Atti Goes Viral

Snuggly Atticus

The last couple of days have been wild, but I think that I should really just start accepting that as understood when I start writing my posts. I just don’t seem to run optimally unless I’m surrounded by chaos.

I took what was supposed to be a super quick road trip (bookmark that story for another day) and yadda yadda yadda didn’t get home until two days later then expected. Then my activism stuff kicked into high gear as my church issued a press release that was super super problematic around issues of abuse. Writing about that turned one eye of the internet towards me as I started getting hit with some ugliness that comes with attention.

But then. On the very same day I’m dealing with the underbelly of humanity by advocating around child abuse, Atti’s skate park video gets published on Upworthy and suddenly the other eye of the internet turns toward me. But this time with effusive love and support. This time I was hearing about how great we are and how amazing my little hero is and suddenly I feel like human beings are worth fighting for.

And then I started reading the comments to Atticus.

(I left out all the ones chastising us for not using a helmet because, Guess what folks? If your child can’t walk you don’t buy them a helmet. This was not a matter of being too lazy to put one on, this was a matter of not having reason to believe he would ever need one. We had no idea he would love this like he did. Plus he’s on five wheels, not two. He’s way more stable than a skateboard. He has a helmet now. Shush with your able bodied privilege.)

Atti is an EXTREMELY shy kid. Sometimes we’ve met people who know him from videos and he hides behind me or closes his eyes and covers his ears. But he is always wanting me to show him the videos I’ve made of him. There he can see himself as who he really is. And seeing how many people were watching that video? And cheering him on? Made such an amazing difference to him. He went to bed giggling. He was hugging and kissing me all night. I kept saying “Look at all these people who believe in you!” And as we put him to bed we went to read him stories, but last night? He read them to us. He gathered up his courage to try reading out loud. To risk sounding “funny” as he struggled to make the words with his mouth and to show us just what that sweet little brain could do. You all gave him faith in himself.

If you don’t have a disability, imagine the hardest thing you’ve ever had to do. Maybe it was a sport and you had a coach who really pushed you to do your best. Maybe you struggled with math or reading. Maybe your parents really wanted to play an instrument and you hated every second of it. Imagine whatever that thing is. Remember how discouraged you got? Remember how bad you felt about yourself? Maybe you even said “I’m so stupid!” when you got a bad grade. And how all those bad feelings about yourself kept you from trying. Maybe you gave up on that instrument. Or quit that sport. Or are still telling yourself “I just can’t do math.”

Now imagine that all of those feelings you have, instead of being around math or sports or the piano, was about talking. Imagine it was about walking. Imagine that every single human encounter you had required you to do a complicated math problem. That’s the world my Atticus lives in.

My job as his mom is to protect that sweet brave spirit. To make sure that he never gets discouraged enough to give up. I need to be his coach and tell him that Rome wasn’t built in a day and that It’s better to have tried and failed than never tried and that Winners never quit and quitters never win. All day long I’m trying to make up for how hard the whole rest of the world is by telling him how much I believe in him.

I wish you all could have seen his face when I told him that a million other people believe in him too.

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BB8 Sugar Cookies

BB8 Cookies
Over my Christmas break, aside from the surgery and recovery, the family time and holidays, two other important things happened. 1) While laid up in bed trying not to cough or laugh, I got totally hooked on watching Youtube videos about decorating sugar cookies with royal icing. 2) I saw Force Awakens. I think I might just have a full post in me about Force Awakens, but it blew my mind and for the next week I didn’t think about anything else. So I knew I had to combine my two obsessions if I was going to get any peace.

BB8 Cookies 1

I love BB*8 as much as I hated Jar Jar Binks. When that little goofy robot shook his sassy little head? He had me. So obviously, BB*8 had to be the one that got the sugar cookie treatment, and also because I never decorated cookies this way before and a bunch of little buttons and dials are way more approachable than a human woman like Rey. This was a fantastic first project! Even as I made a ton of mistakes and would do a bunch of things differently – like work on getting the right icing consistency and changing the order of how I applied things so it didn’t require so much drying time – I think it was still totally successful. I especially love using the decorating powder to make him all grungy like he had been spending time on a desert planet.

BB8 Cookies 2

Since this was my first ever attempt at sugar cookie decorating with royal icing, I needed a whole lot of instruction. And to get that I went to Sweet Ambs. Her videos were my favorite to watch, and on her site she offers a package where you get all her recipes and some special videos. I found it to be totally worth it, but there are a whole lot of royal icing and sugar cookie recipes out there. If you have questions about anything other than this particular design, I’d send you straight to her. I’m only a beginner myself, and an enthusiastic geek about the latest Star Wars movie.

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So. What’s new with you?

IMG_2142

Hey pals.

So. Last we spoke I was calling “uncle” during the run up to Christmas. Turns out that major abdominal surgery during the holidays tends to throw a monkey wrench in your productivity plans. The recovery was pretty brutal. Six weeks, so, technically, I’m STILL recovering. But today I got Atticus on the bus all by myself, and then went for a two mile walk around the lake. That feels like a benchmark.

During my post-op appointment my surgeon told me all about what he found, and like surgeons often do, he made it sound like it wasn’t that out of the ordinary. And for him, maybe it wasn’t. All he does is look at endometriosis ridden bodies, after all. But when my fertility clinic saw it they all lost their minds. My nurse Sue called me up saying “Oh my gosh!! We had no idea it was so involved! How were you walking?!” Which, I won’t lie, felt pretty great. Some people compete in triathlons, I just get through my day with my innards all attached to each other.

There was scarring and adhesions and fibroids just EVERYWHERE. On my intestines, blocking my uterus, attaching my ovaries to the inside of my pelvic wall like they were one of those fraternity pranks where someone is plastered to the wall with duct tape. My bladder was “fused” (that was the actual word the surgeon used) to my uterus. And of course scar tissue from the emergency C-section that saved me and Atti. It was a crime scene in there.

Recovery has been super hard – give thanks for your abdominal muscles next time you need to cough or poop – but I’m feeling so much better. It’s been years since I had this much energy and motivation. Since I had…hope? That I wouldn’t always need to apologize for backing out? Or begging off? Or asking for help? That maybe, if I’m lucky, I’ll be able to just..do..all the things that so many people take for granted.

Including having a baby. We’re in the middle of our latest attempt at a cycle right now. Just yesterday I climbed up into those stirrups that I should really just start paying rent for at this point, and had another ultrasound. From my many years of tracking my ovulation, I know that I tend to go pretty late in my cycle, which is a bit of a problem when you’re trying to control so many variables. My reproductive system is just too punk rock to be controlled, though. It’s all “Go ahead and pump all the medicine you want in me. I won’t be rushed. I do what I want. You might call me uterus, but I say it’s uterMe.” And then it puts on some aviator shades as a screaming YEOOOOOWWW echoes behind it.

If my dang body will just play along already, then we’re hoping for a transfer in a couple of weeks. Just in time for yet another December birthday in the family.

My niece is still living with us and that is going awesome. I have a whole lot I want to say about that, but I can’t do it today. Or maybe ever. Dang grown people with their own idea about what they want spread on the internet. It has been a big adjustment but a wonderful one. And maybe one of these days I’ll convince her to let me put her on the blog. She is so incredibly gorgeous and talented, and maybe the only person I’ve ever known who didn’t want to share that with the Internet.

There is still so much more to talk about. Atti’s new wheelchair and his big breakthroughs, my own big endeavors, my plans to make all my dreams come true, and how Force Awakens blew my mind. But I’m trying to learn to pace myself. I am still recovering after all.

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Christmas FAIL

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Mason Jar Vignette

Mason Jar Scene

It just occurred to me how many different versions of dioramas I’m doing on this tree. The santa shadowbox, the holiday shadowbox, and now today’s Mason Jar Vignette. What can I say, it’s a trend. This will be my last of the dioramas and once we get all the ornaments on the tree it won’t […]

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Holiday Shadowbox

Christmas Shadowbox (2)

One of my favorite things to do as soon as Halloween is over is to go to any store even partially related to home decor and scope out their Christmas decorations. I snap iphone pics of things that I really like or want to figure out how to reverse engineer, and then I go off […]

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Santa Shadowbox Ornaments

Santa Shadowbox

One of my favorite things to do from the end of Halloween straight through to the end of the year is go to all the fancy stores I can find and check out their Christmas decorations. The fancier the store the more I enjoy it because I just whip out my phone, snap a picture, […]

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Mod Foam Ornaments

Mod Foam Ornament

As I was scouring the internet looking for inspiration for this tree, I came across an image from an old Women’s Day magazine posted on a tumbler page. The second I saw it the whole tree coalesced in my head. Before that old magazine article I knew I had a bunch of vintage ideas floating […]

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Vintage Inspired Pom Pom Garland

Pom Pom Garland

Hello my friends! I’ve missed you! Things have been laughably ridiculous over here lately which has been keeping me too busy to blog, but you know I had to come back around for our yearly tradition of a new themed Christmas tree! Busy stuff in a nutshell: Yadda yadda yadda I’m having surgery next Wednesday […]

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Make a Halloween Ghost Family Display

Ghost Family Display

Atti has been really into ghosts lately. He saw a SuperWhy episode with “The Ghost Who Was Afraid of Halloween” and ever since then that’s the only thing about Halloween that interests him. This year he’s begged to dress up as either a ghost, or Papa Drac from Hotel Transylvania, which breaks my crafter heart. […]

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