Monday, December 26, 2011

About time for an update...

Well, I guess it's about time I write down some stuff. Just to warn you, this will be awfully complainey and full of way too much information.

So, this has been the hardest month I can remember. On the first I started having a cold, (and had to go to the dentist, but that wasn't too terrible). By the third I was pretty much miserable, and stayed that way for the next 2 1/2 weeks. Scott's parents were here for a week, which was awesome--I just wish I hadn't been so sick the whole time! It's hard to pay attention to things and do stuff when you can't smell or taste or hear or breathe properly. Then, on the 11th, I started what seemed to be a period--but it was the third in 6 weeks, and only 2 weeks from the last one, so I was a little worried. You know, like what happened when I found out I was pregnant with Max. So, Scott went to the store and bought a pregnancy test, and it was positive. So we were half excited and half scared. Because 5 kids is a lot, and we know that 21 months apart is WAY harder than 27 months apart; and because I was worried that it might be a real miscarriage this time. I was still super sick at this point, and Tuesday was probably the worst night of my life. I had a sinus infection too--my head hurt and my face hurt and I couldn't sleep and my belly hurt and I was all weak and anemic and it was just terrible. So I went to the doctor on Wednesday. She was worried it might be ectopic, but said there was less bleeding than she thought there would be, so she was still hopeful. I got an injection of Rhogam (because I'm B- blood type and Scott's something +, so my body might try to attack his babies, so I always get to get a big shot in the butt to prevent my body from being all mean), and I got blood drawn to check my hormone and hCG levels. She also prescribed me antibiotics for my sinus infection, which was awesome. I went back Friday for more bloodwork, and my doctor called me about Wednesday's bloodwork. My hCG was 1400-something, which was lower than it was with Max, so once she said that my heart dropped, but then she said, "Congratulations! Are you excited!?" And I was a little taken aback--I thought we were going to wait for the second blood results to get excited, but she seemed hopeful, so we started hoping over the weekend. We thought about rearranging car seats, and bunk beds, and maybe moving, and wow, 5 kids IS a lot, and what we would name the poor kid if it was a boy, and all those things you get excited about when you are pregnant. So then a different doctor from the practice called us on Monday with the 2nd blood results--hCG was 1300-something. It's supposed to double every 48 hours, and instead it went down. So. No more baby. She was still worried it might be ectopic, so I got an appointment for an ultrasound on Thursday the 22nd. So, I was sick from my cold/sinus infection, sick from being a little pregnant for a little while, sick from bleeding, and an emotional wreck. Finally the ultrasound day came, and the doctor confirmed that there was no heartbeat, and that it wasn't ectopic, so now I just had to wait. Also, Max got 4 new teeth this week, including 2 molars, so he was not the happiest guy.

So I don't know how familiar you all are with miscarriages, but it's not just like, "Oh, the baby died, now it's all over." You still have to deliver that baby. I got a prescription for some hard core pain meds, and felt yucky for three days. Then, right after the kids opened their first present on Christmas morning, I went to the bathroom, and almost passed out (which was super scary) felt like my body was breaking in half, and managed to crawl into bed. Scott brought me the meds and I managed to swallow them and three bites of bread, and slept for like 3 hours. I managed to crawl out of bed so the kids could open the rest of their presents, then went back to sleep while Scott & the kids went to church. It was terrible. I just felt weak and awful all day. I woke up again when they got home and we did stockings, then I went back to bed when they went to Scott's brother's house. I felt a little better when they got home and had some leftovers (our fancy Christmas dinner) and took a shower.  Then after the kids went to bed Scott & I were watching some shows he got for his birthday, and it started hurting real bad. So I took some more meds, which didn't do much this time. I've had 4 kids you guys, and two of those were completely drug-free, and this was way worse. It's like one giant steady growing contraction, that doesn't come and go every couple minutes, but instead just keeps getting worse and worse. Just turning my head made my belly hurt. Finally Scott had to help me get up off the couch, and I stumbled to the bathroom in tears. I'm not sure how long I was there, but eventually the pain started to ease a little, so I went back to the living room. I was only about 7 weeks, so nothing looked like anything, just some lumpy stuff. But it was awful. Painful and awful and so sad. So we stayed up really late watching TV, and eventually the pain went down enough that I could go to bed. So that was our worst Christmas ever. And poor Scott is exhausted too, and I think suffering from compassion fatigue since I've been so sick and worthless for the last month. And these last 2 weeks have been terrible for both of us, with so many ups and downs and hoping and then being sure there was nothing to hope for.

Today I'm still not doing so great--I feel like I just gave birth to a normal-sized baby, except I don't have a baby. I have all the pain and weakness and awfulness, and the hormonal emotional roller-coaster of pregnancy and birth. So I'm just waiting until I heal, and can be healthy again, and move past all this. But I'm sad that we lost a baby. Even though we only knew about that baby for two weeks, and most of that time we were at least worried that we'd lose it, it still is painful. And I'm so grateful for my other 4 kids, and I love them so much, but, look how awesome they are! Another would have been just as amazing.

This is a great article about pregnancy loss. It's great for knowing what to say or do for people that have lost a baby:  Do's and Do Nots

Anyway, we would love your prayers and happy thoughts for us.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Waiting for the mailman....

I have been anxiously awaiting the mail this week, and will be for the next few weeks, because I'm expecting several fun things!
Firstly, it's my month to design the quilt for the charity quilt bee that I am in, do. Good StitchesEveryone is sending in two 12" square purple & grey stars, and one person did a big 24" square star for the center. It's pretty exciting to see all the different types of stars and fabrics people choose. After I get all the stars, I'll put it all together, quilt it, and send it off to My Very Own Blanket, an organization that collects quilts to give to children in foster care. 

I'm also hosting a Vintage Sheet fat quarter swap! I've already gotten more than 140 FQs from people, so I'm just waiting for the rest of the packages to come in, then I'll swap all of them around and mail them back out! It's really amazing how many different pretty sheets there are out there. My plan is to make a scrap-type quilt with small squares or rectangles of lots of different prints, kind of like this.

I also recently ordered a piece of fabric from Spoonflower which I'll be using for Evy's eventual big quilt, which will be made with this Far Far Away fabric by Heather Ross. It's going to be epic, seriously. Here is about a third of the prints, I couldn't find a great picture of all of them, and am pretty much incapable of taking one myself.
Speaking of Heather Ross, my very favorite artist, the last thing I'm waiting for in the mail is my Christmas present! Heather Ross has a studio sale every year, and since everything sells out VERY quickly, I got to pick my own Christmas present a little early! I missed out on the fabric I really wanted because it sold out in 3 minutes, but I still got some good stuff, so I can't wait for that to come!

I made some more blocks for the do. Good Stitches group for the September quilt:

These are supposed to be intentionally "wonky," but I think they turned out looking more like I just can't cut straight. But thankfully there will be a bunch of other blocks, so these shouldn't stand out too much!

I finished the top for Ben's big quilt, and I've quilted about 2/3 of it:
It's the biggest quilt I've made yet, so I feel like it's taking forever to finish!

Lastly, I finished up an old WIP (Work In Progress)!

 I made this 4 or 5 years ago. I did raw-edge applique: I started with a big piece of muslin (plain white fabric) and then sewed each "layer" down with a 1/4 free seam allowance. It took a lot of topstitching and fusible web for the barn, and was a bit advanced for me at the time. I started quilting it in large diagonal lines across the while thing, hated it, and put it away for years. When I saw the 100 Quilts for Kids challenge, I thought it would be great to finish it up & donate it. So I picked out all the diagonal quilting, and ended up just echoing around the barn and each layer of the fields. I'm pretty happy with it! The raw edges have gotten soft and frayed in the wash, and I think a little baby would like to have tummy time with this bright, colorful quilt that is fun to touch! Max certainly loves it! It's going out in the mail today to My Very Own Blanket!

Just to prove that I have not been neglecting my kids with all this sewing, here's Evy in a "costume" of her own design:

Although I had to tie Scott's old tie for her! :)

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Foster Care

Ever since I was pregnant with Will, I knew that we would be foster parents at some point. About 2 years ago, Scott agreed. Lately it's been on my mind a lot more than usual. It would be really hard to do right now, but I wasn't sure if this was something that I really needed to act on, or if it was just me. So last night we went to the County Foster Care orientation. Aaron & Rachel watched our kids, which was great. It was a very interesting meeting, and we both feel sure that we will in the future foster kids, but not now. Scott is working and in school full time, and our kids are very young. And our house is pretty small. So we decided we'll go to another foster orientation when Scott's done with school (about 2 years) and see how things look then. Some stuff:

--One good thing about having your first kid when you're 20/21 is that you're still real young when those kids are grown up. Especially around here, having little kids at 40 is no big deal.
--It's actually bad when abuse gets so bad that the child confesses it themselves--if a teacher reports it, there's an outside source of blame for their life & family being torn apart. But if they report it, they blame themselves, minimize the abuse, and live in "what ifs."
--We're not going into this with the plan to adopt any children. However, that being said, if a child we had became legally free, we would definitely consider it.
--There are little kids out there, who are neglected and abused and given alcohol and drugs while they are still in their Momma's tummies, and it's terrible. We're not perfect parents. We already have a lot of kids, and life is just absolutely crazy. But we love each other, and love our kids, (and pretty much all kids) and we can at least give hurting children a safe place, where they will be loved and smiled at and hugged and tickled and have books read to them every day.
--Whenever this actually happens, I will tell you now that we'll need lots of help and understanding and prayers. And probably lots of extra ice cream. Just sayin'.

They played this video in the class. It's not R-rated, but you probably shouldn't watch it with your kids. Basically the lady said that if you can model kind and loving behavior, and an appropriate relationship between a couple, you will do a huge amount of good for these traumatized kids. Obviously there needs to be more than that, but even just that basic "good example" will go a VERY long way. I guess that's true for everyone though, not just abused children.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Some Stuff!

So! Summer is over! Will started school this week, which was a little sad and a little exciting.

Isn't he so big? Incredible. He has the only male teacher in the school, which he thinks is pretty great. His teacher is also the only one that LETS them go outside every day to run laps! So exciting! Everything has gone pretty well so far. His teacher has gopher snake eggs in the classroom in an incubator tank, and one of them hatched on Friday, and all the kids got to hold it. I'm a little jealous that I never had a teacher that awesome. Also, Will was fighting on the monkey bars with his friend yesterday, and he fell off, and landed on his head (and leg) and got up, walked all wobbeldy for a few steps, then fell down. He said he then felt like he was asleep, and woke up a minute later with his friend asking if he was OK, and he forgot he was at school. So then they just kept playing, and didn't tell anyone or go to the nurse. You know. No biggie. Just passing out on the playground and stuff. So, now two of my kids have passed out due to falling on their heads, and neither one was Ben! We just sat around and watched a movie yesterday afternoon, and Evy cuddled up with Will and held his hand most of the time. It was super cute.

We had a good water fight in the backyard the week before school started: I stood by the porch and sprayed the hose, and the kids ran through it. Great system.

Evy got hold of the camera, and took lots of picture of my fabric cupboard (good girl!) and....

Thankfully the camera is still alive.

I bought a huge bag of fridge letters from a thrift store for $4. There are at least 5 different fonts in there. The current goal is to keep them all high enough on the fridge that Max can't reach.

I finished up more blocks for my charity quilting bee, do. Good Stitches.

Also, I planned out what my design will be for my month (October) and I'm pretty excited. I've changed my mind a gazillion times already, but I actually drew it out on graph paper with the kids' colored pencils, and had Scott do the maths for me, so hopefully I still love it on October first when I need to give out the directions.

After designing the aforementioned quilt, I decided that graph paper was a way good way to keep track of all my awesome quilt ideas, so I needed a little graph paper book. Also, I decided it should be free. So I got out a pretty file folder I bought at Barnes & Noble like 5 years ago and a bunch of graph paper from a notepad and sewed it together! It looks pretty good! It's a bit crooked, and I forgot to backstitch the ends so it may all unravel, and my stitch length was really short so it might rip through the paper. But hey! I made me a quilt design journal!

Friday, June 24, 2011

Shop Hop by the Bay

Well a while ago I joined the Bay Area Modern Quilt Guild which has been great! Once a month we have a meeting, and I get to spend a few hours talking about fabric & quilting and having a little uninterrupted sewing time! At the last meeting someone mentioned the Shop Hop by the Bay which I thought would be super fun! There are 13 quilt shops and a museum to visit over 5 days, and each one has refreshments and you get a little stamp on your "passport." There are prizes for visiting all of them, and a drawing for a week-long sewing retreat. I wouldn't be able to go to that, so hopefully someone else wins. Anyway, I managed to do it (Yay me!), so here's a little bit of a review! Each shop gave out a 2 1/2" x WOF batik strip (my choice of warm or cool color--some let me choose from several, and some chose for me), and you get a pattern for a bag made out of the strips, so the idea is by the end you have enough fabric to make to outside of the bag. I'm not a fan of Batik fabric, so maybe I can try to trade someone or something!

**As a disclaimer, I had 2-4 kids with me for all of these visits, and wasn't able to spend a huge amount of time looking around at stuff!**

First, on Wednesday, we visited the San Jose Museum of Quilts And Textiles. I have to admit, I was disappointed. The current exhibits are not what we were expecting! There was a room with a bunch of beautiful Native American loom-woven wool blankets (with some wool samples for touching!), many of which were 130 years old. The other exhibits were very....modern. I'm sure this means that I just don't understand how amazing it is, but I've personally never been a fan of that kind of art, and my kids just couldn't figure out why there weren't any quilts there. It was small, too, so whoever parked in our spot after us got over an hour of free meter time! They did have Lemonade and delicious lemony raspberry cookies, and I entered a drawing for a (machine?) redwork wall/baby size quilt.

Next we went to Sisters N Stitches in Fremont. It was a little bit hard to get to, because it wasn't in a strip mall or anything, it was in an industrial area! The staff was very friendly, they gave me & my kids candy and tiny water bottles, and they had quite a bit of nice fabric! I also got a free pattern designed by the store owner! The fabric section was rather small, but there was a pretty big classroom and possibly longarm quilting area? It's hard to remember! They gave me a 10% discount with my Guild membership card! They had a bunch of the Erin McMorris Go By Bike fabric, and I kinda wish I had bought some more, but I did get a few good things:

Next we went to a thrift store, and I bought some vintage sheets (I'm possibly working on a HUGE project, but I haven't decided if I can commit to it, so for now I'm just collecting!). Then we went to Golden State Quilting in Campbell. The dog was nowhere in sight which was probably a good thing, since I had all my kids with me. They have a rally nice shop, and also a very clean bathroom! They had lots of kits and patterns and fat quarter packs, and a big longarm in the front of the shop. They had a TON of Kaffe Fasset prints, including the very few of his prints I like! They were willing to cut fat quarters out of anything! They also gave me a free pattern!
They had that great trail nix with all the caramelized fruit, which my kids thought was great. Except Will, he just tried to pick out as many peanuts as he could. This shop also gave me a 10% Guild discount.
To be continued!

Friday, April 22, 2011

Princess and the Pea birthday sets!

Each set has a bag, 7 mattresses, a big ole bead sewed down to one mattress for the "pea", a Princess and the Pea book, a doll (we're all about multicultural dolls around here!), and a quilt for the doll.

The one on the left is for my niece, who's 4th birthday party is tonight; the middle is for my daughter's best friend, who's 3rd birthday party is tomorrow afternoon; and the one on the right is for my daughter. It's not finished yet because her 3rd birthday isn't until December. :)

OK, now for some references and more info:
--There are several of these sets out there on the interwebs, but I think the first place I saw it was on make it perfect.

--The bag is the Jane Market Bag with a few alterations: I put the straps in between the bag and the lining, and I added interfacing to the straps and the outer bag (and the lining too for the bag on the right, which I wish I had done for all 3), and I didn't put on the pockets. I used Heather Ross' Far Far Away fabric for the center panels, and tried to pull colors from that print for the rest of the bags, like Jeni explains on her blog post here. The pattern wasn't technically difficult, but it was a bit tedious for me. It is probably because my iron and sewing machine are in completely different rooms, so all the getting up and sewing one part and then ironing another little part were a bit irritating. That's just how sewing is though! Also, fusing interfacing is BORING.

--The mattresses were made from a tutorial at stitch craft although I had to make them a lot bigger since my dolls are pretty big. I used all fabrics from my stash, and for Evy's set several prints from my granny's stash, including two that she had made me dresses out of when I was a kid. It was awesome to pull those pieces out of her bin and have those memories come flooding back!

--Unfortunately there are very few P & P books in print right now. There are several Fairy Tale anthologies, but I wanted just the one story, and I want pretty illustrations. Because that's what 3 & 4 year olds care about in a book. :) The ones I used are both English AND Spanish versions, which is great, because my daughter's friend's big brother is in the Spanish immersion program at school and her mom is fluent. My brother-in-law is also fluent, because he served a mission in Peru. I got the one on the left on Amazon, and the one in the middle at Barnes & Noble. There is a topless picture of the princess in the B & N one for some reason (her hair is there, but, you know). I wouldn't have bought it if I had enough time to order another from Amazon. Hopefully my friend doesn't mind.

--The dolls are Gymbelle dolls from Gymboree. They are the best. Soft and cuddly, not a baby but not a skanky Bratz doll either. It looks like they only come out with one or two a year, so I had to get one of them from eBay. I also made a little felt crown for each of them, but ran out of time to take a picture.

I love how this bag came out. I used my only tiny scraps of FMF! It's a little bit busy, but I think it still works.

This is the quilt for my niece:

I hand quilted in the ditch all around each diamond in a light green thread. My mother-in-law made my niece a twin quilt out of Moda's Eva line, so I gave her princess a matching quilt. The back is from the big peacock on pink from the same line. I got the idea for the diamond pattern from my very first FlickrFriend, Jen: baby boy quilt

The quilt for Evy's friend:

was a test-block for the FFA1 quilt I'm planning to make for Evy. I saw Jeni's amazing vintage sheet quilt and knew that I wanted to use the Sparkling Cider pattern for it. It uses a weird half-square triangle ruler to make the flying geese, which was pretty difficult for me to figure out. Thankfully I think this little quilt turned out really well, and looks so pretty! I hand quilted in the ditch around the star and the border squares in light pink thread.

Evy's princess quilt is going to be some test blocks from the Short Story pattern, which I'm going to use for my BAMQG challenge. I'm going to make it out of some leftover scraps from her baby quilt.

I've just got to keep the momentum going a little bit longer so I can finish Evy's set (because if I stop now I'll never finish it!). Anyway, this has been really fun, and I'm kinda hoping I have the chance to make more at some point!

It's over!