Halloween Sewing Frenzy is OVER

*WHEW* That was intense.

I opened my Etsy shop and, based on my experiences the last time I had an Etsy shop, I was prepared for a mosy-along approach to sales. I thought I’d make a costume here, another costume there, slowly build my options and it would be relaxed and fun. Well it was fun, but it was not relaxed! I made the gnome costumes first with no idea how much people love gnomes!!! So cool! Once the gnome costumes and accessories were in the shop there was no time for anything else. I had so much fun, and I learned so much in this crash course to the holidays on Etsy, I just wanted to throw a general THANK YOU out to the universe and my customers.

This year has brought a lot of progress for me in terms of my goals. As a stay at home mother of three preschoolers for the last six years I have slowly felt my edges blurring. I knew I was more than a mom, but I didn’t have time to pursue self-enrichment. And my youngest was born with a mitochondrial disease, pulling the focus of life even farther away from me. I was getting a little depressed. I think a lot of moms can relate to that. So took hold of my bootstraps and decided to get back on Etsy and go back to school. My idea is to get a BA in Business while building a business from the ground up. That way once I’m finished I’ll have more to put on a resume than I’m a SAHM who went to school while taking care of the kids! This holiday season on Etsy has certainly gotten me off to a great start. I fortunately decided to take only one class this semester, which is turning out to be the best ever choice. If I’d had more on my plate I might have taken a turn for the looney bin! As intense as the last two months have been, I am thriving. And I am thankful. There were times I got a little grumpy, but I reminded myself, “Hey! I asked for this!”

Now the question is, what do I ask for next, hmmm? My goals for the rest of this year include:

  • Coming up with Christmas gift ideas to sell.
  • Coming up with new dress up and costume ideas.
  • Running my first ever craft fair booth (at my daughter’s school’s Winter Festival!).
  • Establishing administrative polices for myself – don’t want to get behind on the paperwork!
  • Learning about taxes and how to itemize!
  • Re-organizing my sewing studio so the design is more friendly to what I’m going to call Extreme Sewing vs Home Sewing.
  • Build a website.

OH yeah, don’t forget continuing to care for my family, managing my medically needy son, maintain my house, be a substitute teacher for my daughter’s school, and make straight A’s! I’ve accepted I’m not capable of regular blogging activity, but my goals will be the topics I’ll be blogging on. So if you’re a SAHM who wants to get back into “it,” or a budding entrepreneur, or just curious, keep reading. I hope to share some useful information. Or check me out on Facebook! While I can’t blog on a regular basis, me and FB are tight. Its easy, and fun, to post on FB and connect with my friends and customers. https://www.facebook.com/WooWhoEtsy

Thanks again, Universe!

~Melissa

First Playdate for Oliver EVER.

Yes, it was truly Oliver’s first ever playdate. Any time we’ve had friends over to play they’re the friends of my older kids. Oliver can only do his best not to get stomped. This time, however, our company was a little lady with CP and she came just to play with him. I put a movie on for my older kids in another room and let our quieter children enjoy some personal time together. Oliver is two but at the developmental age of a 9-12 month old (it varies in the different categories) so he still isn’t playing “with” other children, but “next to” as is the m.o. of younger toddlers. But he was absolutely stimulated and excited to have another little person crawling around with him. He was intrigued to see his toys in someone else’s little hand. He noticed when she held his drum and went over to investigate. Their paths crossed as they cruised furniture and they stopped to regard one another for a moment. It was so lovely. Bless their baby hearts. My friend and I have not spent a lot of time together over the last couple of years. Having a special needs child is intense! Neither of us knew where our children were headed and we each had a variety of health concerns to deal with. It seems, tho we’re not out of the woods, that we’re in a place in our lives where we can relax and make time for these types of get togethers. Oliver is so much stronger I’m not terrified of germs and letting others touch his toys. And S. is stronger, too, not so fragile. In fact since she compensates for her lack of lower body strength with her upper body her biceps are almost as big as mine, and she’s only three! 🙂 We’re looking forward to the next time!

 

 

 

 

Big Day Developmentally Speaking…

My son, Oliver, is two years old but functions between a 9-12 month developmental age. Oliver is technically undiagnosed, but extensive testing has shown he has mitochondrial dysfunction. Oliver receives occupational, physical, speech and feeding therapy,  has a therapy coordinator and a music class that we do together. Oliver turned two in July. It is SO HARD when a special needs child has a birthday. Their actual age is suddenly in direct focus, it can’t be ignored. Shopping for birthday presents is so frustrating. He is unable to do the things a child his age can do. Oliver can’t stack blocks, doesn’t put toys into containers, and he has no speech. But he’s happy! And adorable. We don’t think about what he can’t do on a daily basis, we focus on the little triumphs. Its just hard sifting through the toy store inventory trying to find things that fit him!

Generally Oliver will have a lull in progress before making huge leaps in his developmental skill set. We’ve been experiencing one of those jumps for the last couple of weeks.  Yesterday, Friday, we started the day with a Music Together Class. In our class are parents with children Oliver’s age. The kids run around on their chubby legs grabbing egg shakers and movin’ to the music. On the first day of class Oliver was very reserved and would have NOTHING to do with an egg shaker. Today, six weeks later, for the first time he picked up an egg, shook it, squealed in delight and dropped it. Then when it was time for the music exploration portion of the class, he crawled right into the melee of kids and instruments shaking a tambourine here and whacking a drum there. I was so moved. When a typically developing child picks up an egg shaker its no big deal. When someone like Oliver picks up an egg shaker its a G.D. miracle. It feels like insanity to be so humbled by such a small action. Then after music class we headed to feeding therapy where he did beautifully! His therapist tried some new techniques with him and he responded with flying colors.

Our lives are bursting with blessings, sometimes they are as small as an egg shaker. I have two typically developing children as well, and I’m thankful for my little Oliver being just who he is. My other children are loud, strong in will and body, and uncontainable. My Oliver is small and gentle and at two years old still the happiest baby I have ever met.

 

Just what ARE mitochondria anyway???

My son, Oliver, is one year old and is under investigation to determine what mitochondrial disorder he has, if he does indeed have a mitochondrial disorder. A couple of months ago he had a muscle biopsy. The surgeon removed two grams of tissue from his right thigh for testing. When the results were in we were told two things. One, that his muscle fibers were not bundling properly. A muscle is made of two types of fibers, conveniently labeled type one and type two. If you were to look at a cross section of a muscle sample you should see the two fibers equally distributed, so at a 50% mix. Oliver’s fibers are bundling at 60%/40%. This is somewhat mild. The second thing we were told was that everything else was at normal levels, but they wanted to do one last test. Why? I asked (later, of course, through a series of phone messages between myself and the R.N.) should we do one more test if everything was mostly normal? I finally got a response back from the geneticists R.N. explaining that while the mitochondrial activity levels were normal, he had more mitochondria than they would expect to find.

Mitochondria, hmmm, I remember making a cell cookie for a middle school biology project once, and I recall that we used some type of candy, jelly beans I think, to represent the mitochondria, but that’s about all that I remember. This post is to rediscover mitochondria and why they’re so important.

What are mitochondria? Google provided me with this succinct description: mitochondrion – A spherical or ovoid organelle found in the cytoplasm of eukaryotic cells, contains genetic material separate from that of the host; it is responsible for the conversion of food to usable energy in the form of ATP.

Mitochondria are the body’s powerhouses, the batteries if you will. Interestingly, mitochondria have their own DNA separate from that of the individual they reside inside of. Mitochondria were once a parasitic bacteria that has degraded over time until now its an integral part of our bodies and is passed on from mother to child in the egg. Even more fascinating, mitochondrial DNA can trace the maternal geneology back fifty thousand years and has been used to prove theories, such as we are descended from Neanderthals, false.

Facts:

Mitochondria contain 2 types of genetic material:
• mitochondrial DNA, which can only be passed on from the mother
• nuclear DNA, which is passed on from both parents

Autosomal recessive inheritance
The nuclear DNA in mitochondria is inherited from both parents (half from
each parent). Mitochondrial disease can be passed on only if BOTH the mother and
father are “carriers”. This means that they carry the mutated gene, but not the
disease – so they don’t have any symptoms. This is called autosomal recessive
inheritance.
When both parents are carriers, there is:
• a 25% chance of having a child with the disease
• a 50% chance of having a child who is a carrier like the parents
(has the mutation, but not the disease)
• a 25% chance of having a child that is not a carrier and does not have
the disease

http://www.hamiltonhealthsciences.ca/documents/Patient%20Education/MitochondrialDiseaseUnderstanding-lw.pdf

While I read many articles, Mitochondrial DNA and Human History from the Human Genome website (http://genome.wellcome.ac.uk/doc_WTD020876.html) was the simplest to digest.

But back to my original questions, what are mitochondria and how can I better understand mitochondrial disorders? Mitochondria reproduce faster than other human cells because they do not have a system check to identify mutated DNA. Because they don’t check, they reproduce faster, twenty times faster than other cells. One mutated mitochondria reproduces twenty times in X amount of time, and is why some mitochondrial issues do not manifest until adolescents or adulthood. It takes that many years for the original few defective mitochondria to reproduce to the level that they can impact their host.

What does this mean for Oliver? I have no idea, but it is a fascinating subject. If they’d told me in middle school biology that mitochondria are actually the remnants of an ancient parasitic bacteria that we now use to power our bodies I may have gone into genetics. Why do they keep all the cool stuff a secret?

My son, Oliver.

My son, Oliver, was unanticipated. My husband and I had decided to wait to have our third child another year, but the joke was on us. Even as we made that decision little Oliver was growing in my belly – we’d already conceived! The pregnancy was my healthiest to date, completely uneventful. At my 38 week checkup I asked the P.A. to “sweep the membranes” as my first two pregnancies had had to be induced. I wanted to help my body initiate labor as much as possible. Each pelvic exam I’d had previously had shown that Oliver was head down – but when the P.A. swept the membranes we discovered he was actually breach, and that when they thought they were feeling the sutures of the head they were actually feeling his sweet, baby bum.

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