Sunday, October 19, 2008

Taking a break

No, we're not falling off the face of the internet... just taking a break for a couple weeks. Thank you for all your kind comments, and I'll be back in November!

Blessings to you all!

Friday, October 17, 2008

Busy Day,Pregnancy update, and Instant Gratification

Our day began before daybreak with coffee and a nice breakfast with dh while children were still asleep. By 7:30a.m. we were out the door on the way to the MW's to pick up some paper work on the way to the hospital for an ultrasound. The ultrasound went very well. Baby looks great! There was some concern about the placement of my placenta but that is fine too.

After that we went from the hospital back to the MW's for my regular check up, and chatted, as usual, for a while over tea. I just love our time with her! My weight gain was good, and blood pressure good, etc. etc.

On our way home we had to stop at the bank, which is in the same plaza as a Michael's, and a Barne's and Nobles. We saw a sign at Michaels that their framing was 50%off this week! This is what we have been waiting for to get Aaron's portrait framed. We dropped some stuff off at Salvation Army, then went home and rushed the kids thru lunch and clean up. We gathered up Aaron's portrait and the poem I wrote for his funeral and headed back the way we just came from.

Also, this week they got Aarons headstone in, and Dale and I stopped before getting home to the kids earlier. While we were out picking out the framing, we got a plant hanger thingie that sticks in the ground. I had intended on getting some hanging mums, but they were all awful and I got a wreath instead. Dale is going to get it all wired on the hanger so it doesn't blow off in the weather, then we'll take it down to the grave and take a pic.

We also ran sundry other errands.. into Barnes and Noble for a book I ordered for school, Walmarts, and Lowe's. Whew! What a full day. I'm glad it is Friday and we can sleep in a bit tomorrow.

How you ever noticed how we are a "instant gratification" type of society? If it takes 2 minutes in the microwave its too long. Fast food isn't fast enough. We want it NOW, we want it better NOW, we don't want to wait and save up, or rest up, or take time to look up in prayer. It just takes too long. We are always looking for the quick fix.

Well, okay, I fall prey to that from time to time. Here is a silly example... I have been working on matching dresses for the girls for church this fall and winter. Being church dresses, I like to make them a little more "fussy". Cuffs on the sleeves, trim or ruffles, etc. Well, all that is cute, but it takes time. I just felt like I needed a break from that "intense" sewing and decided to do an instant gratification project... a jumper that I cut out for me about a year ago. It has been sitting in my UFO's pile for a long time. It is a very heavy corduroy, so obviously, it wasn't suitable for spring and summer wear. But now with the cooler weather, I pulled it out and whipped it together in two days. I could have had it done in ONE day, especially since it was cut out and marked already, but "life" got in the way.. you know, children, schooling, laundry, meal making.. that sort of thing. Now that is done, and I am ready to get a wiggle on the girls' dresses again. Oh yeah, I also cut out two jumpers for Jerusha, but I probably won't get to them until the church dresses are done.

Oh, another blessing is that while at Walmart I found the exact same fabric that I am making the girls' dresses out of and got enough to make a nursing jumper for me so we all can match. JoAnn's didn't have enough left for me to make so much as a matching skirt to the girls' dresses. So, I can mark one thing off my UFO sewing pile, but I added three to the list. Hmmm... that doesn't seem right! LOL

Monday, October 13, 2008

Fall Cleaning!

Saturday was a very busy but productive day here. We tackled the windows... cleaned the screens, windows, and I washed and ironed the curtains. I did some deep cleaning in the living room while the couch was pulled out. I also noticed that the curtains for the picture window are about kaput, so I took measurements and will hopefully be able to make new window treatments soon, at least, Lord willing, before baby arrives. We did a little of our regular cleaning, but didn't get the full routine done, but that is okay. Dale dusted off the ceiling fan in our room. Thank the Lord for my tall husband! LOL.

In the afternoon we did some outdoor work. The children helped by getting the rest of the garden clean up done, and dug carrots, and finished harvesting the sunflower seeds. At one point Caleb and Jerusha found the carrots and "helped" by testing them, without even washing them off first! You know they say "a peck of dirt before you die" but I don't think they need to get it all in one sitting.
Here's a pic of Caleb's face after he ate some of his carrot:

Jerusha, in typical country bumpkin style was running around all day without socks or shoes on. Good thing it was bath night! This picture is actually flattering. In real life, her feet looked a lot worse.

This next pic is actually from the other day when the girls started harvesting the sunflower seeds, but it was pretty much the same shot on Saturday, just different outfits.

I worked in the memorial garden and put some mums in for the fall. There weren't enough to do the church and ours, so I just did ours and will do the church's this week.

All work and no play makes Jack (or Benjamin, Esther, Elizabeth, Josiah, Caleb, and Jerusha.. oh, and Daddy) a dull boy, so there was some fun involved. Dale had made a deal with the children at lunch that if they could get their outdoor work done before supper, then he would give them wheel barrel rides. I notice he didn't offer me one.

Benjamin with help from sundry siblings from time to time was trying to make a tee pee out of corn stalks. It looked interesting, but I don't think I would want to wait out a rainstorm or a snowstorm in it.

For Today...

Outside my overcast morning, chilly, but slowly warming up.

I am thinking...about what projects I would like to get done this week.

Homeschooling... we are doing a unit study on birds, and Clark and Lewis right now.

I am thankful for...My helpful family! For creature comforts, like a nice hot shower at the end of a busy day, a refreshing cup of tea, my soft, comfy bed.

From the kitchen...homemade whole wheat bread, and homemade split pea soup with ham.

I am wearing...a red tshirt, old denim jumper, socks and slippers.

I am reading...The Bible, hopefully starting something new to bring on vacation.

I am get the shed cleaned out this week, and the girls' matching church dresses almost done before we leave on vacation next Monday.

I am creating...Dresses for the girls, crocheted doll blankets for H.A.N.D., and knitting a laprobe for an infirm gentleman in our congregation.

I am hearing...Elizabeth help Caleb with his schoolwork, and Josiah practicing piano.

Around the house...Lots of laundry, orginizational stuff for school and housework, a little cleaning that didn't get done over the weekend.

One of my favorite things...That very first sip of coffee in the morning.

A Few Plans For The Rest Of The Week...More fall cleaning, mainly the shed, arranging for manure to be dumped on the garden, sewing, some extra baking for our trip, planting mums at church.

Here is a picture thought I am sharing with you...

Thank you to the Simple Woman for this fun excercise!

Friday, October 10, 2008

Friday... Yay!

I don't know what it is about Fridays that I look forward to, especially since Saturday's are usually pretty busy around here. All I know is that Friday afternoons I am thrilled the week is over and looking forward to Saturday and Sunday. This afternoon is no different. School is done, corrections are done, supper is in the crock pot, I have tomorrow's chores planned, and evening is settling in. It will soon be time for the children to come in from outside and wash up and start the inside evening chores, and supper, and then maybe I'll surprise them with popcorn and a movie night tonight.

I was very pleased with what we got done today. Here is what we were up to:
~Music practice
~Clean and organize cupboard with flour/sugar and leftovers containers
~clean and organize cupboard with bowls, griddle, and cutting boards
~Wash and hang out bedding
~wash and hang out clothing
~Outdoor work for fall
~Finish picking sunflower seeds
~start pulling up carrots

Tomorrow I have a bunch of indoor and outdoor work planned. Dale just called and said he picked up some hearty mums for the church's outdoor boxes and for our memorial garden. I will be glad to take care of those. Since the summer flowers have died off the memorial garden as been on my mind to fix up for fall. The church's outdoor flower boxes are looking sad too, so we'll take care of those as well.

The children will be assigned to help with some other chores, such as bread making, clearing garden debris, getting the water slide and blow up pool cleaned and put away, and washing windows and screens. Dale has wood stacking on his mind, so I'm sure that will be continued. We have about half of that big pile that was delivered earlier this summer stacked. Dale thinks we can fit a couple more face cords downstairs, then we'll be stacking on palettes and covering with tarps next to the house. It is good to know that we will have good heat this winter.

I also have a list of stuff to do for school next week, but if I don't get to it until Sunday night or Monday morning, that is okay. I will be washing the curtains, towels, and any clothing I can find and hanging them out as well. It is supposed to be beautiful again tomorrow!

An no, this isn't nesting for me. This is some of the regular fall stuff I like to do. Some things yet on the "Fall To Do" list are: cleaning the chimney, spreading manure on the garden patch, canning some applesauce, raking leaves, and of course, sewing, sewing, and more sewing!

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Pregnancy ramblings, everyday life, and mourning collide

Our days have been full of activity, but the normal, everyday, activity at a reasonable level of busyness. Homeschooling and chores, and baking, and sewing and everything else that goes along with raising children, have kept our days full. I'm glad for that! I've started walking slowly, a little at a time again, with no ill effects, for which I am thankful. The children have been making it a habit to get up at the crack of dawn, or before, when Dale gets up for work. They do their Bible reading then start work on their schoolwork. The result is that by the time I'm up and haven't even finished my coffee yet is that they have a pile of schoolwork done for the day! I'm glad they have that initiative. There are things they can't do without me, like some research we are doing on the computer, for example, or obviously they can't practice piano or recorder that early. But they try and get as much of their independent work out of the way they can.

Yesterday they spent some time out in the garden harvesting the sunflower seeds. They noticed the birds eating them, so they took a bucket out to pick some. We will use them to put in our little bird feeder that Benjamin made during VBS this summer throughout the winter. Next for the garden is plucking up all the used up sunflower plants, corn stalks, and digging up the carrots. Then we will be getting a load of manure to spread. Over that we will put a thin layer of leaves, which are falling very quickly this year it seems! It will rest over the winter, and Lord willing, before it is plowed next year we'll get a little more fertilizer and lime in it.

My sewing is progressing slowly it seems. I hope to be able to spend a good deal of time on it today. I spent the last day doing what I call "prep work" for the sewing. I made the back ties for the dresses, got the interfacing on the collars, cut the contrast fabric ruffles for the collar, etc. Today I hope to get the back ties sewed on, fronts sewed to the backs, and at least a good start on getting the collars put together.

Tuesday in the mail I received an order I had placed with Ringger Clothing. I HIGHLY recommend her site. If you sign up for the everyday emails, you can get some good deals that she advertises in those. I ordered two jumpers (one for each of the twins) and a maternity skirt for myself. I have to say I am very pleased with the fit and comfort of the garments, and the quality of the workmanship. I wore the skirt yesterday and it was very comfy, had plenty of room for expansion. The twins love their new jumpers as well. Amy Ringger and I emailed back and forth quite a bit over the order, and she was very pleasant to work with. The garments arrived quickly too, and caught me be surprise. It was my intention to have a pic taken yesterday but never got a round to it. We'll be wearing them again soon, so I'll have our pics taken then. I love to do our own sewing, but sometimes I get so far behind I just need a little help. :)

It is funny how everything can be going along fine, peacefully, and then BAM! Just like that the waterworks turn on. Last night was one of those nights. The kids were all in bed, and Dale and I were reading in bed, and just all of sudden I just needed to cry! I had these flashbacks of when we lost Aaron going very clearly through my head.. what it felt like to find out he was gone, what the aftermath was like, and it hurt like it did last winter! Then I started to have a real fear for this pregnancy. I just don't think I can take it if we lose this baby. I know God doesn't give you the grace for trials until you get there, but just thinking about it near drove me to a panic.

And, as usual, emotions run opposite of each other. Whenever one of the kids kiss my rounding tummy, I want to say "don't get too attached just yet". But I don't, of course. I try to focus on the positive.. that they love babies, that they have a simple faith in God. They can live in the moment and not worry about what may or may not happen. They are so matter of fact about it! A couple weeks ago Josiah turned to me and said "I hope this baby doesn't die, like Aaron did." Then went on doing his schoolwork. I think I responded "Me too!" or something like that. Then Josiah said "Well, if he does, at least we know God is still in control." Out of the mouth of babes!

I go from trying to skim over the surface of hope. Every time the baby kicks, or has the hiccups, I try not to get overly hopeful about the birth. At the same time, I try to enjoy every moment so if something does happen, then at least I can look back on the pregnancy with some joy. It is a hard balance to find.

Back to last night... after Dale hugged me for a while, we talked a bit about things. As I was blowing my nose for the hundredth time the baby started kicking my arm that was draped across my belly. I put Dale's hand on the spot and he was rewarded with several very strong kicks. Now, he has felt babies kicking before, but he hasn't felt this one this strongly yet. The baby likes to kick hard, then move so it has been a bit tricky getting Dale's hand in the right spot. Last night was really the first time he felt the baby kick so well. His eyes popped open wide with surprise, and said "Wow! That was a good one! You're going to be bruised on the inside!" I responded.. "Just think of what that will be like in a couple more months!" But really, each time the baby kicks, I appreciate it and enjoy it.

Overall I would say everything is going smoothly as possible, and that there are just these little pockets of time when I just need to cry and get it out of my system because I am feeling overwhelmed by it all. I still try to maintain an emotional equilibrium as much as possible, which takes more and more energy as time goes on.

Well, that is where I am.. at least for now.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Ahhhhh.... Autumn!

I am sure everyone is somewhat familiar with that famous song from Sound of Music.. My Favorite things... Well, here are a few of my favorite things about fall.

The ability to drink tea and not sweat to death.

The crisp cool air replacing the humid, oppressive, hazy air of summer. It's like getting a new lease on life!

Going for a walk in the evening and seeing views like this:

Who can not love the taste of fresh apple cider, apple butter, apple crisp, apple sauce, apple pie.... or just a plain ol' apple, fresh from the tree?

The colors of fall! Decorating is wonderful this time of year.

The bounty of harvest:

Watching the crops come in:

Beautiful vistas:

The sound of geese flying south. I don't know why, but I love that sound!

Of course, some of the enjoyment is the knowledge that there are three whole seasons before we get the "hot and sticky" again. I love the smell of the wood that is being stacked for use in the cold weather. I like to watch the children play in the leaves they raked up to jump in. I love the fact that I can cuddle under our warm quilts and be comfortable. I actually look forward to the quietude of winter days where quilting and knitting aren't activities that make me too hot. :) Fall days... crisp air, storing up for winter, and being thankful for God's provision.

Monday, October 6, 2008

Keeping the Bees Busy and a Raven's secret Visit!

Ever notice that no matter how much you get done, there is always more to do than you can shake a stick at? That is one reason why I like my "to do" lists. I can mark off what I HAVE done and be thankful for that instead of feeling discouraged over whatever else hasn't gotten done. I was thinking this morning how quickly the next 3 months will go by. We have much on the schedule. We are trying to plan a family vacation, which has been put on hold for the moment to make sure my body is rested up from last week's kerfuffle of being put on bed rest. So far so good. I do a little more each day, and so far, that has been fine. I hope to start going for walks again, but will have to do a little at a time.

So, Lord willing this month we'll go on vacation, or take several days to just spend in family time here. We also would like to go up north to visit Dale's mom, sister, bil, and niece. She is the one that was a preemie last year.. 8 weeks early! She just celebrated her 1st birthday. I can't believe how fast she is growing! She is still a peanut at a mere 17 lbs, but she has those wonderful chubby cheeks, 8 teeth, crawling all over, and pulling herself up into standing position. Praise God for His watching over her!

November is a busy month with several birthdays, plus the Harvest Dinner at church, and then Thanksgiving. Meanwhile I am trying to think ahead to Christmas, and what I need to have done before then. There are several things I would like to sew for the kids, plus we are making our own Christmas cards this year. I also need to start making meals ahead for after the baby's birth.

All that along with the normal homeschooling, baking, chores, etc.. adds up to a lot! I pray the months will go quickly though, and I know being busy will help.

Over the weekend we celebrated Josiah's 8th birthday. His birthday was actually Friday, but we figured we'd have more time on Saturday, so waited until then. When anyone in the family has a birthday they get to pick what to have for supper and what kind of cake to have. The birthday boy chose my homemade macaroni and cheese with hot dogs, carrot sticks with dip, and double layer chocolate cake. After supper he opened presents and cards. The older three had made little treasure hunts for him, which I thought was fun and creative. They also made a colorful "Happy Birthday" banner that we hung in the kitchen.

Today is pretty much a normal Monday for us. Schoolwork, lots of laundry, organizational stuff for school and shopping this week, some baking, and I am giving piano lessons late this afternoon. Usually the piano lessons are on Saturdays, but it didn't work out that way last week, so we planned it for today. I hope to be able to spend some time sewing later, although at this point it looks like it will have to wait until after my "laying down" time after lunch. Supper will be later than usual, but that is okay as this is the errand running day for Dale. We will be having some beef and vegetable hearty soup, with freshly baked whole wheat bread and butter. Anyone hungry? :)

I just had to add this in for today: While we were all resting and finishing schoolwork this afternoon, someone annonymously dropped off some goodies at our door! My oldest found it when he went out to stack some wood. There was a hug bag of potatoes.. probably at least 50lbs. A large grocery bag of apples, and some sliced store bought bread. I don't know who left it, but it is appreciated! Elizabeth is helping me make our first batch of apple crisp to serve as dessert tonight. Mmmm!

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Finished Product, Pattern Review, and Belly Shot

Well, there it is! The finished Catherine's Choice maternity/nursing dress, and 28 week belly shot all in one. :)

I love the nursing openings in this dress. They are hidden under the overlay, but they are constructed like the Elizabeth Lee patterns. If you look on the package, you'll see that Elizabeth Lee had a hand in testing the pattern, btw. I also really like the full skirt, and the fact you don't have to make it so full if you don't want to. I love the bracelet sleeves, and the sleeve length! 3/4 length is perfect for me in the winter. I hate having to roll up sleeves while working in the kitchen, then having them unroll at a most inopportune time. There are also great tips for alterations, and different ways to do the parts of the pattern. You can use this pattern and get many different style dresses from it. Overall, I would give this pattern 4 out of 5 stars.

What I don't like are the tops of the sleeves. Next time I will add more fullness to them on the top, though the bottoms seem fine. Also, because of my height, er, lack thereof, I had to chop a good 2 inches off the bottom before I even hemmed it, and that brought it to about ankle length. Also the scoop neck was too low for my taste, but that was easy enough to fix.

Next time I make this dress the alterations will be.. 1. Not as full of skirt, more A-line style. I don't have anything against the gathered waist, but just for the fun of it I will try something different. 2. alter the pattern so it will hem to "tea length" before cutting out. 3. Add more fullness to the tops of the sleeves. Now that I have done it once, I am actually looking forward to doing it again.

I am slowly building up to some regular activity and will be able to start walking slowly and gently again today. I miss my walks! This time of year there is so much change in sights, sounds, smells that I hate to miss even day. This morning while lying in bed I heard lots of geese flying south. I have been hearing them for a couple weeks now. To some people that sound bodes negatively as they think of winter. My reaction is "Yippeee! cooler weather!" No tomatoes please! :)

My "rest" day yesterday was mostly sewing and mending. I didn't do any lifting or tearing around, but everything went well. I did a bunch of marking for the girls' matching dresses and will work on them as time allows today.

This morning we are doing some basic cleaning, and I am making a double layer chocolate cake for a certain birthday boy who turned 8 yesterday. We will be doing a special birthday dinner of his choice (homemade mac and cheese with hot dogs, and raw carrots with dip, double layer chocolate cake for dessert) and presents this evening.

You all have a blessed day!

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Pregnancy Update

I will be taking a few days off here, due to being put on "rest" by the MW. My body is showing signs I need to slow down, so for the next few days I will be sitting with my feet up and laying down as much as possible. Your prayers during this time are appreciated, as I can very quickly go stir crazy. I am allowed to do handwork as long as my feet are up., this is a good time to practice my knitting!