Wednesday, February 23, 2011

A Cookbook Setback

Morris Press Cookbooks ( is a great cookbook company. If you've seen our cookbook you know how beautiful they make them. They even have coupons that you can use for specific dates & get a specific amount of money off per book. The books themselves can get a little costly...5 cents here, 15 cents there, 45 cents the base price for the book & they really add up. So any sort of discount I can get I'm gonna take. This current coupon goes from the middle of January until Feb 28th...yes, in 5 days! It's really my own darn fault. I should have started typing recipes in December when I had the time, but of course I never remembered to. So here I am "cramming" these recipes in as fast as I can. Well unfortunately I'm not going to be able to get them all in in time AND design the book pages. So I'm saying "tah-tah" to the discount & giving myself an extra couple of weeks to get the book done.

This decision came on tonight when Dustin & I had a semi-heart-to-heart chat. I was never going to make Volume 2 plain & bland. But I didn't think it'd be as good as Volume 1. Dustin, however, thinks that it needs to be as close to Vol 1 as it can be, as far as "nice-ness" is concerned. So instead of putting this book together in a day (minus the recipes) it'll take me a few days, if not a week, to get it close to as nice as Vol 1. So that, plus the fact that I still have right around 200 recipes to type, persuaded our decision to forego the discount & focus on the book looking better than I had originally planned........if any of this even makes sense!

No one will hardly know the time difference...cause this will only put off production by a couple weeks. I'm still thinking the book will be in my hot little hands sometime around April.

On a lighter are a couple cute pictures of the girls...

Pretending to talk to Daddy today

Taking a break from watching Oprah to build a block tower...and yes, she did it all by herself (notice the smile)!!!

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Today's Fill...over 1/3 of the way there!

We just got done doing another fill. There's now 125 cc's in the forehead expander & 120 cc's in the scalp expander. Oh and YES...SHE SLEPT THROUGH THE ENTIRE THING AGAIN!!! ;o)  We're plugging away!!! We leave for Chicago just 4 weeks from today so we'll probably be increasing the frequency since we're just now slightly over 1/3 of the volume that we need in the end. Here are some pictures!

Forehead expander
Scalp expander
View of both expanders
Both expanders. Scalp = 120cc's; Forehead = 125 cc's

Friday, February 18, 2011

Photo Shoot x 2

Photo Shoot Day #1
As you know, we're (ok well I'M) making Volume 2 of Brooklyn's Best, our cookbook fundraiser. The cover of Volume 1 is just absolutely amazing. Back in August, my sister-in-law & I got together & she snapped the best possible picture of Brooklyn for the book. Well...this makes the photo shoot for Volume 2 extremely hard! I've been stressing about it ever since I decided to do a 2nd book (which was before Vol 1 was even completed yet!) There's no way the cover can be as good as the 1st book...but it HAS to be as good so that people will know that the entire book is just as good; & so that it'll sell......if any of that makes sense. So of course I've been having some anxiety about it.

Marji (Dustin's sister) came over this past Sunday night & we did our photo shoot. For Volume 1 we accidentally did a vegetable theme. Didn't mean just kinda happened. So this time I thought I'd do a baking theme. I got so much cupcakes, real-size cupcakes, cakes, desserts, cookies, snacks, crackers, etc. We sat her down & started "working". Well of course Brooklyn couldn't be her normal self...that'd be asking too much! She wouldn't SMILE!!!!!!!!!! UGH! But we did manage to get a few cute shots. Unfortunately though we didn't get "the" cover shot. So we decided to look them over anyways & then figure out later if we needed to have a 2nd photo shoot or not.

That night I quickly skimmed through the pictures & realized that something was missing.....color. The biggest difference between the first cookbook & these new pictures was that these were too plain. So that gave it away right there...we had to do it again. However some good news: there are some of these pictures that we'll be able to use for the back cover. I did decide to do the same format as Volume 1, with the 18 pictures on the back cover. So it wasn't a waste at all, cause we did get several great back cover shots. 

Photo Shoot Day #2

Tonight was the 2nd try at a cover shot. I pretty much had it in my head that tonight was IT. We had to get this shot or else... 

And so we began. And of course, again, she didn't smile. But the pictures aren't bad at all. We got tons & tons....there are a total of 552 pictures between Volume 1 & both shoots of Volume 2. Holy lotsa pictures! Hahaha!!! For this shoot I'd gone to the store & gotten some colorful fruit & a basket.

When we were done I sat down & "rated" the pictures on my Kodak Easy Share on the computer. I was going to rate every single picture on a scale of 1 star (*) to 5 stars (*****). * was not a good picture; ** was ok, but coudn't use; *** was usable, but not the best; **** was definite back cover options; & ***** was definite front cover options. So I started going through the pictures & realized it was taking WAAAY too much time to rate each & every picture. So I just started passing up the * & ** pictures & just rated the ***, ****, & ***** pictures. (Gosh I hope this makes sense!!!)

So I need a total of 19 pictures; 18 for the back cover & 1 for the front cover. When I got through all the pictures I sorted them by the rating so I could see where I was at. I didn't have any *****, which meant I wasn't 100% sold on any of the pictures as the cover shot. However, and this is totally another God-thing, I had 19 pictures rated at ****. Ahhhhhhh!!!!!!!! If I'd even had 1 more picture then I'd have to throw one out. Or if I only had 18, then I'd have to find another one to add in there. But I had EXACTLY 19! :o)  Yay me! I mean come on...what are the odds?!

So the famous 19 are now printed off & now my job is to figure out which one I want the cover to be. It's going to be tough. I won't keep anyone in suspense any longer...below are *** pictures, so unfortunately they didn't make the cut, but they're cute none-the-less. And yes, I'm going to be a big pain & keep all the pictures a secret until the book comes out!!!!!!!! Hehehe...  The first picture was taken tonight, the other 3 were taken Sunday.

Monday, February 14, 2011


Remember!! A person here in Lewistown is doing a fundraiser for nice!!!!!

We still have about 2 Chicago trips that we need money we're hoping this fundraiser will help a little.

Visit to help us out with surgery/insurance costs! Any questions...just ask!

Get whatever you want, put it in your cart, then click on the button that says Find Host (or something like that), put in my name: Merilee Vance, & then click Submit. Then just below that my name will pop up & you select me so that we'll get credit for it. It's that simple! But of course if you have a problem let me or Shannon know. (Shannon's info is at the top of the page when you click the link.)

Thanks so much for the support...we really do appreciate it. :)

To Nashville & back....& another fill!

Wow did this weekend ever go by fast!!!! It was here & gone before I even knew it. Boo! :)  Let's see... Friday we got up early, had breakfast, then went & sat for the confrence/training. Mandisa was the first person out...oh I just love her. She's so amazing. If you don't remember who Mandisa is... she was on American Idol a few years back. She was a heavy girl back then & Simon Cowell said that she wasn't going to go anywhere cause she was so big & he was making fat jokes about her. Well she saw that on TV & she confronted him about it & told him that she'd forgiven him! She was eliminated unfortunately from American Idol. But she's since gone on to be an absolutely amazing singer...and she sings for the Lord. (She's also lost 100 pounds!) I've had the pleasure of seeing her a few times because of Women of Faith & she's just amazing. Then we were able to hear from some of the speakers, more singers, had some group leader training, had lunch, more training, singing, & hearing from more speakers.

We had a little break before dinner so a bunch of us went on the boat that they have there in the hotel. These are a couple pictures from that:

It was gorgeous. Nothing special cause it didn't go anywhere we couldn't see by walking around, but it was cool just to ride around on the boat. :)

For dinner we sat by other Billings group leaders & were fortunate enough to get to know a few of them. After dinner we were going to go & save seats for the concert that night. Remember the picture from the previous post of the room & how big it is. We heard once that there was 2,200 & once that there was 2,400 you have to get there SUPER early to be able to get a good seat. So before dessert came a few of us went to get seats. Unfortunately the doors weren't open yet, but there were already people lined up by the doors! So we decided to wait. We knew it was going to be a good concert cause we hadn't heard from Sandi Patty we needed to sit close!

To make a long story short.....a worker finally came about 15 mins later (& by now it was packed by the doors) & he talks to us like we're kids. He says "Listen up! If you run, you will be kicked out & the doors will be shut! Do NOT run! You MUST walk!" LOL  So everyone passed the message on & about 10 mins later he opened up the doors. It totally reminded me of a great Black Friday sale! Sooooo many women were literally speed-walking towards the front!!! Hahaha! It was hilarious. We ended up just about 7 rows from the front...which are GREAT seats so we were very happy with that.

The concert was great!! Sandi Patti sang, Mandisa sang...oh and the 2 of them sang Ode To Joy from the end of Sister Act 2. (If you haven't seen it & you'll see what I'm talking was so great!) Then Selah came on & sang a few songs. We heard some more stories from other group leaders, too. It was a great night.

When we were done we wanted to go to a mexican restaurant so everyone else could have guacamole! So 7 of us went to Solario (I think that's what it was called). Six people grouped into 3 groups of 2 & shared Guacamole for 2. I had some tortilla soup...mmmmm. Then it was time for bed cause the next day was gonna be long for us.

We decided to skip breakfast, & instead we got a coffee, packed up our stuff, took it to the luggage holding area, & then went in for the closing sessions. It ended at noon, but mom & I had to get on the noon shuttle. We were trying our best to NOT be disappointed.... I mean, this was a free trip that we got! But 3 of us had to leave on Saturday, but everyone else from Billings got to leave on Sunday. :(  So after the conference was over they took a tour of Nashville & then went to the Grand Ole Opry for a concert!!!!!!! I was so jealous! But that's ok...I got to come home & do a fill on Brooklyn's expanders & see my awesome family. :)

We had a pretty uneventful trip home. (Thank goodness.) And we got into Lewistown at about 9:30 pm...maybe? If I'm remembering right! Dustin had put the Emla on Brooklyn & then got her to sleep so she wouldn't pull at the dressing. I did the fill as soon as we got home & it went great. She didn't flinch when I poked her & we did soooo great!

I got 20 cc's in the scalp that one is at 95 cc's now. The front one got 25 cc's in it so now there's 100 cc's in that one!!! We're 1/3 of the way there! And we leave for Chicago in just 4 1/2 weeks, so we'll probably have to start doing the expansions more frequently than every week. We'll just have to see what the surgeon says.

Yesterday we did the photo shoot of Brooklyn for the 2nd cookbook: Brooklyn's Best Volume 2. Unfortunately...I had so much anxiety about it!! I needed a picture that was just as good as the picture on the cover of Volume 1...but that picture is SO amazing that n one thought it could happen. But I still had to try. We did get some great pictures for the back, but there weren't any that could go on the Friday we're going to do another one with some different ideas. I'll post some on here when we do the 2nd one.

So that's it for now. I'll post pictures of Brooklyn after the next fill this Saturday...  :o)

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Welcome to Nashville, TN!!

This year alone I'm getting to add EIGHT new states to my list. That's EIGHT states that I'll be going to for the first time this cool is that!? Seven of those states are because of our Chicago trips; but one of them is because of Women of Faith! I'll tell (those of you who don't know about WOF) more about it as it gets closer - April of this year. But for now All-Access is on my mind!

All-Access is a free weekend trip provided by Women of Faith (WOF). This is for group leaders only (those who sign up to bring 50 other women to a WOF). My mom has been doing this ever since I can remember, but this is just my 2nd (and last) year. Last All-Access was held in Dallas, TX. This year's All-Access is in Nashville, TN. WOF provides the airfare, hotel, & food for the whole weekend.

They had us travelling out of Billings at 7:30am, which means that we have to leave the day before, because no one in their right mind would wake up at 4am to drive 2 hrs to Billings to get on a plane. (Ok...well there's no way my mom or I will do that!)  So we left Lewistown last night around 8pm, drove to Billings, & got a room. Well had we known that the front desk lady would put us on the 5:20am shuttle.....!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! ARE YOU KIDDING ME?! We might as well have stayed at home in our own beds & gotten up at 4am...because that's what we had to do anyways!!!!!!

So we got up (Mom at about 4:15am & me about 4:30am) so we could get ready & get down for the 5 flippin 20 AM shuttle. You've got to be joking. There shouldn't even BE a 5:20am! Yeah so I'm really not a morning person. We were walking down the hall to the elevator when I realize it's going to be a very long trip. You see, my mom had the bright idea of us SHARING a suitcase so we didn't have to pay double the fee with the airline. Great idea.....IF YOUR SUITCASE WORKS!!!!!!!! Not so great of an idea if it's broken & I'm the one that has to carry it! Super. So the handle that you pull up is broken, so when I am wheeling it down the hall (and in the airports and in the HUGE hotel in Nashville) I have to totally bend over to hold it by the top handle that's attached to the actual suitcase. This makes me cranky cause I have to put both my carry-on & my purse on my left shoulder so that I can bend over to the right & drag this horrible piece of heaviness that we call a suitcase.

Ok so we get on the shuttle, drive up to the airport, check in, give the big x-ray people our broken bag (thank GOODNESS), & then start to go through security. Word of advise for any potential terrorists out there: NEVER START YOUR TRIP FROM BILLINGS, MT! THEY WILL ALWAYS CATCH YOU!!!!!!!!!! Never bags are always checked. Always. Not sometimes, not often....but ALWAYS!!!!!!! So here we go mom puts her 40 things in FIVE bins...& I put my stuff in 2...just to have the big bad security lady tell me that everything has to be in it's own separate bin. THEN she takes my purse, puts it on it's SIDE, & proceedes to wiggle it around with her hand to get it as flat as possible. SERIOUSLY?! (Ok side note here...I am Miss Anal-Organized. There is a place for everything & everything has it's place. Good motto for me! So my checkbooks are in one place, my wallet is in another, my little pouches are in another, etc etc. My point is....I DON'T LIKE MY PURSE BEING SCREWED AROUND WITH!) the big bad security lady totally messing up my purse was negative action #1. I proceed through security only to have them say "Excuse me, ma' this your bag?" Yup...sure enough, they needed to search my purse. Go figure. What kind of a trip through the Billings airport would it be if they didn't search my purse. Go right ahead. UGH! weapons of mass destruction found there...& off we went. We went to the gate & I realized that this is the same gate we used to take when we'd take the little mini toothpicks they call a plane to Lewistown from Billings. That was by far the worst flight I'd ever taken. It was Aug 7, 1993 & my grandma & I were going home for me to meet my brother, Curtis, for the first time. This plane today was almost just as bad. They announced that it was our time & they said that you could take 1 personal item on the plane. Haha yeah right. I need my purse & I need my carry-on! I don't take a carry-on just to have it gate-checked. My mom does that, not me. ;) The lady told me that I'd have to gate-check my carry-on (with my laptop, Kindle, Nintendo DS, journal, all my flight/hotel info, etc in it). Grrrrr. Negative action #2. Hahaha I even tried to put them both on my shoulder so that she wouldn't notice....the little sneak. We walk out into the horribly cold morning only to find that the place where we drop off our bags is in a huge snow pile. Not happening. Thankfully there was another "pleasant" girl who took my bag & put it in a wheelchair that just happened to be sitting there!

I walk up the steps to this plane telling my mom that I'd rather just be shot now cause I really didn't want to go through the terror of free-falling through the sky in a mini-toothpick. But I got on anyways & took my seat. On the right side of the plane was just 1 seat but there were 2 on the left. I was in seat 1A. Lucky me. But thankfully no one was sitting next to me so I could freak out in 2 seats. I was surprised however to see that the airline has it's priorities in line:
Yes...that says that the Whisky is held with the Infant Flotation Devices....just to make that clear. And here is my mother all cozy in her seat:

They start the propellers & all I can think of is the movie The Proposal with Ryan Reynolds & Sandra Bullock. You know...when they're going to Sitka, Alaska? Yeah...that was my flight to Denver. The propellers made the plane move from side to side before we even left the ground. They made the seats & plane vibrate SO much. You know those vibrating belts that you put around your mid-section or your butt to make the fat go away... well I should be 100 pounds right now with how that plane was vibrating. I did what I do best though...pray. I prayed & prayed. And then I thanked Got when we landed safely on the ground. I did get a chuckle though when the pilot came on & said that now that he turned off the fasten seat belt sign that we could "Now move about the cabin". Um, excuse me mister pilot sir, but there are NINE rows in this plane.....WHERE ARE WE GONNA GO?!

So we landed, walked off the plane, got our stuff (yes, from the snow-covered ground), & speed-walked inside, and then walked alllllll the way down the hall to our next gate. Thankfully the rest of the trip was very uneventful. I "got" the middle seat (cause I'm a nice daughter & my mom wanted the window) and we arrived safely in Nashville. Thank you Lord.

We found baggage claim, got our broken bag, followed the other 40,000 women in their fine outfits to the busses, loaded up, & were driven to the Opryland Hotel. WOW...this place is phenomenal! It's huge, & gorgeous, & very big, & beautiful, & wow the floor plan! LOL We checked in, somehow found our room, unloaded our stuff, & were off! Mom had breakfast this AM but I hadn't eaten anything all day so both of us were pretty much famished. I took some pictures as we were exploring places to eat.

Some guest rooms & the little canal. You can ride a boat on it for just $9/person! ;)
Delta Island - shops & restaurants. This is in a center area of the hotel.
The Garden Conservatory - basically a garden with lots of plants & a walkway...but pretty cool!
We found a make-your-own-burger place & sat down to eat. I never eat a whole burger. Never. Except for today. That thing was so good & I was literally starving to death, so I was eating it pretty fast. Well...until my permanent bottom retainer came off! LOL read me right...the retainer that WAS along my bottom 5 teeth for the past SEVENTEEN years came off. I'd had one side of it glued back on about 5 times in the recent months; & just in the past couple days another chunk of the glue came off. I have an appt next week to get it fixed again...haha, I guess not anymore. I felt bad throwing that little piece of wire away. I was a part of me for so long...for as long as my brother has been alive! 17 years is a long time. LOL ok kidding...I pitched that thing in the trash so fast! But, for those of you who've had braces know, it feels soooo weird without it there. We walked around just a bit but came back to the room ASAP so I could brush my teeth. Ok enough about my mouth...

On our way to our dinner reception
 We went to the dinner reception but couldn't eat anything at all cause we were still so full from our 3:30pm "snack". Then the show started. Here's the room that the event is in:
...and that's only the left part of the room... This place is huge. And it's full of 2,200 women! It was short, but great. Natalie Grant opened the night with a little mini-concert. What a treat. She has the most amazing voice, & she's just so gorgeous too. This is the first time she's sang in front of an audience since her new daughter was born 7 weeks ago. Then 3 of the original 4 WOF speakers went up & just talked & answered questions. It was great, & hilarious! Then a 2-sister group, Mary Mary, performed for us all. They're just amazing to hear.

And now it's bed time. I need to type recipes like crazy but my eyes are pretty much red & blood shot cause I'm so off to bed I go. Tomorrow is a long, fun-filled day & I'm looking forward to it.

And of course I can't is my husband, Dustin's, birthday. Yes, I missed his birthday. Thankfully birthday's in his family aren't as big as in my family cause he was totally fine with me coming. I did give him his gift though before I left & told him not to open it until today. He got to spend the day with the girls, & they all had a great time together. ;o)

Here's to a good night's sleep - un-interrupted!!!

Monday, February 7, 2011

What a day!!!...and a birthday coming up!

First off...just 1 month from today...just 4 weeks from today...just 28 days from today.....BROOKLYN TURNS ONE!!!!!! It's not at all that I haven't enjoyed every minute we've spent with her, cause holy cow we certainly have. But I think that we've just been SO caught up in this whole nevus "thing" that her birthday has gotten here so FAST!!!!! I absolutely can't believe that it's here already. Just next week & I'll be getting the invites made & sent out! I can't believe how quickly it's come...and most of all, I can't believe that she's gonna be 1...I mean, she's just so darn small! Haha!

Ok and on to today. Wow...what a morning! First off, we got a call bright & early from my 7am! She said that she was starting to get a cough & wondered what to do. She's been coming over here to watch the girls when I have to work. Our supplier at work hasn't been there yet so I haven't gotten to order the masks yet and we didn't have any here at the house. Our "back-up" babysitter is out of town & I had to be at work cause my co-worker was gone & there's 2 providers there on Mondays. We had our fill-in nurse there but I still needed to be there since there were 2 providers. So basically we were 100% in a bind.

So once I fully woke up I realized that I'd gotten a couple masks to put in our office the other day. So I called her back & said to go by our office, right at 8am, get a mask, then come to our house. I'd be late, but at least Brooklyn wouldn't get sick. So my mom got to our house around 8:20am - mask in hand - & I left for work.

Can we say...HOLY SNOW BLIZZARDING STORM OF THE YEAR!!!!!! It was snowing so fast & so hard that I couldn't even see the road from our house. (Which is very visible from our house even when it's snowing on a "typical" day.) The wind was blowing horribly too, which caused major drifts even at 8am! I opened the garage door just to have snow POURING in. I left our driveway & headed down our gravel road, which the tracks from my mom coming just 5 mins prior, were totally blown away. I just took it slow & hoped that by driving on that road nearly everyday for the past 5-6 years gave me enough knowledge to remember where the road dropped off! I got on the main road & noticed that there was a very loud noise coming from the front of the car. Immediately I knew that it was cause so much snow had gotten on our mud flaps & they were rubbing against the tires. That's really what it sounded like. So I just took it slow...until it persisted & seemed to get slightly louder. I considered pulling over to kick the snow off, but I was already almost 1/2 hr late for work so I just kept going. I then realized that there was NO way that it could have been snow on the mud flaps cause I PARK IN THE GARAGE! Hmmmm....

So I got about 1/2 way to work & all of a sudden it hit me... Whenever we park in our garage, I'm on the right, & in order to get the 2 passenger side doors open fully I have to pull in to the garage & then crank the wheel to the left slightly. I've done this religiously every single time I pull in the garage.....EXCEPT for those few times that I know I won't have the girls with me. (Cause no needing the extra space on the passenger side if I'm not going to be opening those doors for the girls.) Makes sense, right?

So I pulled in the garage yesterday & knew that I wouldn't have the girls in the car this AM...I'd just be going to work cause my mom was coming over here to watch them. I remembered all this on my way to work this AM & remembered that when I pulled in the garage last night I pulled straight in; I didn't turn the wheel to the left. And what did I hear when I pulled straight in? CRACK!!!!!!!!!! There was a beer bottle that Dustin had dropped a while back & he hadn't cleaned up the glass! (Of course this is all his fault!!!) So I was driving to work this AM I realized a first had occurred for me....I had a flat tire. Well what on earth was I going to do in this weather?! I could have just stopped, but then what?! So I just continued on to work. I was already now more than 1/2 way there when I realized that it just HAD to be a flat. So I just went about 15-20mph the rest of the way to work.

I got there & could tell by my tracks that it was flat, then felt it & was flat. I had gotten a phone call when I was just a block away from work from the nurse filling-in for us. The doctor I work for had told the other provider not to come in today, since she lives out of town & it would have been next to impossible for her to have gotten there. So there was no need for 2 nurses. She offered to stay so I could go home & take care of the girls so Brooklyn wouldn't get whatever my mom had. SUPER nice of her!! :)

I walked in to work, called Dustin, asked him what the heck I was supposed to do, then called the tire place. Oh and I guess a great thing to point out here is that we got 4 BRAND NEW tires on December 30th, then left for Chicago the next day! So these were 4 brand spankin new tires! :(  The tire people said they'd come up & put air in it...just to last me long enough to get to them so they could take a look at the tire. I started walking out the door & realized then that I locked my keys in the car! Ha! Thank goodness I'd locked them in the car before because I learned to keep a spare in my jacket, which I conveniently had on! ;)

The tire people said that my tire was completely shot cause I'd driven on it (even though my drive to work is literally 6 minutes). So they put a "rental" on it (LOL - "rental" tires) & the new one will be here Thursday, weather permitting. UGH!

What a morning! Thankfully everything went fine once I got home!

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Our 2nd fill

Well not much has happened since I wrote last week. I started back to work, which was so great. Thanks to the doctor I work for, I was able to order a box of masks to have here at home, so we can still fill even if Dustin or I am sick. It was nice to get back in the swing of things at work. And I think everyone enjoyed having me back! Let's just say there was a lot of laughing & catching up!

Cali enjoyed being with Oma (my mom) while I was at work. Because Brooklyn can't get sick, my mom is being a savior & coming over here to watch the girls while I work. It's only been a week (and I only work part-time) but wow it's SO nice having her come over here, instead of me taking the girls to her! (I wonder what I can do to bribe her to keep this up even after the surgery????) ;o)

Speaking of my mom...her & I get to go to Nashville this coming week!! We are both group leaders with Women of Faith so we get a F-R-E-E trip, courtesy of Women of Faith. We got to go last year as well; we went to Dallas in January. This year it's at the Opryland Hotel in Nashville, TN. Airfare, hotel, AND food are all paid for by Women of Faith. I'm sure it'll be a very nice break for me. But please keep Dustin & the girls in your prayers. They'll be on their own from Wed night through later Sat evening.

Cali - happy to be sitting with mom in the chair
On another note: We have another fundraiser going on for us right now! It's from the Tastefully Simple company. Go here to order: All you do is find what you'd like, put it in your cart, then at the checkout you click on Find Host/Event, search by my name (Merilee Vance), and then I'll be listed below. Then just continue the checkout process. This fundraiser is being done by a person here in Lewistown & it's so sweet of her to do this! (If you have any questions about this just let me know.)

And our last news of the week...we did our 2nd fill today! I was going to wait until Dustin got off of work, but my mother-in-law called & said that she'd come over to help. So I quickly got the Emla cream on her & then tried my best to keep her arms away from the dressing on her head. It was a LONG hour! She was cranky cause she was tired, so she kept pulling at the dressing, & taking it off her head. Pretty frustrating!! But she eventually fell asleep. Unfortunately though, she didn't stay asleep. Dona was holding her while I did the scalp expander. She cried, but was alright & eventually settled down. I got 20 cc's in that one. Then I did the forehead expander & unfortunately for all of us, she felt the needle go in on that one. She fussed & cried & squirmed a lot. When she cries, it makes the expanders more red & harder than they really are cause of all the pressure. So I stopped at 17 cc's. After I cleaned up & Dona got her settled down I was toying with the idea of doing that forehead one again, cause it was soft again & I could tell it could have used more in it. But I didn't cause I didn't want her to be in pain again.

So now both expanders are equally filled at 75cc's! Here are a couple pictures taken about an hour after the fill.

Forehead expander

Scalp expander
And here she is directly after the fill...LOL she fell right back asleep!
She was pretty cranky when she got up, so I gave her Tylenol & she's now doing much better. But who can blame her...she just had 37 cc's added to her head weight!

Dustin's 2 aunts & uncle came to town this weekend to see Dustin's dad. It's been great seeing them. Brooklyn actually was taken out of the house for the very first time yesterday after being in the house since we got home from Chicago! Then tonight we went to Dustin's aunt's she go to leave the house again. And tomorrow we're going to church! Out of the house 3 times in 3 days...she's certainly enjoyed it. :)

Next blog post...from Nashville!!