Saturday, March 30, 2013

Levi Does Stuff

Two weeks ago our grandson, Liam, was rushed to the local hospital by ambulance then flown to the National Children's Hospital in Washington, D.C. where he spent 12 days.  For most of that time he was on a ventilator and completely sedated... and it all started with a common cold.  I won't go into details now, if ever, but he almost died. While our son and daughter-in-law stayed in D.C. with Liam, my husband and I kept our other grandson, Levi, at home.  Liam is home now, weak but improving.  We are so thankful that our family was spared a horrendous loss and and grateful that we were even blessed with some relief from the stress and anxiety in several ways.

One of those ways was by enjoying Levi's antics.  Not that he didn't have times of "meltdown", but for the most part he was happy.  I wasn't able to get many good pictures of Levi.  He's a cute kid and all, quite photogenic, but he is perpetual motion personified.  Whew!  He wore me out some days!  But his near-constant forward motion and my limited photography skills mean few clear pictures.  Notice how many pictures are of him strapped down in his high chair...

1.  For some reason Levi insisted that all activities be done with a ball in one hand and a plastic egg in the other.  If he dropped one, everything stopped until he picked it up again.
2.  High-pitched screaming was his expression of choice when he was excited.
3.  Levi is constantly looking to see what is next!

4.  Levi took an occasional glance to see if I was still watching.  I was!
5.  I love this picture!  He sat like this, focused on something that I never did see (I wasn't about to disturb his quiet solitude!) for several minutes.
6.  Happy, happy.  Drool, drool.

7.  Levi wanted to put the ball and the egg on top of the table.
8.  He dropped the ball and it rolled under the table.  He worked so hard to get it but it was out of his reach.  Several times he would back up and look to see if it was still there and then stretch his little arm out to get it.  I finally put it in a spot where he could reach it, and he was so pleased with himself for getting the ball back!

9, 10, 11.  Grandmothers teach children things.  It is a fact of life!  Often they are things like crochet, baking, and maybe sewing.  I will teach those things, too, one day, but this time around... I taught Levi to stick out his tongue!

12, 13, 14.  I also tried to teach Levi to point to his nose.  He already had the pointing down pat but his aim was a little off!

15.  We borrowed a stroller from a friend.  It was pink but since Levi doesn't care about those kinds of things, we used it.  He loves going for walks.  I guess I need to get a double jogging stroller so that I can take the boys with me when I walk.
16.  His smile lights up his whole face.

17.  Levi tends to be an early riser (5:30am).  That was perfect timing to have morning coffee with Grandma and Grandpa.  He had milk in his sippy, of course.  This is such a blurry picture, but I love it!  It reminds me of when my Dad used to give my son his coffee cup after he had drained it.  I don't know why but it just seems like a Grandpa thing to do. 

With all the moments of worry, work, and stress, Levi was who God used to keep us going.

Friday, March 29, 2013

Book Review 2013... #7 No Permanent City

How this book came to me:  I bought it at Ollie's.  For $2.99, I couldn't resist!

Nutshell Synopsis:  No Permanent City is a collection of short historical stories about the Anabaptists (Mennonite, Amish) in history.

Quotes from the book:  There are no real quotes to share from this book since everything is in context of a story.

More Info: Most of the stories in this book are very interesting.  Since my mother's family is/was Mennonite, I find most things of this nature interesting.

Reading Level:  I found it to be an easy read.  The stories are no more than 5 pages long at the most so it made for perfect bedtime reading... Just long enough to settle myself in but not too long to keep me awake for very long.

Re-readability:  Hard to say.  I rarely re-read books unless they are gripping or challenge my thinking.  So even though I enjoyed reading it, I doubt I will.  So if any of my friends would like to borrow it, you may!

Lasting Impressions:  Interesting.  Enjoyable. Easy.

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Book Review 2013... #6 Thoughts and Feelings

How this book came to me:  One of my aunts posted some information from this book on facebook that I thought was interesting so I bought it.

Nutshell Synopsis:  Thoughts and Feelings is a workbook that can aid the reader in diagnosing common emotional problems and finding ways to overcome them through cognitive behavior therapy.   

Quotes from the book: 

"'s important for you to recognize that thoughts create and sustain emotion.  To reduce the frequency of painful emotions, you need to listen to what you think, then ask how true your thoughts are.  Remember, what you think ultimately creates what you feel."

More Info:  This is not a book that is to be read cover to cover, although I did for purposes of this review.  Some of these chapters take weeks to work through to a level of "mastery".  The first couple chapters are dedicated to uncover and label faulty thinking and directing the reader to the chapters that they should find the most helpful in overcoming those particular thought patterns.  Some of the faulty thinking covered in this book are filtering, overgeneralization, personalization, and polarized thinking. 

Reading Level:  I am not an expert in these things but my guess would be that one would need a solid high school level vocabulary and a college level interest in the subject matter to find this book helpful.  It is very methodical, no touchy-feely "you are awesome just the way you are" easy reading chapters.  This appeals highly to my sense of structure and orderliness!!

Re-readability:  I found some of the information in this book fascinating and will likely go back and re-read sections that apply to me.

Lasting Impressions:  Although I would not say that this book is anti-Christian or ungodly, this book is NOT written with a Christian worldview but I do think that many of the recommended techniques would easily fit into a Christian counselor's repertoire.

Friday, March 8, 2013

Liam Spends the Day With Grandma... In His Own Words

1.  Levi is lucky.  He gets to go to the big hospital for tests.  I have to sit here listening to Grandma ramble on about tablecloths and curtains.  I'm just gonna look out the window while she cleans up after breakfast.

2.  We just got home from Hobby Lobby.  I am so happy to take my socks off!
3.  OOOO I love taking my socks off!
4.  Look, Grandma!  No socks!
5.  What should I do with my socks?

6.  I think I shall taste them.
7.  Not very tasty, socks.
8.  You wanna taste my socks, Grandma?

9.  The clothes basket is big.
10.  It isn't heavy.  I can pull it over to help Grandma!

11.  Time to climb up the step onto the landing.
12.  I am going to burn off a lot of energy crawling all over the landing.
13.  One of these days I will reach the doorknob, and then I can play outside whenever I want to.

14.  Here I come, Grandma!
15.  What is gravity, Grandma?
16.  Why do I need to have depth perception, Grandma?
17.  I think I will just stay up here and play a little while longer.

18.  Yoda's ear tastes waaaay better than my sock.
19.  Darth Vader does, too.

20. I'm playing.
21.  I'm climbing.
22.  I'm examining.
23. I'm watching TV.
24.  Grandma is kissing me.  She's always kissing me.

25.  I like to stretch after my nap.
26.  What is that?
27.  It is the puppies!!  I love the puppies.  Why don't the puppies love me?

28.  I wonder what I can get into over here?
29.  Over here I feel something plastic.  A plastic bag.  I'm not allowed to play with plastic bags.  I'm going to anyway.  Maybe Grandma won't notice.

31.  She noticed!  Hi, Grandma!  I loooooove yooooooou!

32.  I love my 3:00 milk in a sippy cup!  Thank you, Grandma!

33.  My Grandpa is home.  I love my Grandpa.
34. Wheeeeeee!
35.  Oh! Grandma is still here?  Awkward...
36.  I am so over this.  I've had my dinner.  Where is my Mommy?
37.  Really.  Where is my Mommy?
38.  Does Grandma not understand English?  Where. Is. My. Mommy?!?!

39.  I just heard voices.  That better be my Mommy!
<Grandma>  Liam and I had a great day together but he was pretty glad to have Daddy, Mommy, and Levi back home from A.I. DuPont where Levi was having some tests run.  He is fine, everything is clear, and he does not have to go back.  I'm exhausted.  Goodnight!

Friday, March 1, 2013

Mini-Tutorial and Winner Announced for Birds on a Wire Pillow

I decided that it was time to blow the dust off of my sewing machine and make a cute little piggy duo for my daughter for Valentine's Day.   It didn't work out as I'd anticipated.  I'm not that good at sewing and the fabric was beyond my ability to control so it turned out awful.  There are no pictures.  I wish there were because it was fun to try the project even though it was a wreck.  And it would've probably been fun to read your guesses about WHAT it actually was.  Yeah, it was that bad... a real "bless your heart" mess. 

Since I had the machine out I figured I'd try another project I'd seen on Pinterest.  You can find my pinspiration HERE.  There weren't many instructions but I was confident enough to wing it (no pun intended... or is it?) so began gathering materials.  My first step was to assess what fabric I already had.  Nothing suited but it did give me the opportunity to organize my fabric boxes a bit better.

My next steps were to have my husband create a stencil for me (he is better than I with an exacto knife and didn't have anything better to do so-- win-win!), purchase fabric, purchase paint, and purchase stencil sponges.  Have you seen how much those sponges cost?  If I remember correctly, they were $2.49 for a pack of 6 at Hobby Lobby.  Yikes!  I bought a package of make-up sponges at Dollar Tree 28/$1.00.  They work just fine!

The following pictures sorta show the process I used to make the pillow. The fabrics I used were osnaburg (front), black homespun (back), and white muslin (lining).  The finished size is approximately 14"x16".

I'm not writing a full tutorial only because I wasn't very precise about all the measurements and such but here are some pictures to get you started if you want to make your own...

a) gathering materials  b) stencil materials  c) the paint

a) it worked!  b) painting the line  c) yup! they are sitting on the wire!

a) gathering the top and bottom b) sewed it to the middle c) pressed it away from center

4 layers of cloth, right sides together, sew, turn, stuff...


then you make another 

and another

And another (I don't recommend the gathering style with the fleur de lis... sorta wonky)

And some more!

The whole group!

I think I am done making this style of pillow for a while.  These pillows have been great fun but I have so many other projects that are begging for my attention. I so appreciate everyone who commented and shared this giveaway.  I am sure I'll be doing it again soon but will use a different method of record keeping and choosing the winner(s)  And now for what you've all been waiting for...

The Grand Prize goes to....... Monica L.!!!  Monica chose the Birds on a Wire pillow.

Second Prize goes to....... Elvida Y.!!!  Elvida will be receiving the Bunny pillow.

My Choice Award goes to...... Kati M. !!! Kati is the only person to use all 4 chances to win the pillow and to thank her I am sending her the small bird pillow.  Thank You Kati!!!