Sunday, February 28, 2010

Wish I could sculpt him a finger :(

Sorry guys if I was a little MIA this week.
I am still battling this chest infection for starters and also, we've had a family emergency...

You see my kid brother is a top chef.. he is really good at what he does AND he is one of those *few* remaining, decent, really NICE guys...
His previous employer basically didn't pay him... so my brother quit after years of working there... It took him a month to get a new gig and was only at his new job for two weeks when he had an accident; he lost a finger while cleaning the filters in his kitchen (he is one of those chefs who likes to clean and tidy up his own kitchen).

They retrieved most of the finger and re-attached it but he had to have a skin graft and since the tendons are gone, they are not sure how much functionality he will have... so needless to say it was a shocker. He's only got me and our dad (we all live within a block of each other) so I was a little pre-occupied this week.
I apologize if you didn't receive a reply from me, please mail me again to remind me if you didn't hear back.

Please keep my brother in your prayers, his name is Andrew.
These are the times I wish I could sculpt him a new finger with the same ease I sculpt one out of clay :(
I will keep you updated!!
Thank you in advance for your prayers...

Monday, February 22, 2010

New BJD!!!

Boy am I slow in finishing dolls that aren't ordered or what?
I think I've had this head finished for over 4 months now... then about 2 months ago I sculpted the body/parts but it wasn't until yesterday that she was completed..
Please meet Little Miss Harper, my new BJD toddler.
She is 6" tall and 15 way jointed. I LOVE making BJDs and I've recently found a way to make them even more poseable... Yay!!
BTW she is available for sale, drop me a line if you want her...

"Where do babies come from?"

Ideally from Heaven but in my case, from a coffee table in a tiny apartment in smack-dab in the middle of Athens, in Greece...

Hi, my name is Tina Kewy, I am a doll maker, and I am fairly well known world wide. I've no idea what people think and if they think I am some kind of bigshot artist with an immense studio and loads of money, because, they couldn't be further from the truth.
I am a stay at home mom, former pre-school teacher, who happens to have a talent and a burning passion for sculpting.
Life has been good to me because sculpting has provided me with the means to support my family and most importantly, for my 4 year old twins who both have diagnosed conditions that require therapy and extra care.
The smaller of my boys, John, is an IUGR survivor who suffered brain damage in utero. As a result he has Cerebral Palsy and a host of neurological impairments but not intellectual ones; in other words, he has a stellar intelligence but his body is failing him.
My other little guy, Cody, is neurotypical but has a condition which I *think* in English is ADHD. Thankfully he was diagnosed from a very early age and has been in therapy for almost 2 years now along with his brother, so we are hoping this won't cause him trouble later in school and he has already learned how to manage it and attends regular pre-school.

Life since the twins has been bumpy to say the least but so so full!! There have been times when I am struggling but I've been fortunate to have good people around me to help me through it... I couldn't have done it without you, my customers...
I owe it all to you!!

My typical day starts with me getting up before anyone else and getting ready. Then I get the boys up and dress them. I then drive them to school, or at least part-way as they've kicked John out of one school already just after Christmas as they couldn't deal with his needs. Thankfully we've found a GREAT school but it's *very* far away. So we came up with a compromise. I drive the boys half-way and the school bus picks them up. I drive back home where I clean up, start cooking lunch, do housework and sculpt. On Tuesdays and Thursdays I pick up the boys at 12.30 and drive them to another part of town for their therapies.
These are my "short" days as I only have 3 hrs between dropping them off and having to leave to pick them up again.
I pick them up around 3pm on my "long" days and we usually spend the afternoon in the park or on playdates. Before we got sick, we did swimming x3 a week which we will pick up again in March.
They go to bed at 7.30pm... I then have a shower, clean up their toys, maybe do some laundry and I start cooking dinner. My hubby gets home around 9.30pm as he works two jobs. We eat and I sit down to sculpt some more.
I don't really "watch" TV, more like, I listen to it while I work.

Those babies you so love, are made on this little coffee table:

I'm not fancy... in fact I am running out of room fast. In my dreams I often see that I have a proper studio... or even a proper house with more than the two tiny bedrooms we have now. Oh how I wish it was true!! :)
Maybe some day... we shall see.
For now I just wanted to thank you all for your support over the years, for your patience and I wanted you to know I will always be grateful for my you, my customers because, because of you, I am able to provide the services and therapies my little boys need and one day, when they have overcome their issues and are happy, normal people with normal, full lives, I will make sure they know that in my darkest hours, it was the patience, love and kindness of strangers all around the world, who bought the dolls I make on my coffee table, in my tiny two bedroom apartment, in the middle of Athens, Greece, that gave them a fighting chance in life... because on a pre-school teacher's salary, I wouldn't be able to even afford John's special formula, let alone anything else...

Sorry for rambling...
But thank you for reading...

Friday, February 19, 2010

Cute New Baby

You'll be pleased to know that things are a little better today in our household. The dentist recovered and started working on Cody (so yesterday after 4 days with absolutely NO food - I am not kidding) ate :) and slept well.
John seems to be on the mend but we have scheduled a hospital trip for him to get him checked out since he is not bouncing back as fast as he should and we need some tests done.

To thank you for listening to me mopping and praying for my family, here are some pictures from my newest mini baby... who has a funny story behind her lol :)
You see, LAST YEAR, I started this little baby... but when I sculpted and baked the head, I didn't quite like it... but I hate to waste clay so I took the entire face off and re-sculpted her. This resulted in her becoming bigger of course :) then she had to wait a few MONTHS for her limbs. She wasn't an order or anything and I was quite buried under so I didn't do anything with her until I got myself a little more leeway with my orders.. and just the other day, I was in therapy waiting for the boys and I had a couple of hours to kill so I sculpted her limbs in the lobby of the waiting room... I attracted quite a few stares and started many conversations but hey, she is done, right? ;)
So I guess this is the "therapy lobby" baby hahahaha.. what? I can't knit!

She has a wonderful new mommy and will be going home tomorrow :)
But here is Angelina...

Thursday, February 18, 2010

The Twin Condition

When we found out we were having twins after loosing their triplet and thinking for a couple of weeks, we were left with one baby, everyone said things like "Oh boy, you are in for it now!"... of course none of those had twins..

4+ years later and I look back and yes it has been tough BUT not *that* tough. Yes I had to do everything twice, yes I didn't get much sleep in the last 4 years but, really, the good times were much better than the tough. The rough times were when I was sick and the boys were sick, I had to go on very little physical energy and very little sleep. The problem is that by now, one good night's sleep won't actually do me any good because by now I am chronically tired. I haven't slept a full night in 4+ years with few exceptions (like when I am away for a show).

Last night was one of those nights. In fact this whole week has been a living H!
It started Monday morning (a National Holiday) when Cody's tooth started aching. He stopped eating... he swelled up, his dentist is sick and wouldn't see him and I looked around for another one but couldn't find one who would take on a 4 year old former preemie with the worst tooth quality ever!
Today is Thursday and although the antibiotics and round the clock pain killers have helped and the dentist will see him today, Cody still hasn't eaten ANYTHING. His lips are parched, his skin is white and he has black circles under his eyes... I am pretty sure at this point he is afraid to eat or drink because he will just put the tip of the straw on his lips and then start crying that it hurt... without the milk going into his mouth/on his tooth!

The heartbreaking part was him putting his little hands together and asking God to heal his tooth... then turning to me and asking ME to heal his tooth.
And I am embarrassed to say that *I* got mad at God because, what loving God lets a 4 year old hurt like that when I have specifically asked Him to give ME the pain and leave my boy alone?!
Then of course I felt awful for being mad at God :(

Then yesterday, John was acting funky. I wasn't feeling too good myself as I have some sort of virus for the last 10 days now, my tonsils are swollen and I am not so hot myself. So yesterday I was about to take Cody to the hospital, and John was not eating anything and was whiny and clingy and a little hot to the touch and John is NOT a child who can afford to skip meals, literally.

Night time came and John couldn't settle down to sleep and John loves his sleep. By that time I had Cody in our bed so I could keep on top of his medications (they couldn't do anything at the hospital because of the swelling so we have to wait for the antibiotics to work before they open the tooth) and John would NOT sleep on his own... so I took one of couch pillows and put it on the floor next to our bed because I TRIED to sleep with both boys in it and we wouldn't fit!

The puking started just after midnight..
For the next 7 hours John would BEG me for water and even the tiniest spoonful would make him puke... He couldn't sleep, I couldn't sleep and what's worse I couldn't comfort him! Nothing made him feel better!!
At 6.30 am, I sent a text to our former nanny BEGGING her to come in today to help me... and she did! And I slept! Oh Godly glory, I slept from 8.30 until 11.30am! Three glorious uninterrupted hours of sleep. And then... oh boy, THEN I took a long shower... and I feel so much better now all clean and a little rested..

So you see, THIS is what I find difficult about raising twins... Trying to comfort both but not quite succedding and your own reserves running low as well... When I woke up John had managed to keep some water and juice down for several hours but he looks awful!! Poor baby... Cody seems a little chattier so that's good and his cheeks aren't red today AND he drank 200ml of milk, first thing he's had in days!! So today I hope the dentist removes the nerve from the tooth and starts the sealing process so Cody at least won't be in pain. I know we have many visits ahead (and LOADS of $$ to spend, she is GOOD but OMGosh EXPENSIVE) but as long as he isn't in pain right?
And I SO hope John only has this 24 hour stomach bug thing, seriously...

Please keep us in your prayers. We Greeks really believe in the Evil Eye and I'm sorry, but too much has happened to us one after the other for me to thing it is NOT ill thoughts and dark intentions that bring us one thing after the other...

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

I hate preemie teeth!!

Cody's teeth are the worst quality ever!!
We are trying to keep on top of them but it's hard. Yesterday one of his upper molars starting hurting. He hasn't eaten anything in 24hrs and we've had a rotten night. I tried to keep on top of it with pain medicine but he is in a lot of pain :(
Please, please say a prayer for my baby. I can't find his doctor on the phone, I've kept them off school (obviously) and of course it had to happen yesterday (which was a National Holiday and everything was closed!).

Sunday, February 14, 2010

John & Cody Monthly

Dear John and Cody,

Happy Valentine's Day!!

Today you turn 4y and 4 months old!! You are growing so fast!! Too fast if you ask me!!

Cody you weigh 55lbs and you are 46 inches tall!! You are off the percentile scales for both and weight for your age!

John you weigh 35lbs and you are 42 inches tall!! You are at the 40th percentile for weight and at the 50th for height. This has got your team of doctor's a little worried because you fell off you growth curve (4 months ago you at the 50th for weight and the 75th for height. You really do love to keep everyone on their toes!!

You are both loving your new school and are taking part in your very first school play this week!! I can't wait to come see you although your dad will be on duty that day. He will pull all strings to try and switch so he won't miss it, wish him luck please!

We celebrated Halloween in Greece (it is based on a different custom than in the US and UK so it is celebrated on a different date as well).
John you were the T-Rex from Toy Story and Cody dressed up as Sully from Monsters Inc.
You had a Halloween party at school and had a blast!!

John, you are going through an intense "mommy phase" at the moment. You are very clingy and whiny and the more audience you get, the worse it is. Hmmmm... You say you don't want to go to school every day and therapy but once you are actually IN school or therapy you are as happy as a clam! It's only when mommy is around that you put up your show ;)
You haven't been eating at school so you went back to the fortified formula but you love it and helps you get some of the calories you are not getting by eating. With your updated weight and height your BMI is at a healthy 29% so you are VERY far away from the Failure to Thrive diagnosis the new nutritionist wanted to add :) Mommy is very happy!!
Your muscle tone has improved since you started Physio with Mrs. Chrysanthe in September. Your belly is finally tucked in and firm and you can hold yourself up leaning only on your hands for quite a few seconds!
Your foot is still turning in though :(
You have managed to jump and land with both feet (hop) and you can twirl in a half turn in the air with both feet! Good job buddy!!
You still haven't mastered heel to toe yet when you walk and you refuse to wear your eye patch which might lead us to eye surgery :( C'mon buddy work with me here!! :(

Cognitively you are doing good although it is becoming obvious you are clearly behind your peers. You act more like a 3 1/2 year old rather than a 4+ year old. It's alright, you're my baby!! :) Intellectually though you are scoring at a 7 to 10 year old level which means you are VERY smart. They call you GIFTED :) it's just that your soul is still that of a baby's. You will get there :)
You had a filling this month in your back teeth. As good as that formula is for your body, it's not so good for your already weak preemie teeth :( but you need it so we will just have to stay on top of the teeth!!

You boys fell in love with Planet Protectors and Imaginext this past couple of months so we added these to our growing toy collection :)
I love you, very very much!!

Cody, you are doing great! You are SO good with concentrating and finishing tasks these days!! You are organizing your thoughts better and communicating in a linear manner so Speech and Occupational therapy are working wonders for you. You are doing great in school and you are very popular and quiet in class. You love your new school and your new friends :)
Your favorite thing to do is play Wii and since this kind of gamer addiction runs in the family (ehm, George my Dad and both my brothers!!!), we are very strict about the amount of time you are allowed on the Wii.
Unfortunately you are too smart and observant and you have learned how to unlock mom's PC and turn on the games you like in there!! Hmmmm...

Your imagination has just exploded and you LOVE to make up stories with your toys. You lie on the carpet and just make up dialogs and stories as you play. It's so cute!
You are still my cuddle love bug, and you hug and kiss me and say you love me every single day!
You are growing so fast that I can't keep up!! All your PJ's are short and we need new ones!! Your shoe size is 13 YOUTH lol :) The doctor estimates you will be between 6' 4" and 6' 7" when you grow up. You know my great-grandfather was 6' 7" and I think he passed it on to you (your dad is 6' 1" and I am 5' 7").

We have stopped swimming lessons for a few months and you guys really miss those so come March we are starting back up. You got the swine flu at your birthday and it's been downhill, sickness after sickness after cold after viruses since then. It is too cold at the moment for swimming so we are waiting for warmer days for your guys :)
I think you will enjoy it even more because your friends will be there!! :)
And mommy will enjoy it more because the SCHOOL will be taking you 2 out of the 3 times a week so mommy won't have to be driving around like crazy half the day to get you to your appointments and therapies and swimming and school.

In the morning I drive you half way and the school bus picks you up. This saves up half the time and gas for me :) In the afternoons I pick you up myself, except the two days a week you have therapy, I pick you up at 12.30 instead of 3.
Those two days are my short days and I don't get much done but it's worth it for you guys :)

Some photos for you: (click each to enlarge)
Cody as Sully at a party

John as the T-Rex from Toy Story at the same party

Cody playing air hockey! (and beating dad!)

John getting tickled by dad!

Both boys a few days after birth (when John out of the NICU)

February (2009)

February 2010

Friday, February 12, 2010

Apparently blog prayers don't work!

Well it seems like blog praying doesn't work.
Let's see... Yesterday John felt a little warm in the morning so I only took Cody to school.
Having a child around is very distracting and I couldn't get much work done. At least when I have both around, they entertain each other (a perk of twins!)... Or at least I wouldn't have done anything IF I could actually DO something.
Let me explain... You see I have chronic carpal tunnel syndrome. It's a combination of 17 years of computer typing, sculpting and bad posture while doing said activities.

In general I have it well managed but it does flare up from time to time... Like the night before last, I went to bed and I could feel my middle finger in my right hand burning. I couldn't make a fist without significant pain either and it was shooting up towards my elbow as well. If you have *chronic* CTS it becomes very painful. I waaaay past the numbness and tingling sensation, I go straight to Holly-Mother-Of-Christ shooting pain that keeps me up all night.

So, I took a couple of anti-inflamatory pills, wore my night splint and managed to sleep. The next day I was still sore, so I wore my day time splint, took my pills and went about my activities... I did everything from driving to taking care of the boys but I couldn't sculpt as my right hand lacked all strength.
This morning I am better BUT now my tonsils are so enlarged, I couldn't swallow. I had visions of tonsilectomy and ripping them out lol...
I took a picture of the fistfull of pills I now take... vitamins, don't get me wrong. I am way past exhausted and sleep deprived and my body shows me this. I can't catch a break in the sickness department but I am hoping the pills (vitamins) will work... but what I REALLY need is a few good nights of quality sleep without someone waking me up every 45 minutes!!!!

BTW John is on the mend and after I didn't take him to school yesterday, he miraculously got all better and jumped off the walls!!! So today off to school he went!

Oh and someone scrapped my new car with a key and I am so freaking mad! I mean who would do that?! They quoted me 70 Euros for a repair of a 5" scape, but I have to fix it because it went right down to the metal and it will rust if I don't.
Well whoever you are, HOPE YOUR CAR WHEELS FALL OFF!!!! And carrots grow out of your ears or something!! Seriously!! Why would you DO that!? What did I ever do to you???

And to distract you from my pain and misery here is a picture of a cute baby I finished (not available).

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

The reason why and the cure!!

Well girls,
I bet you are all "sick" of hearing of me being sick all the time, one after the other (how many viruses are there anyway!? I think I've caught them all by now! sheesh!) right?
Well, so was I girls, so was I ... which is why I went in for some testing...

You see last night, I put the boys to bed and they conked out... the problem was *I* conked out too.. which was a bit strange because yes, I am chronically tired now, yes I am overweight which of course does not help, and yes we did have a long day involving me driving the boys to school then rushing home to pack two dolls, then rushing out two hours later to re-pick boys from school to take them to therapy and rushing home AGAIN to finishing packing said dolls, to going out AGAIN to pick the boys from therapy, driving to the other side of town where there is ONE post office that stays open late, and driving in heavy rain while trying to keep the boys awake so we can make it to the dentist (John had two fillings! ugh, preemie teeth!!)...

I had a hazy eye all day yesterday. It is pink and there is gunk coming out of it and I couldn't see very well. Of course with all the running around I didn't have time to whine about it... lol...
So the boys went to bed and I found I couldn't keep my eyes open.. LITERALLY.
My pink eye was really hurting and more gunk was coming out and I have ZERO... like Z E R O energy left by 8.30pm.
So I thought I would lie down for an hour or two until George got home and then get up and work a little... next thing I know, it's 7 AM ...

According to George, he tried several times to wake me up but I was passed out. I don't even remember him trying to wake me up...
My pink eye is still pink and hazy but much better today..
And I got my test results back and guess what? I am VERY anaemic.. like VERY VERY anaemic. The doctor looked at me and said "And you are still standing?!" and I was like Yeah buddy, I've got nerves of steel (without which I would be a noodle puddle on the floor or something).

Sooo, here's me taking a bunch of iron supplements and being ordered to rest (HA! every time I hear a doctor say that I want to pass the kids off to him and see if HE can rest!).
I should start getting my energy (and immune system) back in a couple of weeks... let's see.
Last time I was on iron supplements, I couldn't keep any of the iron in me. We tried several brands until we found one that kind of worked... and I can't eat red meat daily... I love liver (yes I am weird like that) but I am too scared of all the drugs and poisons these days that go into said liver, to eat it :(
(too bad because did I mention just how much I love liver? with lemon on it?)
So here's to the supplement working and me getting super charged :)
(I've stopped asking for a less hectic life or the boys sleeping through the night anymore. These days all I am asking for is more energy!!)

And God.. you know I don't ask much of you. When I ask for something it's usually something for someone else or for good health... but just this once, can I please have some good luck thrown my way?
Just for once can everything go smoothly? Please guide my pourer's hands so he will work swiftly and surely, delivering on time... please guide my hands also swiftly and surely so I will create what's in my heart just the way I see it?
And please God, help me achieve my goals. I don't mind working hard for them, but please, not more tripping, no more surprises and ill willed, jealous and petty people thrown my way... I've never thought bad of anyone neither was I ever jealous and wished someone harm... I am only asking for the same courtesy.

Tuesday, February 09, 2010

What's up these days?

Hi all!
Sorry I haven't posted in a bit.. .Let's see..
I got bronchitis from the boys who are now on the mend, and every time I try to laugh, I lose all breath and start coughing... I also sound very rattly on the inside... I breath in and it kind of "gurgles" in there lol...
But otherwise I am good :)

I've actually put in quite a few hours of work these last few days and I am wrapping up most of my projects now. I will have at least 2 life size babies available in the next few days (OOAKs) and I am working on getting arms and legs for the multiple mini heads I have lying around...

Other than that things are quiet... and it looks like I WILL be going to the Peterborough Doll Show in the UK in June after all..hmmm :)
And the sculpting class is on since we've found a cheaper venue for it... AAAAND my sculpting book is coming out, it will be on sale online and at the show...
And that's all I have time for right now... I need to dash but I have some exciting news for you SOON :)

Monday, February 01, 2010

Murphy's Law

Sigh... You know, I've been really tired these last few months but have settled into a routine which pays off most of the time. I've been more on track with my projects, more organized, more "feet on the ground" type... but I am exhausted.
You can tell by the dark circles under my eyes and my pale color... but I press on because, really, what else can you do?

2009 was a weird year. Loads of good things happened and loads of bad. It seemed like I had slipped but could not, for the life of me, getting my footing... it was one thing after the other, bang, bang, BANG... and I felt like I was in an episode of Bold and the Beautiful, were at the end, everybody had been shot at least once, had had an affair with each other, had almost died, been kidnapped, almost murdered... except this was my life!!

I promised myself and my family 2010 will be different. First of all I will think before I leap. I will be faster, more efficient and fair.
All was well until the boys couldn't go back to school on time because they got sick after Christmas... then just 10 days into the new semester, we changed schools...
Another week lost trying to find a school and settle them... then for a week we fell into a nice routine, if you exclude Tuesday and Thursday, therapy days, which I cannot work in, because I need to take them to school, leave them for a 3 hrs, then drive back 50 minutes each way to take them to therapy as there was NO slot open AT ALL in any other day, time or millennial for that matter! So OK this leaves me 3 workdays, not too bad...

Before the boys going to school, I was all like: what's the big deal with school anyway? Why are parents fusing so much when the kids are out of school? I have them all day, it's not so bad...
Then I actually sent them to school... OH HOW SWEET is the solitude, how deep the sigh of relief when the school bus takes them (I drive half way to meet a school bus in the mornings, in another area but at least in the morning it saves me half the ride!)... knowing that the next 6 hours are all yours... all yours.
No wonder I am looking forward to each Monday morning...
Don't get me wrong, you know how much I adore my kids but I still need to work and earn a living since we live off my dolls. The Navy doesn't really pay and with the therapies, the special diet for John and the private school (which btw now we've changed it, we can't really afford!) and of course the loan we took out years ago to buy our tiny apartment, no wonder it all falls on me :)

Anyway, John was sick over the weekend. It started with a little cough on Thursday and by last night it was had turned into a MIGHTY WHOOPING, VOMIT INDUCING cough... and a fever (not too high) and green snot... and a child who won't eat and has turned papery white, all veins visible...but somehow is still in good enough mood to jump off the walls!!!! (WHERE does he get the energy? I WANT SOME!!)

I made arrangements for George to wait so I could take Cody to school so at least I would have one kid all day... then at about 5am... Cody started coughing!
AAAAAND of course, things wouldn't remain so simple... I got this HORRIBLE, can't describe the pain I am in, pain at the base of my skull. I have taken in 6 hrs, 2 Codeine pills and one Excedrin and I am still in pain.
I have a tumor (benign but inoperable) at the base of my skull and this hurts even more... seriously I wanted to scream from the pain...
Any home remedies?

I am slightly better now that I am upright... and I need to call the pediatrician. John has been sick twice already in 3 weeks... For the first two years of his life he was immuno-deficient, his numbers climbing slowly to the low normal after his 3rd birthday. I am wondering if we need to re-test as this recent streak of illness really reminds me of how he was when he was younger. One sneeze and he would turn it into pneumonia (and he's had bronchitis once already during the Christmas break!)

Wish us luck!!
Cute baby pics in the next message :)

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