Sunday, November 30, 2008

Another Sunday... with NO calling...

Really? I am getting kind of worried... three Sundays out in open water, and still, nothing.
I did give the lesson today in RS, and I think it went well. I get into the spirit of that, and it feels like an out-of-body experience. I hope people actually understood what it was I was trying to teach...
Sunday School was awesome. It touched on things that I touched on in my own lesson. I love how things intertwine like that.
It was a rare occasion that the whole family slept in until 10 this morning. Kinda nice. Can't do that in a month.. 9 am church... woohooo!!!
Peyton is done nursing :(. She wants nothing to do with me. I had to break out the pump which was packed away, to help relieve the 2 day back-up from her not needing me anymore. She is doing things sooner than the other girls. Lynn nursed until I got pregnant with Ash, she was 14 months old. Ash gave up around this same age... but neither of them cut their first tooth until just after their first birthday. They were both walking around nine to ten months... that's where Peyton is, trying it out. I have had on my cute, regular, uplifting Victoria's Secret bra for maybe a month now... the only time I had been nursing her was at bedtime or in the middle of the night when I could catch her drowsy and unaware... no more of even that... I am sad, will I ever get to do this again? Well, I know I will... but I am so going to miss it!

Friday, November 28, 2008

A give away a... week?...

Trying to get in the mood of the season... as we were putting-up the tree yesterday, I stopped and said to Mer, "Didn't we just do this?" Time goes by so much faster now! I feel like just maybe, if there were some snow, I'd feel more jolly in spirit...
So I am doing whatever it takes to get into the spirit...
How about a give away.. or two!
Rules are the same as always, leave a comment with a favorite memory (there will be more Christmas-ey give aways, so be thinking of those favorite holiday things!), advertisement on your blog and participants from your blog get you bonus entries!

#1: A toddler (it fits Lynn and Ash...) pillowcase dress with jingle socks and bows....

#2: An infant pillowcase dress with curly jingle bows and jingle socks.
Make sure you specify which one you are interested in!
Thanks to Darlene for donating socks and bells so I could finish them with my mad crochet skills ;) and Christie for showing me her secrets to an awesome bow!
Good Luck!

Our Thanksgiving...

I have to admit, that Wednesday was a harder day than I thought it would be. It's the first Thanksgiving without Grandma... I had my saddest moment when I was making my pies... I just couldn't get the crust right. I stood there, over my pumpkin pie crust, remembering her hands gently molding and forming the pie crusts' edges into beautiful designs. Watching her make the lattice top for the cherry pie was always my favorite... I had to call mom. She was going through the same thing I was.
Thursday was like every other year... with the challenge of Peyton wanting to be in the middle of the tree decorating. She was so excited about every detail.. it was a fun difference. I had better not need to re-light the tree.. the lights are being possessed this year...
Love this pic of the girls just before dinner... Peyton has her first tooth, and a loose skin flap on her gum to prove it.
Lynn was thankful for: turkey skin, food, and the gospel. (She really said that...)
Ashley said she was thankful for: Dad, Mom, Pey, and Lynn, oh, and the turkey.
Peyton was thankful that her tooth finally cut and for the mashed potatoes and gravy.
Mer said he was thankful for his four angels :) and I am thankful that we are all together and it isn't as challenging as last year's Thanksgiving... wooh! Remember that one?...
Dinner... apparently Merrill enjoyed the turkey last year cause we had it again this year!
Our traditional pic of Ash...
We went to mom & dad's after we finished decorating the tree... I spanked everyone at Phase 10 then we took advantage of the circumstances, all of the grand kids together... and Celia too :)
We went to Mer's parents for the traditional gingerbread house making event... I think the girls ate more than they decorated...
And they are still eating off of it! It no longer looks like this...
We've been enjoying a relaxing day, just hanging out, working on a few projects, repairing quite a few Christmas decorations...

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Wednesday, November 26, 2008


Mom made these cuties yesterday with the girls...
Rice crispy treat bodies, feet and feathers are the fudge striped cookies, corn candies, M&M's and chocolate frosting for the glue..
So simple (hello, Ashley and Lynn did them...), so yummy (um.. Ash ate hers on the way home...), and so cute (see the above pic?!)!


Funny how things work out... I have had the desire and stuff to make this "Word Girl" cape for Ashley for Christmas, and wouldn't you know it, there was a request for tips on cape making!

Blogger Aartee said...
So cute! I want to do capes for my nephews for Christmas but have never actually used a sewing machine and always stick to smaller sewing projects....can you help????
Me and my helpful model, Lynn, here, will certainly try! (She was so great, she knows how to keep a secret!)

First, take measurements. How long do you want it to be? If you want to do the option I have pictured, measure the chest across too. Or you can opt for ties to tie it around the neck or even velcro. I also measured her shoulders, across her back, where the top of this cape is designed to lie.
I wanted Ashley's cape to be about 20 inches long, so I cut it at 21 inches to allow for seams.
The width at the top I cut at 12.
Hopefully you can see in the pic, the lines where I drew to cut. I bought a yard of fabric, folded it in half again, and I cut it on the fold. 4 layers cut on the fold = 2 layers for the cape.
I assembled the chest piece first, using one of her shirts as a guide, making sure my measurements fit in. I sewed around all the edges, leaving a little gap to turn it right side out. Then I pressed it, top-stitched the edges, and added my "Word Girl" symbol. I did the same thing with the cape.
I used Lynn as my fitting guide to see where the right side of the chest piece should lie on the cape when on the body (laying it flat, pinning it, and sewing it in place, would result in too small an arm hole...) and sewed just the right side of the chest piece to the cape.
I added velcro tabs to the left side of the chest piece and cape to make it all stay on.
There you have it...
My secret is intact!
"Word Up!"

Shield Series Finale... (sniff)

Here we are...
This show has been going on since I was preggers with Lynn... and we have watched, faithfully (all except for the past few weeks... we had to catch up.)
Now, I can live with a clear conscience knowing that I am not rooting for "the bad guy" anymore.
I think it ended well. Still has us thinking though...
One thing we have always done while watching, eat. Ben & Jerry's has been an all time fav... but there have been many other delicious accompaniments.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Bad mom award...

Yeah, yeah.. you'll soon see why...
This was Lynn's day, yesterday. Putting up the "Happy Birthday" magnet...
Opening up "the one" present before school... this girl is a tween already. Merrill hates that I feed into it. But why would I buy her something that she's just not that into? So basically, it was a Hannah Montana birthday... Grandmas and Grandpas came for a couple of days (love ya Darlene!) to bring gifts, and this girl was in heaven! Aunts and uncles stopped by too.. all for her!She even wanted a guitar cake. Purple, just like Hannah Montana's... she cracks me up. She had every detail planned, the color of the cake, the first layer of frosting, the second layer, the guitar color, the swirls, which direction the swirls would go first, then second... I wasn't very happy with the cake, I haven't been with any that I have made lately... but here's where the bad mom award comes in...
Can you see what is off in this picture?
Just in case you didn't, here's a close-up:
In all of my shopping, no candles. Ashley told me to get some just the other day when we were getting groceries, but I said, "No, we don't need any. I have so many at home..."
And did I?
Bad mom.
We were so in the moment, ready to sing and eat our cake that was not so cute... we didn't want to pause and go buy candles, we just stuck matches in the cake. Interesting, I know.
At least the cake tasted good! ( I have some for you Jacks...)

Monday, November 24, 2008

Happy Birthday Lynnie!!!

I read to Lynn from my journal this morning, about the day that she was born... I warn, all the details are here because if my house were to burn down, that journal wouldn't survive but it will here :)...
November 24, 2002
Happy Birthday Lynn! She was born today at 9:16 am. She is 7 pounds, 12 ounces and 20 inches long. She has Merrill's eyes and nose. TONS of dark long hair. She is as Merrill would say, "adorable!". She's absolutely perfect! She is breastfeeding well too, when she isn't too sleepy. I had kind of a sad day yesterday. I was just going to miss being pregnant & feeling her move. I basically held it in all day. We went to Sandy's to eat with mom, dad, Joe, Jackie, the girls, and Clint. We all had a good time but I felt a little funny. I felt dizzy and a little crampy. I felt worse when we stopped off at Wal-Mart to get a couple of things. Merrill took my last "pregnancy picture" and I lost it. Just thinking that it was the last for this pregnancy made me sad! Merrill is so good though! He just loved me. We rented "Enough" and "Copycat" to bring to the hospital. Then I took a long bath and tried to relax. My pains didn't go away and my mucus was pink too. We relaxed and just waited. Merrill gave me such a beautiful blessing! He blessed me with everything I was concerned about. He also said how much my Heavenly Father loved me for bringing this spirit into the world. He told me I would be a wonderful mother, that I already am, so not to worry. He's so good! We got to the hospital around midnight but rode the elevator up and down a few times because we couldn't remember which floor labor and delivery were on. We checked in and got stuff rolling only to discover that I was 3+ centimeters and 80% effaced and I was contracting! We had a little scare as soon as I got hooked up to the monitors, her heart rate dropped and they had to lay me down and put oxygen on me. Mom and Kevin came around 1:00 am. I thought they had me on pitosin the whole time, but they really hadn't. I was doing it all on my own! So it would have been today anyway!Dr. Healy broke my water around 2 am. Around 4-4:30 am I got my epidural and then they started the pitosin. Merrill slept then and I did off and on too. When I got my epidural I was at a 4+. Around 5 am I was a 8. Ans things just kept going! At 7 am she told me I was a nine and we would push soon. That's when dad, Jackie, and Darlene came. I started pushing around 7:30 and Dr. Healy didn't get there till about 9 am. I got to look in the mirror and I saw her crowning and saw the shoulders pass through. Before I knew it, I had a baby girl on my tummy! Merrill did so good! He helped me push and rubbed my temples. He's so good to me! Everyone thinks she's so cute! She has chubby little cheeks and a double chin. She is mostly Mer but I can say she has my hands ;). Merrill held in all emotion until everyone left, then we both cried. It was the neatest experience! Right now it's 9:45 pm. We've had little sleep but are loving our time together as a brand new family. Everyone is so excited, especially Hallie. We are so blessed! We love you so much Lynn!Happy birthday my 6 year old! I love you!!!

Sunday, November 23, 2008

No Primary today...

It was kind of sad, really surreal, to not go to primary today. It was so weird walking the kids to primary, turning around, and heading to Relief Society. I was glad that they put me right to work saying the opening prayer. The lesson was just what I have been focused on lately, the last days, preparation. It was so nice to have zero worries, to go and feel the Spirit and be taught. I did forget, and it really isn't ever a concern or worry to me, but I was asked to speak (kind of) in Sacrament meeting today. It was really a testimony, but was pretty much asked to give a five minute talk and bear my testimony on the worth of souls. That's something else I have been struggling with... my own worth.
I was asked to teach the lesson in Relief Society next Sunday, I am way excited about that!

Friday, November 21, 2008

Peyton Update...

Took Peyton to the hospital, after Mer blessed her, and the ultrasound wouldn't do what we wanted it to, her bones have ossified. So we were sent to x-ray. To me, they looked symmetrical and normal. The report states, that she has mild dysplaysia of the left hip. The left?! Huh?! Her right hip is fine, her left femur is turned out two degrees past the normal range... too much. Everything is the right spot. Just that femur is slightly turned.
In December, on the 15th, we have an appointment with a pediatric orthopedic surgeon at Primary's... ugh... I pray that it will be something that is no big deal, or that those two degrees will be gone, a mistake?
Katie Ronnow (Davis) was my angel the other night. I had kept so busy, trying to not think about what was coming the next day, and while I was making dinner, the radiology department at the hospital called. It was fore-front. Not going anywhere. How was I going to deal with that all by myself. I went downstairs to get on the internet to distract myself. Blog surfing does that... no less than 10 minutes later, there is a knock at the door. I open it, and there she is, card and mint m&m's in hand. The put them in my shocked hands, and threw her arm around my neck.. "It's going to be alright." I burst into tears. It was all one motion it seemed. What a sweetheart!
I pray that everything really will be okay. Again, I know that there are others who are going through so much more, but this is MY hardship and MY trial right now...

Had to share...

I just balanced my checkbook after neglecting it for a long long while... I found some suspicious charges. So I set to work, calling the number listed with the charges. Thick accented woman answers the phone saying the name of the service the number was attached to. At that point, I began having her spell things to me, just to make sure I had it all right. Here's a sample of our conversation, sorry, you'll have to imagine your own heavy accent.
Me- First of all, I gave her my name... "These charges were not made by me but were with my card. You need to refund them and I demand to know who made them."
Her- "You'll have to give me the card number in question so I can know what you are talking about."
Me- "What's your name?"
Her- "Blah-da-de-blah-blah-so and so (in that heavy accent mind you)..."
Me- "I am not giving you my card number until you tell me more information. I won't give you my card number until you agree to refund any and all unauthorized amounts. I need to know what business I am dealing with."
Her- "I show that the PREMIUM ADULT WEBSITE MEMBERSHIP was opened with the name (my name...) and the account e-mail address is........"
I got the e-mail address!!!
Can you say some friendly harassment? I am so giddy to see if this perv responds to my fake e-mail... I should really be more Christlike and turn the other cheek, but this is too much fun.
I also called my bank, filed a fraud report, closed the card, opened a special new online only purchases account, and might have to file a police report... oh, and get this, I found 3 charges, but even after I told them to close the online account, back when I was talking to accent lady, another charge popped-up while I was on the phone with the bank... what a DB!
Exciting stuff!
So go balance your checkbook!

Oh, Edward...

What a delicious movie!
I worked hard on these to have 4 pair done for tonight... thanks for moral support Brooke, and for your cutting skills!
Really, first showing... Kaitlyn and MiKell got the tickets... yay for them! And we had a blast.. I got to be young and carefree for a few hours... after I got 2/3 of my children to sleep ;)
The movie was awesome!!! For those of you going to see it, may I suggest the nachos, diet Coke, popcorn WITH milkduds (Christie taught me this, and it is a must try...) and some sour patch kids, for when you think Edward and Bella are going to kiss, but they don't...
Now I am off to maybe 4 or 5 hours of sleep!
Worth it!!!

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

8's tag...

8 places I like to eat...
-El Matador
-Texas Roadhouse
-Olive Garden
-Arctic Circle

8 shows I like to watch on TV...
-First 48
-Baby Story (but I try no to watch it...)
-Word Girl
-Word World

8 things that happened yesterday...
-sewed about 9 pillow case dresses with Darlene :)
-made a huge pot of homemade chicken noodle soup.
-ate jellybeans
-prayed for my friends
-read to my girls
-held Peyton on my lap while Merrill gave her a blessing
-bought 3 Christmas presents

8 things I love about fall...
-comfort food
-dark earlier
-cool weather
-all the colors on the mountain
-getting new family pics
-memories... reminds me of having newborns in the house... Lynn and Ash were both fall babies.
-um.. birthday cakes, to go with those fall birthdays!

8 things on my wish list (no order here)...
-find time to scrap
-family's happiness and well-being
-friends happiness and well-being
-snow!!! (yes, I said it... bring it on!)
-more time!!!
-laundry would fold itself.
-my savings account to grow overnight...
-to have photoshop...

8 people I am tagging...
-Sarah (it can double as grateful too..)
-Nathan (DO IT!!!)

Monday, November 17, 2008

My skirt...

I have had a skirt pattern for a few months now... the fabric, a little summer-y, but a couple of weeks ago, I found this fabric at Jo-Ann's. It is perfect for fall! I kept putting it on the back-burner, getting other projects done... Christie said she wanted to see me in it Sunday... so Saturday, I got to it.
The pattern, I forgot, runs small... so I bought one for sizes 6, 8, 10, & 12, thinking, I wouldn't be larger than a 12!?
Um... according to the measurement chart, I am between a 16 and an 18...
Bag the pattern.
I busted-out one of my favorite fitting skirts, and made my own pattern.


You can take that as the breath in between sobs or as a sigh of relief...
I was released yesterday.
While Primary President was a lot of stress and responsibility, I loved it! I loved who I served with, I love those kids!
I didn't love the inner struggles and contention that I would sometimes feel. Feeling like I wasn't doing anything right... it was also hard to have been told, back in AUGUST, that a release was coming, after the Primary Program... and here we are... anyways...
I still pray for a better attitude.
I feel so much peace, because I knew who was supposed to be in there, and those sisters are awesome! My family is in good hands.
It will be weird Sunday, that I will have close to zero responsibility. My biggest stress will be making sure there's goldfish in the diaper bag...
We went to the temple on Saturday night, and I so needed that. There are so many blessings that come to us because of the temple. We are so blessed to have so many near us. It gave me comfort to be there. I received the answers I was in need of. Thanks Kaitlyn for watching the girls!!!
It seemed, that, just to reaffirm the importance of the temple, there was a fireside for the sisters about the temple, last night. Christie and I went together, and cried together! It just crowned the weekend.
I came home to Mer loving his girls...I always worry about Peyton being happy, and he snuggled her to sleep!

I am Switzerland...

It just seems like the trials keep on coming!
I know that the end of days is here, that things will only get worse until they get better, but it is still so hard to see people that I love so much, hurting so much.
After Peyton's appointment Wednesday, I was feeling so down and worried for her, what might be coming. Then, on Thursday, the rest of my world started to unravel. Mom called asking if I knew anything about the situation with the business. There have been some noises that manufacturing would be shutting down. I was so worried for mom and dad, Joe and Jackie, but at the same time, worried for the rest of my family. The economy is so unstable, feels like the verge of a depression, and when the business is not centered on a necessity, it is scary. I asked Merrill about it, but her really didn't say much. Not a good thing, but he wasn't opening up about it. That same day, Brooke told me about her dad's work shutting down, he's in plywood, and since the building market sucks just as bad as everything else, he will be out of a job soon.
On top of that, Emalee Rausch, who's been trying to get pregnant even before Mer and I were trying for Lynn, had her baby at 22 weeks. He lived for 2 hours. My heart aches for her! She seems so positive, I was there with them when they were sealed in the temple, and I hope that will bring them peace. But at these times, I watch the wheat being sifted before my very eyes. People's faith is being shaken, and some are not standing.
Friday, manufacturing was shut down. It is unknown if it will ever re-open. China kills us. Joe was the one to deliver the hard news to his guys, including dad. He's pretty upset. I have to admit, that I was worried for Merrill's job, Dixon has always said that the warehouse doesn't make him any money... but Merrill still has a job. I feel so blessed, but guilty at the same time.
This is where Switzerland comes in...
It's my dad and mom, my brother and my sister-in-law, nieces and nephew, on one side...
On the other, it's my Father-in-law, my husband...
It seems complicated. I can see both sides, see the truth and the need.. but it's hard.
I needed the temple. We went on Saturday for Dixon's birthday. I felt peace. I still felt the hurt and heartache, the stress, but I felt peace. I know that everything will be okay, eventually. It's that enduring that seems to be the most difficult part.
While at the veil, I knew, that for all to go well with Peyton, she needs to have a Priesthood blessing. I am thankful for that confirmation, the blessing it is to have these moments.
After the temple, my heart broke for Jackie. Joe wasn't going to go get ice cream with the rest of us, and Jackie, being the good wife that she is, stayed by his side, even though it was her dad's birthday, and she wanted to be with her family.
I pray that hearts will be softened.
Yesterday, I was released. It's pretty bittersweet. While I loved it, and will miss it, that stress will be nice to not have to deal with while dealing with the new trials that arise.
I just keep praying for that attitude adjustment. Working with the Priesthood leadership in this ward, is no cake walk. The dis-organization absolutely kills me!
I am excited to see what will come next for me. It is weird to think that this Sunday, I'll have no responsibility. My biggest stress will be packing the diaper bag! i am excited to focus more on my own spiritual development. Teaching my own kids.
I feel such a draw to the temple, like it is so pertinent in my life right now. I pray that Merrill's heart will soften to this, and have a desire to have us go together.
Christie and I went to a Relief Society fireside last night. It was just what I needed. Sacrament meeting was too. "The worth of souls is great"... I needed to hear the messages that were shared. I was feeling pretty low with the way things had gone with Brother Marsh, he left me feeling like I hadn't done the job correctly, or even finished what I was supposed to do. I needed the refill I got yesterday. I was so happy to be reaffirmed about those things I feel are important. Bishop Alexander and Dewey Nicholson came to me after wards, and said such nice things, that made me feel better too.
I just need to strengthen my family for what is to come... we just need to keep on keepin' on!

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Memory Blocks...

This was featured on Good Things Utah, about four years ago. Rusty Pickle did the demonstration and I love doing these! They make such fun, personalized, and inexpensive gifts.

Here's what you need:
a wood block (deck posts are great for this, they'll even cut them for you at Lowe's!), some companies, Making Memories is one that I know of, sell them.
pictures (printed professionally, i.e. Wal-Mart, Costoco, etc. If you print them using your ink-jet printer at home, the ink usually runs when you top coat them.)
paper and/or paint
StazOn ink
Scissors, decorative edge scissors are fun too (see my scalloped circle at the bottom..)
paper trimmer
Modge Podge (They used PVA bookbinding adhesive, more $$$ but Modge Podge works just as well... I tried 2 blocks, one each way.)
foam brush
emery board or sanding block
Judikins Diamond Glaze (optional, but my favorite!)
Or you can digitally compose the bottom layer (pics, paper, rub-ons, embellishments, etc..) and just move right along with your bad self! My friend Jenny did this, and it was awesome! This also helps cut out the bulk and 3-d-edness of traditional embellishments, makes them flat.

The first step would be to get that block sanded so it's smooth, especially on the edges. The sides really don't matter, since they will be covered.
Next either paint or adhere papers, or both! You do this by tracing the side of the block to be covered, cutting it out, and adhering it down with the Modge Podge, be generous! Smooth out any lumps or wrinkles before it dries! Or paint. Up, down, side to side... however you prefer. Once all sides are covered or painted, and dry, sand the edges down. This ensures that you have no straggly paper edges hanging out where you don't want them later. I also like to ink the edges of the block, sand again, and sometimes re-ink to make it have that aged appearance.
Usually, while the above step is in the drying process, I prep my pictures. I cut them down to the size I want, sometimes ink the edges of the pictures so they pop, mount them on papers, put rub-ons on them, you know...
After you've gotten your base to be the way you want it, then get those pictures on. This step uses the Modge Podge too. Be generous!
You can layer on word strips and any other embellishments over your pictures too. After they are dry, I like to stamp on them directly. That's where the StazOn comes in, it won't run or bleed.
Once you have all pictures and embellishment on and the Modge Podge is dry, top coat your whole block, one side at a time, to seal it all in. You can also use the Diamond Glaze, it has a harder finish, cleans up really well with Windex (cause you know everyone will leave their fingerprints picking up this baby and admiring it!) but does cost more than Modge Podge. The Modge Podge works just as well, just not as hard of finish. Let it dry, and re-coat if needed.
This is Peyton's block, I took the picture before I top-coated it, so there wouldn't be a cube-shaped glare, and you could actually see what's on the block :)

Much love and credit goes to Brookers for taking such sweet pics... thanks Brooke!

Friday, November 14, 2008

Flashback Friday...

This is me and my friend Em... this was the day she was sealed to her husband in the temple. It was an awesome day...
Em is going through some trials, that seem gigantic to me, but she sounds like she is doing well... I want her to know that I am praying for her and her husband, for the healing and comfort they need. I also want her to remember, I know she does, what blessings were promised to them when they were sealed to one another for time and all eternity.
Love you Em!!!

Thursday, November 13, 2008


I actually scrapped today.
Even though I had a million and one things to do today, I needed to do this for ME... wasn't as easy or as fast as it should have been with a crummy-feeling Pey helping out.. but oh-well. I got to scrap!
I am hunting for a copy of Photoshop Elements (hopefully), on eBay. Thanks to the November issue of CK, I now know how to scan in a 12x12 layout with my scanner, which is not 12x12, so I don't have to take pics, and have it look crummy... if you have experience, let me know what to look for, which is most user-friendly... I'd sure appreciate it!
Tomorrow, photo blocks...

9 months...

First attempt at our monthly picture... she's too fast!
But not fast enough!
She's been feeling kinda crummy today. I think it's her flu shot kickin' in. She is not happy unless she's on my hip. Even the tub, which she loves endlessly (seriously, she gets mad when I take her out...) wouldn't cheer her up. It was interesting eating a soft taco one-handed... but not as interesting as scrapping a page (for real! I am so excited!!!) one-handed. It took much longer than it should have...
Some things that she is doing now at 9 months...
-Waves "hi" and "buh-byes"... loves waving goodnight to the girls.
-Pats her mouth with her hand or fist to make funny sounds.
-Plays peek-a-boo very well.
-Claps, even when an audience is clapping on tv...
-Dancing (bouncing really, but we know it's dancing ;)...)
-Finds the remote when we hide it.
-Tries to pry my mouth open when she knows I am eating something.
-Gives kisses! She even kissed the Glow Worm tonight... it was quite sweet.
She has this really special connection with Ashley. She could play right next to Ash for hours and be entertained. Ash just has to say "groceries" most of the time to incite endless giggles out of her baby sis. Peyton really likes pulling Ashley's hair as a "thank you".
Pey still loves those fingers! Don't know if that will ever end. I pray for straight teeth...
Meanwhile, Lynn is reading so well. We are on our third and fourth "baggie books". She reads with expression, something that ihave been working with her on. The way she reads exclamation points!!! I'll have to get that recorded, she's funny. I can't beleive that she reads...
Ashley has this new game she and Merrill have been playing. She'll pop in, unannounced, and say, "Hey dad! I have something in my pocket for you (sometimes it's behind her back, or she found it underher bed...)..." Then she whips out her little hand signing "I Love You"and Merrill flashes his right back at her. I am so glad that they have their special thing.

I needed this today...

I have said it, just yesterday in fact, but before too... Heavenly Father knows us individually, He knows our needs. He loves us! Whether we pray for what we are in need of or not, He blesses us everyday with what will help us.
Today is no exception.
I hope to post, when all is resolved, what my small struggles are at this particular time in my life, in the life of my family. They are not as great as others struggles and trials, but they are mine.
I am so thankful to great friends who are so attentive to the Spirit. Who do the smallest, most ordinary things, and bless my life, give me encouragement and strength. There are so many of you!!!
Today, I got this from my dear friend, Ally, in my e-mail...
Thanks Ally... I really needed this!

It all began to make sense, the blank stares, the lack of response, the way one of the kids will walk into the room while I'm on the phone and ask to be taken to the store.

Inside I'm thinking, 'Can't you see I'm on the phone?'

Obviously, not.

No one can see if I'm on the phone, or cooking, or sweeping the floor, or even standing on my head in the corner, because no one can see me at all.

I'm invisible. The invisible Mom. Some days I am only a pair of hands, nothing more: Can you fix this? Can you tie this? Can you open this?

Some days I'm not a pair of hands; I'm not even a human being. I'm a clock to ask, 'What time is it?' I'm a satellite guide to answer, 'What number is the Disney Channel?' I'm a car to order, 'Right around 5:30, please.'

I was certain that these were the hands that once held books and the eyes that studied history and the mind that graduated sum a cum laude - but now they had disappeared into the peanut butter, never to be seen again. She's going; she's going; she is gone!

One night, a group of us were having dinner, celebrating the return of a friend from England ..

Janice had just gotten back from a fabulous trip, and she was going on and on about the hotel she stayed in.

I was sitting there, looking around at the others all put together so well. It was hard not to compare and feel sorry for myself.

I was feeling pretty pathetic, when Janice turned to me with a beautifully wrapped package, and said, 'I brought you this.'

It was a book on the great cathedrals of Europe .

I wasn't exactly sure why she'd given it to me until I read her inscription:

'To My Dear Friend, with admiration for the greatness of what you are building when no one sees.'

In the days ahead I would read - no, devour - the book. And I would discover what would become for me, four life-changing truths, after which I could pattern my work:

No one can say who built the great cathedrals - we have no record of their names.

These builders gave their whole lives for a work they would never see finished.

They made great sacrifices and expected no credit.

The passion of their building was fueled by their faith that the eyes of God saw everything.

A legendary story in the book told of a rich man who came to visit the cathedral while it was being built, and he saw a workman carving a tiny bird on the inside of a beam. He was puzzled and asked the man, 'Why are you spending so much time carving that bird into a beam that will be covered by the roof? No one will ever see it.' And the workman replied, 'Because God sees.'

I closed the book, feeling the missing piece fall into place.

It was almost as if I heard God whispering to me, 'I see you. I see the sacrifices you make every day, even when no one around you does. No act of kindness you've done, no sequin you've sewn on, no cupcake you've baked, is too small for me to notice and smile over. You are building a great cathedral, but you can't see right now what it will become.'

At times, my invisibility feels like an affliction. But it is not a disease that is erasing my life.

It is the cure for the disease of my own self-centeredness. It is the antidote to my strong, stubborn pride.

I keep the right perspective when I see myself as a great builder. As one of the people who show up at a job that they will never see finished, to work on something that their name will never be on.

The writer of the book went so far as to say that no cathedrals could ever be built in our lifetime because there are so few people willing to sacrifice to that degree.

When I really think about it, I don't want my son to tell the friend he's bringing home from college for Thanksgiving, 'My Mom gets up at 4 in the morning and bakes homemade pies, and then she hand bastes a turkey for three hours and presses all the linens for the table.' That would mean I'd built a shrine or a monument to myself. I just want him to want to come home. And then, if there is anything more to say to his friend, to add, 'you're going to love it there.'

As mothers, we are building great cathedrals. We cannot be seen if we're doing it right.

And one day, it is very possible that the world will marvel, not only at what we have built, but at the beauty that has been added to the world by the sacrifices of invisible women.

Great Job, MOM!

Share this with all the Invisible Moms you know...I just did.

Hope this encourages you when the going gets tough as it sometimes does.

We never know what our finished products will turn out to be because of our perseverance.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Pillow Case Dresses...

There are some who are interested, and I will personally teach (I taught two yesterday...) how to make a darling Pillow Case Dress. But here are the instructions for those who like to self-teach.
I am not taking credit for this much loved, often used pattern/idea, just sharing the tips I found useful...
45 inch wide fabric; the yardage depends on how long you want it to be. I suggest measuring the intended wearer, from shoulder to where you want it to fall, and add 2 inches (or more if you want to lengthen later, or plan on doing a wide hem) . Make sure that your print will look good the way it will be cut off the bolt. You don't want a print with a cute scalloped edge cut incorrectly, so the scallop ends up on the side of your dress, or vertical stripes end up horizontal stripes... in that case, you would want a yard and a third. Peyton's dress I cut at 16 inches.
thread to match your fabric
trim(s), 1 1/3 yards (trim is always optional :)...)
ribbon, I would suggest at least 2 yards
bias tape, at least 1/2 inch wide, but I prefer to make my own, it's easier to work with
Or you can use a pillow case, cutting off the top, sealed edge... and you can skip to step 4.

sewing machine
scissors (a rotary cutter and mat are very helpful too.)
straight pins
device with which to measure...

Here goes!

Step 1: Cut the selvage off the side of your fabric. Measure and cut your fabric to fit you darling girl. Do an overcast stitch along all four sides of your fabric. You don't have to do this step, but I prefer to, as I am a perfectionist, and Grandma would do it that way... I also hate it when a project unravels when it is washed because the raw edges are exposed... I wished I would have done an overcast stitch on Lynn's Halloween costume...
Step 2: If you are attaching trim, as in a ruffle, pin it and sew it now. If you are hemming it, pin it and sew it now. If you are attaching any other kind of trim, pin it and sew it now. Trust me. I learned the hard way...
Sew it...
Step 3: After you have sewed and hemmed, sew the sides, which ever two sides that don't have trim or aren't hemmed, right sides together. I use my presser foot as my classic guide, I don't really measure seams... I just used the edge of my presser foot.
While it is still inside out, press open the seam that you just sewed.
Step 4: Turn the dress-to-be right side out, make sure that the seam you just pressed, is in the center and back. Cut a "J" shaped arm hole (should measure 5 inches, from top of "J" to the bottom) on the folds of the fabric, this should make a "U" shaped cut piece. I like to save these, sometimes I use them to make pockets :). Overcast stitch on those fresh cut areas, if you'd like.
Step 5: Now is the time to make bias tape, if you wish or to attach your pre-made bias tape.
I like to make mine by cutting a strip of fabric 12 inches (for this project) by 2 inches. I press it, not quite in half, so there is just a little lip on one side.
Step 6: Pin the right side of the bias tape to the wrong side of the arm hole. This picture shows double fold bias tape, that works too. That kind just sandwiches the fabric between the two folds of the bias tape. If using double fold, you need not follow the next step.
Step 7: Flip the bias tape over to the right side of the fabric, press and pin..
Step 8: Sew with a straight stitch, to attach the bias tape to the top side of your fabric. You want to sew as close to the edge as you can.
Step 9: At the top of the dress, fold down a quarter of an inch, and press.
Turn down an additional inch, press and pin.
Step 10: Straight stitch again, as close to the edge so you catch both folds, all along to make a pocket for your ties. (Repeat for the other side.)
Step 11: Cut your ribbon, and seal the edges so it won't fray... cut it so it extends about six inches past the top of each arm.Step 12: I like to use Grandma's crow hook, but you can use what ever works best for you, to feed your ribbon through the little sleeves. Make sure they are pulled evenly so there is equal amounts of ribbon on both sides.
Step 13: Tack your ribbon ties, and both layers of fabric with a quick "x" stitch. Tie it in a square knot. This helps so your ribbons won't come out in the wash, and when you ties it on you cutie, one side's bow won't be obviously larger than the other side's...
Let me know if you have any questions or need any help!