Friday, May 29, 2009

A wonderful new adventure...for a wonderful friend.

I believe I have posted about Karen before and her daughter, Olivia. I know I have shared about 82 of the 4,183 pictures I have of Olivia and my own daughter, Lindsay.

Here's another one for good measure, taken just before Olivia's 2nd birthday this month.

Lindsay and Olivia, May 2009

Olivia's story is special. And Karen's life was changed forever, just like any mom is when they have a child....but not in the way you might think.

Olivia Clare Eva Framnes arrived on May 25, 2007. I watched her come in to this world with her daddy, Kjell, and Clare and a room full of hospital staff. She was a petite 4 lbs. 15 oz. when she was born full-term, but otherwise very healthy.

10 short minutes after arriving. Welcome, Olivia!

Shortly thereafter she spiked a fever, was hospitalized, and Karen and Kjell were faced with the horrible news that it was bacterial meningitis. Over the next year this poor little baby faced a myriad of ailments that were relentless on these two new parents. I will say that they braved through with complete grace and thankfulness, but if Karen reads this she will call me a liar. They both struggled with the normal emotions of bitterness, sadness, and anger all wrapped up with love, compassion, concern and sleep deprivation. It was a long journey of sleepless nights, lost jobs, no medical answers, first smiles, dainty clothes, giggles, and ruffled bottoms.

Halloween with daddy, 2008

Olivia was diagnosed with a mild form of cerebral palsy recently and is also displaying characteristics of autism, the result of the meningitis. Although it was good to finally have some kind of name attached to the delays happening with her, it was heart wrenching for Karen and Kjell to hear the words.

Olivia and my own daughter share a very special bond that is hard to explain….Olivia responds to Lindsay unlike her response to some of her therapists and I truly believe this relationship has changed my daughter in ways that I cannot explain. Lindsay loves that little girl with more compassion and depth than I have seen with any of her other relationships. She cries with each milestone Olivia makes and celebrates the days she gets to see her. It warms my heart immensely!

Just 2 months old...the attachment begins.

15 years apart in age, so much alike - July 2008

Photobucket Photobucket

A special kind of bond - Spring 2008

The last 2 years have also changed Karen and Kjell in ways that I'm sure even they do not realize. When you are put in to these life-changing situations you just deal with it. It becomes your life and you can't remember it being any different. I can honestly say that God knew exactly what He was doing when he chose Karen to be Olivia's mother. Her heart is pure and full of love and compassion for those struggling with personal challenges, either physical or emotional. She has donated much of her time and money to worthy causes in the 11 years that I have known her.

Karen has recently decided to start a venture that will accommodate her financial needs, Olivia's therapy schedule, and her strong desire to give back to a community that has done so much for her the past 2 years. Please read the following message from Karen to her friends and family:

Dear Family and Friends:

As you are aware, my life has changed DRAMATICALLY over the last couple of years. Olivia has been an incredible miracle baby since day 1. All of her illnesses and physical challenges have been a big eye opener. Being the mom of a special needs child has educated me as well as given me a whole new perspective on life. So, where am I going with all of this and why am I writing???

Many of you know that I have been unemployed most of the last 2 years. I have tried to find a part-time job that would help with the finances and allow me to take Olivia to her 4 - 7 appointments per week. Unfortunately, I have not found an employer who can accommodate such a schedule and pay enough to cover the part-time daycare expenses. With that, I have decided to start my own business.

Along Olivia's journey, we have met EXTRAORDINARY families through the special needs organizations in which Olivia receives therapy treatments. So many of these families are struggling financially, emotionally, etc. My objective is to help them through my business....

Basically, I want to start my own baby/toddler/children's' non-profit store of used clothing/shoes and toys with a caveat....For every article of clothing or toy that is sold, I will donate an article (or 2) of clothing/toys to a special needs family. I saved Olivia's clothes and toys for this purpose. This is where I need your help....

I am looking for old or even new clothes/shoes/toys for kids newborn to 10 years old. If you, a family member, friend, neighbor has clothes/toys that they want to donate, I will pick them up. I plan on starting next week. Any clothes/toys that you or a friend/family member can donate will be greatly appreciated.

I am partnering with Alta Regional to donate the clothes to the special families. Alta Regional has played a huge role in Olivia's life. They provide the physical therapy, occupational therapy, speech therapy and several other services for her. We would be in a real bind without them. They love the idea of the donations and will maintain the privacy of the families.

Thank you in advance for assisting us with our new venture. Your kind words, support, and prayers over the last 2 years has been much appreciated. Please feel free to forward this message to family, friends, neighbors, etc. In terms of collections and times, please send me a mail message or call me on my cell phone at (contact me via email for Karen's phone number). terms of a business name...still racking the brain. I have to get an "O" in there somewhere. If you have any suggetions, let me know.

Thank you,
Karen & Olivia

She has since decided on the name "Love, Olivia". It's more personal, less business-like, and exactly what she wants the feeling to be for her venture.

I know that the world of the internet is far reaching. If you are somewhat local to me (or in the vicinity of my hometown of Red Bluff) and can forward my blog link to anyone that may be able to help Karen in this new adventure, please do so. And if you are not local? If you would like to help, contact me via email at I will make some financial arrangements for shipping donated items if you are willing to box them up. Please put "Love, Olivia" in the subject.

From the bottom of our hearts, thank you!


Karen and Cheri, Summer 2008

Friday, May 22, 2009

We interrupt this blog

because life is happening. We will return you to your regularly scheduled blog as soon as life resumes it's normal boring state.

(You may never see her again....there is no such thing as boring for Cheri.)

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Overcoming the needle

My daughter is petrified of needles. Scared. It's not an act, people. Lindsay fell apart in the middle of the mall getting 2nd and 3rd holes in her ears. A major meltdown as the lady came at her with the piercing gun. Lots of crying and sobbing and snot.

She was 15.

So when she told me she wanted to get her belly pierced I was uneasy for 2 reasons:

1) It was her belly button. Something that, until it became pierced, would remain unseen by the general public unless she was swimming. I wanted to keep what modesty she still has in tact.
2) It would require a needle.

She begged. She even had a friend that wanted to pay for it for her birthday. She was DETERMINED to overcome the needle fear that grips her. But that didn't address #1 which was truly my bigger issue. She's 17. She needs a parent's permission. It wasn't going to happen with either me OR her father.

So I compromised.

I told her she could pierce her nose as long as the jewelry was small and tasteful. No bull rings. She really could not understand why I would give permission to pierce her nose and not her belly button. It was simple in my mind....everyone already sees her nose.

I also told her she would be paying for it herself. She thought about it...mulled it over...really took some time to contemplate her decision....and 1.3 seconds later asked me where she could get it done.

I asked a friend from work who I knew had some piercings and tattoos if she knew of a reputable CLEAN place I could take Lindsay. She promptly responded and before I knew it we were driving downtown to put a hole in my daughter's nose. Well, an extra hole. She already had 2.

She was fairly calm...until the guy that was to do the piercing looked at her and said she looked a little nervous and anxious. She lost it. Oy! We hadn't even got to the room yet! This man needs a medal because he gently put down his pen and the paperwork....then took about 25 minutes and just talked through the whole "fear" of needles that Lindsay had. He was calm and reassuring. And she soaked up every word he had to say like a little sponge. Yes, he was *that* good!

So she grabbed up all her new-found bravery and marched right in and hopped up on the table. I know the picture doesn't really show it, but she was all kinds of calm.


And I would love to show you the actual piercing, but I promised I wouldn't post it for public consumption lest some idiot teenager saw it and decided it looked like a piece of cake and pierced themselves. She was brave, I tell ya...because I was sweating and I wasn't getting a needle shoved through my nose.


It was pretty sore and a bit swollen for a few days. But she was very happy with the overall experience and decided that everything the store owner told her made sense for anything she had a fear of.



I wonder if he would be available to talk to her before her next final exam?

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Pardon me...

while my blog undergoes cosmetic surgery. After a year and a half and over 10,000 hits on my blog I thought it needed an update. Isn't it cool how my groovy necklace ---->>>
totally matches the new colors. You might think it was accidental. Go ahead and think that.

I'm not an html pro. I'm actually an html flunkie so I'll be trying to figure out why my header is overflowing in to the border's personal space. And I don't know about you but I HATE when someone ignores my personal space.

I hope my header doesn't have bad breath. That would make it even worse.

Thank you for your continued patience and understanding. I promise I'll figure it out soon! I'll also have to figure out who some folks are on my traffic feed (viewable only by me). SPAMMERS I assume. Stupid spammers. Do you think it's a coincidence they showed up right after I mentioned my dad's tighty whities? Thank God for word verification or there is no telling WHAT I would have in my comments section.

Sunday, May 3, 2009

I father

And, unfortunately, I've noticed recently that it is not things I remember FONDLY about him. Well, I remember them while laughing NOW, but these particular things made me want to wet my pants when I was growing up out of fear and trepidation that I would be beat.

Okay, not "beat". But in a decent amount of trouble if I laughed, spoke out of turn or looked the other way. Or took a breath. Or continued to exist.

My father worked as a mechanic for a living. He got up early in the morning and my mom got up and fixed him breakfast EVERY. SINGLE. DAY. (I know, right?!) But in the 25+ years that she did this they never spoke to one another. We are not known as "morning friendly", people. It's just the way it is. It's part of our charm. Trust me. Considering I was manufactured from both sets of these "non-morning" genes, it would factor in that I, myself, am NOT a morning person.

After close to 25 years with Troy, he still does not quite get this. I know y'all are shocked that my stunning, warm, funny personality is not a 24/7/365 event. Get over it.

But over the years my mom has grown out of this shell almost entirely. She is quite perky and talkative in the mornings now. It could be because she wakes up, much to her chagrin, at around 4:30 in the morning and by the time I get up she's been up half the day. Or it could be that my dad isn't around to be Mr. Grumpy Gills (name that movie) that she has to deal with.

Now she has me when I'm there to visit. I love my mom dearly. But I simply get freakin' annoyed with people when they want to be all chatty in the morning and expect ME to be, too. I'm a good listener in the morning. I'm a GREAT listener in the morning. I just suck at the talking part. So don't make me. It is particularly annoying when I get up at my mom's house, grab a cup of coffee and head to the living room where she is watching TV....and SHE TURNS THE TV OFF. This is the first sign she wants to have some rousing conversation about something and all I want to do is zone at the TV.

But this lack of morning social skills is not the only thing I've noticed about myself getting worse and more like my father as I get older.

Because he got up so early to leave for work (he had a 40 minute drive one way) he also went to bed early. And once my dad went to bed it was QUIET TIME!! Ooops....I mean it was QUIET TIME. If Linda (my bff) hops on here to read this, I'm sure she can confirm the "rules" of no phone calls, no visitors, using quiet voices when over at my house past 8:00 p.m. Yes, 8:00 p.m. Once my dad was asleep, you better fear for your life if you woke the sleeping giant. Lord have mercy. It was nothing compared to the morning grumpiness. Oy!! There were a myriad of reasons my father woke up:

TV too loud
Phone ringing
Dogs barking
Doors shutting
Cupboard doors shutting
Refrigerator doors shutting
Laughter from the living room
Dust settling

I'm guessing my dad was a light sleeper....and I'm telling you that I lived in the house when each item on that list caused my dad to throw open his bedroom door, storm down to the end of the hall and yell at us in his tighty-whities. And it was very difficult for us to take my dad serious in his tighty-whities....and if "laughter" was the cause of his awakening then we were really in trouble once he stormed back to his room.

But much to my dismay I have become this person.

I've never been an overly heavy sleeper or an overly light sleeper. I can fall asleep very quickly....but it is hard for me to go back to sleep if I get woke up. And now that sleep comes at a premium for this shift-working, sleep-deprived, peri-menopausal woman? It's ugly if I get woke up...and the previous list is the same list of things that will cause me to throw open my bedroom door, flail (yes,'s not pretty, people) down my stairs and proceed to YELL at whoever is causing the ruckus. Including the dogs. And those dogs can be NOISEY with their toenails "click-click-clicking" on the floors downstairs and their licenses/tags jingling around. UGH!!

I'm hyperventilating just thinking about it.

So I'm sure my children see this as funny once I stomp back up the stairs, slam my door shut and crawl back in bed. After all, they are *my* children. But I usually don't have to yell twice.

I wonder if it makes them want to pee their pants, too?

Saturday, May 2, 2009

When good internet friends go bad...

and stalk your blog making threats against you if you don't post an update.

Not mentioning any names here Patti but I guess I've been slightly neglectful on my blog. I have LOTS of posts started. Many of them completely written except for downloading pictures from my camera....or TAKING pictures that relate to the post. Some of them don't mean as much without the pictures so they are sitting there drafted, looking lonely and sad that they have not made their way to that final post.

And no, some of my drafted posts have nothing to do with me needing a picture of myself in a bikini showing off all my weight loss progress. Just sayin'. There has been weight loss progress, just not enough to put myself in a bikini and post a picture. There may never be enough weight loss for that.

So what does one ramble on and on about when there is no picture to post with the ramblings? I can't figure it out because I really like to tell stories with pictures. So I thought I would just give a pictorial update on some previous posts.


Her breath is still VERY bad

This little cutie will be TWO this month!

I still don't think this is a good idea

The scar is barely noticeable

I'm still not getting her out on that course with me

What? You are still hungry?

There are still no pictures in this (shut up)

He's still escaping...but hasn't had to go to jail again

I have about 7 months before this ritual begins again

She is still less needy than any human living in our house

She's STILL trying

and last, but certainly not least, I'm still married to this goofball

As a matter of fact, I'll be celebrating 25 years with that goofball in December. And guess what? We are celebrating BIG TIME. More on that later. You know, when I have pictures to share.

Happy National Scrapbooking Day for those who have even the slightest clue what that is...and for everyone else I hope your weekend is wonderful!

Now leave me alone, Patti.
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