Friday, May 13, 2011

Adjusting to a new life

The last 3 weeks have been full of adjustments for me.  I posted all about my flare during my last post.  I really thought things would be much better now.  Usually, my function has more than 50% returned by the time I finish the oral steroids.  This time, nothing.  My right leg has been paralyzed for almost 3 weeks now.  My whole life has changed in the last 3 weeks.  I can't do things the same way I used to.  I have to be careful about where I park or I can't get back into my van because there isn't enough room for the wheel chair ramp.  I can't go to the grocery store by myself.  I can't go to the fabric store by myself.  That is the hard one for me.  I love going to the fabric store and picking out the fabric for my next project and getting all the notions.  Joann's, the fabric store I visit most, is hard for me to get around at all.  It's a small, cramped store and my wheel chair doesn't even fit down all the isles.  I have to take one of my kids with me.  Rachael likes to go, but Andrew just complains and Jeremy isn't big  enough to be much help.  I can't  go over to friends house very easily because I can't always get into their house.  I can't just run into 7-11 for a drink.  I've been  really trying to just take things one  day at a time.  I've been trying to do as much as I can to keep some of my  independence.  I know when my mother in law had to go into a wheel chair, she had a hard time too.  She and I are both very independent people.

Tonight, I just about had a total break down.  I usually use the walker to get from the car to the house and just drag my leg.  This evening, I had a few bags of groceries plus my dinner and  no one else was home, so I thought I would take the wheel chair in so I could get everything in.  Big mistake.  I picked up a new wheel chair tonight, and it doesn't "off road" as well  as the one I've been borrowing.  Trying to get up on the side walk, I  got stuck.  The front wheel was against the side walk side ways and the power wheel was off the ground.  I tried to stand up and pull  it up, but it didn't work.  I called every person I could think of that lived anywhere close to me.  I don't know a lot of my neighbors very well.  We mostly just say 'HI" in passing.  I don't have any of their phone numbers except  my next door neighbor on the right and she was pulling out as I pulled in.  No one I called was home.  I had to walk and drag my leg over to the neighbors on the left.  No one answered at first.  I got all the way back home and they came out-they had been taking a nap.  He was able to get  the wheel chair unstuck and back into the van.  One of my closest friends, and the person I called first, called me back as I was coming into the house.  I broke down and cried hysterically.  I still start to cry every time I think of it.  Just that small ordeal totally exhausted me.  My leg is in spasms from the extra activity.  I just hate this.  I have known since I was first diagnosed with MS that I had a higher chance of ending up in a wheel chair.  I just didn't think it would happen so soon.  I thought I would have 10 or 12 years before a wheel chair was necessary and I thought it would be a little more gradual.  I'm still holding onto a little  bit of hope that I will get some function back.  It may just be denial though.

I have a few new jobs lined up.  I"m excited about them.  I've been asked by an old high school friend to make a few ruck sack style back packs.  I made a prototype for myself to make  sure I had the pattern correct (I made the pattern myself from a photo).  Now, I am working on hers.  It's a nice, big back pack and carries a ton of stuff.  There are also lots of pockets.  Jeremy's occupational therapist wants one too now.  I am also going to be making a quilt for one of the other VIR moms.  I may let the things in my  Etsy store expire and just make things custom for friends and family who request things.

Jeremy has decided he wants to learn to sew.  He wants to make a book bag for his cousin.  We did some embroidery together on it and now we have started sewing it together.  I'm going to be doing  some sewing with my cub scouts next year when they are Webelos.  This will be good practice for me to teach boys how to sew.  I hope the other boys are as excited as he is.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Already missed

Well, I was planning on posting at least once a week, but I've already missed.  I have a good reason though.  My monster of a disease, also known as multiple sclerosis, has shown it's ugly head again.  I was really hopeful that the Copaxone I have been switched to would be effective faster than expected, but that is not to be the case.  I am currently having  the worst MS flare I have ever had.  It started 10 days ago.  I woke up with my hip flexors feeling a little weak.  I could still walk normally, but I felt it when I stepped up.  It just seemed to take a little extra effort.  This was the Friday before Easter.  We had a normal Easter weekend, including an Easter egg hunt on Saturday.  Things were still  the same on Monday when I went to physical therapy.  I asked my therapist about it and he assessed my hip strength and he said it was just a little  bit weak.  He gave me soeme exercises to start doing at home.  Tuesday brought more weakness though.  I sent my neuro an email about it and by the time she got back with me, my entire right leg from the hip down was paralyzed.  I can't even take a step on my own now.  I was so not ready for this.  My neuro got me started on IV solumedrol right away.  However, it didn't help at all this time.  I usually get 50% or more of my function back from the IV steroids.  I didn't get anything back this time.  I'm on an oral taper right now and still  no improvement.  I have to go get an MRI tomorrow.  I'm hoping they can find where the problem in on the MRI.  I'm also hoping they can do something about it.  I can take a few steps if I pick up my leg by my pant leg and make it step.  Other wise, I'm stuck in a wheel chair.  I'm grateful that I have access to a handicapped van, wheel chair, walker, etc without having to wait to get all of that stuff.  My mother in law left her handicapped van to us when she passed away.  Stan's grandma has been using it for the past 2 years.  I feel bad we had to take it back from her, but Beth wanted to make sure I had it if I needed it.  I'm trying to cope the best I can, but it has been really hard.  I will be the first to admit that I am scared.  I'm scared I'm going to be in a wheel chair for the rest of my life.  I don't  feel  like I can take care of my family the way I want to either.  I'm glad my kids are older and can help me out around  the house.  I don't want to put extra stress on them.  I'm suppose to be the mom and I'm suppose to take care of them.  They are my life and I love them dearly.

Rachael is getting ready to officially graduate.  She won't have an actual graduation since she is homeschooled, but she will be considered graduated.  She has been taking some classes at ACC for the last 2 years.  She will start college with 26 credit hours.  We went to a local art museum with a beautiful garden a few weeks ago and took some great pictures for her senior pictures.  They turned out so good.  I'm pleased with my work, if I do say so myself.  I"ve been trying to load them onto FB, but I keep getting an error message.  I"m going to try to put them on here now and see if I can get them to load.  My daughter is so beautiful and she is so photogenic.  If she was taller, she would make a great model.  She isn't  interested in modeling though.  She only wants to dance.

Speaking of dance, her very last VIR show is this Saturday.  She has a solo in the show.  I"m really excited to see the show.  I love watching her dance.  If your in Austin and want to see a good show, it is at the Carver at 2pm and 7pm.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Mormon Prom

 This weekend was "Mormon Prom", more formally know as the Priest & Laurel Formal.  Rachael wasn't really sure she wanted to go, but all  of her friends really wanted her to, so she decided to go.  One reason she didn't want to go was because Andy is on his mission.  She didn't really want to go stag, so she asked one of the boys in our ward, Aaron Stoddard, to go with her.  She figured that was pretty safe since he is younger and she wants to wait for Andy anyway.  She didn't want a long, formal prom dress this year.  She did that last year.  She found this fabric at Joann's in the fall and fell in love with it, so she decided to make a wrap dress out of it and wear it to prom.  I think it turned out great.  There was a few frustrations with it, but she still did a great job with it.  I made Aaron a matching tie.  Now that prom is over, he gave the tie back and we are going to send it to Andy so he and Rachael can match when he gets back.  She had a good time at the prom.  She is kinda outgrowing youth dances though.  She usually comes home and says they were lame.  She has gone to a few young single adult dances and she likes them a lot better. The picture below is one of Rachael and her cousin Aashlie.  Aashlie designed her dress and drew it out and her mom made it.  She did a really good job on the dress too.
I wanted to share with everyone the bag that is a Poppy Mom Gifts original.  Rachael gets credit for the design.  She drew it out for me and then I had to figure out how to sew it.  Her original design had 4 sections in the front rather than the 5 I put in this bag.  It was easier to alternate fabrics with an odd number of wedge pieces.  I made this one for my niece, Jessica.  She picked out the main body fabric from my stash and I found a few others that went with them.  I actually used upholstery trim for the strap.  I made one using the same pattern for Rachael, but ended up having to alter the pattern a little bit.  I thought I had taken a picture, but I can't find it right now.  Rachael's used the Indian silky fabrics that are so beautiful and intricate.  The problem was that they are thick and didn't lay flat when I sewed the small strips together.  I had to make the wedge pieces bigger and use only 3 instead of 5.  The Indian fabric has a unique property that it was teal with a gold print on one side but gold with a teal print on the other.  Rachael's bag alternates the teal and the gold, then I used a gold drapery tie for the handle.  I have a pattern with instructions written out.  The next time I make  one, I'm going to take photos of each step so I can put a tutorial on my blog for this bag.  I didn't take a picture of the inside.  It's just lined with a black satiny type fabric.   This one has a pouch style pocket, but Rachael's has a zipper pocket.  I would have preferred to put a zipper in this one but I didn't have any black ones.  This is probably the nicest bag I've made, meaning that it isn't a casual type bag.  It's fancier and can be really fancy depending upon the fabric I use.  Rachael's is really fancy since we used fancy fabric. 
I really need to find the time to start working on more bags for my Etsy store.  I've been working on the quilts for the quilting club and a bag for the YW auction.  I'll put pictures of the bag and quilts on my blog and on my FB when I am done with them.  If anyone in the Austin area wants to come to the YW auction, it will be May 7th.  I know it will be at the Parker Lane chapel, but I don't know the time yet.  I'll post that when I find out.  Everyone have a great week.

Friday, April 8, 2011

Not much going on

There isn't really much going on right now, but I really want to try to post something once a week more so I get into the habit of posting.  If I don't get in the habit, then it will end up being months before I post again.

Life is just on auto pilot right now.  I started physical therapy about 6 weeks ago to see if I can get some strength back into my foot.  With the flare I had in December, I lost most of the movement in my right foot.  I can twitch it a little bit, but not much more than that.  I really want to be able to drive normally though.  Right now, my van is equipped with a left foot accelerator.  This means my van is the only thing I can drive. It is difficult when Stan has a scout camp out.  No one else has a large vehicle to take the boys anywhere except the Stoddard's and Stan always feels bad that they have to use their van each month.  He used to leave me with the Rio, but now I can drive it.  I will be suprised if I get all the movement back in my foot, but I would like to get enough to drive.  I have made some progress, but it is so slow.  Last week, every time I had PT, my foot would just lock up.  This week was better but I still have a long way to go.

The kids are also on auto pilot.  We still have cub scouts, boy scouts, mutual, dance, cooking class, OT, home schooling, chores, and play time.  Jeremy has been struggling to get his school work done lately so we started a reward system.  He wasn't getting done until 5 or 6 pm.  It was crazy.  Now, he gets a star if he gets done by 2:30.  After the first 5 stars, he got to go mini golfing.  We did that today at Peter Pan Golf.  It's the only mini golf place open in Austin.  There used to be a few really cool one on 290 when I was dating Stan, but it closed.  Peter Pan is just ok, but Jeremy loves it.  Now, he has to get 10 stars and I will take him to a movie of his choice.  Then, he has to get 15 and we will go roller skating.

I started working on 2 new quilts recently.  We started a quilt club at church called Sisters-in-Stitches.  Last month, I taught the nine patch to everyone.  I started a regular nine patch for the purpose of teaching the class.  I also wanted to show some variations, so I also started a disappearing nine patch.  I  finished the top of the disappearing nine patch, and I have it basted to the batting and the backing.  I need to quilt it now.  Rachael has been making her prom dress though, so I had to wait until she finished that.  She did so today, so I need to put the serger away so I have room to quilt.  I'll post some pictures on here once I'm done.  My regular nine patch squares are done, so I need to get the sashing fabric for the class in April.  I can't decide what color to do the sashing, so I need to just look around the fabric store.  That is a pretty dangerous thing for me though.  I've also started another bag.  This is going to be a huge bag with an oriental flare for the YW auction fund-raiser for girls camp. I didn't realize how big the bag was when I picked it out.  It is about 21 inches wide.  It will make a good mom bag though.  I love the combinations of fabrics I chose, so I'm excited to get it finished.  I have a list of projects I need to start and finish before the end of the year.  I"m excited about all of them and can't wait to try some of the new quilt patterns.  I'm especially excited about the new x-block I got at the Georgetown quilt show.  Hey, I just realized I should have posted about that.  I have lots of great  pics.  I'm sleep and ready for bed, so I'll post about that next time.

Have a great week.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Spring Break

I am still trying to recover from spring break last week.  We had so much fun.  Monday was spent just running errands.  Tuesday, we went to the zoo in San  Antonio.  I think the entire city of San Antonio was there.  It was a mad house.  I thought we were going to have to park a  long ways away, but I lucked out and there was a special parking area for handicapped.  I guess MS has a few advantages (they aren't usually worth the disadvantages though).  At least when the zoo is busy you don't  have to stand in long lines to get on rides.   We were able to see all the animals we wanted to for the most part.  They have this new indoor area for the African section of the zoo.  The hippos are outside, but there is a big window so you can see them under water.  We couldn't get around to some of the windows to see some of the smaller African animals.  The big ones were outside though and they were the ones the kids wanted to see.  We took  lots of pictures of the snakes since Andrew and Jessica (my niece) are obsessed with snakes.  They both own Ball Pythons.  My favorite part of the zoo was the big cats, especially the tigers.  I was able to get a good photo of the sleeping tiger thanks to my 300mm lens.  The weather that day was wonderful.  It was a little cool and overcast at the beginning of the day, but it ended up really nice but not too hot.  After the zoo, we went to the temple to exchange Jeremy's scriptures.  We have had them for 4 months and a page came out.  Then we stopped at IHOP and they came home.  We were all pretty tired, but it was great fun. It would have been much better though if Stan could have gone with us.  There were already several people off at work so he couldn't get any time off during spring break.  Usually, since we homeschool, spring break doesn't matter much, but with Rachael taking classes at ACC, she has class every day except Friday and Jeremy has OT on Friday.

Wednesday we all slept in, then I did some sewing while the boys just watched TV.  Rachael took a master class from the modern teacher at Tapestry during  spring break, so she went to dance.  After I got some sewing done (I was hired to make some curtains and they were the BIGGEST pain in the world), then I took the boys bowling.  I watched them bowl.  I used to love to bowl, but since I have chronic back pain, I just can't handle bowling any more.  I tried with the cub scouts 2 years ago and I had to have one of the other moms take over for me after only 3 frames.  Anyway, Andrew got a gutter ball his first roll, so he asked to have the bumpers up.  He decided in the second game that he should probably man up and bowl like an adult.  Needless to say, Andrew won the first game and Jeremy won the second.  That's ok, because we had fun.  The kids had mutual on Wednesday evening, so I worked on the curtains some more.

Thursday was quiet around the house.  Andrew spent the night with Ryan and Rachael was at dance, so it was just Jeremy and I.  In the afternoon, we went to see Rachael dance showing off what she learned in her master class.  It was pretty cool, but kinda strange compared to what she usually does.  She loved the class though.  She hasn't been able to take the modern class because she teaches a little kids class during the modern class.  This teacher is doing her senior solo though, so she does get to learn from her and she loves her technique and her style.

Friday we had OT and spent the rest of the day cleaning so we could have Jeremy's birthday party on Saturday.  His birthday was actually in January, but he wanted to have a party that needed to be outdoors, so we had it in March.  We had a Nerf war in the back yard.  It was so much fun and it was so easy.  I put out a few snacks and we had lots of ammo and Nerf guns and it was a total free for all.  They played Nerf war for about 2 hours and then the Hess's stayed and played for a long time after.  I highly recommend this party for any little boys

Now life is back to normal.  The curtains are done, school is back in session and things are calm.  I have to say that I will never do curtains like that again and I now see why people charge so much for custom curtains.  These were curtains for an area that was 8 ft tall and 10 ft wide.  They fabric was very thick and heavy too.  I don't have a single flat area in my entire house, including floor space, to measure and cut curtains that big.  I am actually really surprised they turned out really well.  They are all even and they hang just the way they are suppose to.  Now I can get back to the things I like to make; bags and quilts.  I'm working on a new quilt right now.  I have no idea what I am going to do with this one.  I'm doing a 9 patch and I'm doing it only because I am teaching how to do this kind of quilt at our quilting club at church.  I took the easy way though though and I bought a jelly roll and a charm pack to make the squares of this quilt. I might sell it in my Etsy store, if I can get anything to sell.  I"ve been open 3 weeks and nothing so far.  I need to do something to get the word out and to get people to look at my store.  When I put things in the store, they are buried pages and pages back within 24 hours, so my bags are not the first things to come up when people look at bags.  I'll take any suggestions on getting my name out there if anyone has any.

Everyone have a great week.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

My next set of bags

I just uploaded a few more bags to my Etsy store.  In addition to bags, I now have a few water bottle holders.  I love these water bottle holders.  It makes it so convenient to always have water with me.  They are especially nice when you are hiking or taking long walks.  I also plan on using mine when we go to Six Flags this summer and during girls camp.  Here are a few pictures of what I put in the store this weekend.  You can find the links to my store on the side bar.

In addition to making bags and water bottle holders, I have been busy with lots of other sewing projects.  I never thought I would do this much sewing in my life.  To think, I used to hate to sew.  It just goes to show you that you have to find the right thing.  I still wouldn't make a dress, but I've made Jeremy some shorts with matching do-rags.  For some reason, he is obsessed with these do-rags lately.  He has 3 pairs of shorts that have a matching do-rag.  I also made another quilt that has a roller derby theme.  I used the same fabrics I did for my nieces quilt, but used a different pattern so they are both unique.  Then lastly, I've made LOTS of curtains for Jeremy's occupational therapist.  I made 4 sets of curtains for her windows and I'm about to start on a large set of curtains that are going to be used as a partition in her small cabin that she shares with her daughter.  It will basically serve as a wall to give her daughter some privacy.

I've also been  having some fun playing around with Emily's sewing machine.  She let me borrow the embroidery/sewing machine she inherited when my mother-in-law (her mother) passed away.  It is so nice.  The entire thing is computerized.  It sews, has lots of decorative stitches, self threads plus does lots of different embroidery designs.  It has a bunch pre-loaded, but then you can hook it directly up to your computer and load lots of other patterns into it.  There are so many free patterns all over the web.  I've downloaded a bunch but haven't moved them over to the machine yet.  I haven't even had a chance to embroider with it yet.  I have to finish up these partition curtains this week, then I will have time to play with the embroidery machine.

This may be old news as I can't remember  if I posted this the last time, but I had to switch my MS medication.  I was on weekly shots of Avonex, but I have had 3 flares in the past 7 months so it doesn't appear to be working any more.  Now I am on Copaxone.  There are some pros and cons to this.  It doesn't have the really bad side effects that the Avonex does, but the shots are every day.  The only side effects I've found with these shots is that I get this intense stinging and redness at the injections  site starting 2 minutes after the injection.  I've been told it gets better and I hope it does.  I have to hold an ice pack on the site for about 30 minutes after the injection.  I really hope this works and I don't have any more flares.

This week starts spring break.  I'm planning on having a lot of fun with the kids this week.  We are going to the zoo in San Antonio on Tuesday.  The other days, we are just doing lots of fun things around town.  We are also going to be cleaning the house this week.  Jeremy is finally going to get to have his birthday party on Saturday.  His birthday was 2 1/2 months ago, but since he wanted to have a Nerf war in the back yard, I didn't think January would be a good month to have that kind of party.  A lot of the people we invited can't come because of spring break, but enough people are going to be there that it should be fun.  I feel sorry for any girls that show up though.  This is totally a boy party.

I hope everyone has a great week.  Please send prayers my way giving me enough energy to keep up with my kids this week.

Thursday, March 3, 2011


I have an Etsy store now.  I'm super excited about this.  I started making bags about 6 months ago and I've been hooked on it ever since.  I've made probably 30 bags since I've started.  I've given away lots as gifts.  I've had several people tell me I need to start selling them, so that is what I am doing.  Here is what I have in there right now, and  there are several more things I need to put in there soon.

 The top one is a purse with a magnetic snap and a pouch pocket inside.  The second 2 are little girl's dance bags.  These are the kind of bags Rachael would have loved when she was a little girl.  It's big enough to hold tap shoes and ballet shoes plus a few other small things.  The last one is the Schelpp bag.  I've made lots of these type bags.  Here is the link to my store-  .  My store is called Poppy Mom Gifts.  I do take requests, so feel free to contact me about making a bag.  I also make throw size quilts, but won't be selling those on Etsy.  I make those on an individual request, so if you want a quilt, contact me and we can discuss it.  Feel free to pass this along to all your friends.

Now that the business part of my post is done, onto life.  Life has actually been pretty stressful lately.  My health is just giving me lots of trouble.  In December, I had a really bad MS flare that left my right foot completely paralyzed and my right leg fairly weak.    I was just starting to feel like I had gotten my energy back when I was hit with some really bad migraines that started off with pain behind my right eye.  I dismissed them as just migraines, until my vision started getting blurry in my right eye.  After connecting the dots, I made an appointment with the ophthalmologist to have this evaluated.  I was correct in my assumption; I have optic neuritis.  It is a common problem in MS patients.  This is about the 5th time I have had it.  I elected not to treat this one though.  I saw the neuro the next week and we decided that my current MS management isn't working, so we are going to change things up a bit.  I'm going to stop my weekly Avonex injections and start daily Copaxone injections.  I'm actually looking forward to the change.  The Avonex makes me feel like I have the flu for 24 hours each week.  I won't have those side effects with the Copaxone.  I'm just hoping it works and continues to work for longer that the Avonex did.  There is a new oral medication out now, but I want it to be on the market for longer before I start taking it.  I want to see what kind of side effects show up in real life and if there are any problems with it.

This weekend, we had our packs Pinewood Derby and Blue and Gold banquet.  We had some trouble with Jeremy's car, but it still did well.  The wheels were having trouble staying on the day of the race, but he still got 2nd place over all.  His car looked really cool this year.  I have pictures on my camera, but I haven't downloaded them yet.  I"ll get that done soon.  Jeremy also got his Bear awarded this weekend.  Of my 5 Bears, all but one got his Bear.  The one that didn't started the year late because of sports.  We are working on getting his done by May.  I really have such a great group of Cub Scouts.  They have lots of energy, but I love them.  This coming weekend, a bunch of the scouts are going to the Cameron Park Zoo in Waco for a camp out.  Andrew is going to go with them this time.

If you are interested in seeing Rachael dance, and you live in the Austin area, this weekend is your chance.  Rachael has a preview dance show on Saturday at 6:30 at Tapestry.  Admission is free with donations accepted at the door.  There is also a silent auction, in which I have donated several bags, a quilt and Stan has made several wooden puzzles.  I love watching Rachael dance.  I can't believe this is her last year in VIR.  It's not her last year dancing by any means, but no more recitals for us after May.  She is going to be majoring in dance at Texas State, so there will be other shows in her future.  I'm just not ready to have an adult child.  I don't know that you are ever ready.

Everyone have a great weekend!

Friday, February 4, 2011

Snow Day in Texas

I know to all my family in Idaho, Utah and Pennsylvania, this is no big deal, but it isn't something that happens here very often.  Under the snow is a layer of ice, so Austin pretty much grinds to a halt.  The boys are having a lot of fun in the snow.  Jeremy's friends are all home from school, so they have been playing in the snow.  He plays for a while until his hands are numb, then comes in for a little while, then goes back out again.  Rachael isn't interested in going out at all.  I'm getting ready to start sewing some more.  That's how I plan on spending my snow day.

I finished the quilt for VIR 2 days ago and turned it into Stacie last night.  I took a good photo of it before I turned it in.  I wish I would have taken better photos of my bags before I turned them in.  I took those photos with my iPhone, so they are kinda blurry.

The theme of this quilt is "When Life Hands You Lemons...".  This quilt will be auctioned at the VIR silent auction and dance show that will take place on March 5th at Tapestry.  This was the most challenging quilt I have ever made.  It was also the biggest I've done so far. I'm pretty proud of it.  I didn't think it was going to turn out for a while there as I struggled to make some of the stars.  I tried a short cut I learned on You-Tube and it fails to mention that you have to add extra for seam allowance and I'm new enough at quilting that I didn't think of that myself.  Lesson learned though and I won't make that mistake again.  I'll post pictures of my bags soon.  If your my friend on FB, you can see the photos of my bags on there until I get to post them here.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Long time, no post

I haven't written anything on my blog for a very long time. It's been like 9 months. There has been a lot going on. I'm not going to get into it all, but I will summarize the last 9 months as quickly as possible.

Most of the year has gone by pretty uneventful. We have just been going about our daily life. During the summer, we had girl's camp, youth conference, cub scout day camp and boy scout camp. Youth conference was a pioneer trek, including authentic pioneer attire. They had to trek in the Texas heat in the middle of June. It was a good experience for them.

After all the camps were over, July brought be a mild MS flare. I lost the sensation and a lot of movement to my left hand. I had gone 25 months without a flare. I did my steroid treatment and I got all the function back in my left hand. I had the normal side effects of the steroids-high blood pressure, diabetes, thrush, and just general yuck.

August was a hard month, especially for Rachael. Her boyfriend of over a year left for his mission. He entered the MTC on August 20th. He spend almost every waking minute before that over at our house. The week he left was also the week Rachael started back at school and in dance. She was an emotional mess for the first week. He has been gone for 5 months now and she still has a hard time sometimes. I think what is hardest for her is that he is having a hard time, especially with being home sick. She has gotten to talk to him twice since he left. She talked to him when he left for Norway from the MTC and she got to Skype with him on Christmas too. He is also struggling with his testimony right now and wondering if his mission is really worth it, which is really hard on her. I think it would be better if she could just talk to him rather than relying on the written word. She might be able to talk him through this much better if they could actually talk.

In October, my mom and step dad visited. It was a pretty good visit. I kinda freaked out before the visit and cleaned fanatically. She didn't even criticize my house. It was nice to have it cleaned though. I took advantage of the bunch of energy I had and the motivation for cleaning to purge my house of all the clutter. The holiday season brought more clutter, but it is still better than it was.

The holiday season also brought me another flare. This one was really bad. I lost almost all the function in my right leg. I had to go back to walking with a cane. At first, I couldn't walk very well at all. I did steroids again, although this time they didn't work quite as well. I got the feeling back in my leg and some of the strength, but my entire foot is now paralyzed. We had to install a left food accelerator in our van so I could drive. It's a little bit of a pain because now I can drive any of our other vehicles, but I'm at least grateful that I can drive.

Rachael did really well with school in the fall semester. She got A's in both of her classes. She took environmental science and government. This semester,, she is taking Texas government and english. She will officially graduate from high school in May, although she has been taking only college classes for the past 2 years. She will do one more semester at ACC to finish out her basics, then transfer to Texas state. She wants to save as much as possible so she isn't in a lot of debt when she graduates.

The boys are doing well. They are both still in scouts. Jeremy is a Bear in cub scouts. Andrew is in boy scouts and is a 2nd class. We are working on lots of merit badges with Andrew and lots of various cub scout things with Jeremy. Andrew was able to graduate from OT right before Christmas. He was really excited about that. He has come a long ways. His sensory issues are much better and his handwriting is a lot better too. We still need to practice with him so that it flows better and quicker, but it is so much better than when we started.

Andrew is still enjoying his cooking classes. He goes back and forth about being a chef. He has plenty of time to make up his mind though. He likes his classes, but doesn't want to just experiment in the kitchen. He does like baking more than cooking. Jeremy really wants to start Ti-kwon-do. He will probably get to start during the summer. We wanted to start in the fall, but we just couldn't afford it.

Stan and I both have new hobbies. Stan got interested in doing wood working puzzles in November. He made some for all of our nieces and nephews. They turned out really well. He has more he wants to make. He got a lot of new wood working tools with his bonus. He may even look into selling them when he feels he is good enough. I've started quilting and making bags. The bags started off as just a way to have a messenger bag that was the right size and wasn't stiff and ugly like a lot of them on the market. I made one for Margie for Christmas as a practice and found that I LOVED making bags. I bought a quilting book while my mom was here. We found a bunch of quilting squares that Rachael and Beth started 10 years ago. I finished up that quilt top and put it together. Next, I made a roller derby quilt for Jessica for Christmas. It's a lot of fun. It's not as fast as bag making, but I still like it. I'm working on one for the VIR auction now. I have the top together and it is sandwiched with the batting and the backing. I still need to quilt it. I'm waiting on a part to my walking foot to help keep my lines evenly spaced. I see a lot of flaws with my quilts, but most people love them. I made one for someone at church this past week. It was my favorite one so far. We are even starting a quilting group at church.

Christmas was really good for us. The kids got spoiled as usual. It was fun to spend time with family and friends. We cut back a lot on the extras of the holidays because of my flare. It was ok though. I think it was one of our best Christmases ever.

I'm going to be opening a store on Etsy soon. I have to get my bag stock up so that I have things to sell first. I made my first sell bag on Saturday. I have a bag I have to make for my mom, then I can start making more store bags. I think I'm going to make baby slings, car seat tents, maybe a few quilts and lots of bags. I have a few quick and inexpensive bags I can make and some more complex bags, like diaper bags I'm going to make. There are lots of pictures of my bags on my Facebook page. I need to download them off my phone so I can put them in my blog.

I will try to blog more often. I know a lot of my family use this blog to keep up with me. I'm sorry I let you down.