Friday, March 3, 2017

New Developments In My Hemophilia Story...

 (me and my favorite little bleeder :) )

Imagine living your whole life with a genetic disorder you never knew you had. In fact, for most of your life it was believed that women couldn't even have this disorder, so there's really no way you could have it...

About 5 years ago, I first shared my hemophilia story. You can read about that HERE

Well in May 2016, my story changed. I went from simply being a carrier of hemophilia to actually HAVING hemophilia.

 If you don't know, hemophilia is a genetic bleeding disorder. People with hemophilia don't bleed more, they just bleed longer. I grew up around it because my dad has it. He would get nasty bruises, called hemotomas, if he had a fall or bumped into something hard. Once he was jumping on the trampoline (on his knees) with my cousin and I. He did some yard work and later that day his knee was swollen (filled with blood) to the size of a cantalope.

Until recently, my dad didn't really manage his hemophilia well. (It's true dad, don't try and argue! ;) ) But thanks to my adorable son, we got him to come to clinic with us for the first time in his life!

But back to ME :)

So back in May 2016, we went to my son Ben's clinic and decided we would have his levels retested because they seemed strange compared to what my dad's levels are. Typically factor (blood clotting factors) levels within a family are all pretty similar. At the same time, we decided to have myself and baby Dash tested as well. Dash, we just simply didn't know if he had inherited my defective X gene or got the good one. For me, we just wanted to see what my levels were since I tend to bruise.

Well when the results came back, sure enough, I only have 45% of factor IX (9) levels. Anything under 60% is considered to be hemophilia.

So there I had it, at 29 years old and after carrying and birthing 4 children, I was told that I have hemophilia.

We have been blessed that both my son and I are pretty mild. Even though his levels put him in the 'moderate' category he has had never required an infusion to stop bleeding but he has gotten some ugly goose eggs.

Like a couple days before the first day of preschool lol

This was the bump that promoted us to find a hematologist after our move. We went to clinic a little while after this.

For me, I have always seemed to have unexplained bruises on my legs and hips.  Here's one I noticed a few weeks ago on the back of my thigh. I don't remember what I bumped it on.

As far as other woman things, I've never noticed that to be an issue. Not super heavy. The only time my hemophilia may have come into play was with the birth of my daughter (#3 and my first natural delivery). The doctor did have to administer something for bleeding when she was born, but as I've told my hematologist, the OB was a in a hurry to get back to the office (I came in right before 8am) so he tugged a bit on the placenta. No clue if that had anything to do with it or what. But overall, life has been pretty normal.

We are fortunate, some people with hemophilia require regular infusions. Some even need a port directly into their body so they don't have to find a vein every time. There have been some really great medical advances for hemophilia, just in my lifetime and I am grateful that my son's quality of life will not be diminished.

March is Bleeding Disorders Awareness Month. You can go to the Hemophilia Federation of American website to learn more, get involved, or donate.

Thanks for coming by and reading my update! Follow me on any of these platforms for more updates and upcoming projects! I've got some home decor projects, kid's sewing tutorial, and some product reviews coming up that you don't want to miss!
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Monday, January 30, 2017

Laundry Room to 'Mudroom' Makeover

I have died and gone to heaven!

Laundry room organization heaven that is!

I am so excited to be sharing our most recent project with you! This was a labor of love. I knew I was going to love the end result or I seriously might not have finished it. lol.

It wasn't overly complicated or hard or anything. It was just a lot of trips to the hardware store and trying to find a time to work on it between naptime/bedtime (loud saws and hammering) and keeping the kids out of the way.

So technically, I don't know if I should call this a mudroom. I mean it is still my laundry room, but when someone says 'mudroom' this is the image it invokes.

Our laundry room is a small room that you pass through when coming into the house from the garage. The washer and dryer are awkwardly situated behind the door to the garage and there is a large utility sink that, as much as I love using it, sticks out too far into the room and is too close to the washer. The door actually bumps the sink most times I open/close it. We had a 'nine cube' for our shoes and other miscillaneous things. There was already a rack for hanging coats but it goes over the sink and as useful as it is, the coats hang down into the way of the washer/sink.

So my desire for some kind of mudroom shelf/bench/built in was born. I knew we needed space for shoes, coats, backpacks, and somewhere to put gloves/hats/scarves in the winter to be easily accessible but also not on the floor.

After telling my husband about my idea, he hit Pinterest (I know, right?!) and started finding ideas and inspiration that would work for our space. We combined the look of a couple different projects, but ultimately we used Ana White's Smiling Mudroom as a basic guide for the bench and shelves because it was really the only site that had actual plans. Then modified it to the length we wanted it and added shelves to the shoe part for even more storage.

First I removed the baseboard and quarter round in the are we were going to be working in. We started with the beadboard, our area needed two sheets. We got plywood from Home Depot and had them do the long cuts for us and I did the rest with circular saw and miter saw. I painted everything (for the shelves and bench) before assembling. I painted in my 1st graders room while he was at school so I could lock the door to make sure no one made a mess.

 We didn't have a pocket hole jig so we just made due with either seeing the screws or got creative about hiding them. Here's one of the dividers for the shoe shelves. We used a 1x2" to make a brace for the shelves.

Here you can see we also cut the corner of the bench to allow space to pass through when coming in the door. 

Like I said above, we didn't have a pocket hole jig so we had to figure out how to cover the screws, especially on the top of the bench where we attached each of the dividers. We got a sheet of super thin plywood, 7/32" thick. I had Home Depot cut this down again to the strip we needed for the top of the bench. I took it home and stained it, then glued it down to the top of the bench, and added 1x2" around the edge to finish it.

Next we built the upper shelves and focused on securing those to the walls.

As you can see I had a bit of trouble finding studs lol. I even bought a new stud finder but it just wasn't jiving with the beadboard so I resorted to more 'manual' options. I poked the holes in a place that was going to be covered by the shelf so it wasn't too big of a deal.

 So to attach the shelves to the wall, I first put a 1x4" on the wall, attached to studs, for the shelves to 'rest' on. while I held it, my husband drove screws through the back of the shelves (also 1x4"s) and into the studs. This was actually really hard, beadboard is a beast to get through. I highly recommend pre-drilling with a bit slightly smaller than the screws you are using.

Don't forget to test that it's secure....😉

From there, we finished the look with 3 more horizontal 1x4"s; one flush against the bench, 1 for the large coat hooks, and one for the smaller coat hooks.

Then we ran the 1x3"s vertically (6 of them) to line up with the shelves above and below. These were just punched on with a nailgun. Then came the hooks. And lastly a whole lot of caulk/woodfiller and then painting or touching up any last bits.

Now there is a place to sit and put on/take off shoes, hang coats and bags, and a place to put shoes so we're not tripping over them. I absolutely love how it turned out and I love that it actually makes the space feel more open than what we had in there before. I put some bins up in the cubbies that we already had to store hats and gloves in for now. In the summer, I'll put their sunglasses, sun hats, sunscreen, and any of the other summer essentials for quick access on the way out the door.

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Monday, January 23, 2017

Fleece Carseat Poncho

Winter is here again! Nothing like negative daytime highs to say "Welcome to the Midwest!" Not so pleasant for school drop off and pick up or running errands.

I originally made this poncho for D who is 18 months, but he wasn't too fond of it and his sister was happy to adopt it!

The poncho is perfect to cover up while the car warms up...

 and doesn't interfere with the seatbelt like a puffy winter coat would.

Here's how I went about it. I started with my fabric, I think I had about 1.5 or 2 yards. Basically just measure your child from their shoulders to where you want it reach on them.

I used my measuring stick to draw the circle. I used a pen to hold it in the center, then held a sharpie at the measurement I wanted and drew around in a circle. Kinda like a giant compass. (I now realize, after the fact of course, that if you were to fold your fabric in quarters, you could do the same thing in less time.)

yay, an almost perfect circle!

Then I folded the circle in quarters to determine the neck hole.

I laid a shirt on top to give a better estimate. I didn't match it up exactly, I pulled it up a bit and it worked out great. You could also measure the largest part of your kid's head to determine the size of the whole as well.

testing it out...he looks so happy, but that didn't last long.

I made my poncho double layered, because, well...negative temperatures exist in this crazy new place we live!!!! lol I had some fleece that needed to be used up so I sewed those two pieces together to make the bottom layer. I just used the stars fabric as a pattern and cut it out.

For the hood, I again used something that already fit, traced around it giving plenty of room for seams and general room to grow, because boy do these little humans grow fast!

Did the same with the outer fabric. So you have two hood pieces, one in the inner fabric, one in the outer. Then with right sides together, I put the inner fabric inside the outer and sewed around the face part of the hood.

Flip it right sides out.

Then you're ready to attach it to the body of the poncho. I tucked the hood fabric in between the two layers of the poncho.
At first I sewed it like this, with the hood only coming to the halfway point on each side of the poncho. But it looked super awkward and isn't how real hoods are so I removed it and reworked it.

My daughter loves the poncho and always asks for it. It is so nice not to have to put on and take off jackets when we're running errands or taking brothers to school! She also really really loves to twirl in it! :D  AND her big brothers both asked for ponchos for Christmas and I went about it a different way, so stay tuned for that!

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