Friday, January 30, 2009

A Life Hero

We finally got an update from the National Marrow Donor Program yesterday on Mike's recipient. Here's the information they gave us:

Days since transplant: 41
Has the recipient engrafted? Yes
Overall, how well is the recipient recovering: Well
Has the recipient been discharged from the hospital? Yes

Patient shows some skin GVHD (Graft vs. Host Disease) and increased blood sugar much improved after starting treatments. He is doing well and needs no transfusion support at this time. 

GVHD is good. That means the new cells are recognizing the host cells as foreign and will attack the cancer cells. The skin response - usually redness or rash - can be treated with steroids to suppress. Very good news!!

I'm so relieved. I was trying not to get my hopes up in case the transplant didn't end up helping him. This is really the best possible news. We are thrilled. They sent Mike an engraved clock. 

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Great Swaps Girls Challenge

HA! You thought I wouldn't be back, didn't you? I'm just full of surprises.

I was beyond surprised and excited when I was invited to be a part of the Great Swaps Girls. They're all so super talented and I'm always thrilled with the swaps I get from the group. When I joined they had a blog with regular challenges, but like me, their lives are busy and it fell by the wayside until this past week. Kristen posted a challenge and I was determined to play along. Here's the inspiration piece:

I love this beautiful embroidered coat and immediately thought of the Bella's Blooms stamp set when I saw it. Here's my take:
I inked the flower in So Saffron and then colored in the Ruby Red parts and Always Artichoke stems with my markers. Then I used my stamp-a-ma-jig to place the sentiment. I saw this layout this morning on Mercedes Weber's blog this morning and told her to expect a CASE of it. I think the Riding Hood red ribbon is one of our most versatile ribbons. I combined it here with Ruby Red card stock and even with my Ottlite I couldn't tell a substantial difference.  The floral paper along the bottom is from the retired Haiku paper pack. I'll miss that one. 

Okay, on to another subject. I have to share my awesome find with you. I was thinking I wanted a new purse and stopped in to Ross for a quick second last night while Dawson was at piano. I saw this bag and thought it was super cute. The outside is super fun raspberry color and the inside is leopard print. 
But wait! Here's the best part - 
That's right! $2.49!  Can you believe it!?! I couldn't and snatched it up. I expected them to tell me it was priced wrong when I got to the register, but they didn't and now I'm sporting a fun new hand bag. 

Two posts in one day is a recent record for me, so don't expect to see me again for a day or two. I will say that posting is a LOT easier these days since my adorable husband who spoils me rotten bought me one of these for my birthday. 

Let me tell you. It's certainly taken the sting out of turning 40! *grin*

Whew! I have to laugh every time I sit down to write another blog post and realize how long it's been since I said, "Check back tomorrow . . ." Somehow life keeps getting in the way of my blog! I suppose that's how it should be, right? 

I have all of my January club projects to share with you, plus I've been given a couple of blog "awards" I want to share with you and pass on, AND the Great Swaps Girls revived their challenge blog and I've been itching to play along this week and haven't been able to get in to my craft lab at all! I even told them, "YES! I'm excited about the challenges! Count me in!" I'm sure they think I'm a huge flake, so I'm determined to get a card made today. As soon as I saw the inspiration piece I had a card idea in mind. So . . . check back soon for that - hahahahahah We all know what that means, right?  

First, my club projects from this month.  Since the Love You Much bundle was on sale and our next meeting isn't until RIGHT before Valentine's Day, we made 4 Valentine cards and a little candy pouch. I got most of my ideas from Jenn Diercks. I LOVED her valentine cards and my customers did too!!! 


The little pouch is an idea I think someone posted from SU!'s Leadership Convention which was a couple of weeks ago. I thought the punched hearts were such a fun idea. It uses the pillow box die for the Big Shot and the three heart punch from the Love You Much product bundle. I just added the m's in a cello bag and what a fun little treat! I may be cranking out a bunch of these for my kids' valentine treats at school.  The rest of the cards are pretty self-explanatory. If you have any questions, drop me a comment or an email.  All of the ideas but one (I think) came from Jenn and the other didn't have a name on it. If you're responsible for the "From the Heart" card, let me know. I'd be happy to give you the credit. 

On to the awards . . . Drumroll please . . . 

First of all - in the category of total loser, I received the "I Love Your Blog" award from Kristen Moore in, are you ready for this, SEPTEMBER! Sorry I'm such a slacker, Kristen! I really did appreciate the award and didn't forget. Somehow I just never remembered when I would sit down to write a blog post! 

Here are the rules for this award:
  1. The winner can put the logo on their blog
  2. Link to the person you received the award from (see above)
  3. Nominate 7 other blogs (see below)
  4. Put the links of those blogs on your blog (see below)
  5. Leave a message on the blogs you nominate
Okay, since I'm doing this for 3 contests today, I'm going to nominate all of the blogs I've listed below under the other two categories for this award as well, because obviously, I love them all!!  

Georgeann Manning awarded me with the Kreativ Blogger Award!  How fun!  Thanks, Georgie!!  Georgie is in the downline of my good friend, Carrie. I've had several chances at recent stamping events to get to know her better and she's the sweetest ever!  Carrie recently sent me a link to Georgie's blog and it's awesome! Be sure to go check it out.  

Here are the rules for the award:
  1. Link to the person who tagged you (check)
  2. Post the rules on your blog (check)
  3. Write 6 random things about yourself (see below)
  4. Tag 6 people and link to them (see below)
  5. Let each person know they've been tagged and leave a comment on their blog
  6. Let the tagger know when your entry is up.
Okay, 6 random things about me:
  1. I'm afraid of spiders - really. I know it's irrational, but it's a serious fear. Just ask my college roommates. Maybe I need therapy.
  2. I went to the Philippines as a missionary with YWAM between my freshman and sophomore years of college. We spent 3 months on the southernmost island - Mindanao. It was a life-changing experience. I'm still friends with many of the people from my group. 
  3. My oldest son's first name is my maiden name. Dawson. 
  4. I was really really good friends with my husband for 10 years before we got married. We met at church. 
  5. My parents divorced when I was 7. I lived mostly with my mom, but spent summers with my dad when I was young. 
  6. My dad ran the ski school at the local ski resort when I was young. We skied every weekend whether we wanted to or not. I got tired of it and worked in the snack shop in the lodge serving hot chocolate starting when I was about 8. I'll never forget the 8-track tapes we used to listen to on the way up to the ski hill (while we were laying in the back of my dad's trail blazer - seat belt? what's that?) - Waylon Jennings and Willie Nelson. Ahhhh the memories!
I'm going to tag the following bloggers. They're uber talented and awesome people!
  1. After I just showed you a bunch of her cards that I copied, I have to tag Jenn Diercks!
  2. Karen Giron
  3. Marie McClellan
  4. Ashley Van Camp
  5. Makeesha Byl
  6. Mercy Kerin
These gals are all amazingly talented. Be sure to check out their blogs!

For my last award, my girlfriend, Gina, nominated me for the Friends Award. Thanks, Gina! Here are the rules for this award:  

These blogs are exceedingly charming. These kind bloggers aim to find, and be, friends. They are not interested in self-aggrandizement. Our hope is that when the ribbons of these prizes are cut, even more friendships are propagated. Please give more attention to these writers. Deliver this award.  

The sites I'm going to nominate for this award are a little random, but bear with me.  

First, I'm going to nominate some friends,
Gina, Carrie, Laura, Chad, Nayibe (I know I nominated Gina back, and that Gina nominated Nayibe, but they're dear friends and so deserve this award.)
I love the blogs of these dear friends and that they allow me to stay in better touch than I would otherwise. 

Second, I'm going to nominate some gals who are my stamping friends and whose work I admire. These are friends I would not have the pleasure of knowing if not for our stamping connection. 
Cheryl, Amy, Georgeanne (again!)

Third, I'm going to nominate some of the blogs I've been reading lately that aren't written by friends I've met, but rather, by friends who make me smile and who provide information I think is awesome!! Check these out!
Understand Blue (Nominated in the category of best new catalog spoilers)

Okay, enough awards for one day. If you've stuck with me this long you deserve an award of your own!!  I'm off now to let everyone in the blogging world know I've nominated them!  I promise to share my GSG inspiration card soon. Hopefully this afternoon, but I'm not making any promises!  

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Wedding Cards

Every time I take my car in to the Honda dealership to have it serviced, the gal who helps me with my car places a stamping order. Can't beat that! She tells me every time I'm there that she's glad my car doesn't need service more often or she'd be in deep trouble! Ha!  She called me just after Christmas and asked me to design some wedding invitations for her son. She asked me specifically to design the cards around the Life Cycles stamp set since her son and his fiance are both triathletes. Specifically, she wanted to use the tandem bicycle stamp. Here are the cards I came up with.  
The colors they've chosen are black and white with red accents. Somehow I just couldn't make these cards without embossing, so they all have either white or black embossing on them. She was super happy and I can't wait to see which one they choose (although I think the last one with the Baroque Background was in the lead.) The top two are gate fold cards and the one with the white dots has a belly band and uses shimmery white card stock.

My club met this week and we made a bunch of Valentine cards and one other project. It's been super foggy and gray here for so long I haven't been able to get any good pictures. I'll try to get them photographed tonight and maybe I can post tomorrow so you can see those.  

I made another one of these today. Our home group is having a dinner get-together tonight and they "strongly requested" that I bring what has affectionately become known as THE CAKE. Really I was in fear of my life if I couldn't get it done. It's bound to detour my diet, but I think it's worth it. Speaking of which, just an update for those keeping score (and because I'm still so giddy that I have to share) - I lost 4.2 lbs. this week at WW which means I met my first 10% goal. That's right, I've lost 10% of my body weight since August. Woo Hoo!!  That's definitely NOT a typical week, which is usually 1-2 lbs. I was so thrilled! The good thing about losing weight - I need smaller jeans. The bad thing about losing weight - I need smaller bras. What's up with that anyway? 

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

I got my craft lab all spiffed up last weekend and was thinking I hadn't shown you a picture of my awesome new desk! Maybe I mentioned it before, but we got it on clearance at JCPenny online with free shipping! 
I was having a terrible time finding white file cabinets, so these were perfect.  I moved all of my paper scraps into the two bottom drawers. The top file drawer on the left contains all of the neutral papers, so they're right at my fingertips. The two small drawers on the right have adhesives, hand held punches, pens, and other small stuff. That allowed me to get rid of a couple of drawer units and freed up some space. 

I also finally hung up this poster I got at convention last summer. It's Stampin' Up!'s statement of the heart and it matches the walls in my craft lab exactly! YAY! I had been looking haphazardly for a frame and found this one on sale at Michaels today for $9. What a bargain!

I've been stalking all of the new catalog chatter on the web today and cannot WAIT to see my new copy! Oh, and did 'ya see I ran again today??!! Yes I did! Nearly died, but did it. And I also decided to go ahead and weigh in at WW this morning. I was SO glad I did when I was ONLY UP .8lbs!!  Wahoo! I was beside myself I was so thrilled! I rewarded myself with a Grande Coffee Frapuccino Light (only 2 ww pts.) It's after 11 p.m. now and I'm STARVING, so that's always good for the scale in the a.m. I'm REALLY hoping I can hit a 20 lb. loss before my birthday, which is sneaking right up in the next few weeks. More on that later! 

Okay, off to bed. Thanks for checking in!

Cows are good. Being one is not.

So I'm sitting at the computer and Jordan runs up and says, "Mommy, do you like cows?" I said, "Yes! I do like cows." I guess I thought no matter what my opinion, he would take it at face value and that would be that. But then he said, "Why?" Now, I don't know about you, but I hadn't given a lot of thought to cows and was a little taken off guard. My reply was, "Because they give us milk and because they're nice." (You know, as opposed to *wild* animals that will eat you if given the chance.)  His reply was, "And because the brown ones give you chocolate milk?" And I said, "Yes, darling. I LOVE chocolate milk." Because no one wants to get into an argument with their 3 year old. 

I've been thinking about setting some resolutions for the new year, but I sometimes feel like I'm just setting myself up for failure by actually calling them resolutions. And if I tell you, then I'll be accountable. Right? That's a lot of pressure. Speaking of which, Carrie! Are you working on your taxes!!???

There are a couple of things I want to make a priority this year. First, I really want to know God better. I want to be able to look back at the end of the year and see progress here. Real progress. Progress I can report on and recognize. I'd like to say "measurable" progress, but in this area I'm not sure it will ever be something I can actually measure. This will require a higher level of commitment to getting into the Word, and to prayer. So far I've done more than before, but still not as much as I'd like. I guess baby steps are better than nothing. I really just want to press in. So many of the other things I'd like to change about myself and my life would take care of themselves if I'd just do better at this one thing. 

Second, I really want to be healthier. I've been carrying around about 40 extra pounds and blaming it on my "baby" who will be 4 in March. Um. Can you say denial? I have been making some progress on this, but haven't wanted to share until I made MORE progress. But I've decided that progress is progress and that I'll share my journey so far. I joined Weight Watchers in August and have been very faithful in attending the weekly meetings. I probably would have done this sooner, but didn't think I could take my kids. Turns out they have one meeting a week that allows kids! I'd lost just barely over 15 pounds right before Christmas and am now trying to get back there. I went from the 180's to the 160's and was thrilled! I gained 5 pounds in the two weeks around Christmas and I'm about half way back to my low and hope I'll be back at the 15 pound mark by my meeting a week from tomorrow. I may not weigh at the meeting tomorrow. It's so discouraging to see a gain on that scale. 

I've also been running more. I've been out every other day pretty consistently (with a few breaks here and there) and definitely more consistent than I've ever been before. I've been seeing improvements too and it definitely makes the weight come off more quickly. At first my goal was just to be able to make it to our community club house which is about 1 mile - running without stopping. Well I did that and then one day I just kept going. Now I can run 2 miles without stopping. Not all of the time, but most of the time if I really push myself. I've been going 4 miles. I run 2 and then walk back. Mike has been so encouraging and has pushed me to go farther. He'll give me a little challenge as I'm walking out the door. Something like, "Ok, today your challenge is to make it to *x* running without stopping." I don't think I'm going to add any more distance until I can run more and walk less. Just as a reminder, Mike runs 15 miles on an *easy* day. Humph. 

I hate every minute of it, but a few things have made it easier. One is Mike and his encouragement. Another is a super cute new hot pink top I got at the Nike store in Denver when we were there. I *feel* like a skinny runner when I wear it. Another is my iPod and listening to some groovy tunes while I run. I also have one of these, which I LOVE!


Mike got this for me for my birthday last year. It has a little sensor that will fit into your shoes if you have Nike shoes, but I just have a little pouch that attaches to my shoelaces. Then there's a plug that attaches to your iPod*. You sync them together and then when you run it keeps track of how far you've gone, how many minutes you ran, your pace (min/mi), and how many calories you burn. You can even get status updates mid-run just by pressing the center button on the iPod. My favorite thing is that when I'm done running, if I've gone farther or faster than before, either Paula Radcliffe or Lance Armstrong comes onto my iPod and tells me what a rock star I am! Every little bit of encouragement counts. Right? Last week I even created my Nike+Mini. Did you notice her over on the left? She makes sure you all know that running is basically a piece of cake for me and that I really am a stud muffin. HA! What she does really tell you is how many workouts I've done (hopefully if you check back that number will go up!), total miles I've gone, my average pace, and how far I went on my last run. Plus, she's pretty cute! And she sports some pretty sweet moves! 

*Note: my new iPod touch has this part built in, but it's bigger and heavier than my old iPod nano so I don't usually run with the touch. 

I was going to post some pictures of my craft lab, but I'm having trouble getting them to upload so I'll be back with another post soon! 

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