Since I did my “tribute” for Mother’s Day it’s only fair that I now give a shout out to the equally amazing father’s in my life!!!
Since I did my “tribute” for Mother’s Day it’s only fair that I now give a shout out to the equally amazing father’s in my life!!!
So as most of you know by now Amber has a skin problem called eczema. It first started when she was itty bitty, in between 1 month and 2 months old. It was just a little on her face and we took her in and they gave us some cream to clear it up and some special hypo-allergenic body wash to use on her. They also had us switch to Aveeno lotion and not use anything on her ever again that had any kind of scent in it. That all worked great and cleared stuff up for a long while.
Once she got a little older it started to come back on her wrists and ankles so they gave us some thick greasy lotion to use on her in addition to the aveeno. All of the above seemed to keep it really well under control until last Fall. Her eczema started getting worse and worse, and as I mentioned before once we got back here it started really flaring up and causing tons of problems, which has lead to many, many trips up to the naval health clinic and now to a trip this week to the allergist.
I have a friend who’s little girl is just a few months older than Amber and she has had even more problems than Amber has with eczema. I talked to Elizabeth to see what kind of things they were doing for Kayda so I could get some ideas of what might help Amber. Kayda turned out to be allergic to several foods and once they eliminated them from her diet her skin cleared up amazingly. The only consistent factor I could think of with Amber was during that time frame she started eating “real” food and I weaned her. So I was sure that she was allergic to dairy, and possibly other (food) things as well. Yesterday they did the “back poke” test on her for the food panel to see what she was allergic to. The good news is they didn’t find anything, the bad news is…they didn’t find anything! :S Just to verify the results they had me take Amber to get her blood drawn today so they could test it. Poor baby! She actually did sooooo great though! She was better for that than she is when she gets shots so that was a huge praise. It doesn’t sound like she does have any food allergies though. Which on one hand is GREAT! I was so worried and I just can’t imagine what a hassle it is for people who are allergic to things like dairy or eggs or both! But that means there are going to be no “easy fixes” for this.
We have an appointment with a dermatologist in July but I have a feeling he’s not going to be able to tell me anything I haven’t heard or tried before. I feel like I’ve pretty much done everything I’m supposed to be doing or tried anything worth trying at this point. It’s frustrating!! 🙁 and I feel so bad for Amber because on one hand I don’t want to constantly be giving her medicine but on the other I can’t have her going around and breaking her skin open by scratching it so hard because it’s so itchy. I’ve also found out that this is probably why she has had such a hard time sleeping through the night, it makes their skin terribly horribly itchy especially at night, to the point of waking them up. 🙁
By going through all of this I’ve actually found out that several people I know have eczema, that it’s actually pretty common, and usually quite treatable although there’s no “cure”. Also it’s supposed to get better as she gets older, in the meantime though it’s making life for all of us a little rough. But anyways, I know lots of you I’ve told bits and pieces of what’s gone on so thought I’d just write down the whole story to get it off my chest. She has actually been better lately, and as long as I put the steroid cream on her when she does break out and keep her very “greasy” she seems to be alright. It’s a lot of work but we’ll get through it and hopefully it’ll just get better over time…
So awhile ago I mentioned the fact that I was starting my very own scrap-for-hire business and that I’d let you know when I had everything all settled–well, it’s official! I’m now the proud owner of Artistic Albums by Nicole. I actually decided on a name and even started doing business eons ago, but never got around to blogging about it. 🙂 I even have my own seperate business blog you can all check out:
So far I’m absolutely loving it! I’m so thankful that Heather talked me into doing this and plan on keeping it up indefinitely. It’s the perfect way for me to bring in a little bit of extra money while doing something I love and expanding my skills in it. Since this is now such a huge part of my life I thought I’d blog a little about digital scrapping and how I got into it in the first place.
I guess the best place to start out would be with scrapbooking in general. I first started (paper) scrapping in my senior year of high school. Since I was homeschooled I didn’t have a year book, but wanted a way to document my last year of high school. I decided to make a scrapbook of it as an alternative. My mom got me materials and a class as my birthday present that year and my love-affair with scrapbooking began. I made an awesome senior year album and then set scrapping away for a while.
Once I got married I knew that I just had to scrap all the awesome pictures I had. Luckily we were able to get an amazing photographer when she was just starting out and before she became “famous” (wwww.fotosbyjenni.com) and since I had a cd of the pictures it was super easy (and cheap) for me to get them all printed out and scrapped.
I also created a Coast Guard album for my husband and all his experiences in the Honor Guard. I really did love scrapping, but I got frustrated because it was so expensive and I just didn’t have the patience to do the pages up to the level I wanted them to be. Sitting for hours stitching and sanding and inking just wasn’t my idea of a good time. Once I got pregnant I knew I would want to scrapbook all of my future child’s babyhood. I picked up a few scrapbooking magazines to give me some fresh ideas. I kept gravitating to certain layouts in the magazine and was surprised when I realized that they were all done digitally. Even more surprising to me was that they all said they were made using Photoshop. I knew that you could edit photos in Photoshop, but had no idea you could digi-scrap with it, or how on earth that would even work. When I started a blog last summer I saw that my friend Jaimin had hers all decked out and adorable with a super cute background. I followed her link for the instructions on how to do it and was directed from there to several sites that had digital scrapbook papers that you could download and also use for blog backgrounds. Already intrigued at the idea of digital scrapping I looked all over these sites, specifically http://www.shabbyprincess.com/ , to learn more. I also found tutorials. When my in-laws told us that we could pick our b-day presents off of Dell.com and I saw Photo Shop Elements I knew exactly what I wanted. I got it, started downloading kits and checking out other sites and more tutorials…..and eventually that lead me to where I am now!!!!
So far I’ve gotten many more ppl interested in digital scrapping for themselves than I have customers, but you know what? I’m totally fine with that. 🙂 I love showing people this amazing new hobby that’s so much fun without being hard or ridiculously expensive. If in the end my business end up in me “teaching” more people about the joys of digital scrapping than ever making a bunch of money off of it, I’ll still feel it was worth all my effort!!!
All dressed up for our date!!!
So my New Years Resolutions this year were to start working out, start doing my devos on a more consistent basis, and to always strive to be a better wife and mom. I think I’ve done pretty good on all of those so far, except the first one!!!!!! Our life has just been so crazy this year up to this point that it just didn’t happen. Now things have slowed down a ton though, and I’ve run out of excuses as to why I’m not doing it!!! So this week I’ve started working out with the exercise DVDs I bought a looooong time ago. I did it today and Monday–Yey!!!!!!!!!!! LoL, I know, but it is a big deal for me because I hate working out, well mostly I just lack the motivation and discipline needed for it–baby steps people!!!!! 😉 I’ve actually lost all my baby weight (and then some–wahoo!!!!) because nursing just worked out wonderfully for me 😀 😀 😀 but now that Amber’s totally and completely weaned I know I can’t keep eating like I do and not working out and expect all that weight to stay off…let alone lose anymore. I’m relatively happy with the weight range I’m in right now…would like to see 5-10 more lbs come off, but as long as I get toned that’s really my biggest concern. Also Amber’s finally sleeping through the night now YIPPEE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! (for now, haha) so I felt like I didn’t have that as an excuse anymore either. Plus I’d really love to have more energy so I feel like I can halfway keep up with my super active little girl!!! So anyways…I just wanted to blog about it because I know I’ll do better if I feel like I’m “accountable” to someone–even if it is just all of you out there in cyberspace 😉 So here’s to me getting healthy!!!!! 😀
I thought that once they hit a year old your baby was supposed to stop changing so drastically–guess that just meant look wise!!! It seems like everyday Amber’s learning, saying, or doing something new. Keeps me busy trying to keep up!!! I’m going to try to get a video of her saying all her words but you all know how that can go! 🙂 So just in case I’ll just give you a quick update on what she’s babbling about these days:
Mamma and Dadda are of course still favorites, she likes saying Dadda much more than Momma though. She pretty much only says Momma if she’s upset and crying about something, lol, go figure!! But that might be because Momma’s with her all the time too. When Bob’s at work or away she goes around the house saying “Dadda….dadda…” and I have to explain he’s not here. When he walks in the door she shrieks in delight and goes “DADDA!!!” it’s so cute!
Uh-oh is still one of the most frequent words and she gets into enough trouble to use it all the time!
Woof woof–still uses this for dogs and most other animals, but as you’ll see she is branching out now 🙂
Ball–this of course, is for her toy balls, lol
Cak-Cak– (quack quack) For ducks and any kind of bird. She especially likes the Cak-caks at our pond
Maow–(meow) for cat–but instead of an e sound she makes an a sound–sooo cute!
Hiiiiii–She tells me hi about 50 million times a day, basically every time she looks at you and you look at her she says it-lol! But it’s super cute 🙂 She really drags the i sound in it out..funny girl 🙂
Cup–just got this one in the past few days and was so proud of herself when she did. 😀 I was so proud of her because today when she was thirsty she went to the fridge, made the sign for milk, and said Cup. What a smart little girl I have!!!!!!
Howdoin?– For “how are you doing?” she just says this when she’s pretending to talk on the phone. She’ll say “Hiiiii howdoin” I’m pretty sure she has no idea what it means, she just hears me say it! LoL!
Yeth!–for yes. She was a bit confused about what shaking her head no meant–she tried to use it for no AND yes. LoL. So we’ve been working on saying yes when she means yes 🙂 I’ll say it, then she gets all excited and shouts YETH! back at me, lol! 🙂 We have fun!!!!!
She still points at everything and says “Dis” and “Dat” too 🙂 those are pretty much her go to words for things she doesn’t know how to say yet 🙂
Bee-bow–for belly button–Haha! She discovered it recently and now constantly pulls up her shirt, dress–whatever she’s wearing at the time to show it off and say “bee-bow” this is adorable…except when she does it in front of everyone at church :S lol! She let me know my shirt was a little too short the other day too when I was trying to get something over my head and I hear her saying “Bee-bow! Bee-bow” and pointing at my stomach. Haha!!!! She can also show me where her ears and nose are if I ask her and is getting pretty consistent about showing me her mouth and eyes 🙂
She’s very expressive when she babbles and talks with her hands all the time (she’s not her momma’s baby at all! 😉 ) She loves to “read” to herself now and with jabber as she flips through the books and points at all the pictures. When she comes across something (like a dog or a cat or bird) she does know she gets all excited and says that word. 🙂
Ok so my short update just turned into a novel….I TOLD you she was doing a ton of new stuff!! 🙂
I’ve been very lucky in the mother’s God has placed in my life. My Mom and I have the closest relationship of any mother and daughter I know. She is one of my very best friends and, other than Bob, she’s the person I talk to the most–even though I live so far away!! We spend about an hour on the phone every week day talking. I’m so grateful that we can be close even though we can’t spend a lot of time face to face anymore. She is a truly amazing person and I’m so grateful to call her my Mom!!!!!! I’ve also been blessed with a wonderful Mother-in-law. I have so many friends who didn’t luck out in this category so it makes me appreciate mine all that much more! Diane is such a sweet, generous, gracious, funny lady. The more I get to know her the more I love her 🙂 I know she must have also been a wonderful Mom because look at how great her son turned out! 😉 Lastly I’m so thankful for both of my Grandma’s. I got to be close (in every sense of the word) to both growing up and I looking back now I see that I was very lucky to get to! My Grandma Romero was the 100% Italian who cooks better than anyone else in this whole world and always had chocolate chip cookies in the cookie jar and baby sat us all the time. We got to go visit her and my Grandpa just about once a week and spent virtually all our holidays with them. My Grandma Middlemas was my “takes you out to eat at your favorite restaurant and buys you a toy while you’re out…just because…” Grandma who would get us the thing we wanted the most on our list for Christmas and sent us to Lagoon every summer. Since she lived just 15 min. away in Green River we got to see her very often while I was growing up too. I’m so grateful that I am still privileged to have these special, special women in my life!!!!!!!! Now that I’m a Mom it makes me realize just what they did for me growing up and how much they sacrificed, and I appreciate it more than I can possibly express. So Mom, Diane, and Grandmas–Thank you so much!!! And I LOVE YOU!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
This has just kind of been an all-around icky week. Poor Amber’s eczema started coming back in full-force only a little after she’d finished taking her medicine for it, so on Tuesday I took her in to get it looked at…again. As I mentioned in my previous post the oral steroids really wacked her out and it wasn’t much fun for any of us!! So I wanted to make sure it never got that bad again. This time we were able to get in and see a Dr. in pediatrics, which made me happy. I’d much rather go there than the urgent care clinic or the family clinic. I mean–pediatricians are the ones who are supposed to deal with babies, right?! Well the Dr. comes in and he’s this old, funny, kinda goofy guy. I tell him what’s been going on with her and then tell him that she just got off of oral steroids that they had her on for a week. He freaks out and tells me, “Listen to me very closely. I want you to promise me, never ever let them do that again!! Do you hear me? I’m serious!” and he was serious. He said she shouldn’t have been put on them and definitely not for a week. :S Oh dear…..so that then freaked me out. He then went on to tell me everything else I’ve been told up there was incorrect. Sigh. Gotta love military health care :S Although, to be fair, I think that this is kinda the case with healthcare in general!!! Anyways, the one thing he told me that did make me happy is he said that he was going to put in a referral for us to go see a dermatologist and get their opinion on her eczema since it might be linked to food allergies and it’s a moderate/severe case. Thank you!!! That’s definitely what I want! 🙂 So I need to call next week and get all that set up. I did a little research of my own on eczema on WebMD and figured out why I was getting conflicting information…other than the steroid thing :S Although it was really, really bad–pretty much covering her whole body 🙁 and it wasn’t until the end of the week when she was on the steroids that it finally cleared up. It had just started to come back when I went in last week, so if he had seen her before, he might have had a different opinion. Who knows? I will be more cautious in the future though!!!!!!!
After all of that shananigans, that night all three of us came down with a nasty cold bug 🙁 We’re still all really sick…every night I keep hoping to wake up feeling better and each day I just get worse…ick. We don’t think it’s the piggy flu, lol, as none of us have had fevers. So that’s one praise about it right? So just keep us in your prayers and Amber’s eczema as well. It’s hard because you can’t tell her not to scratch it or it will make it worse :S
Another thing you can be praying for is my father and mother-in-law to find jobs 🙁 The recession has hit them hard and Bob’s dad has been out of work for going on 2 months now. They are the sweetest, most generous people and it hurts to know they’re not finding anything. So please pray that God will provide something soon!!!! If you’ve read my previous posts you know that this year has been a very, very hard one on them already, without this on top of it!!
So anyways…..there’s my gloomy post. LoL! But God is good…and we know He’ll provide. My mother-in-law provided me with a quote recently she said has helped her during this time:
You’re born, and you die, and everything in between is just STUFF. 🙂
So for those of you who don’t have Facebook 😉 , I’ve decided to start up my own scrap-for-hire business!! Woo Hoo!!! I’d had several people (some joking, some not) tell me that I should scrapbook for people for money. I kind of brushed it off until I uploaded my pages on Facebook and got overwhelming good responses about them. I decided to play around with the idea of doing it for money and when I looked around online I discovered that people actually seem to make some pretty good money doing it. Most scrap-for-hire sites charge an average of $15 a PAGE!!! LoL. 😀 Good news for me!! 😀 The bummer is I have to buy commercial licenses for all the kits I want to use…and that’s really pricey…but I’ve decided at first to just have people pay for the kits and I’ll do the work for free. So anyways…I’m really super excited and hope it works out for me. 🙂
My biggest dilemma in all of this, however, is coming up with a suitable name. It seems every decent name has been taken by a photography studio, scrapbooking supply company, or a different s4h site!!! I came up with/had suggested at least 13 amazing names that were all taken!! I’ve been pulling my hair out the past couple days to come up with an original one. Finally when my creative juices got flowing I came up with too many creative ones…and now can’t pick between them!! Haha!! I’ve narrowed the choices down to either Sweet Pea Pages or Artistic Albums by Nicole. I really can’t decide which I like better!! But eventually I must choose…so I’ll keep you all updated with my progress of this newest adventure and if I ever am able to finally settle on a name!!!!!