Sunday, July 28, 2013


Finishing one project for the week - Day 7 of 7 Blogs in 7 Days

Contrary to finishing up any other projects, I've added to the project list.  So, three quick things.

My sweet little nephew is in my neck of the woods for another sister's wedding

I need to serge 10 yards of blue satin for table runners for my sisters' wedding this weekend - anyone else hate threading sergers?

I've made a commitment to stop stabbing myself in the finger - the rag rug continues!

Saturday, July 27, 2013

Stabbing Myself in the Finger - The Rag Rug

Continuing on with 7 Blogs in 7 Days:  Day 6!

Yesterday, I wrote about the projects I'm working on.  The knit blanket is one of those slow moving projects that I pick up every now and then when I'm watching tv at night.  The ruffle curtain is going to take a bit of time, lots and lots of gathering.  The painting is a weekend kind of deal, when hubby is around to keep little people from "painting" the walls, as well.

Most of the day yesterday, I tried to pick up the rag rug when I had a few minutes.  It's the project of focus, for the moment.  After getting to visit with family for dinner, LB spent the night with her cousins, hubby and I put the babies to bed, hubby went out to pray a rosary and eat Mexican food with some other homeschooling Catholic dads and I had a glass of wine (or two), some reality tv on Netflix and a bunch of scrap fabric.....don't be jealous!

The process is to take strips of fabric (I'm using old sheets that were ready for the rag pile), braiding them together, adding new strips to continue braiding, as necessary.  The strips are then hand-sewn on the side that will eventually be the bottom, stitching around to secure the braids into a circle, increasing in size until you either (a) run out of fabric (b) get tired of stabbing yourself in the finger with the needle (c) get it to the size you need/want.  

I'm working on this rag rug to go with the ruffle curtains and redo the girls' room.  I'm imagining this rug will be giant, but in reality, option B is probably going to be my undoing.  I'm willing to buy a few extra sheets from Wally-World to make the rug bigger, but the stabbing myself with the needle as I'm trying to shove the fabric through is getting REALLY old.  I think today includes a trip to the store to get a few thimbles since I seem to have misplaced mine, and that should (hopefully) solve the problem.

Here's a look at the progress so far:

Making progress!

The braided rags

A view of the back, with the offending needle

Have a little friend to pick up the rags and run?  Makes it SO much easier :)

Friday, July 26, 2013

Finish what you start....what I'm working on

Continuing Day 5 on 7 Blogs in 7 Days at Conversion Diary.  As I thought about this week and blogging every day, I thought about all the projects I'm working on.  I've been spending this week trying to finish up a lot of loose ends and getting back in the swing of the projects.

Work has been pretty slow this year (I do instructional design from the comfort of my living room), so I had quite a few projects started.  Then July got crazy.  For now, work is slowed down again, so I'm trying to finish up projects that have been started and not finished before some new contracts that are coming down the pipe start.

Here's what I'm working on:

Painting the kitchen....and organizing it

One for the finished category - LB has her "BIG" shirt, corresponding with the "Middle" and "Little" shirts for SB and SP :)

Such a ham

Rag rug for the girls' room

Baby blanket for a friend due in September

Ruffle curtain, 3 ruffles done, about a million to go!

And now, speaking of people needing to finish things....SB is knocking on her door instead of taking a nap.

Thursday, July 25, 2013

{Theme Thursday} Askew {7 Days 7 Blogs} Day 4

Photo: Theme Thursday scheduleLinking up with Clan Donaldson for this week's installment of:

With the theme Askew, I really didn't have to look too far around my house to find something out of order.  I even captured one of the culprits in action :)

The fancy shot blocking out at least some of the peripheral clutter - note the cloth diapers - we're trying!

The whole shot, in all its glory of shoes scattered and toys and books thrown about - complete with the thrower :)

Even the images are a little off, OCD friends look quickly away...or I suppose shake your computer screen in an effort to align/center everything :)

This is also Day 4 - more than halfway there! - on the Conversion Diary 7 blogs in 7 days challenge!

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

{WWRW} {7 Days 7 Blogs - Day 3} and Prayers Help

Linking up to Housewifespice for What We're Reading Wednesday via Clan Donaldson.

This is also Day 3 of 7 Days 7 Blogs with Conversion Diary

So, what I'm reading.  This week, I'm reading the September book for my homeschool mom's book club.  First, can I say I just love having other people suggest books.  I didn't even know Princess K was due this week, let alone when she gave birth until my Facebook feed blew up.  I'm not what you would call, "up on current events", but I can tell you with a great sense of accomplishment that I just finished cleaning the girls' room.  Three of them in 8x12 and I organized all the clothes for two growing babies and an 8 y/o with enough clothes that I think she might be twins. 

Welp, before I dig into the first of the books, here's the great list that the homeschool moms put together:

September: Crossing the Tiber by Stephen K. Ray
Product DetailsOctober: My Sisters the Saints by Colleen Carroll Campbell
November: Surrender by Carmen Marcoux
December: The One Thing is Three by Father Michael Gaitley
January: Poor Banished Children by Fiorella De Maria
I'm just getting into the book and it's a slow starter.  It's the story of a pastor's conversion to the Catholic Church.  His entire family also converted with him.  It starts in the same way as many conversion stories, with a description of the author's upbringing and how dear they held their previous faith.  I've just gotten to where he's starting to compare what he's been taught with where it actually lines up in teaching.  There have been a couple interesting points on how the doctrine of sola scriptura (scripture alone) isn't itself listed in the bible.  I think "looking forward" to reading more would maybe be too strong right now.  I'm interested to see what other gems I can pick out of it and I'm open to falling madly in love with it, but have yet to be swept off my feet.
I did cheat a little bit and read Kisses from Katie first - I fell madly in love with that book - so inspiring and her struggle over losing one of her children resonates closely with my current deal.  Because I'm a bit book ADHD, Heaven's Song is currently on my treadmill, to be read while walking on incline and Mother Teresa: Come Be My Light is in my car in case I need a book and am stuck waiting somewhere.

A benefit to following this 7 Blogs in 7 Days is that there's a lot of content to read from people I enjoy reading.  I stopped by Call Her Happy and loved what I heard/read.  It got me thinking about what helps when the world gets pulled out from under you.  How you can get back to a place of hope.  It was so insightful that you should really go visit Call Her Happy and check out the full story.  It really got me thinking about what helped when I lost Mara and just wanted to lay in bed and cry.  

So, here's what helped:  

1.  Watching LB so I could rest for a few days (thanks Mom and Dad - and sisters!)
2.  Bringing food so my family could eat when I barely had the energy for a shower (thanks friends!)
3.  Cards with mass intentions for our sweet lost little one (again, shout out to some amazing friends)
4.  Hugs, hugs helped
5.  Talking about it
6.  Talking about something else
7.  Words of encouragement and kindness

There were so many meaningful, tangible encounters, but the grace during this time was HUGE.  Looking back, it was an eery realization that hubby and I had weathered a storm that easily could have ripped us apart, had it not been for the shower of grace constantly pouring down on us.  I'm an ugly, angry griever.  Not the sweet, broken flower, wafting out fragrance and tragedy; more like that angry wasp you almost stepped on that will now sting you repeatedly.  Looking back on where I was then and where I am now, I can see for certain that God is working on me.  Going through this process of losing SB, hubby and I are able to share much more of what we're going through with each other.  In everything a lesson, I suppose.  

As the meals were eaten and the words became fewer as we all tried to move past it, the prayers were really the sustenance.  So, as we pray for our friends, "real" or "web", from the other side of a heartache, I just want to say, do not stop praying, and as Call Her Happy said, let's be there carrying on the work of the world, ready when those who are grieving are ready to join us.  

In all things pray and know that those prayers are felt.  As we work through losing SB, I am reminded of the solace once again that is found in the Body of Christ.  Thank you God for your living, breathing Church.  Thank you for a faith-filled prayerful people.  Help me to find your grace and presence in every struggle.  Let the moments of despair not fill and taint my faith in your ever-lasting love and promises. 

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

7 Blogs in 7 Days - Day 1

Linking up with Coversion Diary for a blogging challenge.  The goal is 7 blog posts in 7 days.  Since I spent all of yesterday driving from PA to my pad 800+ miles away, I'll double up today.

Since I was driving yesterday, I think it's fitting I tell you about my drive for yesterday's post.

My brother-in-law got up early on his day off because my tire pressure was wonky.  One of my tires was reading a few psi lower after I aired it up (which I only did because a warning light came on, not car savvy!).  Well, he happens to work at a car dealership, so he got up at the crack of dawn, took my car in, tested all the tires and found......nothing.  He aired all my tires up, brought it back to the house and didn't complain at all.  Brother-in-law of the year contender?  I think so.

So, after my sister's husband made sure we were safe to head out, we packed up and got on the road with 14 hours ahead of us.  The turnpikes through Pennsylvania and Ohio make the drive quicker than it could be, but PA is a little twisty/turny.  About 2 hours into the drive, we had to pull over so LB could throw up.  She was epic in her barfing.  I handed her a plastic grocery bag, she stood in the parking lot holding it, threw up, walked with me through the service station, through the food court in the service station, all the way to the bathroom.  She stopped twice along the way to throw up some more into the bag, without sullying the floor or herself along the way.  Like I said, girl had skills.  So, we finally made it to the bathroom, at which point, she was actually finished throwing up, she used the restroom, we returned to the car and she sat in the front for the rest of PA, with nary a barf along the way. 

She wanted to eat about an hour later, but I made her take a few nibbles and then wait an hour to see if she could handle it.  From there, she was good for the last 12 hours.  She alternated between sitting in the back and helping SP and sitting in the front to reduce some of the motion sickness.  She just threw up that one time to take my mind off the crack in the windshield, anyway.

Yep, about an hour into our adventure, a cargo van flew past us and spit a rock into the windshield, taking a bit of the windshield out and causing a couple spider-cracks to form.  I spent the next hour constantly worried the ENTIRE windshield was going to fall in on me.....I'm a bit dramatic.  But I did watch to see if the cracks were going to get past the spot repair stage. 

About an hour later when LB started hurling, it took my mind off the windshield, a bit.  When we stopped for sick time, I called hubby and had him schedule the windshield repair people for the next morning, when I would be back.  With that done, I just had to drive another 700 miles and hope the windshield stayed intact.  (Mom, I'm being dramatic, it wasn't THAT bad, just a speck.)

Between worrying about LB being sick again and the windshield crack, I just had to stop myself at one point and say a little prayer.  "God, I'm sorry I'm being so neurotic about the windshield.  I know you're watching over us and I know that even if it comes to having to replace the windshield, you're still watching over us.  Thank you for protecting us and I'll try to stop looking over at the crack so I don't get us into a car accident, because I'm pretty sure I'll need more than a new windshield if I don't focus on the road."

With that said, we motored along without further incident.  As I drove along, I thought about one of my sister's in-laws saying they couldn't believe I was driving all that way by myself.  At the time, I thought, it's not really that big of a deal.  But as I was driving, I realized, it's all the what-if's that might make others hesitate.  So many times when I'm home, hubby really shields me from the real world by handling some of those what-if's.  Driving trips are really the only time I practice those muscles, and even then, I've got people to help along the way....and thank goodness we're in the days of cell phones when I could have called road side assistance at any time!

So, I assume a risk when I travel, for sure, but even when things come up, it's good practice for me at problem-solving and I got the amazing bonus of meeting this little guy for the first time too.  Well worth a nick in the windshield and a couple barfs along the way :)

Don't you just want to star at him all day?

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Bright {Theme Thursday}

A belated link up with Clan Donaldson.

I've been traveling.  My sister had a baby three weeks ago and I journeyed 800 miles east to see his sweet little face and offer what assistance I could.  My sister is doing very well.  Everyone is sleeping well and she has a schedule already worked out (about 3 months before I was ever able to!), so I've been picking up the kitchen, doing a little work, cooking a little, and getting pampered myself too.  My sister married into a family of entrepreneurs.  Among the family businesses are a nail salon (voted two years running the best in it's town) and a salon/spa.  Yesterday I visited the nail salon and got a pedicure.  Today, I visited the salon and got a cut and highlights.  It's been a couple years since I've had a good cut and I'd forgotten what a difference it can make!  So, highlights and all, here's me, looking "bright" :)

All the candid glory of a selfie snapped on my computer :)

Saturday, July 13, 2013

{Simple Saturday} My Walking Baby

Linking up with Iris at County Girls' Daybook


I love my girls.  They're silly and sweet, and they're constantly growing and changing.  This week, SP is a full-fledged walker.  She has reached the tipping point, more walking than crawling and I think it'll be full speed ahead from here.

She's a blur of motion, carrying a can from the recycling pile

1.  LB is a great big sister.  2.  I really need to return this sling I borrowed.  3.  I love SP's complete adoration of LB in this pic!

So keeping it simple, there are my happy little people, being silly and growing up so fast.

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Theme Thursdays: Rooms

Linking up with Clan Donaldson again.

This week's Theme Thursday is Rooms.  For anyone who wants to follow along, here are the upcoming themes:

I decided to use my kitchen.  My kitchen is a multi-purpose room that is NEVER fully clean.  There's too much stuff crammed into that tiny space.  In fact, once we finish fixing up our attic (the current in a list of home renovations), the kitchen will be the next target to tackle.

We need more cabinets, we need a dishwasher, the list goes on....actually, we don't NEED any of those things, or we wouldn't have survived the last 7 years here.

As I was discussing with my mother a few days ago, we NEED much less than we think.  Still, I'm looking forward to a few more cabinets and a dishwasher.  In the meantime, for your viewing pleasure, my kitchen:

Note the two wall colors - in the middle of painting this room gray/blue - and pile of stuff on top of the fridge (that will go in a cupboard - once I get a cupboard up there!)

Poptarts, cookbook, other sundry belongings....looks about right

Still an absolutely functional space

Making delicious blueberry lime jam
Yes, I obviously have more than I "need" :)
 Incidently, the Blueberry Lime Jam from the Ball Blue Book of Preserving is amazing!

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

What We're Reading Wednesday

Linking up to Jessica via Clan Donaldson.

 So, I have a confession to make:  I'm hooked on my daughter's books.  When LB was in first grade, it was hard to find anything she liked reading and she didn't pick up reading readily.  So, we got books on CD from the library, LOTS of books. 

The Son of NeptuneWe went through entire shelves at the library.  We discovered Rick Riordan.  We went through the entire Percy Jackson series.  Then, we discovered the Heroes of Olympus series.  I just read The Son of Neptune this week. 

I love these books, there's plenty of adventure and the characters are really well developed.  I also enjoy that it's something I can share with my daughter.  We've listened to them together in the car, we've read them at night together, they're our favorites :)

This one recounts the adventures of Percy Jackson as he regains his memory after the goddess Hera sets him up for a quest to save the world (with the help of some of his fellow demi-gods).  The intricacies of storylines tied together between books and even between series are fantastic.  If you like Greek (or Roman) mythology and are looking for some great literature to share with your kiddos, check out Rick Riordan!

Wordless Wednesday

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

It's OK to Not Be OK

This week marks the start of long multiple/week visits for SB's bio dad.  The visits are long, most of the day long.  The first one wasn't so bad.  My brother took LB to the movies and SB was out with her dad, SP took a nap and life was so serene on Sunday afternoon. 

Then, another paper cut.  We were asked to start calling SB by a new name....a totally different name.  The name might as well be, "not mine".  Jaggedly old cut across the heart.  I asked SB if she liked her new name, she smiled and said, "yes", so that's a consolation at least.  Still, it's hard not to take her to Sunday lunch with my parents.  It's hard to learn a new name for the child I have raised from birth to age 2.  It's all just hard.  It's hard for everyone involved and there's really not a way to make it easier, other than not making it harder with unkindness.  So, we're all being as kind as we can to each other and supporting SB through this huge transition. 

Still, last night as I lay in bed, I felt cranky, mad with nothing to pin it on, just out of sorts.  I started thinking about all the changes our family will be seeing in the next few months.  I started thinking about how these last two weeks have been so much less strenuous than I thought they would be.  I thought about how seeing SB with her dad made sense and I saw them fitting together.  I thought about losing my baby.  All these thoughts were clashing inside of me.  I haven't cried about this all in a while, and my emotions have been running pretty evenly.  I attribute ALL of this to the prayers of others.  I am not an even keel kind of gal, so to go through the process of losing a child on an even keel can be attributed to nothing but grace.  Grace is pouring down on us.  As we seek to forgive this broken system that has hurt us all, it's not easy.  I don't have to be happy about it.  And it just hit me last night, as OK as everything has been feeling, it's OK to have those moments and even days where things just aren't OK.  Just because I've been feeling OK doesn't mean I'm not allowed to lose it.

It's not supposed to be easy to lose your baby.  It's not OK, not for any of us.  I don't have to be OK.  I don't have to try to hold on to some facade.  I can just be here, me, slowly giving away a child I thought I might get to keep forever.  Giving her away anew each day when I wake up, until finally, I give her away for good.  I'm giving myself a pass, I don't have to be OK with this.  And with that, maybe I can cut myself some slack in the coming months....try to steer away from making everything a big to-do of LASTs.  She's not dying, she's being born into a new family, slowly and with great pain.

I don't know what our new part of her life looks like, but I know that sweet baby runs towards me and says, "mama".  Whether I spend the rest of my life praying for her, or seeing her in person, our second child will always be SB. 

Saturday, July 6, 2013

Simple Saturday - a link up


This morning, House Unseen is hosting the Simple Saturday link up. The idea is to share some photos, something you're grateful for, something that caught your eye.  So, without further ado, here are the things I am grateful for and that caught my eye.

SP and I at a recent family reunion

My siblings, parents, aunts, uncles, cousins

Starting book worm status early

Just gorgeous

My happy girl

LB and her cousins (and Aunt D)
I think this sums up our relationship :)

Captain Danger

LB on her last day of "real" school

My sweet girls

Celebrating June 4, 5, 6 birthdays!

Appropriately labeled

With a bow stuck in her three hairs

Vacation Bible School!