Thursday, November 26, 2009

Sister Quilt Power Unite!!

I made a quilt in a week....and entered the same quilt into a contest.  Isn't that nuts????  My life needs to be very measured at times due to life with a medically intense family.  That isn't a bad thing,  just a fact. There are times I get a tad impulsive,  like last week, like seeing a quilt challenge on this one magazine's website, and coaxing my sister into doing it with me, because you had to enter as a team.  The challenge had been open since September, and with only one week to go, there were only a few quilts entered, like four.  SO, I said, "Seester, let's do this, we could win a sewing machine and cabinet, ( I wanted the cabinet), yeah, yeah, yeah, I know, it is a queen size quilt....and we are total newbies, and we are totally busy this week, ( see previous post) but, hey, we can do it!!!"
 WE DID IT!!  My sister did an adorable gingerbread print theme.....I did a loosey goosey kind of thing called going to Joann's and picking out fabric I liked and cutting it into 10"squares, and arranging it into some kind of pattern.  It is so funny, because these quilts really show a lot of our personality.  I am following the pattern...almost...and almost got a well done quilt.  It is still needing quilting, because my little new friend threw a stubborn hissy fit and quit working after I used her to sew those buttons.  Fancy machines sew your buttons on for you, but they are so temperamental if you dare sew THROUGH the buttons.  It has to do with timing mechanisms and such that I had no time to think about as the hour drew near.  I KNOW I wan't suppose to sew through the buttons, but getting everything all lined up was, well, hard.  That machine quit,  but I am NOT a quitter, so I got my old friend Janome back on the table and she began to sew just fine in her limited kind of way.   Good girl.  So, I began to stitch the layers together when little old friend machine stopped, too.  Bad girl.  With the help of my resident engineer, (everyone needs 15 year old boys in the house, I'm telling ya') we got my Janome running again.  My temperamental new friend went back to the shop for a stern talking to and resetting whatever you have to reset when your timing gets off.    She came out all glowy and happy again, and sewing even better now.
This is so my life.
The deadline to enter was 11:59PM.......I hit the send button at 11:07PM.  It was just like a term paper, only more expensive, and I might USE this project, on my bed!

I have to say, I think my sister's total "love to follow the rules, thank you very much!" attitude is going to make her an awesome quilter.....look at how precisely everything is done!!  Her binding was HAND-STITCHED. Dang. rick rack over every is like duck tape, it cures all and hides all.  I am so happy T. set all aside to do this with me, (separated by several hundred miles, we did a "cyber quilting bee").   I had a great time and we will always look back on these Christmas quilts and go, "Can you believe we did that?"

I am going to do some free motion quilting now that I have my machine back, I hope that works since I went ahead and put the binding on, to enter it into the contest.  I did stitch in the ditch, but I know it needs more since the squares are 10".

Okay, I'll let you know if we make it to the top 10.  Then you all can vote and help us to the finals!!

Check out these beauties!

Thursday, November 19, 2009

A Glance Into Our Day

So, this is what we did three hours, sit in clinics for over three three hours home.  Due to my children's syndrome, Pierre Robin Sequence,  they are followed by an ENT every six months.  Lily has a tracheostomy, and our lovely ENT is the primary doc for the trach.   She also follows P with his hearing and ear tubes.  Today was a big day!!  Here are some highlights.....

--I was late.  Really, really late to our first appointment.  There are a lot of things I should worry about more, like keeping up on laundry.....not talking so much on my cell phone.....taking out the diaper pail bag to the garage more frequently....BUT....I hate to be late.  I get very anxious and, well, impatient.  Usually, I am on time to these appointments, even being three hours away, five kids, packing medical equipment, food, etc, I am on time, by golly!!  Not today.  I was, gasp, thirty-five minutes late.  THIRTY-FIVE minutes.  Is your heart racing like mine, just reading that????  Are your palms sweating??  Mine were.  I won't go into why I was late, it had something to do with five men taking waaaaay too long to change my oil, my husband assured me that it wouldn't take long.  We had an unexpected bathroom break....can't they hold it??? AND, I got behind a little old lady who was driving so slowly in the parking garage , I could have gotten out and pushed her old sled up the ramp quicker than what she was moving.   My darling 15 year old reminded me of charitable behavior as I ranted over her slow crawl through the garage.   Did you notice how I said I wasn't getting into my reasons for being late, and then I did it anyway???  Because I was late, I ended up missing Lily's speech therapist, and had to change our plans and go to another clinic for her pre-op history and physical, at the end of the day.

--I held two kids, at their special appointed the ENT and her nurse took turns picking out wax out of their ears.  My kids are champion wax producers.  They get this from their father.  I don't produce wax.....I quilt and knit.  We were all sweaty and a little worn out at the end of that episode.  The chunks of wax could have been sold to a candle making cottage home industry.  Remember, I candle making.

--I relayed to my current ENT the story of how one time, years ago, when I was holding a child down while their ears were cleaned out......I accidentally kissed the hand of our former ENT.  My cherub was in my lap, and I puckered up to kiss their dear head as they felt like their brains were being picked out of their ear...I am sure......when instead I kissed this man's hand, that was resting on cherub's head, to give him just the right leverage to get the wax boulder out!   Just a tad embarrassing, given how we all joked what a good looking guy he was (true).

--P got his tube out that has been in his left ear for years and years.  He did great!! Dr. ENT placed it a ceremonial little, tiny box to put under his pillow tonight for the TUBE FAIRY.  Nice.

--P needs a swallow study in a few weeks to see if there is something going on with his swallowing....just a few symptoms we want to check out.

--We capped Lily's trach to see if she is tolerating it.....she didn't.  Gray isn't a nice color on that cute little  face.  Jaw distraction is still on for March.

--My sweet toddler girl did get to see our favorite speech therapist in the end.  She ran in after we had seen the ENT.  Her assessment of Lily's sorely lacking verbal skills.....apraxia.  We had both sort of suspected this, but it is looking pretty likely that is what it is.  You might think, "Well, of course she is behind in speech, she has a trach."  But, apraxia is different.  Lily is anatomically capable, even with a trach, to talk.  For some reason, her neuro system just isn't allowing her to plan correctly all of the complex movements in talking.  I took this all in, and in my usual fashion, moved on to the next clinic on the list.  On the way home, I had to time to reflect, and decided apraxia stinks.  Lily is getting increasingly frustrated.....and we'll be spending a lot of our life after her jaw is repaired in speech therapy.   I grieved a little as we drove is not for wimps.

--Last stop....pre-op clinic.  Lily's fistula repair for her palate is next month.  Pre-op likes to see the kids unless the doc's nurse does the h&p which is what I totally missed when I was so late.  So, I dashed in just as they were closing the clinic.  With five kids and me running down the hall, pushing Lily in her three handle family credenza (double stroller), and I'm yelling, "OH NO.....they are closed!!!!", I am sure we were quite the sight.  They knew girl has quite the reputation around the surgery folks.  Her airway is troublesome and, as her ENT said, "She likes to misbehave."

--Finally, the blessing in being, gasp, 35 minutes late??  When I got bumped to the pre-op,  they asked me who I would like in anesthesia to put Lily to sleep.....what a great thing!!!  I have a choice?  I wouldn't have if we had seen the doc's nurse practitioner earlier in the day....the one I was really late for and missed.  God is good....I put in for my favorite one, she does a lot of cardiac kids and is amazingly good, they'll let me know in a few days if she can do Lily's case.

I mainly wrote this so I can look back several years from now and think, "Wow, we did that???"  Not really, at least in our own strength, but God sure carries us through it all!! (Just to be totally for real, and not like some "saintly mom of special needs kids"....God carries me kicking and screaming sometimes, I am His stubborn girl, the one who wants to be on time.......I'm glad He doesn't let me get my way all of the time!!!)


Sunday, November 15, 2009

Ah, Ha!! I figured it out.  Here are the pictures of G's quilt.  I deleted the other post with all of my wisdom about quilting with kids.....just make a quilt with your kids, okay??  It is as simple as cutting some blocks , sewing them in long strips, sewing those strips together, layering it like an Oreo cookie with some batting and a back piece of fabric and sewing them together.  This is the simplified version, but there are so many books out there, go for it!!!

Happy Sewing!!

Friday, November 13, 2009

Do you see the pictures?

Is anyone else having trouble seeing the pictures of G's quilt?  I can't see it on my own computer.....errggg. Let me know, unless you have trouble commenting, too!!

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Pictures Coming of Big Boy's Quilt

My eleven year old son has almost finished his first quilt.  I was like a mother in the room with her laboring daughter....."Okay, keep it straight, yep, you are almost there!" wringing my hands, straightening fabric....  Poor guy, a few times he looked at me and said, "Mama, I can DO THIS"  He was almost done with the binding and he stopped with only about 30 mins of work left to do, and started playing a Monster Truck game on the computer???  Can I say I had to restrain myself from  running up the stairs and finishing it for him??   Hmm, let me see...Monster Trucks...quilting...which one should we pick? (Did you notice Monster Trucks in this house is a proper noun....with four boys...absolutely!)

I'll post some pictures later--of the quilt, not the trucks.


Only at My House

It was a busy day, as most days are around here......and we were wrapping up with a trach change for Lily.  She gets her trach changed once a week.  This is not a big deal now that she is older.....after my last child  had a trach for five years, and now Lily having had hers for two years...that is a lot of trach changes.  I kid around that I could change one in my sleep......and I have!!  Lily's trach has fallen out in the middle of the night, and I have woken up at her bedside, putting it back in, after being startled awake from her noises.  So, trach dramas are not new around here, but we had a first last night.  After I put a new trach in, and was walking down the stairs with Lily and her next in line brother behind me on the stairs, that same one I just mentioned who had his trach in for five years, started yelling, "MAMA, Lily's trach is out!!!"  I was at the bottom of the stairs, they were a few stairs up.......I started to race back up the stairs, and looked up again, to find Lily's trach already back in.

UH???  My little eight year old proudly said, "Oh, I just put it back in."
Okay, Slick, you just put your sister's airway back in.....and you look so calm. How do you do it, Coolhand???  He proceeded to retell everyone the whole night how he first thought, "Oh, Gosh" and then thought, "Hey, I have to get this back in now!!"  and did it.  Apparently, Lily had loosened the velcro on the way down the stairs, and the trach fell out.  When she was younger, she would immediately turn blue, but I don't think her airway obstruction is quite as bad.....and she handled everything quite well.  She is a Stinker with a capital "S".  My darling son was like "Rudy" all night, having just caught the winning pass for the game.....and being paraded around as the hero.  He was glowing.  

Good grief, I'm glad the girl has so many brothers!!! Anyone else's eight year old put a trach back in this weekend???

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Fall Baking

It wouldn't be Fall around here if I didn't bake a bunch.  These are vegan pumpkin cranberry muffins.  I often get vegan cookbooks, because I have two children with severe dairy allergies.  Vegan cookbooks are nice for that, though I still watch out for peanuts, tree nuts and sunflower seeds.  This particular recipe is from "Vegan with a Vengeance."  I know......sounds is a little crunchy.....but there are some nice recipes in there.  Can I share recipes on line if I note the source?  Isn't that a blogger newbie kind of question?  I would link the book, but my computer is linking challenged at the moment.  Go bake for someone you love, today!! Okay, bake for someone you barely tolerate..even better!!


Friday, November 6, 2009

My new little friend

  So this is my new friend. I keep trying to coax her to fix breakfast, but all she does is keep making birds!!! Seriously, I have to take a few classes to figure out how to use my Topaz, but expect a few exciting developments on the Crafting a Life scene! I am going to use this embroidery part of the sewing machine to make items like quilts and bags with quotes from the Saints....I'll keep you posted!

I love the fact that as I have learned to sew over the last 1 1/2 yrs, a few of my boys have also started sewing as well.  Wait until you see pictures of 11 year old's quilt.  He is almost done, we are sewing the binding on today.  Of prepared for an Armed Services motif.  No birds. There is a lot of math and spatial thinking involved in quilt making....let alone lessons in patience and persistence.  If you are in a homeschool funk, pick up something new to learn with your kids, it helps!! There is a sense of comradeship when everyone, including Ma, is struggling and learning together.

A big "thank you" to my sweet husband.....I totally forgive you for that birthday a few years ago when you gave me caffeinated coffee, and nuts I couldn't eat....totally.  You are good for a few more decades of gifts, now, Baby!!


Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Check out St. Therese's Sister!!! Love her!!

Many of you know how much I love St. Therese of the Child Jesus.  How is it that a little, twenty-something French nun, born in the late 1800's, can speak to my soul? Words are not sufficient. I read her Story of a Soul  during one of the most challenging weeks we had, almost eight years ago.  One of my littles had spent a harrowing night in the the time he had a tracheostomy, and was very sick.  I was so sick, I couldn't go to the hospital...fever, was awful.  All I could do was pray....and wait...and read Story of a Soul.  I had tried several times before to start the book and just couldn't  "get into it".  Well, God's plan was for me to read it when I was desperate...her phrase, "Jesus is asleep in my boat" resonated with me like nothing else at that point.  He WAS asleep in my baby is in the hospital, I am so ill I can't hardly care for my other children who are sick as well....I was crying, "WAKE UP, JESUS!!".  And is this tiny nun saying, "Jesus is asleep in my boat....and I let Him sleep."  That was life changing to me, that sometimes, even when things look their worst...He really, really is still there, and while we fear, He is calm...steady...everything we are not.  We just have to stay in the boat with Him, asleep or not.

Her exclamation,  "My vocation is LOVE!!" is so pure, so IT!!! When I am confused about things, I try to look through that vocation is LOVE!!! This is ALL of our vocations!!! Isn't that great???

Being a St. Therese fan, I was excited to read, "Celine- Sister Genevieve of the Holy Face" .  Reading this book was like reading "Story of a Soul", but from Therese's sister's point of view.  I have to say, after reading this, I found Celine equally engaging.  This book is written about Celine, but has a generous amount of her own voice.  I could so, so relate to her struggles. This is one of my favorite quotes..spoken like the 'battle fatigued of special needs mama' that I can be sometimes..

 "God", she writes, "never allows anything to go smoothly in my life;  rather, all is extracted through unrelenting effort.  How many times when I was climbing the stairs to the dormitory did I read that sentence written on the wall: 'Today a little work!  Tomorrow, eternal rest!'  Then, interiorly, I would correct it: 'Much work today! And after a long time, alas! eternal rest!' "

Oh, how can you not love her immediately?? She is so real.
Thanks, Celine....I'm a big fan, now!!!

Our vocation is Love....carry on!!

Monday, November 2, 2009

St Therese

Here's what Fr. Mark on EWTN's Life on the Rock wrote about St. Therese...a quick read...isn't she the best???

The Lessons of St. Thérèse

Tuesday, October 27, 2009
By Father Mark Mary

The saints show us how to apply the Gospel to daily life. They make it real. They show us the way to a have a deeper communion with God. The ‘little way’ of St. Thérèse, a doctor of the Church, certainly has resonated with people in modern times. She, in her great childlike simplicity, speaks to a hurried and busy people.

Today, we live fast-paced lives and want things quickly. St. Thérèse shows us the daily opportunities we have to grow in holiness through everything in our lives. She writes, “Love knows how to draw profit from everything; from the good and from the bad that is found in us.” Our faith shows us that God works in everything, and that we can find and draw close to Him by seeing the ordinary things in life as a path to Him. He is all around us and is at work in our lives.

In “A Story of a Soul,” she writes, “Jesus does not demand great actions from us, but simply surrender and gratitude.” She recognized that she didn’t have the strength of the martyrs or those who did great penances. But she saw that she could trust God to make her holy in the ordinary things of life if she did them with love.

God can make us holy in our present circumstances. He is sovereign and can work powerfully in our lives in any situation. We have to trust Him and see all things as a gift or opportunity to grow in our love for God and neighbor and to die to self.

St. Thérèse writes, “If we still wish to attempt doing something great even under the pretext of zeal, Good Jesus leaves us all alone…It suffices to humble oneself, to bear with one’s imperfections. That is real sanctity.”

We can have great plans for a future sanctity, but we grow when we depend on Him in our daily lives. God can make us holy in our present circumstances. He is sovereign. He can work powerfully in our life in any circumstance. We have to trust Him and see all things as a gift or opportunity to grow in love.

What I love about her teaching is its simplicity and concreteness. She speaks about how our daily life can lead us to God. It is not necessary to have extraordinary talents, gifts or events in our life to be holy. We can love God in the ordinary. We can sacrifice in the ordinary things of life and achieve great communion with God. We can be “less than average” in the eyes of the world and mount the heights of union with God.

St. Thérèse was 24 years old when she died. She reached the heights of sanctity at such a young age by offering Jesus the little sacrifices of daily life and practicing humility. She makes holiness seem possible, within our reach. Let’s not miss the opportunity to become great saints.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

My First Finished Quilt!!

The Forty Year Old Quilt

That's right, I made a quilt for my sister, who turned forty a few months ago.  It is a good thing that she turned forty, because I can almost guarantee the farsightedness set in hours after midnight of her birthday...and she couldn't see my tricky little mess ups.  Don't you go looking close either!!
Don't you love rick rack??? Do you love happy colors??
I think quilting is my thing.  Life was especially stressful leading up to finishing this quilt.  My husband was having surgery, along with my daughter.  Sewing doesn't come naturally to me, and requires quite a bit of brain power.  I think that is a good thing...I can't obsess too much about other things when I am trying to keep my stitches straight!

A Beginning

Here I am.  I think I must have gone mad to start a blog, but I would love to explore things that are dear to me with all of you.

A few things...we live a pretty medically intense life.  Our youngest has a trach and g-tube....but don't let that fool you, she is a spunky dynamo that just got the family's first emergency set of stitches to her pretty head.  My children have something called Stickler's Syndrome, and the last two have a related syndrome called Pierre Robin Sequence.  I think we are up to around 25 surgeries between all the kids.

I am happily married to my best friend, my go-to guy....unless there's blood...and then I am on my own, but God fortunately led me to the field of nursing and a pretty high tolerance for blood and gore. I am not currently using my nursing degree outside of the home, but it sure comes in handy with our family. 

What I would really like to explore are a few specific things....1)-having medically fragile children  2)expressing our creativity through various my current favorites--knitting and sewing-- as a beautiful outlet of all things life brings and 3)- Our Catholic Faith.....and how every breath and action is based on this treasure, ultimately "becoming who we are" (Pope John Paull II) 

Wow, you have it all here...Faith..Knitting..Sewing...and I even got a bit of medical drama in as well.

It should be a fun ride...buckle your seatbelts!!