Monday, August 31, 2009

Mama Made the Monkey Girl a Sling

Thank you all for your prayers for Ahnalin. She is tired of that enormous cast already and has a long way to go. It is really heavy, and the hospital did not send her home with a sling, so I let her go "shopping" in Mama's fabric stash for her sling.

She picked 4 different pink fabrics, though 1 is barely visible. The outside is a Strawberry Shortcake print, with a hot pink with white polka dot ruffle and strap.
The lining is a pink, green, yellow and white stripe and the padded part of the strap is pale pink Minkee.

I had to draft the sling because the angle of her cast is very different from standard casts. And, as I said before, this cast is SUPER HUGE!

After taking the pics, when Ahnalin was hurting and really not wanting to take pictures, I tried to distract her by checking to see if any of Ahnalin's snapdragons had finally bloomed. Happily, there were two blossoms. So I showed her how to make the "Dragons" talk. She loved it!

Then we checked out our tomato bushes, which are bursting with gorgeous Beefsteak tomatoes! We picked around 2 dozen today! I am sure we will have eaten them by tomorrow. My favorite way to eat them is just cut up raw with a sprinkling of salt.

I did take a photo of India, but she is not feeling well and threatened me if I posted the picture. So, no pic of the lovely India today.

Thank you again for the prayers. I will update when I have more info on Ahnalin's arm.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Monkey Girl Broke Her Arm

I just spent the last two days on a retreat with Ahnalin at our family's second home. It is a large compound, built into the hillside in the Sierra Foothills, overlooking a lovely vista. This getaway is more commonly referred to as "Sierra Nevada Memorial Hospital".

And while the staff was wonderful, friendly, kind and caring, it was NOT a fun visit.

Ahnalin, aka "Monkey Girl", was swinging from her beloved Monkey Bars at Kindergarten on Thursday morning. Mind you, she LOVES the monkey bars and is very good at them. But somehow, she lost her grip, and fell. The school called and said to come quickly, as they pretty much knew it was broken.

Thankfully, it was not a compound fracture, and there were no bones sticking through the skin, but it was definitely turning a the wrong angle, and had another bump that looked pretty ominous.

My friend Kim Adams, who works at the school, not only carried Ahnalin to her office, but stayed with her, comforting her and holding her arm, and then drove us to the hospital. Thank you Kim! I am so grateful!

When we arrived at the hospital, the Triage caregiver took the carseat out of the van, with Ahnalin still buckled in and put them both on a wheelchair. Her feeling was that the arm was so unstable, that the carseat was providing a splint of sorts. She rushed us through intake and got Ahnalin into a room very quickly. Ahnalin and her carseat were put directly on a bed where two nurses assessed her needs and called for X-Rays. They determined that she needed an I.V. right away and got her started on paid meds. If I remember correctly, around a dozen X-Rays were taken to get the best view of the break. We saw the films and, I have to admit, I had never seen a break so bad, but then I am not a doctor. The X-Ray told a far worse story than could be seen from the outside.

Ahnalin wanted me to hold my hand on the broken part because the pressure made it feel better. We later found out why.

Papa brought India over after school, but Ahnalin was already in "morphine land". So I snapped a pic to show Ahnalin later when she was missing her sister.

After one of the many X-Ray session, the techs brought this darling blanket to my girl, donated by Project Linus . They thought it was perfect for our girl because there were monkeys and giraffes and lots of flowers, and most of all, PINK! To all my sewing buddies out there, if you donate blankets to Project Linus, thank you! If you are looking for a wonderful reason to sew, that will impact a child who really needs a blanket, this is your project. These blankets are so appreciated.

"What is Don doing?", you may ask. Well, funny story....NO REALLY!

Ok, deep breath before I embarrass myself here.....


Ok, as I was leaning over to tuck Ahnalin's new blanket around her, the front of my capri pants SPLIT OPEN!!!!! And it was NOT ON A SEAM!!! NO WAY!!! OH! MY! GOSH!
SO the friendly nurses brought me a one of those lovely, lovely big hot blankets from the blanket heater. Woohoo! Don had just left to go get a few things for Ahnalin and for me since we had been told about the upcoming surgery and the need to spend the night. So I called him and asked him to bring me some pants from home.

By the time he arrived, I had already undressed Ahnalin and gotten her surgery gown on her. The cherry jumper came off easily, but I had to cut the blouse off of her. When he handed me the pants, I changed and then threw both the ruined pants and the cut up blouse in the trash. But then I grabbed them both back out the trash and decided to salvage the buttons from them! Reduce! Recycle! Reuse!

So, Don decided that he would do that for me since I was starting to shake from hunger and nerves at this point, and he was afraid I would stab myself with the scissors. My hero!

At this point, the pre-op nurse came to take us into the prep room to get ready for the anesthesiologist. I was very nervy at this point because my baby was going under and I had no idea how she would respond. Things have been going better with her PTSD and I did not want a regression, and I had no idea how she would deal with anesthesiology. And the surgeon kept asking me about her family medical history. I explained that we did not have it because she was adopted from China and her background was unknown. He did not believe me. It was frustrating to say the least.
But eventually, they wheeled her out the door into the operating room and Don and I were given a beeper and sent to the waiting room. We got some dinner and waited...

That beeper was scary! When it went off, it was super loud and urgent sounding. So we ran back to the OR waiting room and no one was there. I was concerned, to say the least. But after a few minutes, the OR nurse came to get me to be with my girl as she came out of the anesthesia. She was hurting really badly. She had plenty of morphine but the surgeons said that they had to really manipulate all the bone chips and fragments back into place. Several steel pins were put into the bones to hold them together and then a temporary cast was put on. The surgeon explained how the surgery could possibly go wrong, and then sent us up to the surgery floor to spend the night.

Ahnalin was pretty aware of her cast and was in very deep pain. It was so hard to know that I could not take that pain away. Knowing that the next several weeks were going to be hard on her was even sadder. Ahnalin will have to be out of Ballet for 8 weeks, not ride her bike, not jump on her mini trampoline, not play on the monkey bars and not start her flute lessons. She would have to play gently for 8 weeks. I am not sure how this is going to work since she has SO MUCH ENERGY most of the time.

Anyway, a little bit later, Dida, Nana, and Papa arrived and then Dida stayed so I could go get a shower. Don brought me back later and the nurses brought a cot for me. I was so grateful for that, because every other time I have spent the night in the hospital with the kids, I have slept in an upright chair.

At 2:30AM, Ahnalin's I.V. went bad. The very sweet nurse was unable to get another one in. Ahnalin has very, very small veins and her PTSD kicks in really badly with those kinds of things. So we had a hard time getting Ahnalin pain meds after that. Every other pain med they had, had red food dye in it. Why???? I never understand that. But a solution was finally found and we were able to get about 2 hours of sleep.
A few hours later the doctor came to visit us and released Ahnalin to come home. He was pleased with what he saw! Hallelujah!

Daddy came back to bring us home. YAY!! Ahnalin got to ride in a wheelchair! But I forgot to take a picture of that.

After we got home, Ahnalin was tucked in, on the sofa, given ice cream, and handed the remote controls. She is being very "tiny" because she feels so badly. Her arm is itching terribly under the cast but there is nothing we can do about that.
A friend brought us yummy dinner, and we are now settled in for the night.

In the morning, she will help me design a really cool, girly sling. Pictures coming of that.
Edited to add that the reason Ahnalin wanted pressure on her arm was that she felt the bones were "floating away". She could feel the pieces sticking out and thought that if I did not hold it down, the bones would float out of her arm. This made me really sad.

We would appreciate any prayers you could send our way. This break is very tricky and we are praying that the elbow will function properly again. Please pray that the pain will be minimal and that God will protect us from infection.

Much love to you all.


Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Showstoppers and sick girls

If you know me "in real life" or know me on Facebook, you have heard me talk of "Showstoppers".
Well, Showstoppers is a Broadway style musical review that India is producing and directing. It is her senior project as well as a fundraiser for the Diabetic Youth Foundation . India has been working for months and months ordering songs, auditioning and rehearsing performers and working out all the other details.

She will be singing in it on a few of the numbers and let me tell you, SHE IS FABULOUS!

Don will even be singing a number, guaranteed to be a showstopper, from "Fiddler on the Roof".

The band is set and all techies are in place as well. The whole show is being done on a volunteer basis. And the talent involved is really amazing.

The show will be at Twin Cities Church on Saturday, October 10th at 7:00PM.

I will post ticket information closer to the date of the show.

Please pray for my girl as she works out the rest of the details and rehearses the numbers. Please pray for her health as well. The DYF is such an important organization, and has such a huge impact of diabetic families, so India is passionate about raising funds to help them.

Which leads me to ask for prayer specifically for the girls today.
India has had horrible pain again lately with her ovarian cysts. They are adversely affecting her diabetes as well. She becomes very insulin resistant when she is dealing with her cysts, so her blood sugar has been in the 400s again. She is just really sick. So sick that she cancelled her show rehearsal for today.

And Ahnalin seems to have a UTI, so I am taking both girls to the doctors office in a few minutes.

We would appreciate any prayers you could send our way.

Hugs to you all.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Bloomer Skirt Pattern ON SALE NOW!

The day has finally arrived! Hallelujah!
Yes, the Monkey Girl Bloomer Skirt is now, officially available!!!

The pattern includes sizes 6 months through girls size 8.

The pattern will arrive to you as an E-Book, straight to your email in-box. I do not yet have my own webstore set up, so for the time being, you have three options for purchase.

I have added a "Buy it now" button under the Bloomer Skirt picture at the top right hand side of this blog. That will take you directly to Paypal. I will email you the PDF of the E-Book within 24 hours of receipt.

OR You can email me directly at orders @

You will need to copy that email address and remove the spaces. Then you can paste that address directly into a new email. Sadly, I can not yet make the email "clickable" as it will just take you to my not-yet-functional website.

You can also order the E-book by clicking on the Etsy button at the top right hand side of this blog.

My Etsy address is
This E-Book is 33 pages of step-by-step instructions, illustrated with photos to help you through each step.
And my email address is included in the pattern as well, so you can just email me with questions, OR to send me pictures of your Monkey Girl Bloomer Skirt creations. I will be uploading pictures of your bloomer skirt creations to my Flickr album, so you can always click on that to see pretties.

The Monkey Girl Bloomer Skirt pattern is $9.95 and since I will email it to you, there is no shipping charge! How is that for a bargain? Neato!

I will be sending you the E-book within 24 hours of receipt of payment.

Since this is a pattern, I am not offering refunds for this item. However, I am available by email to help you make this skirt successfully.

I am working on more places to sell this pattern AND I am working on more designs.

I CAN"T WAIT to see what you make with the Bloomer Skirt pattern!

First Day- Kindergarten and Senior Year

Today was India's LAST first day of school. Yes, she will go to college, but this is the last day of school where she HAS to go.
India sings in the Chamber Choir, which is the highest level of choir at her school. The privileged singers in this esteemed group attend "Zero Period", meaning they start choir at 6:30 AM! Um. Not me. So, me being the AWESOME MOM that I am (are you laughing yet?) did not even get up to take my darling Senior's picture on her first day of school. Yeah. I slept through it. That took some doing too, since Ahnalin was jumping on my head with excitement and terror at the thought of her first day!

But this was her first day of school outfit. I took the pic AFTER school. Well, actually, when she got home from school, she passed out on her bed from the heat and exhaustion.

So this was the sight I was treated too when I peaked into her room.

And I will point out one more thing. Our India is beautiful, adorable, talented, smart, funny, and wonderful in EVERY WAY. Got it? Good!

However, she is "gravitationally challenged"! Still, she is the forever optimist. This year, we seriously thought of taking bets on her ability to stay vertical all day long. You see, my darling girl insists on wearing high heels on the first day of school. Every year! And she matriculates at a school built into a steep hillside.
Translation: She falls down the stairs every first day of school! Granted, today, she did not completely hit the pavement. She said she simply "tripped on her own feet". Ok. That is real progress for India. Now, she is taking dance this year, so I am sure she will be as graceful as a swan come graduation.

Mama loves you Dida! Soon my first baby birdy will leave the nest. I am praying this year is your best school year ever!

Today was also Ahnalin's first day of Kindergarten. Well kind of. Today was the parent orientation for Kingergarten. So we went to meet her teachers. As we walked into the class, we realized that we knew almost all of the children already, either from preschool, church, or MOPS. Ahnalin was relieved.

She immediately set to work decorating her Birthday Crown, giving it just the perfect amount of glitter.

Notice that I have more pictures of Ahnalin than I do of India. That is because India thinks I already take too many pictures of her! Imagine! Ahnalin will still let me take pictures, so, there it is. Sigh.

Happy First Days of school, my darling girls. Yes, I got all teary eyed. My babies are growing up.
Now.....for a cup of good strong coffee!

Monday, August 17, 2009

Lovely, Lovely Ribbons!

Today, in addition to being the Hot Rockin' Hubby's birthday, was the day I got to pick up my Nevada County Fair entries, along with the ribbons and premiums I won.
I am just a bit competitive. I LOVE to win ribbons. I also love to win the cash premiums that come with those lovely ribbons. The premiums, or cash awards, are just tokens. But....I want to win as many as I can because I do not need justify spending that award money on fabric. Ok, it is not that Don ever complains about me buying fabric, because I am really frugal. But I hate to use our much needed family income on fabric.

So, each year, I find that I enter more and more categories. Last year, I learned about the "Sweepstakes" award. This award is given to the entrant with the most entries in a division. And that award carries a cash award of $50.00! Last year, with my 13 entries, I was nowhere near the winner of this award, who had 34 entries. However, this year, fewer people submitted items, which was really sad to me. But I submitted 19 items and WON the Sweepstakes!!! So, I am not complaining!

Unlike last year, I did not win any "Best Of Division" awards. I was sad about it, but really agreed that those who won, deserved those awards. There were some truly beautiful and amazing items in the fair this year. I just wish more people would enter their handwork in the fair. I feel so strongly that the home arts should not be lost, and those who enter their items for exhibition and judging are a real encouragement to others. We need to be proud of our work and the art form it represents.

But, since I am proud, and many have asked, here are my ribbons! Sorry for the rotten photographs. I took them on my kitchen counter with not-so-great lighting.

Blue Ribbon = First place in a class (category) = $3.00
Red Ribbon = Second place in a class = $2.00
White Ribbon = Third place in a class = $1.00

Most of the items I entered, I had already shown on the blog, but a few are from before I started blogging.

So, how did I do?
I received 11 Blue ribbons, 5 Red ribbons, and 2 White ribbons. The smocked nightgown was discontinued because it looked "worn". Well, the girls did wear their nightgowns for Christmas morning, so it was "worn". That is ok. The judge wrote me a note that the work was very good even though she disqualified it. I still feel good about it.

The large ribbon at the top of the blog entry is the Sweepstakes award. With the Sweepstakes cash award plus the ribbon premiums, my total cash award this year was $95.00!!! I am thrilled!

Sorry, these pictures are so bad. I think I need to learn how to really take pictures!

Oh, and PLEASE, check out your local county or state fair, and find out how to enter your work. Even if you think you work would not win, or the judging is unfair, or you are just self conscious and nervous, step out and enter. You will end up pushing yourself to improve, and produce more. You will learn new art forms and meet fun people. You will encourage others to pursue these lovely skills.

And, you just may come away with some lovely ribbons and a nice check of your own!

Please tell me your "Fair" and "Competition" stories. I love to read of your tries and successes! And I pray you all have a wonderful week!

Happy Birthday My Love

I know I already said this, but today is Don's birthday. I love that man so much! He is the very best husband in the whole world and a rockin' guitarist and songwriter to boot.
And if you see him, make sure you tell him how hot he looks in his boots!

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Mendocino With My Love

We just got home from the most beautiful and restful 3 days and nights at the Antioch Ranch in Mendocino. Since Don and I are going to be celebrating our 21st wedding anniversary on Friday, and Don's 40-something birthday tomorrow, we decided to go on a little weekend vacation, just the two of us. My parents called it our "Mendocino Love-in". Yep! It was that!

Thursday was crazy! I took India to the high school to get her senior year (YES!!!) schedule (which was wrong, 4th year in a row, but now fixed), then headed over to the fair for a few hours. I checked out my entries and counted ribbons, but more on this subject tomorrow. Then I came back home to do a bit more editing of the pattern, plus did some laundry, packed the cooler and then packed my suitcase. Oh..and I had to make a "Kissy Heart" for Ahnalin.

Anyone else make "kissy Hearts" for their children when they go away? All you do is cut a heart out of paper, put bright red lipstick on, and then put a BIG RED KISS on the heart cutout. Then make another heart cut out and put red lipstick on your little one and have them kiss their heart. You get to take the kissy heart your little one kissed with you and they get to keep the kissy heart you kissed. Then any time either of you need a kiss, you just kiss your kissy heart.

Don had a teacher meeting and then two guitar lessons to teach Thursday afternoon, but then we were finally able to load the van and head out.
We drove Highway 20 over to Fort Bragg and then down to Mendo, finally getting there about 11:30pm, unloaded, and passed out in the bed. Oh wait... knowing that I never fall asleep easily, no matter how exhausted I am, because my brain never, ever stops thinking, Don made me take a sleep aid. So..... I actually slept for 8 solid hours!!! NO WAY!!! Yep I did! So, in the morning, we made tea and toast and read for a while in our cottage that had NO TV AND NO INTERNET!!!! Yep! I was forced to rest the whole time! It was perfect in every way!

The Antioch Ranch has 5 cottages, each with 2 bedrooms, a bathroom, living room and full kitchen, so we could cook in. This was a blessing because it saved us a lot of money. Our cottage, the "Americana" was all decorated in a red, white, and blue theme, reminiscent of our first home. It was so sweet and cozy. We hope to go back next year and take the kids.....Did I just say that? But really, they would love it too.

After breakfast, we drove up to Fort Bragg and bummed around the old town area a bit until we found a fabric store. I went inside, and spent some of my fair prize money (more on this tomorrow) on fabric. I found a lovely burnt orange cotton dotted swiss with embroidered eyelet on either edge. This gorgeous stuff is more than 60" wide! I also bought some Michael Miller print and some older Alexander Henry Japanese fabric.

When I came outside, I was treated to this sight! Cute hubby pulled out one of the folding chairs from the van and settled in for the long haul. He knows me well and came prepared. That is true love for sure.

Then we drove down Elm Street to Glass Beach. Glass Beach is this cool place that used to be the Mendocino County dump. After several years, when they realized the harm being done to the beach and animals, they closed the dump. But all the years of the tides going in and out had an amazing effect on the beach. Instead of just sand, the beach is covered in tiny bits of all colors of sea glass. I tried to get a good picture but you just have to believe me. The beach truly sparkles in the sun like glass.

After the beach, on a tip from our innkeepers Pat and Jerry Westfall, we headed to d'Aurelias Pizza for an early dinner. I was over the moon for my eggplant parmigiana and Don swooned all the way through his lasagna. Delish!

After dinner, we drove over to the movie theater and saw "Julie and Julia". We loved this movie! It was one of those rare stories, well actually two stories, that championed committed marriage. In each couple, the husband truly loved his wife and encouraged her to pursue her dreams. And while each character was flawed and very human, they exhibited such tender attention to the other that we hoped we saw ourselves in them. Go see this movie. You will enjoy it.

After the movie, we drove back to our cottage and tucked ourselves into bed to read for a while. And yes, I slept again! Another eight hours of uninterrupted sleep! Oh Man! I could get used to this. Of course, I must interject that the sleep may be owed to the fact that I was not on the computer..... oh right.

Saturday morning, we drove into Mendocino where we dined on Eggs Benedict at the Bayview Cafe. YUM! Our table on the deck had the most gorgeous view of the Headlands. This little birdie thought we were commenting on his beauty instead of the ocean.

As we descended the stairs from the cafe, we were greeted with this little, er, BIG GOOSE honking "Good Morning" to us. I love geese. There were 5 big geese enjoying a breakfast of cooking scraps from the restaurant. I did not get very close though, as geese bite really hard!
We traipsed in and out of galleries, bookstores, candy shops, and boutiques before hitting upon the Mendocino Chocolate Company.

I chose this little beauty, though it was consumed mere seconds after this picture was taken. This chocolate and orange concoction is the "Angela" truffle, named after Angela Landsbury, who spent a great deal of time in Mendocino while filming the series "Murder She Wrote". That truffle was so yummy!

There were blackberry and raspberry bushes everywhere, just growing wild.

We walked around town, looking at houses and dreaming of what it would be like to live there. Someday.....oh please....I want to live near the ocean. The air is so fresh and clean and you don't feel crowded as much as you do inland. OH....please!!

My favorite scent is fresh lavender. And like the berries, it grew all over the area and smelled soft and lovely.

From the sublime, to the ridiculous. We drove back up to Fort Bragg and visited the Tattoo museum. While posing behind this stand, I heard my name. A friend from Grass Valley was just 3 feet away giggling at me! Hi Kimala!

I look good, right?

This is a rotten picture, but it kind of shows the fabrics I found. The pink/white swirls and the dark rose art print came from Fabric Indulgence I wish I had gotten a better picture of the art print.

We dinked around in several used bookstores and bought a few books to take back to the cottage for another session of quiet, restful reading. But before driving back to the cottage, we drove down to the harbor to Captain Flints for chowder and shrimp stuffed artichokes. If you remember the old Goldie Hawn movie "Overboard" , this was the kitchy restaurant in a few of the scenes. The food was good and pretty reasonable as well.
And then it was back to the cottage to dive into our "new" books. And dum da dum dum! Another night of restful sleep!!! That made for 3 nights in a row with over 8 hours of sleep each night! Holy Cow!
This morning, as one of the very rare Sunday mornings when we are not at church bright and early for rehearsal, Don and I both slept in. We had a leisurely time of prayer and worship, discussing the Bible together over tea and toast, and, um....Pop Tarts. Then we packed the van and cleaned up the cottage before heading home via Highway 101.

Reading this, one just might think I had learned my lesson that I need to go to bed at a decent time (as in, before 2:00AM) if I want to actually get good rest. Well, it is only 12:42 AM now, so I have a good chance of getting a few hours if I go to bed soon.
Ok, almost done.

Any little getaway must either start or finish with a meal at the world famous In-N-Out Burger and oh yum! When we lived all over the country, before we moved back home to California, I missed In-N-Out so much! The burgers are the best!

Yes, I am one rested, happy girl!

Don and I are so grateful to our parents for blessing us with the money for this getaway, and to the Westfalls for blessing us at the Antioch Ranch. Thank you so much!

So, what did I, we, learn from this trip?
Well, we learned that we need to get good sleep more than just occasionally if we want to feel good.
We learned that we REALLY want to live near the ocean, even though we already pretty much knew it.
We learned how much fun the Antioch Ranch was, even without TV or internet access.

And most of all, we learned that we are still wild-eyed-crazy about each other after almost 21 years of marriage. We are so grateful to God for giving us each other.