Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Oh, Alice! Twinkly, Glittery, Sparkly Cupcakes?

I figured sparkly cupcakes were a bit different, right? Then I decided to go with a different color scheme other than pinks... so I stuck with the SU! Sweet Pea designer paper that I love so much and used the Taken with Teal & Pumpkin Pie papers. Ribbon, small brads & gemstone brads also SU!


Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Unscripted Sketches Bella Kitty

I love sketch challenges - I make so many cards that I sometimes find myself sitting there staring at an image I'm dying to "play with" but not knowing how to put it together. Sketches really get me inspired and help get those creative juices flowin'.

I was DYING to play with this adorable new rubbah I got from Stamping Bella, Mavis builds a sandcastle. So I started creating, and flipped the sketch for the

Unscripted Sketches #61

I used the very delicious Stampin' Up! designer paper in Sweet Pea. Can I just tell you that I love it so much, I bought 2 more packages when it was still available? I have a serious problem with hoarding background paper. And the worst part is not wanting to USE it cuz I love it so much. hee hee I have been working on that, I promise. Anyway, I used mostly the Taken with Teal, Sahara Sand, So Saffron & Old Olive colors, a little Pumpkin Pie. I just love this sweet kitty image, I'm glad I decided to buy some new rubbah instead of more digis!


Monday, June 28, 2010

All That Scraps Wednesday Challenge

Oh yeah - gettin' back into the swing of things, posting 2 days in a row... ;) hee hee

I went on a bit of a cleaning/purging/organizing binge this weekend, and got motivated to do some challenge cards. This little honey (hee hee) is for the

All That Scraps Wednesday challenge *use caribbean, celery, & pink*

I used CC Designs Honey Bikini stamp, SU! cardstock in Certainly Celery & Pretty in Pink, and DP by DCWV. Flower brads & ribbon by SU! Bathing suit covered in pretty pink fluffy glitter by My Favorite Things.


Sunday, June 27, 2010

Pink & Black Tiddly Inks

My "stamps for sale" blog post has been updated as of today with ELEVEN new sets added! Go check it out here! Feel free to make me an offer, especially if you are interested in multiple sets. I charge actual shipping costs, and I usually use Priority mail with delivery confirmation.

I really enjoy seeing how many challenges I can combine into one really great card. I was able to fashion this cutie for 3 different challenges:

The Pink Elephant - pink & black challenge

Tiddly Inks - Embellies (use buttons, lace, or both)

Crazy4Challenges #43 - Sketch Challenge

I used SU! Pretty in Pink, Whisper White & Basic Black for most of this card. I used some beautiful pink buttons and pretty sparkly pink fluffy stuff from My Favorite Things on her skirt.

Sooooo - I have some news. :) Last week, my boss was out of the office unexpectedly all week, so I didn't want to publicize anything until I had a chance to talk to him. Unfortunately, he wasn't going to be back until Monday (tomorrow), so I had to talk to his boss instead and let him know that.... I was giving my 2-week notice as of Friday. We are doing it - WE ARE MOVING TO CALIFORNIA!!! I can't even believe I'm saying it out loud, but there it is. My last day of work will be July 9. I will then have just about one month to pack up my entire home, hopefully have a giant yard sale, and transfer our entire lives from one side of the country to the other.

Of course it's bittersweet - one minute I'm super-excited and giddy with anticipation. The next minute I'm nervous as hell and sick to my stomach! LOL I am looking at it as an adventure - if it doesn't work out, we can always come back. We don't own our home and we don't intend to buy a home in California, either. Jeremy and Trevor are flying out next week to check out some houses to rent. Jeremy has work lined up out there, and I am going to be doing some work-at-home stuff for Jeremy's mom (book-keeping and stuff like that). Trevor is totally psyched - Cassidy is coming around. It's going to be really hard to say goodbye to our friends - Cassidy and I are going to have the hardest time.

I'm sure I'll be blogging a lot about our impending move, so stay tuned! Peace.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Holy Earthquake!!!

So I'm sitting at work today with my friend/co-worker Judy and it's around 1:45 in the afternoon. My son Trevor calls me, so I interrupt her to take his call. While I'm talking to him, I realize my chair is shaking. Like SHAKING. I look down and around me and I'm thinking "what the hell is that?" and then I look up and Judy is doing the same thing. Looking all around her. So I say "Judy - did you feel that?" and she goes "I thought you were shaking your leg or something" and I said "Trevor - I have to go". My sister (who works in the office across the hall) sends me an instant message saying "I think I am losing my mind." and I replied "Did you FEEL that?" and she says "YES!!!" So Judy and I ran into her office and we were totally freaking out. But NO ONE else in our office building felt it! Four other people! Anyway - about half hour or an hour later, we find out that there was a 5.5 earthquake in Canada today where the effects were felt "as far away as Boston." Yeah - Worcester, too! Holy crap - what a feeling. I had goosebumps up and down my arms for an hour after finding out it really was an earthquake!!!

Just sharing a card I made using a Stampin' Up! set - I hardly ever use my poor SU! sets anymore!

I love this color combo of Old Olive, Rose Red, Regal Rose, and So Saffron.


Sunday, June 20, 2010

The Pink Elephant #71

Today's card uses the adorable new Honey image called Summer from All That Scraps. She is so much fun to color - I plan to paper-piece her next, isn't her swim cap just dying to be paper-pieced? LOL

I made this card for the

Pink Elephant Challenge #71 (sketch challenge)

Colors are Stampin' Up! Certainly Celery, Bashful Blue, So Saffron, and Rose Red. I used SU! cardstock, DP, and gemstone brads.


Saturday, June 19, 2010

Paper Sundaes & JUGS

Second post for today, because this challenge card had to be entered by today for the

Paper Sundaes Challenge #21 (sketch challenge)

But I also followed the colors for the

Just Us Girls Challenge #38 (pink, chocolate, vanilla)

I used the Greeting Farm's digi image Twisted Tea from the Creepy Cakes line.

Jeremy and I are heading out to our friend's house to sit by a fire tonight and try to relax. Wish us luck. ;) Peace.

More bad news :(

I cannot believe I am saying this, but I have more bad news to share. My 19-year-old nephew Eric had a seizure (his 3rd in 3 years) while driving yesterday (first time while driving), and got into a bad car accident. He is OK, but it was just so awful... let's just say I am dangerously close to a nervous freaking breakdown. *sigh* My sister and I work together, and I ended up getting the phone call at work yesterday morning - it was just so scary, I can't even put into words how scary it was. I love this kid like he's my own. He had dropped off my sister at work, picked up 2 of his friends, and was going back home to get ready to drive to the beach. Thank God he hadn't already left, thank God he wasn't on the highway... anyway, he had a seizure and lost control of the car with his foot on the accelerator and he crashed into a house. One of his friends had no injuries, the other had a facial laceration. Eric was covered in blood, but it looked much worse than it was - turned out that he had a lot of bruises and lacerations, a black eye, and needed stitches.

So now I am starting to feel like "what next?" and that is a crappy way to feel. :( I really need a stretch of some GOOD news, some FUN, something to look forward to... Jeremy's dad is doing better, so that's good. He's been on his back for so long that he did develop some blood clots in his legs, but they seem to have it under control. He's not in as much pain as he was, which is wonderful. Physical therapy is going well - and he's talking about stuff, which I'm sure is helping. Jeremy goes up several times a day to visit, we brought him dinner last night and visited for a couple hours. He has had quite a few friends visit, so he's very lucky to have a lot of support. I know it will help.

I am drained, I can't even explain how emotionally exhausted I am. My sister and I are heading over to my mom's yard today to lay by her pool and just relax. NOTHING bad can happen today - I FORBID IT! Are you hearing me, universe? I cannot take it - so give me a break here, please. Thank you.


Wednesday, June 16, 2010

MelJen's #11 Sparkle Glitter Bling

Heyyyyy (as my 15-year-old daughter writes it - that's the cool way, you know). Today's card is for the

MelJen's Challenge #11 - Sparkle Glitter Bling

I used Stampin' Up! cardstock in Bashful Blue, SU! rub-on sentiment "Thanks a million!", SU! light blue glitter, and SU! gemstone brads. DP is by DCWV.

Jeremy's dad was moved to a rehabilitation hospital Monday night, so that's a good thing. One step closer to healing and going home. Which will also be hard. *sigh* I went back to work Monday, and that's also hard. It's really hard to care about what feel like trivial things in light of recent events in my life, you know? That's a whole other story, though, and I don't have the energy right now. LOL


Monday, June 14, 2010

JUGS 37 & Aimee's Shower

Can you believe it's Monday? I can't! I have to go back to work today after my 2-week "hiatus" and I am not really looking forward to it, but such is life. Anyway, I was in the mood for cherries when I made this, apparently - it's for the

Just Us Girls Challenge #37 - use a digi image or digi paper (I used an All That Scraps digi image)

Cardstock, brads, ribbon & DP by Stampin' Up! in Real Red, Basic Black, and Certainly Celery.

Saturday afternoon was my cousin Nick's fiancee's bridal shower, her name is Aimee and here she is, isn't she adorable?

This is a group of my crazy family - we had a good time even though it rained a little. Aimee's Facebook status Saturday morning read "I was hoping my shower wouldn't be a literal shower". hee hee
This is, from left: auntie Debbie, auntie Karen, cousin Amanda, my sister Michelle, cousin Angela, me, my mom, and my auntie Pammy:

Here we are again:

This is the "baby" of the family, the youngest cousin (we have over 20 first cousins), Amanda - she is a hot shit and I just adore her:
Me, my sis and our mom:
Me, auntie Karen, Aimee (her fiance is Karen's son Nick), and Amanda:
me and my BCF (best cousin forever) Ange:
And here we are in black and white - hee hee:
It was a beautiful shower and we had a lot of fun, which I desperately needed.

Jeremy's dad is getting a little better every day and they expect to move him to a rehab this week, hopefully. He will probably be there for a month or so - we're not sure yet. Jeremy and I had been putting it off, but yesterday we went to their house and emptied their fridge and brought their trash out. It was sad - emptying the fridge, knowing that Maryann bought this stuff and now it's being thrown away because she's never coming home... :( Very sad, but it had to be done. I wish so much that this was all just a bad dream.

Anyway, I have to go get ready for work now - hope you all have a great week. Wish me luck getting through mine! I am a little nervous, but I think it'll be OK. I can only take it one day at a time, right? Peace.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Sweet Stop, Loonie Challenge & Update

Update on Jeremy's dad and life stuff below card.

I was finally feeling in the mood to stamp today, so I made this card for the

Loonie Stampers Color Challenge #96

and even though I didn't get it posted in time, I did follow the sketch for the

Sweet Stop Sketch Challenge #59

With all of the kindness that's been shown to my family and myself over the past few weeks, I figured I should stock up on some thank-you cards! This is Miko from the Greeting Farm's Roll Call kit. Cardstock and DP is SU! in Pretty in Pink & Basic Black. Pretty in Pink brads from SU and assorted ribbon from my stash.

Now for the update: these last few weeks have just been some of the most awful of my life. I have experienced such a wide range of emotions and discovered that tragedies really do bring out the best in most people. I have felt such love and support from so many people during this, and it really and truly has helped us get through it. There were several days when I just could not stop crying and I remember thinking "How can a person just never stop crying? Don't you run out of tears eventually?" Well, those tears haven't quite stopped yet but they have slowed down and now there are even breaks between the tears - whole hours that go by! And that's thanks to the friends and family who have been there for me and my family in any way - whether it was bringing us food or giving one of us a ride somewhere or just plain being a shoulder to cry on... just making us feel loved.

On Tuesday night, we had the calling hours for Richie's wife Maryann. It was sad but beautiful at the same time. So many people came through the line, which was a wonderful tribute. There were gorgeous flowers everywhere, and lots of beautiful pictures. Richie was unable to attend, as he was still very heavily medicated and had chest tubes in. It was awful for him to not be able to attend, but there was a special book put out for people to write messages to him so that was nice. He had hoped to attend the funeral the next day, via ambulance, but the doctors again said no. He told Jeremy "Pick me up out front tomorrow morning at 9 - they can't stop me, I'm going." It was cute and heart-breaking at the same time. Jeremy's sister Brittney video-recorded the funeral mass at the church for him, so he could at least watch it. It was just a sad, sad week.

Having supportive family and friends is just such a godsend in situations like this. This is what life is about...being there for each other. I'm so very thankful for having such a great support system.

Richie is going to have a long road of recovery - they expect to move him to a physical rehabilitation place within the next week. We are guessing he'll spend maybe a month there, but we are not sure yet. During the past 2 days, they have significantly reduced his pain meds and he's starting to come back to himself, not hallucinating so much and stuff. They were worried about his liver for a while, as he was VERY yellow, but that started to improve as well, so that's a blessing. Gotta take the little blessings where you find them in situations like this, right?

Today is Saturday and I am off to a wedding shower for my cousin Nick's fiancee Aimee. I am driving with my sister, my cousin, and my mom - it should be fun. It's really the first "event" I am going to since all of this started, so it will be nice to get out of the house for something fun.


Wednesday, June 9, 2010

JUGS & Stampin For the Weekend

For this card, I used one of the Greeting Farm's Wild Sprouts from the Roll Call kit, and her name is, appropriately enough, Summer! I colored her with Stampin' Up! markers and Prismacolor colored pencils blended with Gamsol. Rub-on sentiment by SU! Designer paper scraps, star eyelets, and ribbon all from my stash.


Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Sugar Bowl - Sketch Challenge 36

Even though I always say stamping is like therapy for me, and it really is, I do find myself unable to do much stamping or card-making when I'm really upset or depressed. I guess it's because even though it's therapeutic, I also truly enjoy doing it. And it's hard to do stuff you enjoy, it's hard to take pleasure out of anything, when you're grieving or sad or having a melt-down, you know? But I finally made myself sit down in my stamp room today because I had to make a few thank-you cards for the many people who've been so kind and helpful to us over the past few weeks. So I managed to make a few cards for challenges this week, and it really DID feel good.

This one is for the Sugar Bowl Sketch Challenge 36 - optional to use the theme of pink, black, and white, which I did:

I used an adorable Gorjuss Girl stamp from the Sugar Nellies line. Cardstock and DP are by Stampin' Up in Pretty in Pink, Whisper White, and Basic Black. Glitter and heart-shaped pink brads also by SU! Image colored with SU! markers and Prismacolor colored pencils blended with Gamsol.

Jeremy passed his test! He is no longer an apprentice - he is now a journeyman iron worker. I am so very proud of him!

So Jeremy wanted to tell his dad that he passed, so him and I took the kids up the hospital last night and had a little visit - Richie was very heavily medicated and was having some delusions again. He was making us laugh, actually, which was nice. He doesn't know it, obviously, it's just the medication talking. He has true moments of clarity where you can actually see him working hard in his head to bring himself to a point where he can have a brief, clear conversation with you... it's just heart-breaking because you can then also see him have to give up and let the medication take over, it's just exhausting for him.

Jeremy and I were walking in this morning to visit when the hospital social worker called to say that Richie won't be able to attend the calling hours for Maryann tonight. It was really sad to hear that, but we certainly don't want to jeopardize his health. We know that everyone did everything they could to try to make it possible for him to attend, and there's still a slight hope for tomorrow's funeral. Anyway, when Jeremy told him that he couldn't go, they talked about it for a few minutes and Richie said "I understand, I understand the reasons." Then at the end of the conversation he said "Well if it's gonna rain, it's gonna rain. What can you do? They won't let me have a phone in here." And tears just started running down my cheeks, cuz it was just so heart-breaking... that's the only word I can use, I know I keep saying it over and over again, but that's what it feels like, like our hearts are just breaking. My biggest concern right now is that once we've had the funeral and we all start to get over the shock of it all and move on with our lives - he'll just be getting into a condition where he's beginning to understand the reality of what's happened and it's going to be almost as if it just happened - for him, anyway. I know it's going to be a really long road, and we are fully prepared to be there for him in any way we can.

Tonight is going to be hard. Tomorrow is going to be hard. But we'll get through it as a family, and I'm so thankful to be able to say that. Peace.

Monday, June 7, 2010

An update for real...

Time is a funny thing. When you're going through a crisis, it just seems to slip right past you. It's been a week - a week as of yesterday - since the accident. But I could not begin to try to guess what happened on what day... it's all just a big blur. I keep saying that to everyone, and I guess it's because it feels so - strange. So unfamiliar. I'm so accustomed to my life and the schedules of our daily lives - going to school and work, having breakfast and lunch and dinner, watching our TV shows at night... but all of that has been thrown off and it really distorts your sense of the time passing.

Thank goodness for my friends and family - we don't eat unless there is food in front of us, it's just too much to even think about. But the food just shows up every day - Cassidy asked me one night, "How come so many people are bringing us food?" and I just cried yet again and said "Because, honey, people don't know what else to do. Men mow each other's lawns and women bring each other food - and it helps. It's one less thing we have to think about." She thought that was really cool, and I think she's right. We are very lucky to have so many people who care about us. We have managed to keep the kids on a pretty even keel by having them go to school and maintain some sense of normalcy for them, which actually does also help us.

So anyway - Jeremy's dad, Richie, is getting a little better every day, but it's going to be a long road. As I was writing this, the funeral arrangements have been finalized. Calling hours tomorrow evening, funeral on Wednesday morning. Maryann's sister asked Jeremy to be a pall bearer, which was so nice of her and so sad to have to do - but of course he will. :( The hospital social worker seems to think that Richie will be able to attend, even if it's via ambulance attended to by nurses or EMTs. I think it's important for him to attend in order to start healing. The big thing is that he has to have his chest tubes out in order to go, so we're hoping maybe tomorrow...

Anyway - the actual surgery on Richie's legs went as well as it could. The recovery is long and painful. He has been on some heavy duty painkillers and hallucinating at times. When we visited for the first time after they took his breathing tube out, I rubbed his arm and said "we're going to take care of you" and he just looked at me and said "that would be nice." It was so cute. He enjoys when we visit, and he loves to see the kids of course, but it also raises his blood pressure and tires him out, so we've been bringing them up every other day.

I have never quite felt this way in my life, like I cannot really think past today or maybe tomorrow or I start to feel panicky. It's just all too much right now. I don't want to see people - the only people I can really handle seeing are either complete strangers who have no idea what is going on, or my really close friends and family who have been helping me through it. Anyone else, I just can't handle seeing - I can't really talk about it yet without crying, and that makes people uncomfortable, too. This will be my 2nd week out of work and although I plan to go back next week, I'm really not sure yet. I have the kind of job that I have to be mentally present for, I can't just show up and be a basket-case. But if I have to be out for any longer than this week, I'm going to have to see my doctor and get a medical note, and I really don't want to have to do that. See - this is where I start to feel anxious and stuff, so I'm just going to forget it for now and get through the next couple of days.

Jeremy spoke to his union people today and they wanted him to test out of his apprenticeship tonight so he can be considered a journeyman (iron worker). The tests are scheduled at certain days and times, and being that it's so hard to plan ahead right now he said sure and he just left, he's headed out to Boston to take his test. We will most likely take the kids to visit Richie when Jeremy gets home tonight, around 8:00 or 9:00.

Thanks for your kind words, comments, e-mails, thoughts and prayers. It means a lot to me and it really and truly helps. Most of you know how firmly I believe that everything happens for a reason, even when that reason is really hard to see at the time. It brings me comfort to believe that, though, so I do. Peace.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Update and Pink Elephant Challenge

I was so excited to see that I had made the Top 15 at the Pink Elephant Challenge blog last week - it was truly the one piece of good news that I had received in weeks. Click here to see my card/post for challenge #68.

This card is for the next Pink Elephant challenge:

Pink Elephant Challenge #69 - Gotta Wear Shades

The challenge was to use bright and cheery colors. I kept this card very simple and used only designer papers, ribbon, button, and a rub-on sentiment - but I think the bright and cheery colors really stand out.

I apologize, but I just can't update about Jeremy's dad right now, it's been a traumatic few days and I'm emotionally wiped out. I just need to go sit with my husband for a few... be back either later on today or tomorrow with an udpate.


Thursday, June 3, 2010

More sadness...

If it wasn't for the fact that I always prepare my weekly blog posts on the weekend, you would not have heard from me the past few days. When I posted my blog on Sunday, I said I was looking forward to our party/cookout and that all I had to do was shower, get some ice, and wait for people to show up. We were really looking forward to having a fun day. Unfortunately, that wasn't to be...

Our party was supposed to start at 2:00 p.m. Sunday. Around 12:30, Jeremy and I took a ride to the store. As he was walking out of the store, I saw him on his cell phone - when he opened his car door, I heard him saying "I will be there in 10 minutes". I was like "where do you think you're going? Our party starts in an hour!" and he just looked at me and said "Jenn, apparently my father and Maryann were in a bad motorcycle accident and a social worker from the hospital called my grandmother. I have to go up there." Maryann is his dad's wife, they were married the same year we were (1993) and have been together for several years longer than that.

A million different things flew through my head but the very first was "NOT AGAIN!" I simply couldn't believe that we were going through more heart-break. Jeremy brought me home, as we were expecting company to start arriving, and my good friend Robbie was already here waiting for us. I just burst into tears as soon as he hugged me. Jeremy left and went to the hospital to find out how bad it was, and Robbie and I just sat down at the picnic table in shock. Suddenly, a yellow butterfly flew through my yard right in my line of vision. I laughed through my tears and told Robbie the story of the yellow butterflies, and he had goosebumps. I took that as a sign that everything would be OK.

The rest of the day and week is kind of a blur, a very sad blur. Unfortunately, Jeremy called me a couple hours after dropping me off that day to let me know that Maryann did not survive and that his father (Richie) was in critical condition and may or may not survive. I was a mess - and it actually turned out to be good that my sister and a few friends were over, because I really needed the support. I felt bad that people kept showing up and it was not the party we had intended it to be, but I have a good group of friends and they all understood and felt so bad for us.

It turned out that both of Richie's legs were broken - the femur on the right leg, the tibia and fibula on the left. He had several broken ribs and a punctured lung. Jeremy said he was talking when they took him in, and kept asking about Maryann but at that time, no one was sure what happened to her. They had both been taken to an area hospital near where the accident took place, but Richie was air-lifted by Life Flight helicopter to UMASS in Worcester, which has a trauma unit. We had taken that as a good sign, thinking that must mean that Maryann was OK enough to stay where she was. :( When Jeremy was finally told that Maryann was dead, he could not face his father again and not tell him, but the doctors and nurses didn't want him to say anything to him because they were afraid his condition would worsen. Jeremy came home that night completely exhausted, both physically and emotionally.

They tried to do surgery on Richie's legs Sunday night, but his vitals kept going down and they thought he may have had a heart attack. It turns out he did not. Like I said, the rest of the week is just a blur, I couldn't tell you what happened when for the most part. It's been a nightmare and just when I think I can't possibly cry anymore, the tears start flowing again. I feel like a zombie half the time - I will go hours without crying or feeling much of anything and then - BAM! All of a sudden I have a thought or hear a song and something triggers it and I find myself sobbing uncontrollably.

Richie was heavily sedated for the first few days after the accident - the trauma team didn't want to attempt surgery again until he was stabilized. However, despite his sedation and breathing tube, every time we went in to see him his eyes would open and he would squeeze our hands and tap our arms with his fingers - and his eyes spoke VOLUMES. We kept saying "We love you" and he'd nod his head repeatedly and we'd say "We know you love us too" and he would keep nodding. It was terrible. He kept trying to talk and he mouthed or tried to mouth "Maryann" a few times - it was just killing us. We knew that he knew that if she was OK, we'd be saying "don't worry, Richie, Maryann is OK" - but we also knew that we had to tell him, he had to hear it. The hospital social worker had wanted to wait until the breathing tube was out, so that he could express his grief, but with the delay in surgery and possibility of the tube not being removed for several more days, everyone agreed that it just had to be done. So I think it was on Wednesday when the doctors turned his medication down so he would be lucid enough to really understand what was being said. Jeremy and his 2 sisters (Britney, age 28, and Kelsey, age 24), went in with a nurse and the hospital social worker and Jeremy said "Dad, there is no easy way to tell you this and I am so sorry, but Maryann died in the accident." Tears started flowing from his eyes, and it was just awful. I felt so very badly for my husband, but I knew he'd feel better once he told him. It had been killing him all week, he knew he wanted to know - if you could have seen the way he was looking into our eyes...

Later that night, we brought the kids up to see him for the first time. We had a long talk before we left to try to prepare them for what they were going to see, but it's really hard to prepare a person to see someone you love like that. We could only go in 2 at a time, so Jeremy took Trevor in. Trevor walked over, held Richie's hand, and burst into tears, the poor kid. I am just bawling typing this - my poor babies... they've been through a lot in the past year and they've seen their parents and people they love go through a lot. Anyway, they had a good visit and then Jeremy told him that Cassidy and I were coming in next.

Cassidy and I walked in, and his head was turned towards the door with his eyes open, waiting for us. He immediately mouthed "I love you" and we said "we love you too" and held his hand. Then he kept trying to say "what is that?" and pointing. I kept guessing, but he was shaking his head no, the only thing I could figure out was that he was pointing to Cassidy, when I said "Cassidy?" he nodded his head yes! But his freaking blood pressure was going up, he was getting so frustrated. So I leaned over and looked him in the eye and said "I know you must be so freaking pissed and frustrated right now, but I PROMISE you it won't be long before they take that thing out and you can talk to us." I could tell he was grateful, it's amazing how people can speak with their eyes. So that was when one of the nurses aids said "I wonder if he can write?" and the nurse came in and said she didn't think he could use his arms yet but I said "he's pointing and lifting them both up" and she came in and untied one of them and that's when he brought his finger to his nose and I started cracking up, laughing and crying at the same time, and said "Oh my God - her NOSE RING?" and he's nodding like crazy. LOL She had just gotten her nose pierced on her birthday at the end of April, and he had not seen her since then! So I said "Yeah, she's crazy like her mama, huh?" and he nodded yes again. Then I said "Maybe we should get you one" and the nurse said "Richie, that could be arranged before you leave" and then I said "OK here's the deal - if you don't leave here with one, I'm taking you to get one when you get out of here, OK?" and he actually tried to laugh and smile! It was the shining point of my week, I gotta tell you. It gave me hope. The nurses hadn't realized that he had grandchildren who were older teenagers and they said it was good for them to visit, it definitely cheered him up. But it also raised his blood pressure and tired him out, so we didn't stay long.

They did take him into surgery for his legs yesterday around 10:30 a.m. and he didn't get out until 6:30 p.m. The surgeon called Jeremy and said it went very well and that he shouldn't need any additional surgeries unless he gets an infection or something. They were able to insert a titanium rod through his femur and also used rods and metal plates on his tibia and fibula. Jeremy and I went up there around 8:30 last night to see if we could visit, but the nurse met us at the door and said he had been having some pain issues and high blood pressure after the surgery. He was finally resting comfortably and we could go in, but we shouldn't touch or stimulate him. I knew I couldn't go in and see his eyes open and NOT touch him or talk to him, and Jeremy felt the same way. So we just looked at him from the hall, and chatted with the nurse. He definitely looked more peaceful and comfortable, so we came home feeling a tiny bit relieved. We're heading back up this morning and we are hoping they can take the breathing tube out today so he can talk to us. We don't want to bring the kids back up until that's done, so we'll either bring them back this afternoon or tomorrow.

I'd like you all to keep Richie in your thoughts and prayers, so although it's not a great picture, I thought it might help for you to have a picture in your mind of what he looks like, so you can picture him healthy and whole and walking again, so this is Richie last year:

Maryann was only 51 years old. Richie is only 57. They LOVED their motorcycle, it was one of those big Harley Davidson's with a passenger seat on the back. Richie was annoyingly careful with it - would not even take it on the highway because he didn't like to drive it fast. Apparently, they were on a leisurely ride on Sunday morning, just driving down a scenic route through neighboring towns. They came upon a winding section of road - there was a car in front of them and another in front of that one that was taking a left-hand turn. The car in front of them swerved around them on the right to pass, but Richie didn't see it in time. He may have been distracted, but Jeremy and I sat with the Chief of Police who confirmed that he was only traveling at 20-25 miles per hour... anyway, he laid the bike down on its side and it skidded into oncoming traffic and collided with a Jeep driven by a 19-year-old kid driving at only 25-30 mph. The speed limit was 40 mph - no one was speeding, no one was driving recklessly or doing anything wrong, it was just a stupid, tragic accident. Had they been driving a car, it would have most likely been a fender bender. The whole thing is just unbelievable and unimaginable, yet here we are.

In the midst of our own personal heartache, I found myself thinking about that 19-year-old kid. My nephew is 19 years old, and I kept thinking about him and wondering how he was doing - was he OK? What was going through his head? Did he think anyone was angry at him or blaming him? The newspaper had published his name, so I decided to look for him on Facebook. I found him right away and before I could convince myself not to, I sent him a message. I just told him who I was and how sorry I was, and that although I was pretty sure he knew he didn't do anything wrong, I wanted to make sure he knew that WE knew that, too. And that I was sending him a hug and thinking about him. He wrote back within hours and thanked me for reaching out to him, and said that my message would help him heal. It was very emotional, and I am so glad I decided to send that message.

We are hopeful that Richie will continue to improve daily - unfortunately, we cannot have the services for Maryann until he has the legal capacity to make decisions. Her poor family is just devastated and they want to have the services so they can have some closure and start to heal, but Richard is her next of kin and as her husband, he does deserve to be a part of these awful decisions. So we still have a long road ahead of us, and a lot more sadness and heartache.

What else can I say? Just when you think you can't possibly handle any more, it gets heaped on your plate anyway and you realize you're stronger than you ever would have imagined. I have never seen my husband hurting this way and it just tears at my heart, I wish so much I could take his pain away. Him and his dad have always been very close - his parents were teenagers when they had him, and his dad was his primary caregiver. They have a very special relationship - father and son, but also good friends. Jeremy is very much like his father, and so it's been really difficult for him as he keeps putting himself mentally in his father's shoes... while making decisions, he keeps imagining what he'd want - but by doing that, he's imagining himself in the same situation, and it's just something no one should ever have to do.

I haven't been to work all week and I honestly don't know if I can go back next week. I might need another week. I don't know yet - I'll have to see how I feel by Sunday night before I make any decisions. I really wanted to get through Maryann's funeral before I go back - I work with such a great group of people who truly care about me, that it's going to be very emotional to go back and have to talk about all this. It might be best for me to wait until it's all over before I attempt it. We'll see.

The one final thing I will say is that this has convinced me that there is no way we can move to California, not in the near future anyway. These past few weeks have been so traumatic, but the fact that I have so many close family and friends has really helped me get through it. I cannot imagine being 3000 miles away for something like this and NOT having this support. I'd lose my mind. I immediately started picturing tragedies happening to my sister, my best friends, my mom... and I just can't go. I can't do it. I love California and I wish I had been born there, but I wasn't. I was born in Massachusetts and I just can't leave. *sigh* Jeremy feels like "we can't go now..." but the fact is that his father is going to need our help for quite some time. He's going to need to go through some long and painful rehabilitation and he's going to need us to help him through it.

If you've made it this far, you must really care about us and for that, I thank you. Please continue to keep our families in your thoughts and prayers as I am sure the next few weeks, months, maybe even years, are going to be very painful for us. We feel your love and support, and it really does help. Peace.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Delightful Inspirations Flower with Butterfly

Today's card was made with the last freebie in May from the Delightful Inspiration challenge blog:

I wanted to use this background paper, so I colored my image to match and layered with SU! Real Red and Old Olive cardstocks. Image colored with SU! markers and Prismacolor colored pencils blended with Gamsol.


Tuesday, June 1, 2010

InLinkz Challenge #1 - Boy Birthday Card

I got an e-mail invitation to participate in a new challenge blog called InLinkz. Although I wasn't crazy about the color scheme chosen for the first challenge, I decided to give it a whirl. Here are the colors:

And here is my take on them, using a Bugaboo digi image:

I used SU! Pumpkin Pie, Lovely Lilac, Certainly Celery, and Tempting Turquoise. The button is from my stash - it's actually a purple color and it's not as dark as the pic is making it look.

Thanks for the invitation to play in your first challenge - I look forward to playing again!