Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Thankfulness...Day 78

Today I am thankful for the opportunity to teach again.  I would never ever wish poor health upon anyone I love.  However, today the lead teacher in my classroom was out (I hope she feels better VERY soon), so I got to be the teacher.  I had a lesson plan and I did the best I could with what was written, but that wasn't the best part of the day.  The best part was being in charge again...being able to make decisions and carry them out.  Choosing the story...choosing line leaders...working on art activities...working on anything really that didn't involve asking a child if they have to "teetee."  I know I am not healthy enough to handle all the responsibilities of teaching all the time, but it was nice to know that my teaching muscle still works.    I am most definitely good for more than wiping noses,  taking children to the bathroom and cutting things out of construction paper.  So I will continue pinning things on pinterest...I will continue scouring the internet for nifty things to do with the kiddos...I will wait patiently for the time to come when I am strong enough to take my classroom back...and know that when that time comes I will still be an amazing teacher.
Love to all

Quote of the day...alright there are 12 three-five year olds in my class...I may not have them all day but I figure I get at least half of their daily that is around 2,015 questions a day!

Sunday, September 25, 2011

T-shirt Quilt

Mismatched Monday at camp!
I have been saving all Robin's camp t-shirts since she started going to camp 6 years ago.  My plan is to make a T-shirt quilt for her to use as her blanket on her bunk at camp  I have plenty of shirts, but I am terrified of my sewing machine.  I have managed to successfully make bean bags for my classroom...sensory bags for my classroom...and several sock monsters that in my opinion turned out pretty well.  Those projects really only required me to sew in a straight line.  When I look at the pile of t-shirts and think about the sewing skill that will be necessary to turn them into anything worth saving my skin starts to itch a little.  

I have spent the last week trying to kick a nasty case of bronchitis.  This gave me way toooo much time to cruise different blogs and pinterest.  I found an amazing blog called C.R.A.F.T.  The woman who posts here makes things that are usually free and always adorable.  Guess what...I found a tutorial for a t-shirt quilt.  She actually says that if you can sew in a straight line (I can!!!) you can make this quilt.  So it looks like Robin might have a t-shit quilt by the time she leaves for camp next summer.  Please visit C.R.A.F.T. (creating really awesome free things).  Click on the picture of the quilt and it will take you there!

I hope everyone is having a wonderful weekend!

Thursday, September 22, 2011 77

Little by little I am becoming a believer.  There are days where I rock along fully comfortable in the belief that I have everything under control.  I am learning how to live with this disease.  I am figuring out how to function with poison coursing through my body.  I am getting to a place where I don't jump every time I catch a glimpse of myself in a mirror out of my peripheral vision.  Then something happens.  It can be a tiny something (stubbing my toe...eating the last mint chocolate chip ice cream bar)...or it can be a huge something (realizing the my hair does still fall out a little bit with each treatment...realizing I am not a strong as I used to be.)  Then I get frustrated and the house of cards I have worked so hard to build and continue to drive myself crazy trying to hold it up all on my own...starts to wobble.  Someday I hope the wobble will let me know that I don't have to do anything alone and I will give in and ask for help...or maybe...just maybe I will allow someone else to be in charge and I will just help support the tower.   

My aunt and I had a conversation about a month ago, and it pops into my head at least once a day.  My life is like a Rubik's Cube...that toy was the bane of my childhood.  I knew there had to be a trick to getting all the colors to line up...but i could never figure it out.  My Rubik's Cube was ALWAYS a jumbled up mess.  It didn't take long for me to figure out the the color blocks were just stickers, so if I couldn't figure it out I would just carefully peel the stickers off and solve the puzzle that way.  
Now I know after doing that the first time I ruin the cube.  No one who actually understood how to solve the puzzle would be able to solve it ever again.  I didn't was important for me to look like I had it all together and that I had done it all by myself.   My life is a little like that cube.  I struggle and trudge through my days trying to figure out everything that needs to happen in my life.  Trying to figure out why I got cancer.  Trying to figure out why chemo isn't getting my Ca125 down to normal.  Trying to make all the sides of this stupid cube match up.  Then it gets to be too much and I fall apart.  I cry...I scream...I rant and rave (thankfully I am alone sometimes when this happens).  Then I give up...and ask the appropriate person for help.  I ask I am not uber religious...but I still remember standing in my shower one morning in May 2010.  I hurt all over...I was hugely bloated...I had been throwing up for over a week.  So I crouched in my shower with my head leaning against the wall begging for help.  "God, me find out why I am feeling this way.  Help me get better.  Help!  Please oh me!"The next day I made a doctor's appointment and in one week I had completed the surgery that would start me on the road that would save my life.  I fully believe God did that.  I had been fighting against it for almost a month...working at fixing my body all on my own...I just needed to be stronger...I just needed to suck it up and move past the pain.  Then God stepped in...nope...I needed a gynecologic oncologist to remove 6 liters of fluid from my abdomen...all my lady omentum...part of my colon and scrape the remaining tumors away from my bladder, liver and abdominal cavity.  Now after all of that I thought I had gotten it...I cannot fix my Rubik's Cube...I have no control over the chaos that is that puzzle...I just need to enjoy myself...have faith that there is a plan...and relax...the cube may still be messy, but at some point it will be solved.
So easy to say...close to impossible for me to do.  Well I ordered a reminder that I can wear.  there is a website called and they sell a different shirt everyday.  On a particularly difficult day after my last treatment the shirt of the day was a Rubik's Cube shirt...yup...sometimes it is a whisper...sometimes the reminder hits me in the side of the head like a ton of bricks.  I promptly ordered a shirt and it arrived today.  So now if I am frantically trying to rearrange the stickers on my cube hopefully I will see that shirt and remember...that's not my job!  
This was a much longer post that I meant for it to be, but I have wanted to share my Rubik's Cube analogy for a while now.  So thanks for reading...I hope something in there made sense.

Oh wait...I forgot.  Today I am thankful for Josh Sundquist also.  He is a motivational speaker who lost a leg to cancer when he was 9 years old.  He went on to become a gold medal skier in the paralympics.  He is an amazing speaker and so funny.  He has a channel on YouTube and I go there sometimes when I am having a bad day.  He is the person who created 1mt1mt (1 more thing...1 more time).  I think that every time I close in on another treatment date.  He says it means that if you do 1 more thing 1 more time it can be the difference between winning and losing.  So I figure each time I make it through another treatment I am one step closer to winning this battle.  But today he had a word art video posted. This was posted on the perfect day and I watched it at the perfect time.  I have been fighting an illness all week (started as allergies...then a cold...then fever and aches...then a cough...then three days of antibiotics later...the inability to take a deep breath).  So I was feeling a little down.  Then I watched this video.  Don't get me wrong I have had much darker days than today, but this one wasn't in the top 310 days of my life.  So I sat down at my laptop and hit play.  I'm not going to tell you about the content I am going to let you check it out for yourself.  Just know if you are struggling with something and you really can't see the light at the end of the tunnel watch this video.  Hey if your life is perfect and you can't imagine anything ever being this video and save it in your memory banks for a time that things may not be so perfect.  
Love you guys lots and lots...go check out Josh's YouTube channel...he is adorable and amazing!

Video of the day

Wednesday, September 21, 2011 76

Yup...tiny batman...found a little lady!
Today I am thankful for tiny superheroes.  I have already posted about my love of tiny batman.  He is so precious in his itty bitty compact package.  He attended the NOCC walk and rode on my hat in my friend Tish's place.  At brunch after the walk I couldn't resist taking a few pics.  I mean really how can you resist his adorable tiny face!  Even the tiny girls with guns at the restaurant dug him!  Colton's dinosaur was totally threatened by his sheer magnitude!

Kindly release me you see my utility belt?

Well today I discovered a new tiny superhero of my dreams...
Wow...I have been battling fever...general achyness...and a chest crushing cough.  I have avoided laughing on purpose because it really tunes up the cough.  Oh man...when this commercial came on and he used the force on that baby doll I lost it...tears streaming down my face....lung expelling cough...laughing!  So worth it...ADORABLE.  SOOO today I am thankful for a mind clearing laugh. Thanks VW!!! I needed that!

Love you lots and lots

Quote of the day!

If my quote is plain...
I feel the need to add another photo with some color!

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Ribbon Christmas Trees - My first tutorial!

Good Morning!
When I started this blog...I wanted it to be a place for me to remember all the things that make me thankful to be alive.  I also wanted it to be a place to share creative ideas, and show people how to make things that I love to make.  Well I am keeping up the first part....big huge fail whale on the second.  Soooooo, that changes today.  Last year I saw some christmas trees at...ummmmmm....Hobby Lobby...maybe Michael's that were covered with little loops of ribbon.  I thought they were adorable, but not really my style (too much maroon and gold).  So I bought some styrofoam trees and made my own.  As you can see I chose a slightly less traditional set of colors.
Here are the trees that perch in my kitchen.
This tutorial will walk you through how to make your own gathering of trees.
Step 1: Get your supplies

Fabri-Tac - found at Michael's, Hobby Lobby and Jo-Anns

  • Styrofoam trees - I like these in groups of 3, but you could do one like this and then make others in another style.
  • Fabri-Tac - the best glue EVER!
  • Ribbon - thin (3/8 inch), medium (5/8 inch), and large (7/8 inch) width in colors that you love!
  • Plastic Ball Ornaments - you can use glass, but they will make your tree a little top heavy.
tiny ruler from when I worked for an Optomotrist
Step 2: Measure and cut the ribbon - you will need three sizes 
  • 6 inches
  • 5 inches
  • 4 inches

Ribbon from Michael's...they were having an AWESOME sale
Step 3: Make loops out of each piece.  This may take a while, but making all the loops first makes putting the tree together go much faster. I used a glue gun for this step...and I have the blisters to prove it!
first 2 rows...keep an eye on your pattern
Step 4: Start at the bottom of the tree with the largest loops.  Put a small amount of Fabri-Tac on the glued part of the loop and attach it to the tree.  After making a few of these I started wrapping a piece of ribbon around the bottom so the styrofoam wouldn't show.  The one pictured is before I figured this out.  Just work your way around adding loops.  I also drew a line around the tree to keep my rows at least sort of straight.  My first tree had almost a spiral effect because I obviously cannot eyeball a straight line. When adding the ribbon use different thicknesses in the same row.  The pattern is entirely up to you.  Let your creative spirit run wild.  That was my favorite part of making these.  
small and medium are finished in the background
Step 5: Keep adding rows.  Make each row a little closer together.  I would say a tall tree needs like 2-3 rows of the largest loops...then move to the medium loop...2-3 rows of that...then move to the smallest guessed it 2-3 rows.  The smaller trees need fewer rows and on the smallest tree I did not use the large loops at all.  This part is sort of monotonous...but pay attention to how you attach the ribbon.  As you move from row to row I tried to make sure I didn't end up with the exact same ribbon directly above each other. doesn't have to be a perfect hole

Step 6: Once you have completed the ribbon part make a small hole in the top of the tree.  I used a butter knife.  No kitchen utensil is safe from my crafty debauchery

ornaments - purchased after christmas last year
Step 7: cover the hanger end of a plastic ornament with Fabri-Tac.  
fits nicely
Step 8: Place the ornament hanger side down int he hole at the top of the tree.  Now I need to tell you the glue will sort of melt the styrofoam tree.  I worried a little about if I was maybe turning the styrofoam into nepalm, but none of my trees burst into flames so I think this is fine.  I know my tree doesn't have all the ribbon finished, but I wanted to show you with out the distraction of ribbon.
aren't they cute!
Step 8: Becasue the glue does seem to melt the styrofoam a little, you can kind of mold the ribbon and tuck it all under the ornament.  So even if I did make made this project easier to finish.

Step 9:  Complete all these steps on how ever many trees you want in your forest.  Like I said I love these trees I think they are soooooooo fun!  I thought I had a photo of the trees I made for my house but it is not on this computer...I will go look and if I find it I will add it later.

WhooHoo...first tutorial down.   I hope it was easy to follow and it is a project you think is worth trying. I promise to add we get closer to the holidays.  I plan on making all my christmas gifts this I should have tutorial opportunities galore!
love and sunshine,
 If you found this and you liked it please click follow above.  (above as in below the name of this blog "Colorful Conjectures of a Crafty Mom" and off to the is kind of small!

Monday, September 19, 2011 75

WHEEEEEEEE....I have some sort of yucky upper respiratory infection.  I wish there was some sort of book I could buy called The 1,000,000 Questions You Will Have About Chemo at 2A.M. When No One is Around to Answer Them.  I am on maintenance now and I know that if I ran fever with regular chemo, I needed to call the National Guard...the Fire Department...and Professor conjure a patronus for me.  Now I am in this gray area...when I ask questions at my monthly appointment the answer is almost exclusively..."Do what any other NORMAL person would do."  So last night I finally fall asleep even with the 3 ton elephant who has taken up residence on my chest...only to wake about 30 minutes later with burny eyes, chills, and crampy legs.  I take my temp and sure magic it is exactly 100.5 (the magic fever temp listed in my chemo class as the temp needed to call for reinforcements).  So I sit in my bed scouring the Internets (my go to place for ALL information I need at midnight) luck...lots of info on the undecided uselessness of maintenance therapy in general...but nothing about when to call the doctor and when to wait it out.  So I finally decide to make the call.  I get the answering service... the the party to whom I am speaking?
Me: "pleasure to talk to you name is Sarah (S-A-R-A-H) Atnip (A-T-N-I-P).  My doctor is Dr. Noelle Cloven.  My number is (555)555-5555."
Paul:  "Thank you sir.  I will have the doctor on call return your call."
Me:"Who is the Dr. on call?"
Paul:"Ummmmmm.....sir....Dr. Cloven seems to be on call.  Let me page HIM for you."
Alright so I let the sir go...because I do sound a little like a burly offshore doc worker and if Johnny Cash could be named Sue some other man could be named Sarah.  But I mean really if you are the answering service for a group of doctors should you know the sex of said doctors.  I have trouble putting my faith in an employee who believes NOELLE could be a man's name...even to simply relay my phone number.  I let it go...hang up and wait...I would be lying if I said patiently.  I was raised Catholic and I already feel guilty forcing my doc to call me back in the middle of the night when I am not even sure I was supposed to call.  An hour phone rings.
Paul: "Am I speaking with Atnip?
Me: "Yes."
Paul: "Oh good...Atnip...This is the answering service for Dr. Noelle Cloven...has HE returned your call?"
Me: "No SHE has not."
Paul: "Alright I will re notify"
I wait another hour...the phone rings again...
Paul:"Arah...this is the answering service...Arah...has the doctor returned your call?"
Me: "No...not yet."
Paul:"Oh Arah I am so sorry I will connect you myself."
Very scratchy...obviously sleepy Dr. Cloven voice..."Hello."
My guilt kicks into overdrive at this point...but I say "Yes hello this is Sarah..."
No lie I hear the answering service person say...."OH.....SARAH....that name makes sense...Atnip must be his last"
Long story short...(TOO LATE)...I was supposed to call...I had blood work done WBC is low and I have started a bright and shiny new Zpak.  Hopefully I will feel exponentially better tomorrow...and for the rest of my life I will have to chuckle when I think of poor Paul.  However, without Paul...I might have had to dig deeper for my thankfulness.
Today I am thankful for the fact that ATNIP is a completely ridiculous name for a person...but SARAH is a completely plausible name for a man.
I hope others can find, read and get a small amount of pleasure from this post.  Also if anyone knows of the existence of my chemo question book...I would love to find it.  Catholic guilt is a bitch on any day but it is so much more impressive in the dark of night!
Love and sunshine

Quote of the day:
One more thing...this video is HIGHlarious!

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Thankfulness...Day 74

Our team name...yuppers...we are allstars!!!

Aunt Cindy made the amazing hat...I have a thing for flying pigs!

Today I am thankful for all the people in this world who love and support me.  Cancer is a bitch of a disease, but it is a weak competitor against love.  Today was the NOCC walk, and so many of my family and friends were there to walk with me to stomp the stuffing out of this cancer.  
Great day for a 5K!

Candice and the Maa running along

walkers....uhhh...patiently waiting.

Colton wanted to hold Aunt Sarah's hand...I melt!
Work friends, lifelong friends, both sides of my family and even one of my students...all there to come together against this disease.  So many many women closer to my age than the older women I was expecting...We fight...We scream...We cry and rail against a disease we can't see...and these are the faces of women who WIN!  I had the pleasure of meeting the #5 top fundraising survivor (Kure for Katy)...we traded positions between 4 and 5 for the last month...nothing like a little healthy competition.  I ended up in 4th place but only by like $300...I really would have been fine with 5th...her team is amazing...their slogan is "Save our Mommies!"  
We are survivors!

So many people missed this photo op...maybe I'll get a whole team photo next year!
Today I got to celebrate the fact that cancer cannot and will never be able to take love away from me.  Cancer cannot make me weak...cancer cannot take away the conversations I get to enjoy with my nephew...cancer cannot take away the spirit building exercise that is parenting a teenage girl.  

BooBoo with a teal mohawk!

Maa...with most of her great nieces and nephews!

Brandy made the ribbon on the onesie...Avery styling in the teal!

Cannon (one of my students)...Colton (the nephew) and Robin (teenage girl)!
So there are my thankfulness thoughts for today...hopefully I will remember this post and come back to read it when I feel weak.  Remember...cancer is weak...not me.

Quote of the day:

Tuesday, September 13, 2011 73

Today i am thankful for a full night of uninterrupted sleep.  Post treatment I usually wake up off and on all night..but last night I went to sleep around 8:30 and didn't wake up until 5:30 this morning.  Yahoo.  

Saturday, September 10, 2011 72

Today I am thankful for lazy Saturdays...seemingly slow onset of the chemo cruddies...and the Princess Bride.  It is yet another "vintage" movie...Robin has decided to love.  I love that she sees the movies I watched as a youth as vintage.  

I mean Singing in the Rain (yes)

Sound of Music (yes)

Even Barefoot in the Park

but Goonies (um), 

Princess Bride (um)

Adventures in Babysitting (come on now)

Oh least she is enjoying the movies of my youth.  So yeah I am thankful that even now my 12 year old and I can still find something to snuggle up on the sofa and watch together.  That's all for today
Love and sunshine

Quote of the day

Friday, September 9, 2011 71

Yesterday I was thankful for a huge slab of chocolate cake from McKinley' and understanding from my aunt and mom...the piece of mind that I am doing everything within my power to beat the cancer that lives inside me.  In seven days I will be walking to raise awareness.  I keep holding on to that thought...I am headed into my chemo hole.  These next few days will seem pretty dark...but I have something so fabulous to look toward on Saturday, September 17th.  I will get to spent some quality time with some of my favorite people....walking for a cause near and dear to me...most of them walking for me personally.  How can I not be thankful for this life warts and all.  Yup today with a wobbly stomach and jello legs...because if the toxins making their way through my body looking for rogue cells to slaughter...I am thankful for the number of people who blanket me in love and prayers on a daily basis.  I'm sure God is ready for me to smack the cancer clean out of my system so the barrage of prayers will quiet for a little while!  
Love and sunshine my friends,

Quote of the day... true!

Thursday, September 8, 2011 70

Today I am thankful for my computer and my mom.  I have chemo today (BLAH)...but I also get to spend some quality time with mi madre and also spend some quality time with my macbook.  
the love affair I have with this machine is so fulfilling!

I found Reese's Rainbow during chemo two cycles ago...
yuppers...I'm a link go me, you know you want to!!

and I always find awesome stuff on pinterest. So today shouldn't be any different.
and here is a link to the most amazing virtual bulletin board on the interwebs!
Hopefully I will get some answers from my doctor about my mystery bruises...the pain in my hands and feet...the pimples that appear all over my scalp one week post treatment...and the nausea that I am not supposed to have but do anyway.  I will also get my FMLA paperwork filled out and ask about a handicap tag (I still don't think I deserve one...but my mom and dad want me to ask anyway).  I just have to remember 1mt1mt...this will all be over soonish (April...I will be chemo free!!!!!!!!!)  Have a great day friends!
love and sunshine

quote of the day...must remember this!