Thursday, March 29, 2012


 Motherhood, that sobering, sweet, exhausting job we fill.  It is truly a sweet job and one of great honor.  I often forget that part; the honorable part.  I sometimes get caught up in the pain, impatience, and displeasure of my beautiful children that don't follow every direction I give them with perfect exactness.  I have to remember that they are the children, and I am the mother, the patient mother.

 I am so lucky to have these three in my life.  They are what true joy is defined as to me.  When I put them to bed at night and Emmitt insists on "one more hug and kiss" as I impatiently give him one more to go with the previous five, and when Kelsey wants me to come to her room when its lights out time and love her and chat about her day or the book she is reading when the only thing I want to do is go to my exhausted bed myself, and when Kendal adamantly insists she doesn't need to use the bathroom just one more time before bed and I know that means she will clamber noisely up the stairs at two am to take care of that issue and of course want my presence, I often forget how much I love these little people I have been blessed with.
After they are tucked in and sleeping soundly, I then lay in my own bed and reflect at how much I take these little ones for granted and how empty my life would be without them. 

With another one joining us this summer, I will be reminded of how precious a new little life straight from heaven is to me and our family.  But I must also remember, that is where my other little ones came from as well, and that I have been given the chance, opportunity, and honor to help them become the great people they are destined to be.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

 I got my blue and gray quilt quilted the other day, and today I will work on the binding.  I think it turned out okay.  There is one blue fabric that I don't like, but it will have to work, for now it is almost completed!

 The reason it has taken me awhile is because my friend Cheri sent me home with this movie the other day.  It is all I want to do - watch it!  I finished it last night, so now I can bind my quilt, and of course I have more raspberries to thin out and yard work to do today.  It is a gorgeous day today.

I have never heard of this BBC movie, Wives and Daughters, but I must say that I enjoyed it very much.  It is a sweet story, and of course the fellows are so handsome!

Monday, March 26, 2012

The Great Purple Cupcake Project for Kendal

 This week is purple cupcake week.  If you see a purple cupcake for sale at your favorite bakery, please buy it and smile.  It is The Great Purple Cupcake Project, a sweet epilepsy awareness initiative this week.  It is an effort to increase awareness about epilepsy, a condition that affects over 3 million Americans, including our 6 year old Kendal.

Epilepsy affects more than 3 million Americans and 50 million people worldwide. That's more people than multiple sclerosis, muscular dystrophy, cerebral palsy and Parkinson's disease combined! Additionally, each year in the United States, 200,000 new cases are diagnosed-45,000 of which are children under the age of 15.  Despite these statistics, epilepsy remains one of the most publicly misunderstood conditions, and misconceptions about the disorder persist.
A few months before Kendal's second birthday, she started having these strange upper body-only sharp movements over and over again -  a seizure.  I didn't think they were seizures, but I didn't know what it was.  It happened more frequently, usually when she was just waking up in the mornings and I was able to video one of her seizures.  I took the video to our local doctor who was stumped and he referred us to Primary Children's Hospital in Salt Lake City.  We were able to meet with a nuerologist there within about 2 weeks after the first seizure began.  By then, they were occuring around 10 times a day.

She was diagnosed with "infantile spasms,"  a severe form of epilepsy.  Infantile spasms is one of the “catastrophic childhood epilepsies” because of the difficulty in controlling seizures and the association with mental retardation. However, early recognition, a careful diagnostic evaluation, and proper treatment may allow some children to attain seizure control and to achieve a normal, or at least much improved, level of development. 

 Most children are diagnosed with infantile spasms between the ages of 4 and 8 months old, and Kendal was 20 months old when the seizures began.  That is a good thing, as 70% of infantile spasms cases never mentally progress beyond the age when the seizures began.  Unlike treatment of other seizure types, there is only one goal for treatment of infantile spasms: the complete control of spasms. If spasms cannot be controlled, the child is unlikely to do well developmentally, and even a 90% reduction of seizures does not provide for this possibility.  

Kendal was put on a anti-convulsion medication which reduced the seizures from about 17 or 18 a day to around 9 or 10.  I was grateful as a parent, as I read up on infantile spasms and realized some kids never get any better at all.  The seizures usually occur when the child is tired or just waking up, and sometimes, that is how I knew Kendal was awake in the morning and awake from her naps - I could hear her banging into the wall in her bedroom on her bed when she woke up while having a seizure. 

Kendal in March of 2007, my happy sweet girl about a week before the first seizure.
 Her neurologist was not happy with just a reduction of seizures, he wanted them gone for good.  So after a few months on the anti-convulsant meds, he also had her on a 9 week ACTH therapy.  Wow, what an interesting summer we had that year, 2007.  Kendal turned 2 years old, started ACTH, stopped talking completely, and went into survival mode.  ACTH was a shot I had to administer every night and every morning, but not until we had driven to the local Emergency Room and checked her blood pressure.  If it was too high, we could not give her the shot.  This only happened about 4 or 5 times.  After we returned from the ER, I would give her the ACTH shot in the leg and go along with our day.
The anti-convulsant and the ACTH had some crazy side effects - high blood pressure (obviously), she couldn't sweat and could overheat very easily (makes for a hard summer!), her immune system plummeted, horrible kidney stones, increased appetite, no speech nor emotion, and ACTH has a prednizone effect, so she ballooned right up.  I am sure there are a few more, but I must have blocked them out!

She stopped talking completely, and for about 6 weeks the only sound she would make is when she would waddle over to her high chair, and shake it while whimpering - telling me she wanted to eat.  I really don't even recall her crying during this time.  She was miserable, and looking back at these pictures, makes me realize just how crazy and uncertain life seemed to be then.

The ACTH did what is was supposed to do - the seizures decreased and finally stopped.  Her last seizure was on the 4th of July 2007, Independence Day.  Since that time, it has been a long road.  She remained on the anti-convulsant drug for 4 more years to keep those brain waves under control.  She finally started talking again, but very delayed.  The anti-convulsant drug had its own side effects - decreased speech and thought processes, no sweating still, and decreased bone strength, and I am sure a few more, but that is what mattered to her.  In the fall of 2007, she was tested by the Early Intervention folks and we started getting an occupational therapist and a speech therapist in our home every week.  This happened until she turned 3, then she attended the Early Intervention Preschool.
What a good experience it all was and how grateful I am to have the resources available to us to help our little Kendal.  She attended all day Kindergarten last year and did very well, considering the statistics.

Infantile spasms is associated with a significant risk of mortality and morbidity. Riikonen, an infantile spasm specialist, has followed 214 infantile spasms patients for 20–35 years and has accumulated the best long-term follow-up studies of these patients.  In her series, nearly one third of the patients died during the follow-up period, many in the first 3 years of life. Eight of the 24 patients who died by age 3 died of complications of therapy with ACTH. Of the 147 surviving patients, 25 (17%) had a favorable developmental outcome with an IQ of 85 or greater. Eleven others were in the dull–normal range, with an IQ of 68–84. Thus, of the 214 patients diagnosed with infantile spasms, 31% died, 45% were retarded, but 24% had a reasonably favorable outcome.

 So, Kendal is now finishing up 1st grade where she has done very well.  Her speech is amazing, although her 'Rs' are difficult (they were for me too!), she reads at a end of Kindergarten level, math is difficult for her, but doable, she is in the middle level spelling group in her class, and loves recess!  She played in the chess club this year, and that seems to be one of the activities that she can truly concentrate on, buckle down, and really enjoy.  We are not sure what it is about chess, but she loves it, can play it pretty dang well, and can sit still long enough to play a game.  She is an active little girl and will be playing soccer this spring and can't wait to start in a few weeks.  She is a sweetheart and a stinker at the same time.  She is so very willing to try to please me in what I ask her to do, she follows directions better than her siblings.  She is stubborn, oh so very stubborn, but she needed that stubborn independence to get through what she has been through. 
We are so happy we have the Kendal that we have today.  How very lucky and blessed we are as a family to have gone through hard times, knowing it could have been harder and much much worse.  How very blessed we are to have a whole and beautiful nearly 7 year old in a 7 year old body, rather than many of those that have suffered from epilepsy like she has and be a 20 month old in a 7 year old body.  She is an angel and we love her so very much.  She reminds me everyday how very blessed we are and that we can pull through almost anything.

Wear purple this week, and go make a batch of purple cupcakes for epilepsy awareness!

Sunday, March 25, 2012

My Little Man

 My little sweet man turned three years old over the weekend.  We spent the weekend in Salina, mostly with Mark and Emiko's family.  It was also Judd's birthday, so we celebrated together.  Judd had 13 candles on his side of the cake, and Emmitt had 3 candles on his side of the cake. 

 Emmitt is such a little sweetheart at our house and we are so happy to have him around.  He makes us all smile and laugh, and brings so much happiness into our home.  He is a snuggler and loves to give his family 'strong hugs' and his mom sweet kisses.  Kendal and Kelsey both adore him, and he has us all wrapped around his little finger.

 We spent Friday and Saturday at the farm and at the ranch.  Emmitt loves riding in the big tractors and helping his dad with the cows and farm work.  Here is our crowd, and Mark and Emiko's kids.  They are all good kids and so helpful when it comes to getting the work done that needs to be done.  Mark and Emiko's kids do more work than anyone realizes and are so helpful to do what their mom and dad needs them to do.

Emmitt had a great birthday spending time with his family, playing with cousins, helping his dad and uncle Mark, moving cows, and of course opening a few presents.  Happy Birthday Little Man!  We sure love you!

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Monday, March 19, 2012

 We received a bunch of snow last night.  I think the last big storm of the year.  Since it has been a pretty dry winter, it was nice to get some snow, knowing it will melt in a few days instead of stick around all winter!  I love a good March snow!

 When the girls got home from school, a bunch of it had already melted, but there was still enough of the wet stuff to make a snowman or two.  Emmitt had been waiting all day to play with the girls in the snow!

So since my yardwork has been put on hold for a bit, I get to sew.  I should be working on this project:  new cushions for this poor old chair that is falling apart.  I bought some fabric to do so two weeks ago and still haven't done anything with it yet. 

I haven't done too much yet because I am consumed with quilting a blue and gray quilt, and with another project - a new civil war dress.  This is the fabric I am using this time around.  I saw this cotton plaid last summer and bought all they had - 13 yards of it.  I love clearance fabric!  I have wanted a plaid dress for awhile, so I figure now is the time to make it.  I am not under a deadline, since it won't fit me for another 5 months or so anyway!  I have the bodice finished and I am going to spend the next few cold days making 9 yards of ruched trim to attach to it somehow!  I am so excited!  Maybe I will get to that chair too.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

coop de ville

 Emmitt and I have been looking at chicken coop pictures online. 

 These are a few of the ones we found, that we like.

 I want to get chickens this spring, not sure why, just do.
I also want to plant my garden area with trees, not sure why,
just do, and I will, because I can!

 So I have been talking to my dad the for the past month about
chickens.  I think he is going to make me a coop.
 I sent him all these pictures.  My kids are so excited.
Pretty sure my dad is not, hee hee hee.  He is a good dad.
 My dad thinks all these coops are so small, and they are,
when you compare them to the chicken coop we
grew up with!

Just a picture I took of the chicken coop's door at my grandma's house.  It was a nice coop in the day, but I bet a chicken has not been in there in almost 30 years.  This was such a fun and mysterious place when I was growing up.  I loved to go collect the eggs with my grandma.

 So yesterday Emmitt and I started getting ready for our new coop.  Earlier in the week we went to the feed store and looked at the baby chicks they had in that day.  So darn cute!  Emmitt loved them.

 So Emmitt played in the sandbox while I thinned the monster out of control raspberry bushes.  By the way, any local folks, I have a ton of Heritage raspberry starts if you are interested.  I already gave away about 30 of them, and will have that many more next week.  My aching back and the cold weather today kept me from doing the other planter box of berries!

I also have two boxes of white and purple irises.  I failed quite a bit in my fall yard cleanup, so that means I get to do it this spring, while 7 months pregnant!  Smart girl Rachel!  So here goes to the cleanup!

A bit better afterwards.  After this I took the boards apart from one box.  As soon as I get the irises divided and on their way to someone else's yard, this is where part of the coop will be built.  I think it will work out nicely. 

So that brings me to this - if anyone wants irises, let me know.  These are the exact plants in this box.  They all need to go and they ship nicely!

Have a wonderful St. Patrick's Day folks!  Eat some steamed cabbage and corned beef, and smile!


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