Sunday, October 30, 2011

31 for 21

All is quiet in our house this weekend. This is a good thing. Brenna and I are taking advantage of the Dr.'s orders for keeping low. Unfortunately, my computer has decided to join us and until I get it figured out, I'll have to post from my phone. Because the best post of the 31 for 21 comes on November 1st..... Stay tuned and happy Sunday to you!!

Friday, October 28, 2011

31 for 21

It's pretty amazing what is going on this month with writing the 31 for 21 posts.
Does my life seem a little crazier than normal because I'm documenting everything, or is it just really this crazy around here?
For instance.

I'll preface today's story with this:

it is a good outcome,
and I am BEYOND grateful,
and BEYOND thankful for iphones and computers and Facebook where I can text and make status updates and have so many people praying it will make your head spin.

Friday morning, 7 a.m., I was downstairs in the kitchen with Miss B., and we were getting breakfast ready. We sat down to eat and she began rubbing her eye.
One thing I forgot to mention was the opthamalogist we see on a regular basis. Brenna has a nasty astigmatism and has been pretty close to being legally blind as far as distance goes. This has been corrected somewhat over the years. She also has nystagmus. She has the back and forth kind.
 Then she said she was dizzy. "It should go away", I said, not overly concerned.
Miss B. said, "No. I'm DIZZY."
I looked at her and realized her nystagmus was literally going berserk. Not just her little twitchy side to side movements that you can see. Not the medium side to side movements that are more noticeable when she is very tired.
These were full blown, wonky, rolling, different direction, one eye crossing and staying type of movements.
I froze.
"I'm dizzy, mom."
Got that.
Time to be concerned.
Three minutes later.
"Still dizzy, B?"
"yep." said miss eye roller.
This is when the mommy mode kicks in and you try very hard to not panic as you debate in your mind several scenarios.
Heart malfunction.
Brain tumor.
What the?????
I then made the decision to exit stage right.
Unfortunately, Miss Dizzy couldn't walk a straight line, so I helped her to the car, where she began to worry about not eating her breakfast. And the dog decided she wanted to go as well.
Grab dog. Toss into kitchen. Like, really tossed her.
Grab plate, toss into Brenna's lap. Not tossed too much. What ever.

am i really posting a picture of what my hair looks like when it dries on it's own???

Call Doug, who is, of course out of town.
Wonder if I should stop and call an ambulance.
Drive way too fast to the E.R. which, for the hospital we go to is 20 minutes away.
All the while saying, "Still dizzy?"

Thankfully, all was calm at the E.R., the wonky eye rolling had subsided, and we were transferred to a bed immediately.

waiting for cat scan.

Long story short, Miss B. has had a sinus infection the last 2 weeks, and has been on antibiotics for that time. After labs and cat scans were done and came back NORMAL, we had a neurology consult and the Dr. figured out that Brenna has what is called Vestibular Neuronitis. It is a secondary inflammation, brought on by upper respiratory problems, where the vestibular nerve in the inner ear is in inflamed. Apparently that's not a good thing.
I was instructed to give Brenna Meclazine, give her lots of fluids and keep her quiet for a week.
Oh, sure. She was mad she couldn't go back to school after the E.R.
Maybe she will lay low til Sunday.


After six hours in E.R., nice nurses, a great resident, two follow up appointments for next week, one tired mom and one tired teen, we are home. Having a "slumber party."
No way she's sleeping in another room tonight.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Food Friday and 31 for 21 Love

Let's start with 31 for 21 today...
As in I got a note sent home today from the teacher.
As in my child (!) is not being respectful when the teacher(s) is/are talking.
As in, she is making faces with her friend and giggling. 
Out loud, even.
After the teacher asks them to stop, even.
And then blames it on her friend for starting it.
I do know a way to stop this disruptive behavior.
Talk about Justin Bieber all day in class.
Justin 101.
History of Justin Bieber.
Music class with Justin Bieber.
The science of Justin - O.K., I think you get what I mean.

(which is your favorite-Zac Efron or Justin? Thanks, E, for helping us figure this out!)
Like I've said...more alike than not like others...

Onto Food Friday.
These bake sales are killing me.
Especially when we make
Peanut Butter Carmel Corn.

This stuff?

How shall I put it?


All of the above.
The best part was popping corn the "old fashioned way", and having Brenna oooh and aaahhh over watching the corn pop in the pan. (we have a glass lid. very cool.)
Since when did popcorn go up to over $2 a bag???
It was good all by itself.
(But even better after we finished.)

I found it in my Cooking Light Magazine.
Just because it's in there, doesn't mean we should eat buckets of this stuff.
But it does make you feel better about it if you do.
is the link for the recipe.
Happy Friday!

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

christmas? and 31 for 21

I did it.
I started shopping for Christmas.
The last time I started this early, everything was LATE, because I forgot to mail it.
Don't ask.
I was on pinterest (LOVE.) and found these cute as pie hand warmers. 

Aren't they the best?
I immediately thought of my mom, who at 81, is forever cold. I thought it would be fun for her to warm these up and tuck them into her pockets of her robe or jacket. 
AND, best of all, it fits my desire to buy handmade this year. 
How about you? 
Handmade? Etsy? No shopping malls? Gifts shipped to you?
Such a good idea.

So, today for the 31 for 21, I'm thinking about how Brenna, or anyone with a disability for that matter, is so much more LIKE others than not.

As in, she cannot wait for spirit week at school. Or for the football games on Friday nights. She wears her volleyball team shirt every Tuesday without fail, because it's game day for "her" girls. She likes to sing Justin Beiber songs in cooking class with her friend, Kimmie. When she walks the hall ways of her school, she says hi to just about everyone. 
Brenna hasn't mastered the art of sleeping in quite yet, but I'm always hopeful.
She has asked me about driving some day.
She wants to go to the same college as her sister.
Brenna adores working in the nursery at church.
She digs going to the movies and LOVES. POPCORN.

For all of her life, I go back to what my eldest sister said about her when she was born:
"She's just wrapped up in a little different packaging is all."
So, so true.

Brenna has crushes and blushes when someone teases her about boys.
She can roll her eyes at me with the best of them.
Brenna is the most social kid I have ever seen-she comes by it naturally-and is forever asking if we can invite someone over for dinner.
She has learned to swim, ride a horse, photograph, knit baby hats, likes to paint, goes to camp, and hates doing her chores.
Pretty typical, yes?


So, why is it, when I watch her growing up, that my heart gets squeezed so hard, that I feel physical pain?
Brenna is not the first one asked to come over with everyone else. She doesn't have a core group of friends that call and make plans together. Brenna has a hard time just "hanging out and talking." Brenna likes to still play tag and Candyland...kinda not the most popular things to do. She tends to obsesson a few people in particular. Physically, she just can't do some of the stuff others do, and she tires out a lot faster than others. If my husband and I don't make plans, she doesn't do much. So we make a lot of plans. 
 I know many, many people go through this with their kids, whether they are disabled or not, it happens. Again, more LIKE others than not!

And truly? I want her to make friends "like" her. These will be the people she will eventually live with, socialize with and learn with. We are just in a funny period of life where I know this will pass and balance will be worked out. It's a fine line between "typical" and "disabled", and I thank God on a daily basis that there are such a variety of people in Brenna's life right now.
We also live in an area where teen groups are zero for kids with Down Syndrome. Something that needs to change....in the near future.

While this is a reality we face, it causes my husband and I to be pro-active and begin thinking of what we want Brenna's life to look like in the future. 
This is where it is vitally important for me to practice focusing on the positive.
Brenna has a couple of girlfriends that are life time friends. LIFE. I actually asked one of them why she is friends with Brenna. I was truly curious. I don't think I would have sought out someone like Brenna when I was young.

 Her answer was this, "because Brenna doesn't hold grudges. There is no girl-drama with her. She always, always has a smile on her face and is the first one to ask how you are doing and to say hi. Brenna is totally honest and makes me laugh."

As a parent, I have to remind myself that we are beyond blessed with people who support us. Family, friends, church, community. We have people in our lives who rise to the occasion when we say we need a time out from life. AND, while writing these posts, I am again reminded how full, how incredibly rich Brenna's life is.

The other vital thing for me to remember is what I am learning with Brenna in our lives. I am humbled on a daily basis. I take life at a slower pace. I have met people I would have never met if it weren't for my child.
 I am learning to ASK FOR HELP.
This is one of the toughest things for me. Ever. I hate it. But guess what happens when you ask for help?
I remember God's grace when people respond. I remember I am not alone in this world. I meet others that I can also reach out to. I see in a profound way that we need each other. I stop feeling sorry for myself and my heart isn't squeezed so darn hard. I have pretty much spent my life putting my head down and gutting it out when faced with difficulties, and it just isn't working anymore. Little by little, I am leaning.
And guess who is teaching me?
A seventeen year old.


Monday, October 24, 2011

Art and 31 for 21

Short and sweet today, I am battling my ridiculous sinuses again.
It might be all right, as I took Brenna's amoxicillin instead of my medicine this afternoon. Between the two of us, it's amazing this doesn't happen on a daily basis.
Umm, I needed three of my pills, so I took an extra good dose of amoxicillin.
Moving along now.

I did finish this sweet canvas, I love it.
What do you think?
It will be up on Etsy soon.

It's a small 5x5 canvas

with the bird done in different strips of paper and the definition of surrender found from a vintage dictionary. The "B" is from a set of playing cards I bought over at Linda's etsy. She has the BEST vintage everything in her store!

Continuing on my 31 for 21 post...
Five things I love about Brenna:
1. If you just need a day to curl up and watch movies, she's your gal.
2. I love that we can go to a dog park and stay for a long time and she is so fascinated by the dogs and knows a lot of the different breeds.
3. I love that she loves Starbucks.
4. I love that we sat on the couch yesterday and colored for 30 or 40 minutes.
5. I love that she loves Curious George.


Thursday, October 20, 2011

Food Friday

Brenna and I made 
for the bake sale this week.

We found the recipe at Food.com.
I had an old family recipe, but I cannot remember where it went.
This one was pretty darn good.
And easy!
I had to triple the recipe, so we had a ton of butter and flour flying all over the kitchen.

Begin by mixing 1 cup of butter,

2 large eggs-do you love these?
They are from our friends chickens.

and 1 1/2 cups of sugar.

Here's where Brenna took over and began photographing the mixing!

Add 2 3/4 c flour,
2 tsp. cream of tartar,

1 tsp. baking soda,
 and 1/4 tsp. salt.
Chill the dough before forming into balls.

By now, Brenna had taken about 60 pictures and thought it was funny to be taking so many, so I took over so she could help roll....

Put 3 Tbs. sugar in a bowl and mix with 3 tsp. cinnamon.


3 Tbs. sugar and 
3 tsp. pumpkin pie spice.

I got the idea for this when I googled the recipe for snickerdoodles and came up with 

Heat the oven to 350, roll the dough into a ball and coat with sugar mixture.

Bake 10 minutes on an ungreased cookie sheet.

Do NOT eat as many cookies as I did because you will feel sick and not even have room to try the pumpkin pie spice cookies.

But I didn't eat all of them. Brenna had enough to sell out at the bake sale!


A Thursday morning

Today I cannot seem to get into a groove to create, so I decided to clean up the art room. It lasted all of 10 minutes. As I was carrying a piece of glass to the trash, the thought literally popped into my head to draw on it...I'm happy to say it's been a rather peaceful 1/2 hour!

Join me tomorrow for Food Friday and 31 for 21

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

The Eagle Has Landed

Last night was volleyball and Brenna did her weekly water girl duties. Man, she loves those gals. She cheered on both j.v. and varsity teams. It was 6 games of love.
Until the Eagle landed.
I have never seen her jump up off of a bench so fast in all my life.

This photo says everything that I love about Brenna.
Someone who makes a beeline for a character like this with her face shining with expectation and happiness just has to make your day.
It just takes my heart and wrings it out.
"The EAGLE is here!!!!" 
Nothing else mattered in that moment.
 Oh, I wish I could express how happy she was to get a hug and that the Eagle said, "hey, Brenna."

 There is a fine line between make believe and real, don't you think? 
But in Brenna's world, well, it's all real.
That makes me stop and take another look at what is good, and honest and kind, and then strive to be that for others like her.
She sure has changed my life.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Art and 31 for 21

A schedule. Yep. That's it. I need to get back to a schedule. THEN I will have time for artwork.

Here is what was NOT on my schedule, but decided to be:

... printer spitting paper randomly at me all day. 2 hours to fix internet problems. pool mess to clean up. dog is making me n.u.t.s. I sewed through a section of a quote i wanted to use on a canvas and had to start over with my crazy printer. I keep sweating for no apparent reason. we have 3 hours of volleyball to go to by 5, it's 3:40 and MOM has NOT had a shower. eww. I also had 46 thank you cards returned to me by our mail carrier for more postage. ummmmm....i think that's it. 

Then, smart girl that I sometimes am, I grabbed my devotional (better late than never) and read this:
"Go gently through this day, keeping your eyes on Me. I will open up the way before you, as you take steps of trust along your path......."
from Jesus Calling.

Five things I love about Brenna:

1. She does things I would never do.
2. She doesn't realize there are things people think she can't/shouldn't/would never do.
3. If she wants to do something, she will figure out a way, and there is usually someone that wants to come alongside and help.
4. I love that she is the team's water girl.
5. I love our team and the way they love B.

O.K. gotta go get cleaned up now...

Monday, October 17, 2011

Art and 31 for 21

I have way too many thoughts in my head. Probably not a good thing. Add to that 7 loads of laundry, a small colitis flare up, the fact that Brenna has a sinus infection, 4 dozen cookies that need to be made by Wednesday, and you get a mental hurricane that could be named Inga.

Oh, and I'm trying to figure out what to do with my art.
You know, the art I would be doing if I could stop everything and get into the art room.

I have been in there, a little.

But I'm realizing my strong point isn't organization,

It's perfectionism.

Not good when I am thinking about how to make, market, sell, blog, facebook, etsy, etc. ect.
Then my strong point is being stuck.
Boy, you are all so good to talk to.
More on this later.
If I remember.

31 for 21
Five things I love about Brenna.
1. Her hands
2. She tells it like it is.
3. People know her wherever we go.
4. How she still likes to snuggle on a Saturday morning when she first wakes up and smells like sleep.
5. When she is tired, she's done. 
Here she is at dinner last night. It was only 6:30, but like I said, done.
( the ring on her shirt isn't my laundering abilities, it was a weird flash.)

Have a happy Monday!

Friday, October 14, 2011

31 for 21 + Food Friday

Please note:
I take no responsibility whatsoever for your consumption of recipe to follow.
I was just relieved that the finished product left my house...

Every week, Brenna and I bake for her class's Bake Sale.
The kids learn to cook, package, sell, handle money, get everything ready and reap the benefits of all their hard work. Yesterday, the class went out to lunch using the money raised from the bake sales. 
I have learned that the demand is for BAKED goods. 
Fairly monster-sized baked goods.
Who am I to argue with what the market demands?
That is why we ended up making Oreo Stuffed Chocolate Chip Cookies.
I found the recipe on pinterest, at Very Culinary. (fabulous blog!)

I edited it just a bit, as I honestly cannot put 2 sticks of butter into a chocolate chip cookie recipe.
Plus, I tripled the recipe and 6 sticks of butter sounded even worse.
I looked around and found a good recipe for the cookies over at Food Network.

Begin by making your cookie dough.
note to self: do NOT make it ahead of time. because every time you open the door to the refrigerator, the cookie dough is staring you down and you give in and take "just a bite."

Using an ice cream scoop, make a ball of the dough and flatten it just a bit.

Add an Oreo on top. I used Joey's from Trader Joe's.

Make another ball of dough and add that to the top of the oreo.

Gently smoosh it all together and seal the edges as you go.

It helps to put the dough in the freezer for about 2 minutes when it gets too soft.

It does not help to make these before dinner.

Because you have to try them. And then you don't want dinner.

The smell of these baking will make you surrender to eating one. Or at least part of one. They are really, really rich.
After the cookies are sealed, put on parchment paper and onto a cookie sheet. I put 6 or 7 on each cookie sheet as I didn't know how far these would spread.

Not bad, but I wouldn't put 12 on a sheet.

Let cool, package them up and GET THEM OUT OF THE HOUSE.


Linking to:
Mique, over at 30 Handmade Days
Ashley, over at Simply Designing.