Saturday, December 5, 2009

Scrapbook Stuff

So I mentioned that I got a subscription to Storytellers Club monthly scrapbooking kits for Christmas. I wanted to post the first layout I did using the free trial kit that I got. Here is a photo. I'd love to hear feedback! I used a page from the "Just Add Water" theme and a page from the "Family" theme in the kit. This was a camping trip we took to the Colonial Williamsburg KOA a few years ago. We spent the day at the pool and the evening by the campfire. Let me know what you think! I used a matching sheet of the paper to cut out the flowers and suspend them with pop dots over the prints of the same flowers underneath. I thought it turned out pretty cool. I love the papers from Storytellers!

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Family Emergency & Holiday Stuff

It's been ages since I've posted. That's mostly because my mother suffered a devastating stroke on Halloween. Actually, it was the night before, but she wasn't discovered until the afternoon of Halloween. She was paralyzed on her right side, was unable to speak or communicate in any way, was blind in her right eye, and deaf in one ear. It pains me to think of all the hours she laid awake in that bed, unable to move and wondering what was happening to her. And this was just a few days after her 74th birthday.

She was taken to the hospital and stayed there for about 2.5 weeks. My sister went to be with her the week or so, and I flew there with Holden to help her the last week. Before I left, I was able to get her transferred to a rehabilitation hospital. She has been undergoing intensive physical, speech, and occupational therapy there. She has improved by leaps and bounds. I have to hand it to her...she is a strong lady, and she has a wonderfully positive outlook. She is now re-learning how to walk with a walker. She is speaking pretty clearly, though more slowly, and she still struggles to find the right words. But at least she can communicate now! She has regained sight in her right eye, and I think her hearing has come back, as well. She has pretty much regained most everything except the use of her right arm. Her right arm only works in the shoulder and upper arm. She can't lift it by herself, but if someone supports her elbow to lower arm, she can push with her upper arm and shoulder. They sometimes place it in a sling so she doesn't injure her arm, and then she can push with her arm, like to maneuver a walker that's been specially adapted for her. She's doing great! They think she may eventually get the use of her arm and hand back, and obviously, that would be wonderful!

I'm so glad I was able to go and help her. She needed a lot of assistance in the beginning, and she wasn't getting very much attention at the first hospital. I enjoyed spending that time with her so much. I was only able to go because my dear friend came over every day in my absence to do lessons with Hayden and Haylee, and Steve came home extra early every day so she wouldn't have to spend all day here. It was great to be able to focus my attention on my mom and not have to worry with what was going on at home. That was such a blessing.

So I came back and sped through entertaining for Thanksgiving. It went really well. We had 4 extra adult guests for dinner and a baby. We all had such a lovely day together. My mom got to go home on a day pass to enjoy Thanksgiving dinner at home, and my sister-in-law arrived that week to help my mom out and make dinner that day. She is still there spending time with her at the hospital until the end of next week. So my mom has been very fortunate to have continuous help from family. That's wonderful! I talked to my mom on Thanksgiving Day, and she really enjoyed seeing her home again. They expect her to be home by Christmas for good, but if she is still making progress, then they will continue to keep her. They are really happy with her progress so far.

Now it's on to Christmas! This time of year always speeds by. I love the holiday season! I really get into the Christmas spirit. I had the best Black Friday shopping day ever, and I didn't even go out early. I got a lot of great deals online that morning, and then I didn't go out until almost lunchtime, but I hit the mall and got almost everything else I needed there. The deals seem to abound this year! I had all my holiday shopping completed by the end of the day, but the Cyber Monday came. More deals abounded online, so I did a little more shopping. I don't really have the money for any of this stuff, but we're going to be dipping into savings for bills this month anyway with my unexpected trip to AR, so I'll just wipe it all out that way.

I'm so excited because Steve let me join Storytellers Club as my big Christmas present! I signed up yesterday. I will start with the December Ultimate Scrapbooking Kit, but I also ordered the January, February, March, and October 2009 kits at a steep discount. That should be plenty to get me started! Each one makes up to 16 layouts, so I will definitely have enough materials to keep me busy. They are seasonal kits, but you can definitely adapt them for any occasion. I just LOVE the papers! Very good qualty, double-sided prints with a different print on each side, plus Bazzill textured cardstock perfectly coordinated to the colors of the prints. Then there are chipboard embellishments, ribbons, and other goodies to go with it, plus a pen. I love how everything in the kit coordinates perfectly. I really have a hard time finding cardstock solids in the craft stores around here that actually match the prints that are available, so that was the part that really sold me on doing the club. Steve says I can do it for a year, so that's really cool! My stuff ships today, and I should be getting it some time late next week. If you're interested in checking it out, try the free trial kit first. And they are having a pack sale right now on past packs. Monthly ultimate kits are about $33 including shipping, but the past packs are on clearance right now for $13 for the first one and $10 for each additional one, plus $6 shipping on the whole order. You don't have to be a member to take advantage of this sale, so check it out: That's definitely a deal!

We went on a kids' discovery cruise field trip yesterday on the Spirit of Norfolk. That was fun. I took some people from church with me, and we all went to the zoo afterwards. It was really cold, but we had a nice leisurely afternoon in the company of good friends, and that's always a great way to spend a day.

Now I have to get everyone focused on schoolwork again. We're really just now getting back into the swing of things since I've gotten back from my trip. The kids are really distracted, so I know this whole month will probably be a struggle.

I got my tree put up this weekend and put lights on it, but I haven't added any of the decorations yet. I did wrap some presents, though. I've been so busy!

Well, gotta run. I'll post some pics from Halloween later.