Matthew turned 6 in February. He wanted a cake made out of donuts and jelly beans on top. Why not! And no baking and took only a couple of minutes to assemble. We spent the day the zoo. Fun family time.
I know it's been so long since I've written in this space. I have been busier than I've ever been. I figured that I probably don't have any, or many, readers left; but then a couple of ladies contacted me asking how we've been. That really touched me to know that someone actually cared and was thinking of us. So I thought in case there were others that I would do a little update.
As you many of you will remember, our daughter Kimberly was married. Then they had a baby. Well, our sweet little grandson is almost 1 now. My, how time flies! Her husband joined the Air Force, and they are stationed in Italy for 3 1/2 years. They are loving it! We are enjoying the pictures she posts on Facebook. Such an amazing place. They are very lucky to have this opportunity. They will have beautiful memories that will last a lifetime. We are able to keep in touch through Facebook, Skype and talking on the phone using MagicJack. What a difference it makes. It makes them seem not so far away.
Here is a picture of myself with our oldest daughter who is now 25 and Kimberly as a baby.
Here is Kimberly with her son.
And their family picture.
Going back a little bit, here are a few wedding shots. A couple with Marty and I and one with our son Matthew, Age 4 at the time, as the ring bearer and Samantha as the flower girl. Matthew pulled Samantha in a wagon decorated with tulle down the aisle.
And here are a few pictures of our children still home.
Matthew, 6 at the end of this month, wearing Daddy's glasses.
And Samantha, 2.
Marty is still doing well and is fully recovered. We are two years out from his heart attack. Emily has started a little blog, Fashionista Emily. Emily and Martin are enjoying scouting with American Heritage Girls and Trail Life. Matthew loves to build with all kinds of building toys and run and play. Samantha is doing very well. She is healthy and has a wonderful bubbly personality. She loves to sing and bounce to the music. She has four therapists that come each week and will until she's 3, developmental, speech, Occupational and physical. She is very bright and picks things up very quickly. Her language is good. She speaks clearly and has over 70 words. She is behind physically, but the therapists say that will come in time. We are working to help her strengthen her core. She is not crawling or walking yet, but we are hoping that in the coming months she will be able to do that.
I think about sewing quite often and keep hoping I'll find the time. And if I do, I will of course share that with you here.
Hello, Everyone. It's been so long since I've posted, but I wanted to pop in and just say hello and let you know I'm still thinking about you and popping in on your blogs. Samantha will be two in August. She is doing great, still not crawling; but she can say many words. We are so amazed about that. She is the sweetest little thing and has the funnest and cutest personality. I am a grandmother now to a little boy, 2 and a half months old. He's so very precious. We are enjoying him very much. He is a very easy and happy baby. My husband and I are going by Mimi and Poppy. I just got my computer back after it crashed several months ago; so hopefully I can start posting pictures again.
I've been reading about Google Reader going away. So I'm wondering: Where is everyone going? How do we follow one another? Is it Blog Lovin'? Please share so I can get connected so that when I start to post more regularly again, I'll be ready. I keep getting the urge to sew something. I just need to sit down and do it. So if you still want to follow me and keep up with what's going on in my life or know when I create something, then please put me on your blog roll or list of blogs you are following.
As many of you remember, my husband had a heart attack February 27th, 2012, with 100 percent blockage and only 30 percent heart function. You can read about my post right after his heart attack here. He was told he would only gain maybe 50 percent heart function, that he would always have damage. Well, fast forward to today, and he has full heart function and they could barely find any sign of damage on his echocardiogram taken a over a month ago. His cardiologist said he has reversed his heart disease and is considering taking him off of all meds. He also had an ultrasound of his veins done in his legs and neck, and they are clear. You can read about that post here. I was asked by several readers if I would share what he has been doing to get this improvement.
He exercises daily. For the first 12 weeks he went to physical therapy. He now walks at a fast pace, walks the stairs at work, lifts weights, hula hoops with adult size hoops and does pushups. Not everything every day, but he usually does two or three of these each day, doing something aerobic 45 minutes at least four days a week. He is very committed and consistent. I believe the exercise may even be more crucial to his healing than the diet; although they are both important.
Below is what his diet consists of. This diet and exercise has brought his cholesterol and weight down significantly. Animals products are not more than 20 percent of his diet.
We place a big focus on eating whole, non-processed food. Lots of salads and fruits and nuts for snacks.
We eat foods low on the glycemic scale. You can find one by doing a search on Google. We do not drink juice or coffee. We drink tea. We do not eat: dried fruit, corn, white potatoes, white rice, wheat (so no pasta, sandwiches or cereal), milk, full fat cheese, deli meats, sausage, hot dogs, etc. or beef. No salt. We use Mrs. Dash as a substitute. No butter or margarine. We saute with Grape seed oil or pure extra virgin coconut oil. No store bought dressings because of the high sugar content. We use extra virgin olive oil and vinegar or fresh squeezed lemon. No Ketchup or mayonnaise. High in sugar. Mustard is okay. We use stevia in place of sugar. We use unsweetened almond milk. Here are some of the things we eat: one weight watchers cheese stick a day, and not every day. No other cheese in diet. Oatmeal; eggs; plain yogurt mixed with stevia, blueberries, raw oats, raw walnuts, raw sunflower seeds, flax seeds and chia seeds; salmon; lean ground turkey; chicken breast; beans and brown rice; soup (not canned) (We often put pearled barley and canned diced tomatoes in our soup and bean dishes); lentils; sweet potatoes; raw almonds as a snack; raw pumpkin seeds as a snack or in salad; peaches; plums; apples; pears, berries; oranges, cantelope; watermelon; tomatoes; avocados; red graces (not green); various vegetables; salad; quinoa. Watermelon is high on the glycemic scale but affects the body as if it's low. Dairy is low on the glycemic scale but affects the body as if high because it is in high in lactose sugar. We eat eggs because even though they are high in cholesterol, they are low in saturated fat so the cholesterol does not affect the body in a negative way. Cholesterol is a problem in high fat foods. We don't eat many packaged foods; and when we do, we check the labels carefully, especially for sugar content and salt content. When eating out, we typically will order fish, chicken breast, non creamy soups, or salad. We do not use their dressing. If they do not have oil and vinegar, we will ask for lemon and use fresh squeezed lemon and avocado if they have it. We do not eat the bread or chips. Examples of breakfast: oatmeal (old fashioned oats, not instant or quick cooking), plain yogurt mixed with berries, nuts, sunflower seeds, oats, banana, stevia; salmon, banana with almond butter, avocado, eggs. (Banana tip: The riper the banana the higher the sugar content. We try to avoid overly ripe bananas.) And we don't eat too many bananas because they are higher in sugar than other fruits. A very important key element to the success of our diet aside from low sugar and very little carbs from wheat would be trying to have protein with each meal and snack as often as possible. Protein slows the absorption of sugar, helps to maintain muscle mass and therefore burn more fat and it also aids in the feeling of satiety and the result is eating less. Foods with protein: nuts and seeds, plain yogurt, eggs, chicken, fish, turkey, beans, Weight Watchers low fat mozzarella cheese stick, almond butter. The fat in avocados and nuts are okay because they are the good fats and will not make you gain weight. Weight gain in diets comes mainly from too much sugar or foods that turn into sugar, bread, corn, white potatoes are some examples. The good fats also make you feel full longer so you eat less.
As you have probably gathered by now, sugar and high-sugar foods are to be avoided. It causes health problems as well as weight gain, which are all bad for the heart. Some of the supplements he takes are a multiple, a green barley drink, fish oil, Coenzyme Q10, cayenne, D-3. We are still researching the supplements. He should probably be taking calcium and magnesium as well. We are also still learning and improving our diet. I am also eating this way as well in hopes of preventing a heart attack and/or stroke. Heart disease is one of the, if not the, number one killers of women. Again, a good, strong aerobic exercise program for 45 minutes a day, four days a week (work your way up to this and check with your doctor first) and a really good diet similar to the one above are key to preventing and reversing heart disease. Could save your life. Exercise is what saved my husband's life. The doctor said that because he had exercised for years before his heart attack that he had built collateral arteries so that blood was still able to get through; otherwise, he would have died instantly since he had 100 percent blockage in the main artery they call the widow maker. So if you will build up a good sweat on a regular basis, you will build collateral arteries too. A book we are finding very helpful is Younger Next Year and Younger Next Year for Women, minus all of the evolutionary talk. It explains the exercise connection and exactly what to do and how much to add years to your life. It was written by a doctor and his patient and how it helped him. Hope you find all of this helpful, and let me know if you have any tips. We are still learning. On a side note, I have been doing some sewing for my first grand baby who should be here in two weeks or less. My hubby sent my computer off to be fixed; and if all goes well, I will have it back this week. So hopefully I can start posting mine and Emily's sewing projects again. So be sure and check in. And I have decided to have the grands call me Mimi. I really like the way that sounds. I think it's sweet. What do you think? I was stuck on Gigi for a while, but I just wasn't sure. Then I found out that my son-in-law's mother really wanted to be called Gigi; so I decided to go with Mimi.
As I mentioned in my previous post, I will be a first-time grandmother in February. I'm not so sure I want to be called grandma. I would love some help in picking out my grandma name. The two I have been thinking on are Gigi and Mimi. Which one do you like better? Do you have any other suggestions? And what do you think about being called Grandma? Does it sound too old? Or do you like it?
Hello, Everyone. I know you've been wondering what we've been up to and how we are doing. I will try to give you a little update. I appreciate those who have inquired. Before I get into too much, first I would like to let you know that my computer crashed, and I am working on a laptop that I am unfamiliar with and that does not have my pictures; so I can't post any photos at this time. I am trying to decide if I should put photos on Flickr and post them from there. Do you know how to post pics on your posts from Flickr? I could not figure it out. I am also wondering if I can post pictures from my Facebook page and how I would do that? I did not see that option. If you know how to do these things, I would really appreciate if you could share that information with me.
One of our daughters, Kimberly, second oldest, just got married a couple of weeks ago; so I had been very busy with helping her plan her wedding. Samantha, our 16 month old, was the flower girl; and Matthew, our 4 year old was the ring bearer. He pulled her down the aisle in a wagon. It was just darling. Our 9 year son was one of the ushers, and he escorted me to my seat. I felt very proud walking with him. The boys looked so handsome in their suits. The music for the ceremony was a violin and guitar duet. It was beautiful.
And are you ready for this? I am going to be a grandmother in February. I can hardly believe it. We are excited. Samantha will be 18 months when he is born. Aunt Samantha. How does that sound? They will be more like close cousins.
Samantha is doing fantastic. She is 16 months old now. She is saying several words, mama, da da, up, apple, happy and lots of babbling with many different sounds. She is so happy, giggling and smiling most of the day. She is so beautiful, fun, cute and sweet. She is just absolutely amazing. I can't properly convey to you just how awesome she. We are really enjoying her. She is sitting up well now. Playing with her toys. Her core is getting stronger. She is getting up on all fours and could possibly be crawling in the next two to four months. She learns the motions to little songs and rhymes very easily, for example, patty cake and Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star. She adores music and sings in her own baby language and sways to the music. If she is fussy, all I have to do is sing; and she cheers up. She has an occupational therapist from ECI (Early Childhood Intervention) who comes to our home once a week to work with her and teach us how to work with her and a developmental therapist who also comes once a week who works with her on the cognitive stuff. For those who do not know about Samantha, she was born with Trisomy 21. She was born healthy and did not have any heart issues. Just click on "Samantha" under "topics" in the sidebar to read my posts about her, her birth story, progress, a video of her babbling, etc.
It has been 9 months since my husband's heart attack. He is doing extremely well. He has lost a lot of weight. He is now back to his high school weight in the low 170s. He is 6 foot tall. His cholesterol is in the 130s and the other numbers are in normal range as well. After his heart attack, his heart was functioning at 30 percent. He had an echocardiogram last week, and it showed that he now has full heart function. His doctor said he could not see any damage on the echo and that he has completely reversed his heart disease. An ultrasound of the arteries also shows that his veins are clear. The doctor was amazed and asked him what he has been doing. The radiologist says that the most he could have hoped for was 50 percent heart function and that he has never seen improvement like this. After his heart attack, he was told that there was a lot of damage because he did not come in for three days due to the fact that he thought it was indigestion and that he would not regain full heart function; so this is so amazing. We are so thankful to God for this. And I am also so proud of my husband for caring enough about himself and his family to work so hard and be so disciplined with his diet and exercise.
I haven't done any sewing lately. I plan to carve out some time to do some projects, hopefully soon. My 12 year old daughter Emily has sewn several things recently, a nightgown and a couple of dresses, one of her own design, which I will try to share with you as soon as I figure out how to load the photos. I am juggling many things in my life right now, as I'm sure you are. I am homeschooling three of our six children and doing therapy with Samantha every day, and scouting keeps us pretty busy as well. I also try to fit in exercise several days a week. And preparing to start my own jewelry business. So I am not able to blog as regularly as I would like right now. I am going to have a goal to try to do a post once a month, more often when I can, and sometimes less often. I would like to stay in touch with you and share with you our creations as well as updates on our family from time to time. Hopefully I can blog more frequently in the future. Would that be enough posting for you to keep visiting, or would you just lose interest? Knowing how you feel will help me determine the future of my blog and if it's worth the effort to keep it going; so I appreciate your feedback. Many of you have been a support and encouragement to me during difficult times, and I have enjoyed the many comments on my sewing projects. So it is hard for me to just let my blog go even though I don't have a lot of time to blog at the moment because I would miss you and the sense of community I feel here with like-minded people. I have also made many meaningful friendships through blogging, which has enriched my life immensely. Even though I have not been posting much lately, I still visit my favorite blogs daily, rarely missing a post, and try to comment when time allows. You are all so inspiring.
I hope I can figure out this whole picture thing because I would really love to show you some shots from the wedding and of our beautiful Samantha and how much she has grown. So please be sure and leave comment if you can help me figure that out. Thanks for visiting and for your input.
Well, take care and have a wonderful Christmas and Happy New Year.
I am so excited. I just received my copy of Gertie's New Book for Better Sewing in the mail Saturday. It is much better than I dreamed it would be. It is absolutely amazing. It is Gertie's version of the 1950s Vogue's New Book For Better Sewing and is an extension of her blog, Gertie's New Blog for Better Sewing. Beautifully illustrated lessons on fine sewing and customization techniques, vintage inspired patterns included. The explanations are very clear and easy to understand with plenty of photographs showing the techniques. I love her writing style. It is very personable and witty. Her personality comes right through the pages. It feels like she is sitting right there in the room with you. I just know we would be great friends if we lived in the same location.
This is now my favorite sewing book. I have long since envied the availability others have of having couture sewing classes in their area. Those are not offered where I live, and I am not in a season of life where it is practical for me to travel to the sewing conferences. Gertie has gained so much knowledge from being able to take advantage of these sources. And now she has compiled her knowledge as well as personal experience into this book. I feel this will be the perfect vehicle to learn the specialized techniques I have longed to learn.
I have been a long time follower of Gertie's since she first began her blog in 2009. I have watched her grow by leaps and bounds. She has done so much in such a short amount of time. She teaches sewing classes online and in person. She has taught sewing on television. She has been published in magazine publications. She now has her own pattern line with Butterick, this book and so much more, all on top of keeping up with her lively and informative blog. She is so inspiring. I really appreciate all of her hard work because with her blog, online classes and her book I can learn so much and take my sewing to a deeper level. If you adore classic glamour and retro styles, then this book is for you.
Hello all! First off, thank you so much for all of your kind comments on my last post. They were so uplifting and encouraging. I am so excited to actually be sharing something creative. And now for the long awaited new feature I promised you in my last post, drum roll please: I bring you Emily Callan, my 11 year old daughter and future fashion designer as well as my new blog partner. As many of you will remember, she had her own blog for a couple of years, Super Stitches; but it was closed down due to her age. She will most likely start up her own blog again when she is 13. But in the meantime, she will post her projects here. We will call this new feature Emily's Corner. I hope you enjoy this new addition.
We enjoy sewing and refashioning clothing together. She had the idea to take a pair of ankle-length black jeans that were too short and still fit in the waist and remove color by flicking and painting bleach onto them (outside of course), basically reverse dying. She also cut them shorter in an interesting design and left them unhemmed. I asked her how she would describe the hem for me. She said she just cut violently. Great way to release pent up tension and frustration I suppose. She is very pleased with the results and wears them often. In the first picture she is shown with her four year old brother.
She has sewn some things recently as well and will be posting them soon.
At the end of this post, I have included a photo and video of our sweet baby Samantha.
Our beautiful baby Samantha, now 10 months old. To learn more about Samantha, click on "Samantha" underneath "Topics" in the sidebar. (This photograph was shot by me with my point-and-shoot. The photos of Emily were shot by my husband, Marty Callan.)
And below is a video I took of our sweet girl. She was so funny and cute, talking up a storm, her personality really shining through. Enjoy!
Hello, Everyone. I'm sorry it's been so long. It has been so hard to write for several reasons. For one, I have been so very busy taking care of my husband and children. Spending much more time in food preparation in order to provide heart healthy meals for my husband and also trying to do what I can to relieve him of some of his duties at home so that he can rest. Another reason, it's been difficult to sort through my feelings with all that has occurred this past year. There have been times of great stress and depression that I have had to work through. I feel like I am coming out on the other side. I am learning to find the beauty in the midst of challenges and the unexpected. I am learning to be grateful for what I do have instead of focusing on what I don't. I want you to know that you have made such a difference and have helped me through this difficult time with your kind words more than you'll ever know. I really appreciate you being there for me.
Marty is doing well. It is slow going. He is going to physical therapy three times a week. He gets dizzy and tires easily. After one session last week, his chest hurt all night; so that was a little scary. They did an EKG and said everything was fine, to just take it easy. We go for a stroll together in the evenings which is very nice. It's nice having that quiet relaxing time together. For those of you who are new here, you can read about the situation here.
Many of you have asked about Samantha, our special baby born with down syndrome. Here is the first post I wrote about her after her birth for those who have not read it. When you read it, realize we were not expecting this diagnosis. We were caught off guard and did not know anything about it. I was very scared and was grieving.
She is now 9 months old. I am so in love with her. She is so perfect in every way and so very beautiful. She is patient, sweet, content and smiles readily. She lights up when any of us pay her attention and/or picks her up. She is so very precious and the essence of her beauty, inside and out, reveals itself more and more to me each day. I kiss on her and hug her all day every chance I get, which is constantly.
She had and EKG and echo done, and her heart is perfect. The two holes that were there have closed on their own. She is very strong. She nurses well, says da da, buh buh and yea while clapping her hands together. She rolls from front to back and back to front and pushes up on her hands while doing tummy time. She can shake her rattle. Her occupational therapist who comes to our home three times a month is thrilled with her progress and says she gets stronger each visit.
I feel very blessed to have her for a daughter. I feel we are going to be fine. When I feel uncertain about the future with her, I just remind myself to enjoy her in the stage she is in now, just enjoy her being a baby. She is just like all of my other babies. I see no difference. When I hold her, all stress melts away. Holding her is therapy in itself.
We have many medical expenses which we are having difficulty meeting. If you find it in your heart and your means to help us, I have placed at end of this post a secure Paypal donation button. Thank you in advance from the bottom of my heart to those of you who wish to do so. I pray that God doubly blesses you.
I am looking forward to bringing you some sewing posts soon. I will be introducing a new feature on my blog that I think you will enjoy. Thanks so much for hanging in there and allowing me to have this time to take care of the extra needs of my family and adjust to new way of life. I'll leave you with some sweet pictures of Samantha.
My husband had a heart attack over the weekend. He was having what we thought was heart burn while camping with Emily. He went to the doctor on Monday morning. She did an EKG and she told him to go to the ER. They ran a few tests and the got right to surgery. They did an angioplasty and put in two stints, Please keep our family in your prayers and pray for Marty to have have complete restoration.
I am so overwhelmed. I am so scared. The love of my life, my sweet darling husband, now having stints in his heart and having to take off of these medications for the rest of his life. Will he have a shorter life, will there more complications with his heart in the future, how will we afford these medications when we were already struggling to pay our bills?
I feel so responsible. I feel I wasn't the best wife, that I caused him so much stress from our arguments that it damaged his heart. He had high cholesterol. But we mistakenly thought that with a good diet of whole grains, fruits and vegetables and exercise, that he could get it down. We never dreamed it was filling up his veins. I have so much regret. I love my husband so much. How am I going to be able to cope? How is he going to be able to provide? We have so many expenses with Samantha and now this and no insurance to cover it. We were barely making it as it was. His car is over 15 years old and keeps breaking down, and we can't afford to get him a new one. He can't work any harder than he already is. He is already at work until 7 and later each night, coming him utterly exhausted. Now he will be limited in how much he can do. It's all my fault. If only, if only. If I could go back and have been a more relaxed, easy going, loving, supportive wife. If I had encouraged him to take the cholesterol lowering medication we wouldn't be in this boat.
I don't want to lose him earlier in life. He is the love of my life. I would be devastated. He is 51. I am about to be 47. We have all of these children to raise, the youngest being 11, 9, 4 and 7 months. I couldn't possibly go to work. Day care would take all of the money. I couldn't bear to leave my babies anyway. It would kill me. I wouldn't be able to function. My heart is in the home. I wish I knew of something I could do from home that wouldn't take too much time away from the family but would provide a decent income. And I don't mean multi-level marketing. That takes so much time building your team. I don't have that kind of time to be hanging on the phone constantly and whatever else is involved. I don't know what to do about Samantha's care with her having down syndrome when we are no longer here to take care of her. We can't set anything aside for her future. What is going to happen to her? I am so anxious. I have so much on my plate. Homeschooling the children, Samantha's therapy, running the home. Now I have to do his part too, taking the kids to their outside activities, taking out the trash, grocery shopping, getting Matthew ready for bed. He would do Matthew, who is 4, and I would do the baby. And it goes on and on. Also, the sad thing is we make too much to qualify for governmental help but not enough to help ourselves.
Lord, help me. Help me to cope. Please heal my husband's heart and let there be no future complications or more blockage. Please help me to be a good wife. Please provide for us. Please don't let us lose our home. Please show us the way. Please show Marty if there is a job he could do that would pay more and be so taxing. Please help us to be able to provide for at least the basic needs of our children, education, braces, medical, food and shelter. Please give us the money we need to pay for his medications each month for without them he will die. We need help now. I can't stop crying.
Open for prayer and advice and anything else God puts on your heart.
I made Emily a couple of headwraps from some old sweaters and matching cowl scarves. I also made a headwrap for her cousin's 12th birthday. Don't they look so cute together? The headwrap can be worn plain or embellished. They are so quick and easy to sew. You basically cut out long rectangles, apply fabric glue to the long sides and sew the short ends together and you're done. I got the idea from Disney of Ruffles and Stuff. She's made some great tutorials, click here for the headwrap tutorial and here for the cowl scarf. Thanks so much, Disney, Emily loves hers. They keep her warm and stylish.
Welcome to my sewing and fashion blog. I am the wife to an amazing man, homeschooling mama of six (26, 21, 14, 11, 6 and 3) and grandmother of one. I enjoy sewing modern, vintage and refashioned clothing. Thank you for stopping by. Have a blessed day.