Tuesday, January 27, 2009

From One Thing to Another

First off... I shared this story with Chris today. Heard it on Catholic Radio, got warm fuzzies. I think it's a good lesson to learn.

A momentous occasion occurred today when Chris brought Momma Val's quilt to the post office. I was so glad to pull it out of the dryer this morning and see that all the stitches held, the colors didn't bleed, and it looked cozy. Mission accomplished. Whenever I look at it, I see all the little mistakes I made. I hope they are not as noticeable to Valerie and her sweet little boy.

Here's a picture of the quilt during one of the last stages of completion:

I had started this quilt early last summer at the end of a quilting binge. I started working, my health was "iffy" and life was chaos. I just didn't have the heart for quilting anymore, so I stopped. Unfortunately, that meant that Valerie didn't get her requested quilt in a timely fashion. Oh the guilt that festered. She never bothered me about it, but I didn't forget entirely.

Fast forward to the beginning of this month. We moved our bedroom upstairs, and I decided that I should bring up our six-foot table to put in the extra wide hallway at the top of the stairs. On there, I could put my sewing machine, and I'd even have room for my cutting board. Bingo. I set it up, and the quilting bug happened again.

It didn't take me long to finish her quilt once I started. I had most of the blocks completed or nearly completed. I just had to cut out the white blocks and put it all together. Happiness, thy name is "matching seams."

And now it's done. After the quilt for Alisha, I have four more quilts planned. A nap blanket for me, a quilt each for Anna and Ben, and a quilt for my nephew Gage. Happy times ahead.

On the kid front... Ben's vocabulary is burgeoning still. He's hard to understand at times, but he's trying. He's "using his words" a lot, even if it doesn't do any good because it sounds like gibberish. He can count to ten and can recognize all of the numbers. And he has most of the alphabet down pat, but he won't say it, just points them out and names them when he sees them. Colors are memorized.

His personality is adhesive. He loves stickers. If I give him a sheet of stickers, he will either put them all over his face (including eyelids), decorate a table top (or my laptop) or add them to random pages in his book collection. A couple days ago I went into the living room to turn off the TV quickly before we left to run errands, and I was greeted with the sight of a TV screen covered in stickers. Ah, Ben.

He's acting more interested in what I'm doing, and most of the time, he wants to join in. Kneading bread dough, washing dishes, picking up laundry, washing the table, etc. "Ben try?" I hear that a lot, except when he doesn't want to do something. Then it's "Mama try?"

Anna's infected boil is slowly healing. The infection is gone, but the spot remains. I'm glad the doctor ran labs on the specific bacteria (ostensibly to rule out MRSA) so that we could get a targeted antibiotic. Unfortunately, with antibiotics comes a terrible diaper rash. She's kind of annoyed by that and the two molars that are still halfway out or just under the surface. Intermittently, she's either jolly and rambunctious or she's whiny and clingy.

I wish you all could see her adorable facial expressions. The "stinkface" with a crinkled nose and pursed lips. The "oh-hi!" where she squats slightly and grins like she's ready to jump for joy at seeing you. The "oh-really" where she raises her barely-there-blond eyebrows and smirks, letting loose a deep-throated chuckle.

That's all I can do for tonight. Hope you all are happy and well.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Back to Business

Last week was manic in its activity. I squeezed in 20 hours of work and at least 10 hours on the quilt. As I systematically took care of business and nudged myself towards efficiency, I even had the emotional nerve to start going through the bills that have piled up. We still can't pay any of them, but at least they'll be at hand when we finally have a surplus again.

It's nice to feel capable again. I've had a rough couple of months. I don't really know what it was all about, but I'm very glad that I'm snapping out of it.

The new stuff happening in my life:

  • New contributors at CitizenWausau.com. I've adjusted my duties at the site to better fit my new priorities. Now I'll be mainly coaxing and nurturing our new writers. It's quite satisfying to encourage people in their writing. I feel like a conductor of a fine orchestra. They have all the talent, I just blend their numerous skills together into a beautiful medley.
  • The sewing station. I never got back to the sewing machine after my surgery last year. It's regrettable, and I'm ashamed. So I decided that I'd set up my life to reduce the excuses. I hauled up the six-foot table from the basement and set up a sewing station in the wide hallway outside our bedroom door. I got to work and quickly finished piecing the front and back of Momma Val's quilt. I spent extra time on the new piecing to make sure my seams would match. I'm pleased with the result, and now I'm just waiting for some more supplies. While I'm waiting on that, I'm doing more pinwheels for my niece Alisha's quilt. It's colorful and fun, and I'm excited to see that one finished as well.
  • The kitchen. Why is it so easy to let the kitchen get disgustingly dirty? We didn't have dish detergent for a few days, so the dishes were put off. Then a plop of spaghetti sauce landed on the floor and splattered everywhere. It just went downhill from there. Now I'm just a day behind in the dishes, and there aren't any sticky messes festering.
  • Laundry. This was frustrating. A while back, I was completely caught up on laundry. It was miraculous. But you know what? If you don't do laundry for more than a week, there's going to be a mountain waiting for you at the bottom of the laundry chute! I sorted Mount Washmore yesterday and completed three loads. There's still at least three more waiting down there. I think I'm going to try to make it a habit to go down there every morning after breakfast to move laundry up again. At least that will keep the system moving forward.
That's my life, folks. I hope January is treating you well. It certainly is cold up here. The temperature won't get above zero again until Friday, and that's not even mentioning the crazy wind chill temps. Yikes! Thank God that we have a roof over our heads and a functional furnace. We have food in the pantry and warm hearts. Yay!

Friday, January 02, 2009

Ben Turns Three

Chase after me, little boy.
Let's race and see what wonders we can rouse from the ordinary.
Hold my hand and explore this world with me.

Count to ten. Say the alphabet.
What color is this?
Roar! A lion is attacking.
No wait... it's the tickle monster!

Worlds of expression dance across your face.
Anticipation for a trip to the library.
Consternation when you can't find your airplane.
Fury when Anna plays with your train.
Adoration when it's snuggle time.

Say "I"... "I"
"love"... "Yubbs"
"you!" .. "You!"

Last night, Ben asked me if we could put his jacket on the cat so she wouldn't be cold when she got stuck in the attic. "Mama? Cat too cold in attic. Cat put on Ben's jacket so not cold."

I love this boy so much. He's the best tagalong, the best companion in this march through time. My little budd started hip-hop dancing when we started singing "Hark the Herald Angel Sing" at Christmas Eve service.

Two mornings in a row, I've found him sleeping on the couch when I come downstairs in the morning. During the night, he'd snuck out of bed, grabbed a peanut butter cookie from the kitchen, ate half of it and left the remainder on the arm of the couch next to four or five favorite cars, lined up carefully in a row. Twice, this has happened. The stinker.

Ben turns three today. *Sigh*