"Lo, Children Are An Heritage of the LORD: and the Fruit of the Womb is His Reward" - Psalm 127:3

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Nothing Like Waiting Until The Last Minute

 I'm tired.  But it's done. I said I wasn't going to do it this year. I wasn't going to wait until Christmas eve to get everything done. But here I am, having waited until after five pm to even get started on this stocking.  It's not like this baby just suddenly appeared. He's nearly six months old. You'd think I could have found an extra 30 minutes somewhere in those six months to put together a simple stocking.  In fact, I knew he was on the way when I made everyone else's stockings last Christmas.  So I cut out an extra lining and jeans sections from both the blue we used for the guys and the red we used for the girls.  I wasn't sure what I would have at that point.

 And since the pocket had to have the name embroidered on it as the first step in the sewing, I couldn't continue until we knew for sure the name.  Anyway, it's done now, and filled with little rattles and toys.  We didn't get him too much this year - only what could fit into the stocking, and I didn't wrap any of his presents.  He can't open them anyway, so I figured he wouldn't care.  He is getting a big bouncer/walker thing that I picked up this summer at the thrift store.  I think he'll really like that.

Not to worry - he's still getting plenty.  The stocking is really big.  He could probably fit into it if I tried - except that the opening would be a little tight.  I'll spare him the trauma of attempting it ;)

 So here they are all together - seven stockings.  The first on the bottom left is our oldest son, who is in the Air Force and won't be home with us for Christmas for the first time ever.  It's hard having an empty stocking, but I wanted it to be out with the others.

 We've done some other Christmas crafts.  In the daycare I had the kids make reindeer out of hand and foot prints.  These are the ones my three year old and seven year old made.  There's another craft I want to show off too but it will have to wait until my oldest gets his Christmas packages opened.  Don't want to ruin the surprise.

 As is our tradition, we had a dinner tonight of snack foods - hot wings, barbecue little smokies, crackers, cheeses, summer sausages, olives, chips, and several goodies left over from our holiday baking.  With the new diet restrictions of the baby, I had to only eat the meats and crackers, but it was good, and it was plenty.  I'm still adjusting to the restrictions, but getting along well.  The baby is responding very well.  I don't know how scientific it is, but I feel like he is waking up out of a fog.  He used to be so quiet and lethargic - even in the womb - and now he's so expressive and talkative.  His skin is clearing up and he's always happy.  I don't know if it's just a coincidence that the timing worked out this way or if the allergies really were causing him to be lethargic, but I feel like he is literally waking up out of a fog.

So like I said, I tend to procrastinate.  I was determined to have all my wrapping done ahead of time too, but tonight I had to sit in the bedroom wrapping for about an hour while the rest of the family played Scrabble.  This is our game of choice lately.  I should have gotten everyone a dictionary of their own for Christmas.  Everyone fights over the one we have now and the game takes a long time.  I'll have to put that on my list.

So there you have it.  The stockings are not hung by the chimney with care, because we don't have a chimney.  But my daughter did find a video on the internet (over an hour long) of logs burning - and you can hear the crackle of the fire too - so we hooked up the HDMI cable and played it on the television.  We're going to have that up and running while we open our presents tomorrow.  The plan is to get up early enough to do stockings before church, then open the rest of the presents after church.  We'll see.  If I'm going to make it, I'm going to have to go to bed, as it's quarter to one am now.  Told you I was tired!  Good night, and Merry Christmas!!

Thursday, December 22, 2011

19 Years and Counting

 Today my daughter is 19!  I celebrated by making her a rose covered zebra cake.   Makes perfect sense right?  Ha.  There is a tutorial on how to do the roses on i am baker's website. It's a very easy pattern, and also very forgiving, which made it even easier.  

 I think it came out beautifully (though it would have been better if I had used a much bigger star tip).  My daughter thought it was awesome though, so that's what matters most to me ;)

  The inside of the cake was supposed to look like zebra stripes. 

 It's a pretty cool effect anyway, which I found the idea for on Pinterest.  Everyone thought it was cool anyway.  It's basically a marble cake, but you pour a little of one flavor into the pan, then pour a little of the next flavor right in the center of the first batter, then continue adding alternating batter flavors, each time pouring directly into the center of the last one added.  It was fun.  I think it would have worked better if my white cake batter hadn't been considerably thicker than my dark chocolate batter.  I'll definitely try this again sometime.  It was a lot of fun.

 My daughter only had a couple of presents to unwrap - one from Papa and Bugga (grandma), and one small one from us.  She sells Premier Designs jewelry, so we got her a manequin to us during the shows, as well as several display boards and mirrors for her sale table.  I wanted her to have them for all her holiday shows, so she got them early.

 So I let her unwrap one that was intended for Christmas - a gift for her and her brother (the seven year old, not the three year old holding the cup in the picture below.)  When I saw these CARS themed cocoa cups and hot cocoa mix, I couldn't resist.  She has a major crush on Mater ;)

 She had a lot of help celebrating her birthday.  Since the last birthday was for our now three year old, he was pretty sure this was his birthday too.

 See?  He thought the cake and candles were for him, and everyone was singing for him.  She doesn't mind sharing :)  She's always telling him he is her favorite.

 It was a pretty fun birthday!

I do have to add a little baby update in here.  When we were at his normal 5 month checkup on the 13th, we found out that he isn't gaining as much weight as we had hoped, and his skin rash has still been really bothering him.  So we had some blood tests done to see if he might be allergic to something in my diet.  Turns out he is.  He is definitely allergic to eggs and dairy, and had somewhat higher levels indicating a problem with nuts - not nearly as bad as the eggs and dairy, but still there.  I've never had a child allergic to anything, so this is new territory for me.  So until I'm done nursing, I'm off eggs, dairy and nuts. 

 It's a small price to pay though.  He's well worth it!  And if it helps him get over this terrible rash, and not be so itchy, then it's definitely worth the inconvenience.  I had to include this picture too.  He's trying to pick things up now and uses his hands more.  He's a pretty quiet, complacent baby, and doesn't try to do a whole lot, so this is a big deal for him.  Sure do love this little guy!!

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Occupy Your Sewing Room Progress

So, we've come to the end of the Occupy Your Sewing Room event.  I didn't get to spend nearly as much time sewing and crafting as I had anticipated, but having a house full of little ones is a blessing too.  There will be plenty of days to spend there when I am alone... but that's a forever long way off, since the youngest of my five children is 5 months old, we homeschool, and I run a licensed home daycare.  So you can imagine how my sewing time is limited.  Anyway, here's what I worked on... 
 I ran out and bought this lovely array of blues, silver/greys, and whites to make a tree skirt...

This one to be exact.  I liked the colors in the original pattern, but thought blues and icy tones would be really pretty.  Guess we'll see.  I'm not planning on having this done for this year.  I want to try my hand at needle turn applique, so I'm getting a jump on next year's tree skirt.  HA.  We've never had a tree skirt, so it's not like we're missing anything by me not getting it done in a rush.

For anyone who is curious, it's from this book, which is also where I got my pattern for the "Adore" wall hanging I did earlier this month.
 So far I just have some of the cutting done.  I did all of this today.  I made the templates with a plastic material.  I'm thinking there must be some better way to do this.  Seems like a person could go through an awful lot of plastic on a project of any size.  I may have to look into the freezer paper method. I've seen others use it, but without googling it, I really have no idea how it works or if it would make more sense.
 I also managed to get all my non-applique pieces cut out. I'm hoping to get a chance to sew what I can tomorrow.  Some of it will have to wait until I have the applique in place, but I want to try to get as far as possible before I forget which piece goes where.
 Earlier this week I managed to do a little more crafting in my "sewing room." I'm taking the "Occupy" theme very liberally, and including craft projects that don't require sewing too.  So here is my pom pom wreath...
 And a trivet made with felt and glass decorative marbles...
 And the flannel board toy cabinet cover.
And then I also made a nativity set for the kids to play with on the flannel board.  It was meant to be an advent calendar, and has a panel to quilt for that purpose, but I thought the kids would enjoy having some pieces to play with on the new flannel board surface.  I'm thinking panels will be a great way to create some awesome flannel board pieces, since they are so colorful and detailed.  I'm going to make some of my own felt pieces too, but there are fun and easy.

So there you have it.  That's all I managed to complete.  I had higher hopes, but I'm not unhappy with what I got done, especially given the fact that we had three new daycare kids start this week, so things were busier than usual.  I still need to get a stocking for the baby done, and I hope to make the boys some new flannel pajama pants (that's kind of a tradition with me for Christmas).  Other than that, I'm not going to push it.  There are a million unfinished projects I should be working on, but if it's a rush and makes me stress, it defeats the purpose, right?  Anyway, hope everyone else got a lot accomplished. :)

Friday, December 9, 2011

5 Months!

So I mentioned a couple of posts ago that I had 5 month pictures to post.  Well, here they finally are.  He was five months on the 1st, so I'm a bit behind, but better late than never, right?

Most of the pictures were actually taken on the second.  This one above was taken on his actual five month birthday, but you can see the sort of attitude he was in. All he would do was scowl and scream.  He really just wanted to be snuggled all day, or sleep, and when he wasn't doing that, he just wasn't in the mood for pictures. That's pretty unusual for him.  He's a very happy-go-lucky little guy, and is usually just full of smiles.

  I'm so glad I came across the idea of taking a picture each month with a sign.  I can't believe how much he changes each month.  I know I say that every month, but it really is amazing.  He now rolls over all over the place, and can scoot a bit.  He hasn't quite figured out how to get his legs under him to get up to crawl, but he's getting close.  He's getting a lot more hair too, but it's hard to see since it's so blonde.

 He's all full of smiles, and likes to coo and "talk" to us.  He's just sure we understand him.  It's so cute.  He'll flap his arms and wave to me to get my attention.  He's all about Mama right now.  If I'm in the room, he won't look at anything else.

 He's very alert and watches everything around him.

 It really wasn't warm enough for him to be without pants - what with it being December in Wyoming! - but I couldn't resist getting full pictures of this outfit.  As soon as the photo shoot was over we put pants back on and a blanket over him too.  It's been very cold here - well below zero for awhile there.  Now we're back to single digits, so it's somewhat improved.

 I get a lot of this tongue sticking out at me.  Can you tell I was off to the side?  I had to have my daughter take the pictures because he wouldn't smile for anyone but me, and didn't like when he could see the camera, but not me.  Tricky.

 He sits up pretty well on his own now - but only leaning on something (although in this picture he's about to tip over).

 He's still sucking on his fingers too.  Sometimes all of them, sometimes just one.  He has even found his thumb on a couple of occasions, but definitely still prefers the first two fingers, and almost always just sucks his left hand.  The eczema is improving, but you can see in the picture it's still a pretty big problem.  This week (almost 2 weeks after these pictures) it seems pretty clear.  We've just been bathing him a lot and slathering him in lotion.  Occasionally we use hydrocortozone cream too, but the pediatrician advised us not to use it too much, so we've tried to be careful with that.  We have a doctor's appointment this coming week, so we'll see what he advises then.  I've considered taking him to a dermatologist, but I'm hoping this latest clearing up will continue and we won't have to.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Time to Trim the Tree!

 "Trim up the tree with Christmas stuff
Like bingle balls, and whofoo fluff
Trim up the town with goowho gums and bizilbix and wums."

Thank you, Dr. Seuss for sticking this in my head. Seriously, who thinks up this stuff, then successfully makes a career out of writing stories filled with made-up words?  Well, other than Shakespeare, that is...

Anyway, if you haven't guessed it by now, tonight was our night to decorate our tree.  It is our tradition to find and cut our own, but we went the easy route this year and just bought one.  I had visions of us trying to pack a three year old and a five month old through the knee-deep snow, and then somehow manage to drag a tree back.  These excursions of ours tend to take 2-3 hours and we hike a couple of miles in the process.  So I figured if ever there was a good time to take the easy way out, this was it.  HA.
 Of course this is a big family event, so it's all hands on deck ...

The baby wasn't sure what to make of all this excitement, but he did really pay attention and seemed to enjoy it.

There was lots of sparkly stuff and lights to look at.

 Of course we had the inevitable silliness...

From kids of all ages.

And the inevitable copying of bad examples...

 But the tree got decorated, and that's what's important, right?

 The three year old decided to take a break in the middle of the job.  He was pretending that this giant lid to our ornament box was a boat, dancing around and singing, "rock the boat baby," and then grabbed a pillow and blanket and made himself comfortable.  Must be one of those house boats, which you can fall asleep on. *wink*

 The kids did all the decorating.  I've never been one of those people whose tree could qualify for a magazine cover.  What's the fun in that.  Christmas is a time for the kids to have fun, so why get all uptight over something as inconsequential as decorating a tree?

 Usually Dad strings the lights, then the kids go at it.  My daughter (almost 19) discretely repositions a few of the decorations after the younger boys are in bed.  She moves the breakable ornaments further up the tree - out of reach of the daycare kids and our own little helpers, and "fixes" the places where eight ornaments have been hung on the same branch. :)
 Wanna know a secret?  I don't enjoy decorating the tree on my own.  It's too much work.  And when I do it, it lacks the character it gets when the kids all have their hand in it. I would much rather take pictures and record the fun.

 So at our house, everybody gets to participate.  Even with the breakable stuff.  We have one box of very special ornaments - things that mean a lot to us, which we keep out of the little ones' reach and hang up very high, but the rest is fair game.  I buy all our extra ornaments on after Christmas sales, and I don't sweat it if one gets broken here and there.  (None did tonight, by the way.)

 This year the seven year old was especially interested in the outdoor decorations.  It was already dark when we started trimming the tree, but that didn't stop him.

 Don't these look yummy?  I think I paid about 25 cents per three pack of reflective candies, and it was well worth it for the enjoyment he got out of making the outdoor decorating his job. :)

 And I might add, tonight is another ridiculously cold night. It is warmer than yesterday though.  Right now, we're right at zero degrees, so at least we're not negative yet!  It is so cold here though that we can't drive anything into the ground.  So all his decorating amounted to sticking things in the snowbank.

 I put up these three signs earlier this week - Peace, Joy, and Noel, all purchased at the dollar store.  We still have lights to put up outside, and some lighted sidewalk ornaments which also were purchased at end of year clearance sales.  I bought way too much stuff last year.  I thought we would be in our house by now, and that this place would be only the daycare space, but that didn't work out.  So now I have twice the amount of stuff I need.  I even had purchased a fake white tree and a bunch of candy colored ornaments (including gumdrop garland) to use for the daycare.  Oh well.  Anyway, none of the rest of us were anxious enough to put up outdoor lights and such in the cold weather, so that will have to be done another day.

 So, we all enjoyed the fun.  So now I leave you with a few happy baby pictures :)

I hope you're all enjoying the season as much as we are!