Tuesday, September 27, 2011

2 Sick Kiddos = No Makeover This Week

Just a quick post ~ both kiddos are down with bronchitis.  I was hoping it was a bad case of allergies, but turns out to be worse.  Started meds today, hoping that DH and I don't catch it!

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Goodwill Goodie Finish Friday .....er... Saturday :)

Somehow yesterday got away from me and I didn't get my post up!  I traveled up north to have lunch with DH and stopped on the way home to do a little shopping.  The kiddos are trying to decide what to be for Halloween ~ actually DS is debating whether he is too old this year, you know, he's in middle school now :)  DD, at the moment, has picked Angelica from the Pirates of the Caribbean 4.  I think that it might have something to do with the fact that she met "her" at Disney World in May.  First she was all about being Rapunzel (she also met her), then quickly decided that it had to be Angelica.  Luckily, I have found a costume in her size ~ not thrilled about buying a pre-made costume as I grew up having my mom make all our costumes.  But I have tried to put one together at Goodwill and haven't had much luck.  Plus GW seems to keep raising their prices, so by the time I would get all the necessary pieces, the costume would actually be the cheaper way to go.  If DS decides that he isn't too old, he's going as Captain Jack Sparrow.  No luck on finding a costume in his size.  Boys end at size 10-12 and then jumped to an adult size large.  So I'm searching for pieces.  I've found a hat, wig with beads and all, and a shirt.  His may not be as "authentic" as her, but I'm trying!

The weather took a turn for the cool, but it sounds like next week we could be back into the high 70s, low 80s.  Oh how I love fall!

Onto this week's makeover!  If you remember from Monday's post, this is what I upcycled (I guess that's the proper term to be using!) ~

Quite a few bloggers that I follow have done these and I was so happy when I finally found one.  So many possibilities!  I love decor like this ~ you can move it from place to place and re-purpose it without much work!

Here's what it looks like now ~

And add a few finishing touches for fall and you have ~

Never knew you could transform a cheese plate into a piece of versatile decor, did you?!? 

Not sure what will be up next on Monday ~ have to take a look around and see what I feel needs some new life breathed into it!  Leave a comment and be sure to visit again on Monday!

Monday, September 19, 2011

Goodwill Goodie Makeover Monday

How can September be half over already???  We have been experiencing great fall weather lately ~ it was in the 90s last Monday and then dropped into the 70s.  Mornings have been a bit chilly, but I'll take it.  Even though I love the hot temps of sun, fall is my absolute favorite time of the year ~ the smells of harvest hanging in the air, the vibrant colors of the trees, delicious aromas coming from the kitchen, the cozy glow of candles.  It's also when I seem to have the most energy to de-clutter and get those makeovers done. 

Today I'm heading back into my pile of goodies.  I have seen a lot of these type of makeovers and couldn't ever seem to find one to try.  However, over the summer I snagged one.  So this week, I'll be working on this ~

Not only am I going to be getting back to that pile, I'm getting back on the treadmill (finally!).  I thought that once school started, I would be able to get back into my rountines.  It seems like something has always come up to keep the treadmill on the to-do list.  But, today is the day.  So I'm off to get the running shoes on!  I'll leave you with the latest update on my buddy Jack ~

(Sunday) No specific update tonight. Jack is resting soundly. His shunt is performing just as it should. They are currently trying to wean him off of the blood pressure regulating medication that he has been receiving since the surgery to remove his tumor. If they can do that, then he can move out of the PICU and down to the standard Ped's floor. (But between you and me, we're in no hurry to leave the PICU - - the kids here receive excellent one-on-one care, and seeing as he is still having some difficulty with his sight, swallowing, and the use of his left arm, I think he'd be better off staying up here a bit longer!)
We created a CaringBridge website for Jack....the web address is http://www.caringbridge.org/visit/jackconlon1. However, I don't think you'll find anything there that you haven't already read here on FB. (We did put up some pictures of him, though!) But, if you know of someone who does not have a FB account, feel free to pass that site onto them - we'll try to update that as often as we do FB.
Thank you all for your continued prayers - - we'll take all we can get, as Jack's fight has only just begun!
God bless you all. ~ Nikki

Friday, September 16, 2011

Heartbreaking Update on Jack

Nikki posted an update late yesterday on Jack ~

Sorry to keep everyone waiting to hear an update on Jack. He did not have to have his breathing tube reinserted.....so, all is well there. However, we got the oncology report back on his tumor yesterday and it is in fact malignant, like we thought. The extra bad news is that it is a very aggressive type so Jack will need to begin radiation and chemotherapy treatments as soon as possible.
Tomorrow morning, Jack will have a permanent VP shunt placed in his head to control the drainage of fluid from his ventricles. This is something that we did not want to see happen. In fact, his neurosurgeon had been waiting to see if his brain would re-route the fluid on its own without relying on the drainage tube that he has been using, thereby enabling us to avoid the placement of a VP shunt. However, even though he has been making progress in that area (he has been outputting less and less fluid each day), the doctor is not comfortable waiting too much longer to have a shunt placed. Jack can't start radiation or chemo until at least 10 days after any surgery, so if we waited on Jack's body to correct the flow of fluid, that would put off his start of treatment even more. So, at around 7:15am tomorrow (Friday) morning, Jack will have a permanent ventricularperitoneal shunt put in.
This is breaking our hearts. By having a shunt, Jack will never be able to play contact sports.....meaning football, baseball (too much risk of being hit by a ball), and possibly even basketball. We don't even have to say to all of you how much of a blow this is to our little Jackie......the little ball boy for every sporting event he's ever been to. I know God must have some sort of reason, some sort of plan for all of this, but I am just not seeing it. I'm trying, I really am, but I am just too mad about this turn of events. I have been praying for a miracle - - for something to change or happen so that the shunt will not need to be placed - - but I'm not seeing my prayers answered tonight. I'm trying to trust that God will have everything work out for Jack, but I'm too caught up in my emotions right now. God will just have to put up with me being very angry about this for a while....it's the least he can grant me right now. I know it's not the end of the world - just having Jack with us will be a blessing in itself - it's just very hard to accept.
I'm sure everything will work out in the end - - things tend to do so - - but my faith is really being tested now. I praise Him for bringing Jack safely and successfully through such a major surgery to remove the majority of the tumor and for helping him through the many trials he has had this week, and I also praise Him for bringing all of you together - - never before have I seen a community (in Clarion and beyond) come together so closely for someone the way it has for Jack, and we truly do feel the blessings of that. We're just going to need some time to mourn the loss of these opportunities for our little guy.
Thank you all so much for all of your continued prayers, thoughts, everything. Please continue them if you can.....Jack has a tough fight ahead of him, but I know that with all of you praying for him (and with his own tough little spirit!), he can overcome this incredible obstacle.
God bless you all, and please pray for a successful surgery in the morning if you read this in time.
~ Nikki

This is a tough blow ~ Jack lives and breathes sports.  It's going to be a tough fight for him ~ I pray that the Father will provide peace and comfort to the family with this bad news.  I ask Him to grant Jack the courage and strength of David when he faced Goliath.

Please continue to have Jack and his family in your prayers.

P.S. Just received an update ~
Jack is out of surgery, and his permanent VP shunt was placed very successfully!! Praise be to God! There's more to tell, but please know that we're forever grateful for everyone's prayers, support, kindness, and faith - even when our's falters. We'll post more when we can. Thank you all, and God bless!!

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Update on My Little Buddy

Just received another update on my buddy, Jack.  It appears that he is need of some extra prayers tonight!

So, since Jack's breathing tube was removed yesterday, things have been quite eventful. At 6:30pm last night (and please don't be alarmed when you read this), Jack had a mild seizure. His right leg was twitching, his left arm wouldn't move, and he wasn't very responsive. They gave him some anti-seizure medication immediately and the seizure stopped. However, it took quite some time for him to get use back in his right leg and arm. (It took him until this morning to wiggle his right toes.) The docs said that sometimes this happens and that he might have mild swelling in his brain that caused it. So, at 11:00pm last night, Jack had a quick 3-minute MRI (after a 10:30pm fire alarm! Fortunately, it was just a false alarm.) The MRI did show some small swelling but it didn't appear to be near the brainstem.
Over night, he was continuing to have problems coughing up the gunk from his lungs and upper respiratory area, so they used a small vibrating device to break up the gunk and then tubes down his nose to suction it out - - he hated that last part! The Respiratory docs continued to do that every 4 hours overnight and throughout today.
In speaking with Dr. Menezes and the rest of the docs today, they are concerned that they removed Jack's breathing tube a bit early. At the time, he was showing very good signs that he was ready to have it removed, but in hindsight they feel that maybe he was a bit too tired and that could have been a sign that his brain wasn't ready to control everything on its own yet.
So, as of right now, they are watching Jack to see if he can make some improvements on his own. He has continued to breathe fairly well today, but he has shown moments of irregular breathing where he takes too long to take a breath and then takes quick ones to make up for it - - - all of this while he is sleeping. And while he has gained movement back into his right leg and arm, his left arm and leg are showing signs of being weaker and when he smiles, the left side of his mouth doesn't go up as high as it should.
We are trying not to be too scared. Basically what all of this means is that they will just have to re-insert his breathing tube and give his brain a chance to reduce the swelling and take control of things again. It's better to ere on the side of caution and not take chances with the brain stem, rather than just let him go as is right now and then cause further damage.
So, more prayers are needed tonight!! Our little guy is still fighting - - he was VERY vocal today (even with a garbly voice) that he wanted to leave here, he wanted to go home, when is he going to be done with all of this?!, and he wanted to eat a snack!! We have every faith that God will provide us with the right people to make the right decisions for Jack to help him fight the best way he can. Please send prayers up for him tonight if you get a chance!! We would really appreciate it!!

Monday, September 12, 2011

Goodwill Goodie Makeover Monday, An Update, and A Finish

Just gettin' this one in under the wire! 

Received another update on Jack ~

Jack had his breathing tube removed today!! He still has a lot of gunk to cough up, so here's hoping that he gets it all out so that they don't have to do it for him. :-( He also had the dressing on his tumor surgical site changed, and that was VERY traumatic as those bandages are VERY sticky! He was so unhappy about that. But, he's resting now, and hopefully we'll get him coughing some more to clear out his airways. Thank You, God, for Your continuing watch over our little man!

I have spent a lot of my time the last few days in prayer for this little guy.  I pray that blessings like this continue to appear for him in the days ahead.

Once the word was received that the surgery had went well, I suddenly had all this energy and so I put it to good use ~ praising the Lord and prepping a few makeovers! 

This week's is something that I have had for awhile.  It makes an appearance in one spot, then heads back to storage in the basement for awhile, then will pop up again somewhere.  A few years ago, I hosted a couple Homemaker's Idea Company parties and earned a lot of free and half price items.  At that time, the company was all about their baskets and using them to organize your life.  So I spent my "money" on baskets ~ lots and lots of baskets!  I ordered mainly plain brown ones because they matched all my wood furniture. 

I'm so over the brown color now, but I hate to get rid of all these baskets.  The construction quality is second-to-none and they are so easy to take care of.  You can even dunk them in a tub of water to clean.  I've sold a few, but still have lots that are sitting in the basement.  I sat staring at this particular basket the other day when a light bulb popped on ~ why not paint it!  So I took it outside and did just that.

Here's what it looked like before ~

This is how I had it displayed last year for fall ~

Because I am so happy with how it turned out and it's already re-displayed, I'm sharing the finished makeover today!   Here's how the painting of the basket turned out~

Yeah!  Black is much better.  I started out using a matte finish spray paint because I was afraid that glossy would be too shiny and run.  But the matte was too flat.  So after one coat of matte, I carefully sprayed a coat of glossy ~ it went on so smooth.

Once again, new life to an old treasure.  Guess what I'm going to be doing to those other baskets sitting in the basement :) !

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Never Forgotten

This is my post from last year.  It still speaks my feelings about this day and so I'm just going to re-post it.  I hope that we never forget this tragic day in our nation's history.

Where were you 10 years ago?   I was in the kitchen ~ standing in shock as I watched those planes crash into the Twin Towers.  It's still brings tears to my eyes.   The wave of patriotism that followed was amazing ~ everywhere you looked there was an American flag proudly flown.  The country came together as one that day.  Those that lost their lives, that gave their lives, and that lost loved ones are still in my thoughts and prayers.

We are very fortunate that another attack has not occurred.  I believe that we have our armed forces to thank for that.  No matter what your view of the war taking place is, these men and women deserve our support, deserve our respect, and deserve our gratitude.  They have stepped up and volunteered to keep our country safe and free.  If this war wasn't being fought over there, it would be here on our land.   The next time you see a serviceman or servicewoman, thank him or her.  They were not forced to enlisted, they did it of their own freewill because they believe in this country.  This is the type of courage that our country was founded on.  The United States of America truly is ~ Home of The Free Because of The Brave!

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Update on My Little Buddy

I just wanted to post an update on how my little buddy, Jack, is doing.  He had his surgery yesterday and his mom just posted an update on facebook ~

I know people have said this phrase before, that "words cannot express" how they feel about something, but it is a statement that rings very true for us. Words really cannot express how blessed we are, or how thankful. Jack's condition, although a VERY scary thing, has shown us how loving and faith-filled our family, friends, neighbors, and even folks we've never met in person truly are. We've always known how blessed we are - 3 beautiful children, wonderful family and friends, and a caring community - but this crisis with Jack has brought all of this to the forefront for us. There aren't enough words for us to thank each and every one of you for everything you've done for us - the gifts and words of encouragement for Jack and the rest of our family, running errands and helping to provide for Derek and Emma for us, and most importantly prayers for Jack and our family. If anyone ever has a crisis of faith or questions God's grace in their lives, I challenge them to hear Jack's story and know that the power of prayer WORKS and the Father's blessings rain down upon us in times of trials and fear!
As written previously, Jack's surgery was VERY successful!!! Many hours of tears, fears, hopes, and prayers led to a joyful conclusion. The neurosurgeon was able to remove all but .3 % of the tumor!!! He purposefully left this very small piece behind because it is right near the brain stem - since that controls breathing, swallowing, his heart, his central nervous system, etc, he did not feel that it was worth the risk to remove it but then put Jack's life in jeopardy by doing so. So, once the oncology report is back, (in the next 5-7 days), we'll decide the next course of action on Jack's road to recovery.
Our prayers were answered, everyone!!!!! The surgeon's hands were guided true and all of the other health professionals involved in Jack's surgery were watched over as well. Praise be to God!! We thank Him beyond measure for every one of you out there who prayed for him and kept him and our whole family in your thoughts during this difficult time. We understand that we are not unique or special.....we are not the first family to have a sick child, and, unfortunatley, we won't be the last. But we do feel special in that all of you out there sent prayers and love to our little guy, and we truly feel that that made all the difference! We are in exactly the right spot for Jack to receive phenomenal care, but your prayers were the turning point!
Jack will have a breathing tube all weekend, and he will be sedated as well in order to keep him comfortable while he is assisted in his breathing. Once the doc's feel that he is breathing well on his own and the brain stem was not compromised during surgery, he'll be slowly taken off sedation and his breathing tube will be removed. Right now, he continues to open his eyes now and again when he hears us talking to him; he squeezes our fingers when we ask him to, as well as stick his tongue out at us; he also lifted his legs! He is a tough little guy who we're sure will make a remarkable recovery.
If anything changes this weekend, we'll try to update everyone. Also, as so many of you have suggested, we'll look into getting a Caring Bridge account for Jack since there are some people who would like to be updated who are not on Facebook.
Thank you all for listening to my ramblings!!!  You know me - I talk a lot anyway!  Maybe I should let Tom do these updates from now on. ;-)
Happy Saturday, everyone! And in Jack's words before the surgery - - "Boo Michigan. Go Irish!!"

Praise the Lord!  Thank you to all who have been lifting this litte one and his family up ~ prayer really does matter.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Goodwill Goodie Finish Friday (on Monday!)

Well ~ the Finish Friday post is ready to go.  It was a weekend of ups and downs.  On Friday, I found out that one of my best little buddies was diagnosed with a cancerous brain tumor.  He's just 5 years old.  My mom has been battling brain cancer for almost 9 years now, so I know what lies ahead for him.  It sounds like surgery will happen this Friday ~ a long time to wait, but the up side is that the best possible neurological team will be available by then.  Then chemo.  Please continue to keep him in your prayers.  They seem to be working already ~ it appears from scans that the cancer is contained and isn't in his back ~ PTL!  One sunlight beam thru the clouds.

Sunday, the family headed up north a bit and took in the Britt Draft Horse Show.  Growing up, my family was involved with showing Welsh ponies ~ just a bit different than a draft :)  The kiddos have never watched drafts being showed, so it was a fun learning experience for them.  We arrived early enough to watch some of the show prep in progress.  Did that bring back memories!  The day ended with all 18 6-horse hitches in the arena.  What a site! 

Yesterday, we spent the day celebrating the marriage of my husband's best friend.  He experienced a very painful, out-of-left-field divorce.  Then a year ago, a wonderful woman entered his life.  She is everything that his first wife wasn't and could never be.  We are so thrilled that God has brought these two together.  They both experienced such pain when their first marriages ended.  We can see the healing that has taken place for both of them thru this relationship.  Three boys are very blessed thru this marriage!  It was a perfect day for a wedding yesterday ~ beautiful weather in a beautiful setting.  God is so good!

The makeover was ready to go on Friday, but my heart was so heavy that I just couldn't post it.  After a weekend filled with prayer and a few light beams, I'm ready to spend a little time on something that now seems so frivolous.

If you remember, this is what I worked on last week ~

Here they are, all shiny and new ~ or at least new to me!

Just a tad different!  It's crazy what a little spray paint can do.

This is how I have them displayed for now ~ that is until I get all my fall decor out.  

Fall is definitely in the air.  I may break into those fall totes this week if I can find the time.  We had some rain this weekend and the grass decided that it needed to grow.  So I'm hoping to get the mowing done today.  AWANA starts back up tomorrow evening which also marks the return of date night for DH and me!  It's nice to be getting back into the routine of school and activities. 

Tomorrow I may post this week's makeover.  Be watching!

Friday, September 2, 2011

Prayers, Prayers, Prayers!

There will be no Goodwill Goodie Makeover Finish Friday this week.  I just received word that a dear friend's youngest son has just been diagnosed with a brain tumor.  They have drained it and are awaiting surgery.  I have tears running done my face as I type this.  He is just the sweetest, sports loving kid ever!  We have gotten to be good pals over the last year and it breaks my heart to know what he will be going thru.

Please lift him and his family up in prayers.  I know that God is the Great Healer and Comforter, He has a plan for this little one.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

And The Winner Is........

Drum roll please.........

The winner of my 75 followers giveaway is.......

tamera- country at heart!!!

I want to send a thank you out to all my followers ~ old and new ~ that signed up.!  Tamera, please email your address so that I can get your prize sent off!