Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Two years ago today we first heard those three words.   Spinal Muscular Atrophy.    

We had no idea our beautiful son would die less than three weeks later.

Sunday, December 19, 2010


I had to share some pictures of my amazing birthday present.   My friend Sara makes the most wonderful cakes and she stopped by today with this lovely creation.   I thought she was making me one of the ugly cakes from Cake Wrecks, but nope, I got the prettiest Barbie EVER!    I never got a Barbie cake as a little girl and I must say, this cake made it worth the wait!   :)

I'm sure she has no idea how much it really means to me.   For most of my life, I have been the giver.   I am the person who always makes sure everyone else has a cake or a gift or is thought of on their special day.   Usually that means that on my day, I get a bunch of apologies that people didn't have time or something came up and they didn't get to do anything.    But, every now and then a special friend or family member surprises me and does something that really puts some sunshine into my day.   Sara has been that special person not only on my birthday, but over and over again day in and day out.  She only met Eli once and we only worked together a few months, but she truly loves me and does so much for me and for SMA.   I don't know how many hours she worked on this cake, but I know she didn't get much sleep last night.    She is awesome and I am so very lucky to get to call her my friend. 

Thursday, November 25, 2010

The Holidays are Here!

 Our new Christmas tree.   After years of fighting with the lights and each other OVER the lights, we broke down and bought a new pre-lit tree this year.   It is also self-shaping, so it was up and ready to decorate in about 15 minutes.   It felt strange, but I don't miss the hours of putting on lights!
 This year I am attempting to make my own dressing.  I even dried and cubed the bread!   It was a labor of love, so I hope our guests like it.  I used this recipe from because of all the great reviews. 
 Here's Eli's crab ornament from last year.    I found 3 new ones this year at Hobby Lobby and will try to post pictures later.   
 This is our first ornament as a couple.   I sent it to Jason while we were living miles and miles apart.    
I was playing around with the camera today and here's one shot of some of the shiny glass balls.    I love trying to photograph the Christmas tree.   Hopefully my pictures will get better with practice.  

Happy Thanksgiving.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Great News!!!!!

I know, I know.   I'm horrible at updating over here.   I've been so focused on my Stampin' Up! projects and upcoming craft fairs that I've mainly been posting on my card blog and Facebook business page.    I do have a few things to share though!

First, Through Eli's Eyes is now officially TAX-EXEMPT!    We are thrilled to have that designation now because it allows us much more freedom to do fundraisers.   I am forever thankful to Robin and Wade, our awesome friends who donated their time to get the application together for us.   They ROCK!    

Second, there is an awesome new fundraiser going on that was brought about by some of my local friends.   Houston photographer Debi Gomez does an amazing calendar each year and chooses a children's charity to donate the proceeds.  My friends at Merry-Go-Round nominated one of our SMA organizations so this year's recipient is the Gwendolyn Strong Foundation!   You can check out the beautiful Hope Calendar here!   Please consider picking up a few of them as Christmas gifts to help support GSF and Debi's effort to fight SMA!

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Nothing new to report...just wanted to share a funny picture.   He's had a rough day today following me around, so he is VERY tired.  :)

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Please VOTE!

Gwendolyn Strong Foundation has a chance to win $20,000 for SMA through YOUR daily votes! Yep, we need your super awesome voting fingers to get to work again!

Twelve children’s charities from around the country, including the Gwendolyn Strong Foundation, were selected by the Jimmie Johnson Foundation for the Samsung Helmet of Hope that NASCAR champion Jimmie Johnson will wear in the upcoming Pepsi 400 race in October 2010. The Jimmie Johnson Foundation has already been incredibly generous, awarding a $10,000 grant to each of the twelve charities and increasing awareness about each of our missions. We are incredibly honored to be among these important causes. And we are equally honored to now have the opportunity for additional awareness and funding to help further our passion — an END to SMA!!!
WE. CAN. DO. THIS! Together we can END SMA — one vote at a time!!!
PLEASE VOTE: It’s really this simple –>
  • You can vote once EVERY DAY from now until September 29th at 5 PM EDT
  • Go to, select the Gwendolyn Strong Foundation, enter the two security words, check the Official Rules box, and then click “Vote Now!”
  • That’s it!
  • And…don’t stop there — SHARE!

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Eli's Quilt

We received Eli's quilt from Cole's Quilts this week.   If you haven't read about the quilts, go check our their website.  (if you cross-stitch, please consider volunteering!)  It is something we will be able to treasure forever.   Two of the squares are extra special because they were made by members of my SMA family.   The 3 giraffes in the car was done by MJ and Brenda.   If you've been a frequent reader of my blog, you should know all about MJ by now, but if not, you should spend a little time reading her story.   She is one of the most amazing people I've "met" and I hope I can give her a huge hug in person one day.  
Another square was made by my fellow SMA mom, Marla.   Marla lost her son Jay to SMA and has been one of the people I've come to lean on because she gets it.   I hope to make it up her way to visit her one day and get some cuddles from her amazing twins who are SMA free!   She made the Through Eli's Eyes square  for the quilt and I love it.   It is so nice to have the foundation name on there.
Here are some close ups of the other squares on the quilt.  I'll try to post better pictures when I have someone around to hold it up or when we figure out where to hang it.   I'm trying not to lay down and cry on it, but it is hard...    I sure miss that boy of mine.  

Monday, August 23, 2010

BBQ Chicken Pizza

How yummy does that look?   We tried this awesome new recipe tonight and it was delicious to say the least!

I finally got back to counting my Weight Watcher points last week and lost 2.8 pounds.  I feel a little better mentally, so hopefully I can stay on track.   We figure we have about $3500-4000 more to save up for IVF and I want to lose at least 30 pounds.   Crossing my fingers that I can do that and we can save the money and try around the first of the year.   I am working part-time right now and trying to get my Stampin' Up! business going as well.   This month has been tough, but getting out of the house has helped some I think.   The holidays will all be coming up soon and that's always a whole other hell we have to go through too.  

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

A few pics of the kids...

So cute, but don't let her fool you.  Touch the wrong spot and she'll get you!
My sweet boy.    He is so bad when we have company, but is always the perfect companion when it is just the two of us.   

Sorry I don't have much to post lately.   I finally went back to work and am trying to get my Stampin' Up! business off the ground.   It is hard to get back in the groove of things!

Eli's walk went great, but I forgot the camera!   We raised about $450 and sent it all to the Gwendolyn Strong Foundation for the 200K for SMA campaign.   They were nice enough to write up a very sweet post about Eli today, so go check it out here.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Happy Birthday Eli

Not sure if we had posted his wind chime before.   It was placed one year ago today and is still playing music...
Dragonfly solar light we found at Target.   I wanted to know there was some light near him at all times.
We took out some sunflowers today to place on his grave.  

And finally, the balloons...

Sunday, August 1, 2010

During the week that we were told Eli probably had SMA, a postcard appeared on Post Secret  that led many people to sign the petition and raised some serious awareness of SMA.   Today, I found this postcard.   As we go into yet another difficult anniversary, I find it fitting that one of my frequent complaints shows up on PS.   I wish people could understand how the words they *think* are comforting really just piss me off and make me want to slap them.   If I told you I planned to go out and kill someone or if I saw a man dying my plan would be to do NOTHING to help, would you think that was a good plan?   A plan that that person's family would find comforting?  No.   So your god planning for my son to die or doing nothing to cure him is NOT comforting.   Please think before you speak, especially when dealing with grieving families.  

Now they just need something to deal with the other stupid line of "everything happens for a reason".  

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Hey all.

Just a quick update.  The walk is definitely on for August 7th at 8am, so please come walk with us if you can.   I am busy with my new Stampin' Up! business and if you want to see what's been going on with that, be sure to check out my card blog.   I also got a job at Hobby Lobby and start tomorrow!    Lucky me also got picked for jury duty so I have that on Tuesday.    Fun times.

I am wondering if any of you who stop by have any talent in graphic arts or logo design.   We need a logo for Through Eli's Eyes, hopefully something pretty but still with a crab somehow incorporated into it.   If that's something you can do and would be willing to volunteer time to do, please let me know.  

Off to bed.   It has been a tiring last few days and I need to rest up for the rollercoaster of new things that starts tomorrow.


Thursday, July 15, 2010


One thing Jason and I have found that we like to do together is cook, so that's what we did a lot of this week.    This was our Tuesday night meal of baked fish, macaroni and cheese, and steamed broccoli.   I liked the fish because the mayo/lime sauce under the crumb topping gave it a hint of the tarter sauce I usually have with my fish.   The macaroni and cheese had a good flavor, but it definitely needs less baking time.  It was very creamy when we put it in the baking dish, but the oven dried up much of the sauce.   It does look good right out of the oven though, right?

On Monday night we had my favorite meal of blackened mahi mahi, jambalaya rice, and salad.  One of our local (expensive) seafood restaurants makes this great rice and I really wanted some without the cost of going there.   I found this recipe from Cooking Light and decided to try it out.  It wasn't exactly the same, but pretty good nonetheless.  We just seasoned the fish with some store-bought blackening spice.    

Last night we had our tried-and-true meatloaf with Jason's mashed potatoes and salad.   I forgot to snap a picture because we were late getting dinner started and by the time it was ready, we were HUNGRY.   

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

I think I'm going into hiding for a while.   It seems like everyone I know has an infant or child AND/OR is pregnant.   I think there should be an alternate universe for everyone who struggles with infertility or shitty genes to live together away from all that.    It gets old to be happy for the rest of the world while you struggle to get out of bed yourself.   I am at point the point that I really just want to move away from here and start over.   I can have better control of my friends and surroundings at that point.   I know I can't expect to have all childless friends, but it would be nice to find a few of them, especially ones who love their pets and do paper crafts.  That's not asking for much, right?    Maybe some older lady with NO grandkids would fit my bill...

Thursday, July 8, 2010

What a week....and I mean that in not a good kind of week.   I don't think I've cried this much in ages.   I have no idea what's going on, but my emotions are all over the place.    I feel crazy, depressed, sad, and hopeless all at once.

Eli's birthday is coming up so I think that's part of the problem.   We are still struggling with being able to see any kind of a happy future for ourselves and that's a part of it too.   I feel very lost and left out lately.    We don't really fit in with anyone with know, nor is there a group out there that we can easily belong to.   I've noticed groups such as childless by choice, which we are definitely not.    There are many infertility websites and message boards, but again, not our problem.   Maybe I should start a group, like Life Sucks When You Have Shitty Genes?   Or Surrounded by Bad Luck and Dead Children?   I don't see either of those becoming popular, so I guess we'll just keep struggling to find a place where we can exist.   It is tough when you are the only person in your circle of friends who doesn't have a child.   Well, it is okay if that's by choice, but not so much when it's because of crap like SMA.  

As much as I loved Eli, sometimes I wish I'd never gotten pregnant.  I was content to go through life without being a mom.   It was not something I obsessed over or thought about really.    Now that I got that little glimpse of how amazing the other side is, I want it.  I want it so much I feel like I'm becoming one of the people I always pitied.   Obsessed with babies, thinking about them all the time, WANTING, LONGING for one so bad.   How do you undo that and go back to just being okay without that mom title?   Hypnosis?

Speaking of SMA, I am currently in hiding from it in a way.   I have lost the determination that drove me, that kept me bugging everyone for the past year.    I wasn't even sure I wanted to do the walk this year.   I feel like every minute I spend thinking about it, I lose another minute of trying to escape from the hell that it has caused in my life.   I know that's wrong, but that's where I'm at right now.    Tough place.  

Well, that's my rant, vent, depressed writing for the night.   I couldn't seem to sleep with all that on my mind, so I thought I'd try to write it out and ease my mind a little.   It probably won't help and I'll still be up in a few hours, but I can always hope.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Just wanted to let the local folks know that we will be having the walk on August 7th this year.   It will start at 8am at Deussen Park shelter #5.   There will be no entry fee, but you are more than welcome to donate if you wish.  We are deciding right now where we want to send the funds we raise, but it will be for SMA research.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Why me?

Why us?

I hate questions that will never have an answer.  Ugh.

I am so sick of not sleeping again.  :(    I'm so tired all day and can't seem to get anything done.    I hate being such a complainer all the time, but it has been a long time since I actually felt like I had anything to be happy about.   I think hope has officially died at our house and the happiness along with it.   We keep trying to hang on and hope that something, ANYTHING good will happen and erase some of the pain from the past year and a half, but nothing yet.

I'm thinking about finally making an appointment with a counselor.   Our insurance covers 25 visits a year, so I'm thankful for that.  It is hard to pick someone just from looking at a list of names on a paper, but I guess I'll start with one and go from there.   We also made an appointment at one of the fertility clinics here to find out more information on the couple of options we are exploring.   I imagine they will all be out of our price range, but I think it is time we go find out for sure.   I'm at the point that I either want to have a plan on trying to have another child or go ahead and clean out the nursery.   I can't imagine even going through that room and trying to get rid of anything, but if we are going to plan a childless life, it has to be done at some point.   It sucks that there are companies out there who will come clean up blood and guts if someone is murdered in your house, but not one to come take away the baby stuff when your child dies.   The reminders are there and a closed door does nothing to lessen the pain of missing what should have been.  

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Happy Father's Day, Dad!  I love you.

I wish we were celebrating Father's Day with our son today.   No matter how short the time we had with him, Jason will always be the best daddy I know.   He was the first to change Eli's diaper and the last of us to hold him after he passed away; he was there for every step of that boy's life.    I'll never forget the moments of watching them together.  Happy Father's Day to my wonderful husband.   

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Here are three of the cards I have made to donate and send for the Families of SMA convention this month.   I hope the person who gets them will appreciate the time and love I put into them.  

I still can't believe I am a Stampin' Up Demonstrator now!  Crazy.   If you want to look over the catalogs (or even place an order!), you can do that through the website I set up today!    If you know anyone who likes the products or is interested in learning more about them, my contact info is on the site!  

Miss me?

Sorry for the lack of posts...   I think I just ran out of things to say.   We've been over and over the grief, the hurt, the anger so many times that I figured you were sick of hearing about it.   I know I'm sick of living it.   I think our friends are sick of hearing about it too as most of them seem to avoid us these days.  We've hoped for better, happier days, but they still elude us at every turn.   I don't know how you stay positive when life is nothing but a string of negatives.  Jason is my strong, silent husband who rarely says anything, but he finally shared that even he has lost hope for happiness at this point.   We even ventured as far as having the d-word discussion last week.   Sad that it even came to that, but coping with the loss of a child is HELL and sometimes it is too much.   We have a bit of a plan to try to work on our problems so we will see what happens.  

There's an old saying that money is the root of all evil.   (It might even be a Bible verse?)  For us, money is the KEY to all hope right now.   I feel like we are in a spot where we truly need about $15,000 to even have a shot at being a real family again.   Nobody is going to hand that over, so we have to try to figure out a way to save it up.    If you know anything about our past, you know we are pretty good at saving when we have to.   We had to pay for two funerals in about six months time right after we got married, so we KNOW about saving and paying off debt.   It is hard with me not working, but I'm slowly starting to send out resumes in hopes of someone returning a call and granting me an interview.   I know the chance to try PGD/IVF isn't going to fall into our laps and I feel like it is my responsibility to try to EARN it.   Jason works and pays the bills; I need to work and save!   Even a part-time job would work for me right now, so keep your fingers crossed that something opens up for me.  

More on that...   For a long time after Eli died, I barely functioned.    The thought of having to build a routine and get up and go to work every day was so overwhelming that I couldn't even think about it.   Now, I am ready to get out.   I feel trapped at home lately and I NEED to get out for my own sanity.  I just signed up to be a demonstrator for Stampin' Up so I at least have some projects to work on until something else comes through for me.   I love paper crafts, so I hope that love will help me get others interested as well.    I know it is a lifesaver for me sometimes.   I love being able to go in my room and let the creative juices flow.   It stimulates the mind, but also lets you be a kid again when you color images and cut and paste things.   :)

Anyway, that's what is going on in our world.   The garden has been producing quite well so far and now I am spending time baking zucchini bread to use up some of our crop.   The plant looks like it has had enough Texas heat so I think we are at the end for that.   My first tomato is starting to turn and the plant is full of small green ones.   We've picked beans a couple of times now and have a little freezer stash of those.   The strawberry plants are still going and man are the new ones good!  They are so sweet and delicious.   I know we won't get that many more this season, but we have a nice quart bag full of them frozen for later.   Jason pulled off the first few ears of corn and will be eating them in a veggie stir-fry for lunch tomorrow.   We've been taking full advantage of the fresh basil and putting it on our homemade pizzas.  

Oh, I am trying to quit eating meat!   That is my other news that I almost forgot to mention.   I started losing my taste for it back when I was pregnant with Eli (except for steak and chicken salad) and I just never liked it as much as I did before.   Jason decided to reduce his intake of red meat because of his family history of colon cancer so we haven't been eating it much.   So, I just decided to take the leap and give up meat.   I still have seafood and dairy on my list of foods I will eat, so I'm not going least not just yet.  

Monday, May 31, 2010

I love new stamps sets!    This one is a 4th of July set, but I think it also works great as a birthday set too!
I tried a new technique this weekend and made a flower pot card.    Lots of work and many lessons learned! I hope I can do better when I try it again.
One last flower card.   I love elegant cards, so this one was fun to make.

Happy Memorial Day to all.

Saturday, May 29, 2010

What's I've been up to this past week...

My Stampin' Up demonstrator, Denise, was kind enough to give me this stamp set at our last meeting.  I love it!
Love, love, LOVE the butterflies!
I have a stamp set that is designed to use buttons as part of the image and I finally got around to making the cherries.   So cute!
Denise also gave me a pack of paper that included this sheet with trees and clouds.   I thought it worked great with another stamp from the button set.
I had no Father's Day stamps so I found this one at Hobby Lobby.    I think it made a nice elegant card.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

All I can say is YUM!    One of the ladies at my stampers group made this a few months ago and I fell in love with it.   She gave me the recipe and Jason and I tried it out today.   It is so light and refreshing, perfect for the summer heat!

Here's the recipe:
Fruit Salsa
1 c. finely chopped strawberries
1 medium orange, peeled and finely chopped
2 lg. or 3 small kiwi, peeled and finely chopped
1 8oz. can crush pineapple, drained
1/4 c. thinly sliced green onions
1/4 c. finely chopped yellow or green bell pepper
1 T. lime juice
1 jalapeno pepper, finely diced

Combine all ingredients and chill for 6 hours.  Serve with cinnamon crisps.

Cinnamon Crisps:  Cut 12 8-inch tortillas into 8 wedges.   Spread wedges on a baking pan and brush with melted butter.   Sprinkle with cinnamon and sugar.   Bake at 350 for 10 minutes or until crisp.

I finally got around to making cards this weekend.  Here are a couple of them:

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

I know, it has been a while...   Many things have been going on down this way, but nothing really to report.    The garden is growing.   My class is finished.   I still have no idea what I want to be when I grow up.    Still missing our boy.  

I think trying to divide myself into too many blogs got to be too much so I'm going to go back to posting just on this one.    If you don't like recipes, ignore those posts.  The pictures of cards bore you, scroll down.    Unfortunately, my life isn't exciting enough to fill up 3 different blogs.    I wish I could be posting pictures of an 21-month old, but that isn't going to happen, at least not anytime soon.    If anyone has an extra $30K just sitting around and would like to donate it to our baby fund, we accept cash, checks, or credit cards.  

Now for some pictures:

The apple tree has two apples on it this year.   Last year we had one and it ended up staying about this size.   We are curious if these will grow into real apples...  

Jason picked these two last night.  We only planted one zucchini and one squash plant, but both are doing good so far.   Hopefully we'll have a squash to show next week.

Here's our dinner from tonight.   I was in a lazy mood and didn't work on making it all pretty, but it was tasty. The burgers were lean meat (beef for me, chicken for Jason) with some pepper jack cheese, avocado, and tomato on whole wheat buns.   The potatoes were a lighter version of Pioneer Woman's crash hot potatoes.

Please be sure to go vote in the Pepsi Refresh Everything contest.   Both SMA charities are in the top 10, but have to do better than that in order to win any money.