one of my best friends. I can not tell you how awesome this girl is, in everything she does! She's a terrific confidant, she's always willing to put herself out there to help in anyway she can, and I'm so lucky that we managed to hook up in this great big Internet world.
#2 - Jenn Lambert - Jenn actually has two blogs that I love. She has her Stamping Corner, but she also has a blog for her family that I've been wanting to tell you about. It's called Jenn's Family Corner. It's a blog about her family, and how they're dealing with her husband's deployment to Iraq. Visit it, and watch the movie at the bottom of the page. It's sure to bring tears to your eyes. I've been fortunate to get to know Jenn through ASB and her strength amazes me on a daily basis. She is truly a woman to admire.
#3 - Vicki Hook - Another of my A Shade of Blue buddies. Vicki is on the ASB mod squad and is such an important part of the site as a whole. I've said it before, but I don't think ASB would ever have grown like is has if Vicki hadn't jumped on board right at the beginning. One of the things I love most about ASB is watching people grow in their craft as they participate, and Vicki (having been around so long) is a really good example. She's always been an awesome papercrafter, but if you look through her gallery you can really see how she's developed over time. Now her blog and gallery are filled with stunning creations that will knock your socks off! She also has a terrific sense of humor, and is a lot of fun to be around.
#4 - Cathy St. Clair - I used to be the techniques team leader on a Yahoo group called Create-a-Card. One day the group owner sent me a note that she had a new member for my team. I got Cathy's submission for her first technique a few days later, and had to pick my jaw up off the floor. Her submission was amazing! Ever since then I've been addicted to her designs; I love her style, layouts, and use of color. Check out her blog, and you'll see why!
#5 - Sharon Crown - Sharon showed up on ASB not too long ago (referred to us by Jenn) and jumped right on in. She quickly won a spotlight contest, and joined the Challenge Team. Her artwork is incredible, so it really wasn't surprising. I'm still getting to know Sharon, but she's another woman who's strength amazes me. I have the utmost respect for military wives, who keep their families connected and running, even when all the members can't be together.
So there's my fav 5... That was really hard to do! There are so many people out there who I admire, and who's art I love to check out. It was tough choosing just 5!
Saturday, April 14, 2007
You should be able to see from my post time, that I'm writing this at some insane hour when I should be sleeping. That's because this is about the only time I can sneak in a few minutes without feeling completely guilty. Lately I'm either working or doing something with the kids. There hasn't even been a lot of time for John.
The good news is that I can see the light at the end of the tunnel.
So what have I been up to besides work? Absolutely nothing...
The band played last night at Fat Boy Roadhouse in Milwaukee. It was fun, but my feet and legs are so tired from standing in my 3.5" heels for 4 hours that I can barely walk today. We made it to bed at about 4:30 am. John took the precaution of turning off the pThones so that we wouldn't be woken up before we were ready, but one of them escaped his attention, and of course it rang at 9:30. It woke the girls up, so of course we had to drag our butts out of bed for the day. I ended up taking an unscheduled nap on the couch this afternoon... I often wonder if I'm getting too old for my rock-n-roll dreams.
A Picture from last night for you... I'm getting a little hippy, I need to work on that.
So the usual fan club couldn't make it to the gig, but the rest of our friends put in a good showing. Kat and Tim came all the way from Madison, and brought a couple of friends with them. Lisa and Jeff put in an appearance, and Chad (aka Snake Boy ala John) came with his imaginary wife, who is really a lovely girl.
All in all, not a bad night, we played to a crowd which is always better than playing to an empty room, and we made it though another gig without getting any beer bottles thrown at us. What more could we possibly ask for?
So... Let's see... Other news...
Tiana gets her brace off in a week, I can't tell you how excited she is about that. She's literally counting the days. She started piano lessons last week at School. The music teacher is offering them for free after school for six weeks. We're going to see how she likes it, and if she wants to continue we'll consider getting her private lessons. Music is a big deal in our lives, as I'm sure you can guess, so we encourage the kids to pursue it when they have the chance.
Alexi and CJ have been in Florida with their dad this week. Alexi turned 15, but was away for her birthday. I called her to wish her a happy one, and we'll celebrate when she gets back. I miss them, I always do when they're gone, and I worry. I'll probably call tomorrow to make sure they made it back safely though, then I'll be able to sleep again.
We're working on some summer vacation plans. John and CJ were invited to a Cord rally in Auburn in June, which is when we usually take our vacation. So maybe we'll do that. I can amuse the girls while the boys get their testosterone running with the vintage cars. Honestly, I think it's great that John and CJ are having such a good time with the Cord connection. It's a healthy obsession, so I'll encourage it if it makes them happy.I think that's it for now... I think I'm going to go get reacquainted with my bed. it's been awhile, so I hope it remembers me.
Thursday, March 22, 2007
The big news is that I'm leaving The Angel Company to start my own stamping business! I'm excited, scared, and sad all at the same time. Sad because I hate to leave TAC behind, they're a great company and my time with them has been wonderful, scared because this is a risky venture with a lot of responsibility. Excited...
A lot of people have been asking about Tiana, and how she's doing. She's doing great! She'll be getting her brace off in a little less than a month, and is pretty much back to normal. She's starting to get tired of wearing the brace, and we have to keep telling her to slow down and behave during the hour a day that she can have it off, because she wants to dance, and twirl, and play during those brief moments of freedom. She's no longer in any pain at all, unless she gets bumped in the spots where her rods are while she has the brace off.
You can see the spots where rods attach through her skin, they're just lumps alongside her spine. They look a lot better than her twisted spine did though, so you won't hear any of us complaining. Her incision has completely healed, and is just a red line that I'm sure will fade to almost nothing when she gets older.
We've already scheduled the first lengthening for July. That will be a quick surgery, but she will have to stay overnight in the hospital. They say that she'll recover pretty quickly from it though, and that it will be more uncomfortable then painful. She's not dreading it, since she knows that the worst is over for awhile.
I've had quite a few people ask how miss snakey-poo is doing as well. She's doing great too! She's eating well and growing quickly! She's almost outgrown her 10 gallon tank, and has more than doubled in size since we got her. She's still small though, just a baby still, and has quite a bit of growing left to do.
She's really a sweet thing, she's a great pet to have. During the day (when she's normally sleeping) if I take her out she'll curl up in my pocket and sleep there. In the evening, when she has a little more spunk, she'll wrap herself around my fingers and wrist like a piece of exotic jewelry, and will explore anything and everything that comes close enough while I'm moving around. She's pretty content to hang on for the ride though, and will stay put as I do things.
The kids just love her, even the girls who weren't keen on the idea of having a snake for a pet, and CJ's even taken a turn at feeding her. I won't share the pictures I've taken of her eating (to spare the squeamish among you) but I did catch one of her resetting her jaw after a meal that is a favorite of mine.
The kids laugh when she does that because it looks like she's yawning really big! :)
Despite the big mouth, she has the sweetest temperament, and has never made a threatening move towards any of us. Even when Jenna pets her a little too hard, she's never made a strike out of fear. I know snakes squick a lot of people, but I think Kauket is one of the best pets I've ever owned. In fact, when she out grows her cage in a few months I'm probably going to get a Hognose snake. Hognoses are smaller than Corn snakes, and can live their lives in a 10 gallon tank. They're also diurnal, so I'd have someone to play with during the day while Kauket is sleeping.
So anyway... There's business news, Tiana news, and snake news. You should be all caught up now. :D
Have a great day!
Tuesday, January 23, 2007
It hasn't been easy though... Not by any means...
Today marks her one week anniversary, last week at this time she was being rolled into surgery, and it's so amazing to look back over the past week and see how far she's come.
Any back surgery is painful, surgery that includes the full length of your back is even more so. There were days when Tiana could barely move her arms because to do so hurt her back terribly. Each day has gotten a little better, but some of the hurdles she's had to face have been pretty tough to get over.
One phrase that John and I have heard a lot over the last week is "I can't do it." When she's hurting and needs to change position we hear "I can't do it." When she needs to make a trip up the stairs to go to the bathroom we hear "I can't do it." Fortunately for her, she has two parents who know from experience how important it is to push through the pain after surgery and get your body moving. When you move, your blood flows, and the brain releases chemicals that help relieve pain as well as hasten the healing process. So each time we hear "I can't do it," we're standing there saying "Yes you can!"
Take it one step at a time, take a deep breath, relax and do it! If you think it's terrible it will be, but if you think positive it might not be so bad! It hurts today, but if you do it, then tomorrow it won't be so bad.
Words of that nature have become our mantra. Constant encouragement is our ever-present companion. Sometimes it takes awhile to convince her, and often she puts up quite a fuss. However, each day it does become a little easier, and each day she can do a little more.
I've been thinking about the words "I can't do it" a lot in the last week, as I've tried to combat their negative effects in my daughter. I started wondering how many times I've let "I can't do it" stand in my way.
- I've struggled with quitting smoking because "I can't do it."
- I've failed on countless diet and exercise programs because "I can't do it."
- I haven't expanded my business as much as I could because "I cant" approach someone and give them a business card, "I can't" make cold calls, and "I can't" share my business opportunity with them because I don't want them to think I'm pushy.
Now if Tiana can look up a flight of stairs, in so much pain that it hurts to breathe, and take that first step, then why can't I?
Sure, she could have given into the "I can't" attitude, and stayed on the couch, but today she would be little better than she was last week. Getting past "I cant do it," is what is making each day so much better than the last.
So I think I need to take that first step too. Sure it might be hard today, but tomorrow it will be easier, and the next day it will be even less painful. I'll start with sharing my wonderful hobby with someone I don't know, and give them a business card. If I do it one step at a time, and take a deep breath, it won't be so bad.