Tuesday, December 29, 2009


For those of you who worry when I'm silent (2 weeks! Longer than I thought!), I send out snowy greetings from central PA. We're just enjoying the holidays. And I'm trying to clean instead of compute (though that's not really what I do with that computer of mine).

And. AND! We're not in the hospital this week. The powers that be have decided Reuben is done with chemotherapy. It all depends on the behavior of that bad little tumor, of course, but I'm still hoping it's gone for good. We'll take a magnetic look at it on Thursday, and on and on until someone feels confident.

Hope your holiday has been cozy. We are happy to report that, for our family's first Christmas with a fireplace, Santa most definitely found us. Because those girls have been very, very good this year, and deserved it all.

Monday, December 14, 2009


Unfortunately, my "hey, maybe I'll catch up" week was spent in the hospital with that baby of mine. An all-day clinic visit on Monday for some IV fluids after a crazy weekend of diarrhea didn't quite stave off the mess, so when he woke up with fever and vomiting, we headed to the hospital at 3 am Tuesday. We just made it home Friday night with a bit of begging.

In we went for IV antibiotics, blood transfusions of both the platelet and RBC sort, make-up fluids, and a myriad of nighttime interruptions. Wednesday night was a little hairy--a temperature of 105'F, for instance--but by Thursday we just had a lingering not-too-high and not-always temperature and a waiting pattern for 24-hours-without-fever and a more robust white-cell count (ANC=0). The blood cultures never grew anything nasty, so we think we're just dealing with a virus now. Reuben stayed smiley and flirty and breastfeeding well throughout, which kept me from getting too scared. He was especially helped by a nice red cell transfusion which had him jumping on the bed within a half hour of beginning. He spent much of the next couple of days wishing he wasn't on a 3' tether in a 6' room. I spent a bit of time myself wishing I wasn't on a 5' sleeping chair...but we had a good view. And favorite nurses. Could be worse, friends.

Ay, we are behind on life! But Nathan happily scheduled a cycling club (advises the local university team) meeting at our house for Friday night and I came home to a clean house and cute college kids, including one making rainbow snowflakes with the happy-to-be-up-late girls. Then on Saturday, I even coerced the girls into helping fold the mammoth pile of laundry in my basement on Saturday. Gradually catching up...though the always-effective approach of staying up late the last couple of nights will not last.

I have been just so happy to be home. And Christmas-ing. I love it.

Monday, December 7, 2009

art buttons--children's gifts

Chemo last week went pretty well, in the usual awful ways, but R came home with a nasty GI bug and N has been pathetically ill with a sore throat, so we've been just barely on the joy side of Christmas preparations (I owe that to the girls, who have been delightful decorators and super mama supporters).

I have to confess, though, that the highlight of my weekend was the receipt on Friday of 100 shiny buttons from etsy seller Felt and Paper. I loved the buttons we've had made for Marian's transplant support, both the superstar and shine variations, and have been scheming for a good reason to make more.

The time has arrived! Christmas friend gifts.I gave each girl a stack of cardstock, cut into quarters, and put out watercolors and colored pencils. They played around until they came up with two images each that we agreed would make good buttons (the watercolored images came out especially nice when shrunk and translated into buttons).

There are several etsy sellers that will make custom buttons for you. I chose Felt and Paper, and could not be happier with her customer service, accessibility, turnaround time (less than a week; you still have time!), and product quality. I searched for "custom 1.25 buttons" and chose her listing from the results. (this photo is not as crisp as the actual product)

We're going to mount them on cards for the girls to give to their friends as holiday gifts. I think they count as handmade.

This kind of turned into a plug for
Felt and Paper, which was neither requested nor intended, but I really think the good experience I had with the seller made the project, so am going to describe the details of that below.


(1) Her price was great. I paid $30 + $5 shipping for 100 buttons. They're slightly more per for smaller quantities; she does as few as 10 buttons for $5.

(2) She was willing to make up to 5 designs, which we did: 20 each for my shop and M&A's 4 designs.

(3) She was willing to do the Printshop work. I submitted jpeg images, which in my case were just carefully cropped photos of our artwork because I don't have a scanner. There is a photoshop template for 1.25" buttons that some sellers request, but I don't have Photoshop and am clumsy with my free-download replacement (gimp) that I use in a pinch. She did say it was helpful that our images had white all around them for the resizing. Since the girls' art wasn't really round-ish and they were attached to the whole image and I wanted their little initial signatures to show, we asked her to make sure our whole image was showing on the front of the button.

I will choose her again because

(4) She was crazy-quick fulfilling the order.

(5) These buttons are bee-you-tiful. Crisp images, even in the tiny detail of the girls' initials and my shop name along the edge of mine (her suggestion). Perfectly centered and assembled. Delivered with a personal note in individual ziplocs. I'm addicted to ziplocs, my very favorite plastic.