That Time My Friend’s Son Got Married and I Vinyled a Few Things

20 04 2018

So. Yeah. Weddings and vinyl go together like peas and a trash can, right?

Well, maybe not all the time, but I have a heat press and every special occasion calls for vinyl πŸ˜‰

For years I’ve loved the idea of personalized gifts for weddings. It’s usually a set of thank you cards I try to match to the invitation or announcement some how and a cute little bag to hold them.

But I’ve wanted to do more and I had a chance to this week πŸ™‚

So, the gift contains a dozen thank you cards with envelopes in a box. There’s a little surprise under the cards πŸ™‚

Personalized towels – there’s three. I pressed them first, trying to create crisper folds, but I think next time I may wash them first and just start from scratch. I used simple black HTV for the towels and the wreath file from the Silhouette Design Store.

And I made the box for the gifts to fit in using a file from SVG Cuts.

And everything together.

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And laying on top inside the box is our card to them. I designed the card based on a beautiful die I saw a few months ago. The butterfly itself is a separate file I purchased from the Silhouette Design Store and incorporated into the card design.

Thanks for stopping by!

Xoxo

Links to items used in the project:

Wreath file, Cube Box, Card Box, Butterfly

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We Waited 701 Days For Today

13 04 2018

That day we thought would never come, came today.

We officially, legally, forever-ly (yeah, I probably made up a word) adopted our son.

He’ll be two next month. The hospital placed him in our arms when he was three days old. It’s still very surreal. But what was once a dream is now our miraculous reality.

WE ARE LIVING A MIRACLE.

We waited 701 days for this day and it was worth every second.

To commemorate and celebrate the day, I made T-shirts.

Nine of them.

6 of the 7 children had a shirt like this (Front)

For the back, I used a line from the song This is Me, from the movie The Greatest Showman. I feel like this line sums up what it means to be in the foster community. You can’t be a useful part of this life if you’re not willing to fight for something or someone. When you become a foster family, you open your doors to battles raging you never knew existed.

Like systems that don’t work well, sometimes, but they’re all we have. We learn to fight by learning to navigate the system we’re now working in. We learn that sometimes, the best fight, is to be quiet and let things run their course. Other times, we learn we have to speak out.

We learn to fight by becoming a force for change in the system. Looking at areas we can help with then getting involved.

We learn to fight by encouraging others who are on this rocky path with us. Encouraging parents who try their best to love and help their traumatized children.

We learn to fight our children, to keep them safe from themselves, sometimes. We learn to fight FOR our children when we pour over article after article looking for ways to help them. When we call doctor after doctor asking for help, only to be turned away because they don’t see what we do – AND WE KNOW WE’RE RIGHT.

We fight for the relationships we had before we entered the foster world, because those are hard to hold on to when your whole world is taken over by one of the hardest good things you will ever try.

We fight for the relationships within our own homes because change is not easy. Bringing foster children into your family IS NOT like having the children next door sleep over one night and just never go home. Foster children are in the system, they walk through the doors of our home, because THEY HAVE BEEN TRAUMATIZED. Often – OFTEN – many times. The day the state goes in and removes them (for their safety) is a traumatic event all on its own. But there are circumstances that lead up to that removal. And when these children walk through our doors, they often do NOT want to be here. It’s nothing personal, but there are other places they’d rather be, than with more strangers. For our established children, that can be a hard transition, too. So we fight to maintain balance (that still feels like an unattainable dream most days) within our homes while fighting forces from without, too.

YOU CANNOT BE IN THE FOSTER WORLD UNLESS YOU ARE WILLING TO FIGHT. That’s why this line got my attention. We’ve been refined and molded into warriors.

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My husband and I had slightly different shirts.

Here’s a picture of all of us. You can see mine says His, and His says Hers πŸ™‚

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And while we’re at it, a back view of all of us.

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But little man, the whole reason for the celebration, his was a little different. His reflected the feelings of our family, extended family, and friends.

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Thanks for stopping by!

xoxo

So you can enjoy the song, too πŸ™‚

 





The Lord and I need to have a frank discussion on how awesome He thinks I am…

8 04 2018

Because I’m just not seeing it.

The world didn’t stop with our ASD diagnosis, but it would have been nice.

I’m a *tad* overwhelmed, and this post is me dealing with that. It would be nice if things could be put on hold while we figured this thing out. But they’re not.

Twelve days into our autism diagnosis and it’s hitting me that our lives may be dramatically different than what we were planning.

Or not.

We just don’t know, and that’s part of the stress. Just not knowing… Not knowing anything…

I like to learn about the things I’m facing (there’s a lot to learn right now and it’s going slower than I wanted). Then I like to plan and put those plans into action. After that, that’s when I start to relax because I’ve done all the things I can to make the situation better.

After that, I can “play”. That’s what I call doing necessary things, but in a fun way.

We’re not there yet.

But I have chosen a therapy program. It’s a hybrid of home and center based therapy. I’m not ready to let my baby go completely, but right now, I can’t give him the help he needs because I’m not trained to do it. But I’ll learn πŸ™‚

The center based therapy can provide the break everyone tells me I need to take. I don’t disagree with them, but at the same time, I feel like I’m abdicating my role as his mom, and that’s hard for me to come to terms with. But I remind myself about that self care thing. Still not sure when and how I’m supposed to fit that in when there are a handful of other children with their own diagnoses. But we’ll see.

I feel like knowledge is power. That it arms us to face our challenges. This is a BIG challenge and I feel like instead of meeting it head on clad in armor, I’m dressed in a slinky nightie. I feel like there’s all these choices that need to be made and I don’t have all the information – but I *think* (and hope) – I have enough to make the very first decisions I need to to help my son. “I may not know it all, but I know enough,” is the mantra scrolling through my head at this moment.

Now we have to wait on the insurance company to do their jobs and hope they do them well and quickly. I think this may be one of those miracles I pray for. Quick access to therapy for my boy.

In the meantime, I’m hoping to augment our early intervention team’s awesomeness with another therapist that brings her own strengths to the floor to help my son in a very easy going and fun way for him.

I’m hoping that once these therapies get started, we’ll see some good improvement and that will take away some of the stress of the unknown. Because I’ll see we’re on the right road.

I really am surrounded by amazing people and I’m grateful for them.

The Lord knows what He’s doing. He’s just waiting for me to catch up.

*laces up running shoes to get going*





Coping Through Crafting

6 04 2018

My blog is fluid.

It changes with my life.

But one thing stays pretty consistent; crafting. It feels like it can make any tough situation just a little better. I needed a little bit of that therapy this week πŸ™‚

We’re 10 days into our ASD diagnosis for my 22 month old. And let me tell you, there is a lot of information out there! It flies at you nonstop and it’s so easy to get overwhelmed.

So I organized and crafted.

Here’s what I’ve been working on.

Mamma Bear’s Big Blue Book of Autism Help

I used a digital scrapbook program I have to create the cover. It was nice to sit down and just rest and create something cute AND helpful.

Now, for the organizational part πŸ™‚ I love tabs and colors πŸ™‚ Now I have all my info in one place with an easy way to find what I’m looking for.

 

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Here are some of the things in my notebook:

http://nationalautismassociation.org/docs/BigRedSafetyToolkit.pdf
SAFETY INFO! Ways to keep our spectrum kiddos safe AND what seem to be very popular safety issues. For instance – 49% of our spectrum kids wander off for a variety of reasons. But did you know, that 91% of accidental deaths in those who wander off are water related? Our babies seem to be drawn to water. Now I know and I can keep them safe.
And THIS

https://www.autismspeaks.org/family-services/tool-kits/100-day-kit
It’s an information ORGANIZER for families with newly diagnosed children to help us hit the ground running. This thing is seriously amazing.
I also included his diagnosis and evaluation information so I have that at my fingertips, as well as the therapy information packets I received at his evaluation.

Life is hard enough. Being organized can make a hard situation easier.

And now, I’m ready to take notes and learn πŸ™‚

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Psst – even though the sharpies say they don’t smear…they did.

 





That Time My Father-in-law Turned 90

2 04 2018

Yes, 90! Amazing! His mom lived until she was 102 or 103, so we’ll see what happens πŸ™‚

But when someone turns 90, you gotta have something good because odds are they’ve seen almost everything.

So I put together a gift set for him πŸ™‚

Here he is with his cake – isn’t he handsome? Sorry girls, he’s taken.

Here’s the packaged gift set

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And unpacked with boxes and bags (I made those, too).

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And individual pieces

He used to love to garden and liked his flowers. So we went with this card πŸ™‚

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And a sweet sentiment for him put on a mug – although I’m not entirely happy with how this came out. It was my first time using oracal 651. It just means I need to play more. Yay!

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And something fun to wear like a big hug from us πŸ™‚

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Thanks for stopping by!

xoxo

Links to some items used in the gift set:

Springtime Box CardsΒ  Kit, Age is merely





1 Stamp Set 4 Cards

2 04 2018

I haven’t done this for a while, but I really wanted to color then ended up with lots of pieces, so I thought why not?

Here’s part of the process, too. This is part of the coloring process I do. I’ve used my copic markers on the bird and have some shading and variation. You can see the same process in the flower next to the bird, even though it’s not all the way done. Also, I ended up redoing the flowers. Although purples and oranges can be combined for something pleasing, I felt my orange colors were off a little. You should be able to see it when you see the finished card πŸ™‚ You can also see my color combination testing πŸ™‚

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After finishing the copic coloring, I went in with my prismacolor pencils for more details and subtle shading. You can compare the two birds. I LOVE my copics, but there’s details you just can’t do the same way you can with a finely sharpened pencil point πŸ™‚

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Once I had everything colored the way I wanted it, I used the coordinating dies to cut the pieces out using my little die cutter then played some more. I needed sentiments.Β  In my silhouette program I chose some multipurpose words and fun fonts. I used my sketch pens to draw the words then had my machine cut them out. Before removing the words from the cutting mat, I colored them in and added subtle light spots.

So, back to multiple cards. I wanted them to be unified, but not the same. I used four different sizes, but same color schemes and elements.

This one is a 4.25 x 5.5 and I wanted to keep it kind of simple. So flower, leaves, and sentiment. For a little bit of edging interest, I used an embossing folder with my die cutting machine.

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This one is 8 x 3.5. Same kind of idea as the first, except the edges are simpler, with only a decorative edge on the bottom.

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Okay. I’m kind of in love with this one. It’s a 5.5 x 5.5 card and I like how the little bird is nestled in the leaves

But this *might* be my favorite out of the bunch. I’m not sure. I flip flop back and forth between this one and the one before. This is a 5×7 card. The edging is a die, but I used it to emboss the paper instead. It’s simple, but not quite with the embossed sections. Now, what you can’t see in any of these pictures is the sparkly spray I dusted them with. I sprayed each piece of paper with glimmer mist before I layered the colored pieces on top. Not only do my cards shimmer now, so do parts of my desk. And I kind of like it.

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Okay, that’s it for now. Hope your Easter was great and thanks for stopping by!

Some items used:

Bird and flower stamp set

Coordinating Dies





Autism Spectrum Disorder Diagnosis

27 03 2018

Our foster son (soon to be adopted- yippee!) just met with the Developmental and Behavioral clinic today. I’m sure you can guess from the title, we received an autism spectrum diagnosis. To be more specific, Autism Spectrum Disorder with Global Delays with Speech Impairment.

We knew we had some delays. He’s been in physical therapy since he was three months old.

We knew he had speech delays. He’s been in therapy for that for the last seven months or so.

He’s pretty caught up in PT, but still lagging behind in speech. Although, I believe his receptive speech isn’t too far off target. But his expressive is still significantly behind.

They gave us a severity level of 2 – or moderate…

We figured something was up. Knew this was a possibility. But I kind of expected a mild case (a 1) if we received any diagnosis. So this 2 is kind of throwing me a little. I wasn’t as prepared as I thought I was to hear the words.

I’m pouring over the stacks of papers they sent home with me and have barely scratched the surface.

I’ve called and texted numerous people to give them updates since they’re involved in the case. I think I remembered everyone…

And with that done,Β  I’m now dealing with hearing the words and what it means for our family. What it means for my son. And what I keep coming back to is the fact a whole world of resources and help just opened up for us.

Obviously no one WANTS a diagnosis that complicates things. But we don’t get to choose. My daughter didn’t want a epilepsy. My sons didn’t want ADHD. Depression and anxiety? Nope. My kids didn’t want those either. Migraines? Scoliosis? Please. But you know what? We have them. We live with them. We manage and thrive with them whenever possible. Sometimes we win, other times we take a small break before getting up and trying again.

This diagnosis is no different. And there’s help to learn and manage our stumbling blocks.

I didn’t have access to that support before today.

My brain thrives on information and I have access to it. How wonderful is that? We’re so blessed to live in this time of medicine. I’m grateful to be in this moment when there is more help for my son than ever before.

We’re hoping that with time, the early interventions already in place, and adding more services specifically for this leg of the journey, we’ll be able to help him move from a moderate level to a mild level. There are no guarantees, but we’re going to do our best.

WE ARE SO BLESSED.