Friday, January 4, 2019

A Quilt for My Nephew

My sister Molly gave birth to Donovan Quade in June 2018 and my intentions for the past six months have been to gift him a baby quilt like I did for his brother and sister. He has had to wait the longest for his gift but I did get it done in time for Christmas! Hopefully he has at least another month of tummy time to enjoy it on the floor.

I wanted to attempt a triangle pattern that I had seen on Pintrest and finding the pattern wasn't hard -- it was picking out the colors. This did not need to be a gender neutral quilt so I felt a little more confident in choosing the bold blues and greens.

Triangles get a little tricky because they need to be a little more exact when it comes to piecing it together in order to see the point. Some look awesome and others, well -- lets just say the baby won't notice!

When I made his big brother's quilt I chose a brighter more fun backing fabric and I wanted to do the same for Donovan (who has the same nickname as my dad did when he was a kid -- Donnie!) When I saw this race car fabric when blue and green I just about fell over -- it was a perfect match. And I love the added orange too. I think it might keep him interested in his quilt when the toddler/preschool years come! I have a little experience when it comes to boys and cars . . . 

I tried a few new techniques when it came to the binding and although it took me a few tries to get it right, in the end it looked much better than my previous technique attempts. I enjoyed learning new things with this quilt. What were the techniques you ask? Well, I found one youtube video to show me how to do the mitered corners, connecting the binding once I made it all the way around and also how to properly hand stitch the back of the binding. It's never too late to improve!

I sure hope little Donnie loves his quilt but more importantly knows how much I love him. So far he seems to be a pretty chill baby who loves a good tickle and giggles often. Congratulations, Molly!

Quilts for Babes and Dolls

I was going through my sewing scraps and rather than toss them out wanted to find a good use for them. I knew my niece Adley loved her baby doll so I got busy and made her a doll blanket and pillow for Christmas. I used up every piece of left over fabric I had from when I made Adley's baby blanket. I wished I had a few more! But in the afternoon it took me to put it together I think it came out quite well.

I think the best part was that when she opened it, it was her daddy that noticed first that it matched the baby blanket I had made nearly three years ago! Precious! (It helps that it has deer on it!)

Like I said I used every scrap so the back and the pillow didn't exactly match as much I had hoped, but I think baby doll will be okay with that. I remember very fondly the doll blanket my great aunt made me and I hope this little girl might treasure this the same way. (No pressure!)

Monday, December 31, 2018

2018 In Review

What a year! And not a lot got written down or posted. Some big things happened this year so I'll start with those (even if it isn't chronological as I prefer to do). The links within the post below will take you to blog posts I did write this year (in case you missed it and want the full scoop!).

* William started transitional kindergarten. What is that, you ask -- it's a public kindergarten/preschool option for kids who turn 5 after September 1 and before December 31 and miss the cutoff for regular kindergarten. The school he got into is fairly close by, a 5 minute drive or a 10 minute bike ride. He rides his tag-a-long bike with Chris each morning at 8 a.m. and I pick him up at 2 p.m. everyday. He loves it. He's excelling. We're all very excited. He turned 5 in October and thinks he is the best at everything!

Photo by: Matthais Giezendanner

* Stephen is two and a half years old. He keeps up with his big brother pretty well so you can imagine how active he is! We have a pretty good routine during the week with outdoor play/gym play and naps. I have a neighbor who has saved me by coming over three times a week to watch Stephen while I pick up William from school. I honestly don't know how I would get his nap in otherwise. And this one needs his rest to make it through the day. 

*I traveled quite a bit this year. By myself, with the kids, or just with Chris! 
In February my Aunt Carol passed away and I flew home by myself in early March to attend the funeral. She had been suffering from complications of diabetes for several years and this last turn was just too much for her body. She was so strong in faith and was always giving praise to God for what she had and giving blessings/being a blessing to those around her. She is greatly missed. I'm so glad that we spent an evening together during Christmas last year. And I was blessed to be able to attend her funeral with my family, aunts and uncles and cousins.

In June, I took the boys by myself to Minnesota to see my family. My sister had her third baby and I thought I'd try to be helpful make her life as chaotic as possible. It was such a great week; I love having my boys get to be with their cousins! We ended the trip with an engagement party for my cousin Heather and a few nights with my cousin Mary. I loved being home.

In July we traveled to Texas with the kids and then left them with Chris's parents so we could travel to Spain for two weeks! We traveled to San Sebastian, Barcelona and Madrid. It felt like a once in a lifetime trip, but we hope we get to do it again! If you get a chance to travel with your spouse without the kids, do it!

And in September I traveled with my friend Beth to Louisville KY for MOMCON -- a conference put on by the Mothers of Preschoolers (MOPS) organization I'm a part of. It came at a really great time as the revived energy I had gained in Spain and drained away. It was a very restorative conference -- not so much physically but emotionally and spiritually. I heard amazing speakers, had great break-out sessions and got to hang out with my sister Molly too! I've been a part of MOPS for four years but this is the first year for Beth and I to coordinate our local group! It's been a really fun year so far and the group is growing which is awesome to watch and be a part of.

* Chris has been at Rhumbix for a year and a half! He seems to really like it and they seem to really like him! I'm very grateful it is a good fit. There are times when the working day goes past dinner time but he is able to work from home so even on those days he is still able to help get the boys settled into bed with for me.

He participated in Movember -- a month long campaign in November to increase awareness for men's health. He grew a mustache for 30 days. It was the first time in our marriage for him to grow facial hair. I supported the cause completely but was grateful when December 1 came around.

*Chris and I were a part of a marriage community group this year going through a new curriculum  called "Storied Marriages." We met with three other couples for nearly 8 months talking about some really hard stuff -- digging up stories from childhood and how that effects our current relationships. I felt like I learned more about my husband this year than in all the 9 years we were married! It was amazing and fruitful and we hope to be a part of another group again.

* I think I talk a little about housing every year but there continues to be glimpses of hope nearly every year along with the low valleys and disappointments. This summer we applied for what seemed like the perfect place (location wise anyway) and found out in September that although we qualified for the program we were one slot away from getting the unit (it was a lottery). It was heart breaking (again), and we really had no idea what the Lord had in store for us if THIS wasn't it. And as of the writing of this update, we are entering escrow on a two bedroom/ two bathroom condo! It really came out of nowhere and at a time when we least expected it. It's in an area of town we know little about but are learning quickly. I'll write more about it after it's complete . . . because if this city has taught me anything, it's that the process can stop at any moment. Stay tuned.

* I go through purging and cleaning cycles quite a bit; living in a small space makes that mandatory for my sanity. In January I did some major shifting and reorganizing of our home. And at the end of this year I joined two friends in a minimalist challenge where we got rid of a certain number of items each day for a month. It was supposed to start with letting go of one item on day one, two items on day two up to 30 on day 30, but I was swimming in a state of overwhelm by clutter that I did it backwards. So for the last 30 days I have gotten rid of 30 - 1 things . . . a total over over 450 items. I cleaned almost every nook and cranny searching for things to get rid of. Some were easy (how many drawings can I keep!?) and some were really hard . . . like my unity candle holders which I loved for my wedding but have no real purpose for now. It's been a great process for me in understanding how I value material items. Some things are okay to hang on to but most of the things I came across in the month were not useful nor held any value to me emotionally . . . but hoped that one day they would have purpose. And the reality is, most of the time it wouldn't. So why hang on to it? I will probably do it again sometime in 2019! Let me know if you want to join me!

* I tried the Whole 30 diet for the month of May and ended up loving it. I told myself I would keep it up but that just wasn't true. I went back to my normal diet pretty quickly even if I tried to cut out dairy and white bread occasionally.  It was really good for my body and my mind though so I think I'll do this again in 2019 as well. As much as I want to just practice moderation, I do a lot better with strict rules. I'm learning a lot about myself!

I've been seeing a counselor for depression for two years and feel like I am more fully myself than ever before. Having someone to talk about all the daily challenges of raising little men in the city and digging down to my core to uncover some unhealthy habits/self talk has been so helpful and I'm so grateful to be on the upside of this battle. There have been some down moments with health and housing and losing my aunt and my parent's health suffering as well, but I've seen a lot of blessing come my way too.

The new year promises to be a busy one . . . an adult one at least! We'll know more about the condo and hopefully have our will completed (it's only taken us 5 years to get it done...); We'll find out where William goes for Kindergarten next fall and see if we have a new neighborhood to figure out. It's all exciting and terrifying--living in faith that God has our lives in his hands and we are here in San Francisco because he has a purpose for us to stay here.

May you have a wonderful New Year -- and I pray that you, my lovely readers, will cling more to your faith in God and seek his will for the year along with me!

Oh yeah, and we had 10 days of unbreathable air because of the Camp Fires in Northern California. That was a big deal. So thankful for the rain that finally came!