Saturday, December 31, 2011

Alphabet Magnets

I came across this adorable set of alphabet magnets and KNEW I have to make them!  I didn't put the magnets in them because Serious isn't mobile just yet.  She rolls around and wiggles and shakes, but doesn't crawl or walk just yet.  We are hoping after her surgery on Wednesday that all that changes.  See here for all about that and updates on her.  I think once she starts crawling, I'll make another set, maybe a little larger so her little fingers have something more to grasp.  These little guys are pretty small.  Without the magnets they make perfect toss toys for her.  She loves to have a pile of toys and throw them all around her.  I think she just likes all the colors spread all around her!  I ordered the fabric from etsy, of course.  ;)  One of my favorite stores is called The Sproutz Store.  Here's the fabric I ordered.  Its called Spring Street by Carolyn Gavin.  I bought her rainbow bundle.  I added in some fabric from Riley Blake Sugar and Spice line (the large red and white dots) and some other fabric that I've had so long that I don't even remember where I bought it from. (the teeny white and red dots.)  And also some pink fabric that I bought at Hobby Lobby.  I just ordered some more fabric from her to start Serious' quilt while we're in the hospital.




I am making another set for my niece's first birthday in February.  She cruises all over the place and I think she'd love all the colors!  I know her sister would love to play with her with all these fun little morsels everywhere!

Here's the tutorial for the letters. 

I did make a little bag for her little alphabet toys.  I found a tutorial a long time ago, but I can't remember where I found it to make these cute little bags.  I just do it from memory.  Check out the tutorial here for the bags.

Storage Bags

Here is the tutorial that I am doing for the alphabet toys.  I found a tutorial a few years ago, but I have no idea where it's from.  If anyone knows, leave a comment!  I do these from memory because they are super easy!

I don't use actual measurements, the tutorial did, but I don't remember what they were.  Plus, I can make them for each job I have for them to do.  I made several for block sets that were usually spread all over the house or toys in my truck.  They are fantastic for storing and looking super cute as they do so!  The one that I made for the alphabet toys are roughly 5"x8".


I cut both pieces of fabric together using my rotary cutter.  And no measurements....Makes it easy, yes?  Just have an idea what size that you'd like the bag to be and add 2 inches.  The way the bag is made it sucks up quite a bit of fabric on the sides and top.



Sew the two pieces of fabric together wrong sides together.  Sew at a 1/4 seam, but leave a 2 inch hole to turn the bag right side out.  Trim the corners.


Turn the bag right side out.  Using a long pointy object (I know, not formal right.  I don't know the correct terminology for it.  I just use my fiskars scissors while they are locked closed.)  push out your corners from the inside of the bag so they look like corners and not sunken in corners.  Press.


Fold the top of the fabric down about an inch so that the inside of the fabric is on the outside.  Do this before you sew anything.  This is where your drawstring will go.  As you can tell my memory didn't serve me very well and I sewed the bag together before I did this part.  I ended up having to rip out some stitches and sew it together in a pretty tight squeeze around my machine. 


Sew very close to the edge of your . 


Fold the rectangle of fabric in half horizontally, so that it's taller than it is wide.  Make the fabric that you want on the outside, be on the outside right now.


Sew around the bottom and side very close to the outside edge of the bag.  STOP right below where you made your drawstring pocket.  If you sew over this, obviously you won't have a pocket anymore.



The body of you bag is now done!

Now to make the draw string.  Cut your draw sting three times the width of your bag and 2 inches tall.  That's even a little too technical for me.  ;)


Fold your draw sting in half the long way and press.


Fold each side in and press.


Sew close to the edge once again on the long side of the drawstring.


Attach a safety pin to one end of the drawstring and feed it through the top of the bag.


Tie the ends together...


And you're done!





Admire your cute little bag!

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Encouragement

I absolutely love the power of networking and social media.  I am constantly impressed with what Facebook and emails and text messages can do.  I have had all of those pouring in for the last two weeks and every time, I find them a positive encouragement!  I don't what we all did for encouragement from friends before Facebook.  There are about twenty different church's prayer chains praying for my family because of this and my inbox is swarming with Scripture verses from people.  Here are some that I was given:

Proverbs 3: 5-7

"Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight."

Romans 8:28

"And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose."

 "When I am afraid I will trust in you. In God, whose word I praise, in God I trust; I will not be afraid." (Psalm 56:3-4)

"Trust in the LORD with all of your heart and lean not on your own understanding." (Proverbs 3:5)
(Yep, I wrote it down again.  This same verse was sent to me when I was in bootcamp about ten times from ten different people.  So, I think its funny that I am being sent it again from people who don't know each other!)

"Do not be afraid. I am the First and the Last. I am the Living One!" (Revelation 1:17)

"Do not be afraid for I am with you." (Genesis 26:24)

"Don't be afraid; just believe." (Mark 5:36)


A dear friend wrote this prayer down for me through email:

Heavenly Father, we thank you for the gift of life and the magnificent way you’ve created us. We lift Nadia up to you now. We are grateful for her and the positive impact she has been on your world and your people even at such a young age. Lord we ask for your healing waters to wash through every inch of her and repair her heart and body. We thank you for the many example of miracles you provided for us in your word. We remember how you walked the earth with us and how you care for us more deeply than we can even comprehend. We remember how one woman reached out to touch only the edge of your cloak for healing, and you healed. We cling to you. Every fiber of our being clings to everything we know of you and we ask for healing for Nadia. Father we place the upcoming medical procedures in your hands. We pray for the surgeon and nursing staff who will be administering these procedures. We ask that you appoint the individuals you see fit to perform these tasks and bless them with your wisdom and healing touch. I pray for Adam, Lacey, and Skylar as well. Father, as you mend Nadia’s heart I pray for mending for the family. I pray that where they are strong you make them stronger and where they are weak you build them up. I pray that you gift them with faith in you during this time. I pray that their faith will minister to those around them and ultimately lead people to you. Father I know that as much as you call us to be courageous in our faith in you, you’ve also created us to grieve and take refuge in you. I pray they’d have those times with you as well… that they’d feel the strength of your walls of fortitude and cry out to you there. I thank you for this family. We trust you with their future, and we pray your will be done. We pray these things in Jesus’ name.

I feel extremely blessed to be surrounded by people that love the Lord and show that love by loving me and my family. "There is no greater love than to lay down one's life for one's friends." (John 15:13)  I know that he is talking about dying for your friends, but I also think that it applies to when your heart literally is aching for your friends, and you pray earnestly for them, that you put your own life on hold for them.  That you send their daughter letters about how you are thinking about her, that you offer to take meals to them, and that you show the love of the Almighty Creator to them.  My family has had numerous life events that makes me pray for them constantly.  Car accidents, deployments, hospitalizations, surgeries, plane crashes.... It brings me to my knees just thinking about it.  I love my family immensely and to hear about my younger sister-in-law being in the hospital for weeks and have them still not know what's wrong with her.  Or my father-in-law survive a plane crash that should have claimed his life.  Or my nephew who is almost twelve, have some serious issues.  Or my mom be in car accidents and need surgeries.  My step-mom with a spinal injury that has lasted two years and she had live with intense pain.  My dad has intense body pain all over and the doctors don't know why.   And some I can't even talk about because of the sensitive nature of it.  Being so far away from everyone, can bring someone to a place of having to be content with God taking control of it all.

I remember several huge times in my life recently that my heart broke for people that I love dearly.  The first being when one of my best friends miscarried her first pregnancy.  She was able to have two more beautiful little girls, then have a tubal pregnancy and another miscarriage.  My entire being ached for her and her tenderness.  There is something about being completely broken.  It allows for God to plant his soon to be harvest in you.  But it doesn't mean that those around you are oblivious.  I was brought to my knees sobbing for this friend.  My heart prayed for her whenever I thought of her.

Another is one of my friends, lost a baby very far into her pregnancy.  And she was only nineteen.  The baby caused a severe infection in her body and caused lots of scar tissue.  When she was much older and married, they couldn't get pregnant.  They opted for invitro and got two adorable, loving children who are now six.  A few years ago she also had a tubal pregnancy.  Except she had twins.  One was developing in her tube and one was where it was supposed to be.  But because of the process and how they treat this, she had to chose to lose both the babies.   Oh how my heart broke.  I shook inside with the sadness and sorrow that burst itself into the form of tears.  I couldn't believe what was going on.  And so far away.  I couldn't be with either of my friends as they went through their journey.  For parts of it, I was there holding their hands.  But for the hardest parts, I had to cling to God and know that He would heal them.

I have another friend who was the very image of the woman ofter God's own heart.  She is a pastor's wife and an amazing example of one.  When I was pregnant with Serious, she was diagnosed with breast cancer.  I remember slamming my fists on the table and screaming, "Why her????"  It was infuriating.  I couldn't be with her during this time because of Sparkle.  She couldn't be around an sickness or illness and Sparkle was just diagnosed with mono and something called hsp2.  It made her not able to walk for almost six weeks.  I was crushed with the news.  I would cry angrily and hurt.  I would ask God to heal her and bring her though.  I didn't see my friend until I was about ready to deliver Serious.  Her eyes filling with tears as she watched me waddle down the front steps.  She looked even more beautiful with her wig and smiling eyes than she did before the chemo.  Her journey told the story of someone with the best attitude that I've ever seen.


And the last one, is someone that I absolutely love.  I met her years ago, when Sparkle was a brand new baby of six days old.  I had just had an emergency c-section and just got out of the hospital the day before I went to a seminar to hear her and her husband speak.  This woman is also an amazing woman of God.  Despite all her success, she was an amazingly humble and loving woman.  This woman is part of that elite 1% income in the US.  Truly and amazing story.  This woman is a huge servant to those around her and a woman who is the mom that I pray that I will become.  She was diagnosed with a brain tumor.  This was the first time that I remember saying "Why her???"  I would sob while I prayed for her.  My heart ached and I kept saying "What if?"  And just like my other friend, the next time that I saw her, she was even more beautiful than she was before.


There is something about when women suffer and become softer through the process.  I pray that I never become a bitter or hard or forgetful of what God does in my life.  Its an amazing thing to watch others go through hard things and be powerless to take the pain away.  But then watch God move in their lives and in the lives of those around them.  I always tell my children and my husband that I see God like a diamond.  He is multifaceted just like the gem.  Everything he touches, touches more people than those who it happens to.  He wants your story to touch those around you, to speak of His glory through you.  I always want that to be said of me.  I pray that I am able to do that, in whatever circumstance that I am in.  Especially when it hurts most of all.  When if effects my children.

Medical Binder

I am somewhat of a binder nut.  I love having neatly labeled and divided sections full of printable forms that I can fill out.  This helps me stay organized and not forget things as quickly.  And even if I do forget I know exactly where I can find the information.  I found some great printables online for a medical binder because I really wanted to be able to stay organized during Serious' surgery.  I know that 1. I am going to be completely emotionally overwhelmed looking at my baby hooked up to tubes and machines and completely sedated.  2.  I know that there will probably be something that I forget because of all the information that will be coming my way during the nine days we will be at the hospital.  So I set about getting it all organized.  I designed this binder to be able to be used by the nurses if my husband and I aren't there.  My dad will be helping us out while we are in the hospital and he can't possibly remember everything that I tell him.  So enter my handy medical binder.  I bought the binder from Target.  They have the cutest stuff, I swear.   I bought some post-it heavy duty flags so that I could easily move around and relabel if I needed to.

The sections are labeled for every genre of printable that I could find because I wanted it to be found easily.  I love it because there is a section that records your medical travel expenses, mileage and conversations you had and with whom.  Its always nice to remember exactly what your insurance company said that they would cover and why.  The company that my husband works for just went through a merger with another corporation.  So everything that I knew is now changing.  Our medical insurance, the dates of payday, I mean everything.  It's amazing that I can even remember my children's names with all that's going on right now.






Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Answered Prayer

There are times when you pray that you think God will answer it completely different than how He does.  This week has been one of those times.  I have been praying that God would move in a certain way in our family during Serious' heart condition.  He's been answering that prayer in very weird ways.  Ways that I didn't think that He would.  I was floored when something happened during Christmas that made the blood rise in me.  I was so angry and wanted to lash out and snap someone's neck.  I would have had witnesses though, and I didn't think that would glorify God in the teeniest bit.  To be forced into restraint was not someplace that I really like to be.  I have fight in me and sometimes it doesn't come out in the ways that I would like it to.  It's aggravating actually.  But God is slowly showing me that there are parts of His heart that I haven't seen yet.  My husband described it this way to me last night as I poured tears all over his neck while he hugged me. 

"There are hundreds of people all over the country that are praying for Serious right now.  With that much prayer, God moves.  He wants to.  He wants to show us all that He loves us.  He is probably wringing His hands and tapping his feet with a big ole smile.  And saying, 'I can't WAIT for Serious' surgery!  I want to show my people that I can do!'  You need to trust Him before He moves.  Faith before you see."

I am so grateful for a man that loves the Lord.  For a man that fights for our family, even if it means that he fights his own wife.  One that doesn't shrink away from his wife's heartbreak and pain, but meets it.  And meets it with both feet planted on the Word of God.  For a time, my husband just shook his head at me, totally at a loss for what to say to me and what to do.  I believe men process their own pain in another way.  One that women will never fully understand.  Just like we are a great mystery to them, they are to us too.   I have some friends that have sent me some Scripture verses to treasure in my heart during this thing.  I don't even know really what to call it.  Its open heart surgery.  We could call it a whole bunch of things.  The first one that comes to mind is "Unfair."  Another one is filled with profanity.  And still another one is "Crushes."  I pray that those verse, beat the snot out of the names I want to call this adventure.  I pray that God works on my attitude and fills me with peace.  I want to be able to glorify God and "[He] did not give us a spirit of timidity, but a spirit of power, of love and of self-discipline." (1 Timothy 1:7)  If I can't even have self-discipline with my attitude them how in the world do I plan on teaching it to my children???

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Kids Christmas Party

My husband's employer is really fantastic when it comes to family.  They host a kid's Christmas party every year at the skating rink.  They also have some video games, laser tag, face painting and Santa even comes for a visit!


Serious was less than thrilled about Santa.  This is the only shot (from my phone, sorry) I got that she wasn't screaming her head off.  Makes me laugh, comparing it to last year where she was sleeping so heavily that she mouth was gaping open.  Too funny!

Christmas Cupcakes

Sparkle and I love to cook and bake together.  I have pictures from when she was about two years old, standing on a chair and helping me cook.  She was learning the names of the vegetables and tasting her fair share of them.  This is a very special time for me with her.  Since we just moved into this much bigger house we are able to cook again together.  The old house we just moved out of was so small and poorly set up in the kitchen that there wasn't any room for her to help me.  So she only was able to help with things that could be moved into the dining room.  We made this work for a year and I am SO thankful to be in the house that we're in. 

Yesterday we made Christmas cupcakes.  We like to make cupcakes for all the holidays.  We missed Halloween this year because we literally just moved into our house a few days before.  There wasn't any time!  Then we moved right into her sister's birthday and Thanksgiving.

(Yes, I already removed the boxtops...)


 Such a big helper!



 I was super excited to find this frosting!!!  Glitter????  You've got to be kidding me!!  I am SO all over that!  But it was very disappointing.  I frosted about 4 cupcakes at over $2 a package.  Boo.  I have to figure out how to make my own.

 We haven't exactly learned graceful sprinkling yet.  But I think these are way more fun anyway.

A Christmas Eve

In our house, we have this fun little thing where we let the kids open a small Christmas gift on Christmas Eve morning.  Almost like we're warming up for the real deal the next morning.  Sparkle got to open hers first, sadly I wasn't able to even get any pictures of her.  She moved way to fast.  I think she's a pro.  She got to open something with teeny pieces.  Right up her alley.  She loves things with small things that she can make into a set.  Its really cute to listen to her act out what she's feeling at the moment. 
 Bed head and jammies and all!
Serious on the other hand was not so anxious to peel off all that sparkly paper!  She was content making noise with it.

 These are my beautiful girls!

 And here are their gifts!  All ready to be tore into tomorrow!  I am very excited!