Monday, March 30, 2015

A Lego Table Project Takes Us to the ER

I loved playing with Lego's growing up so naturally I'm excited my kids do too. Even Charlotte loves playing with the boys' Lego's, though we're constantly reminding her to get them out of her mouth, at which point she takes them out and throws them across the room like the world is ending... Drama queen. We bought Hunter a small starter box of Lego's for his birthday when he turned 5. For Christmas a month later he and JP both received a couple Lego sets where there were directions on how to build the specific item. They loved those so much that I bought them a few more to keep them entertained. Eventually Perry climbed into the attic and brought down his big tub of Lego's, which I later found out is only half of them. Since he brought it in, the tub has been sitting under our table so the kids have easy access to it, but is still out of the way at the same time.
Without it being verbally said, Perry and I both have wanted to store the Lego's somewhere else but hadn't been able to figure out where....until this last week. I've been on craigslist daily looking for a long,  but short dresser that I could use as storage for my sewing/craft room downstairs, and then use the top of it as an ironing board, like my mom does. In preparation of finding one, I moved my sewing room around to accommodate it. In the meantime I brought the little table Grandpa John made for JP in to the area so JP could do Lego's downstairs while I sewed. Then it hit me. I should just make them a Lego table. They could store their Lego's in it, and build on top of it. It would work perfect and then we'd get rid of our Lego problem upstairs.
I immediately hopped back on craigslist to see what I could find for coffee tables with drawers. I found the perfect one and I had already started envisioning what it would look like once I was done painting it. Turns out it was already sold. But a few days later I found a sewing table that I knew would work even better! And I would be able to use it too when I needed to quilt something. Win win! Can't get better than something that has multiple uses!
As soon as I was done with my weekly yoga class, I hopped in my car and headed downtown to pick the table up. I had a heck of a time getting it in the car on my own, but I did it! I hauled it into the basement and the look on JP's was priceless when he saw it the next morning. He was already in love with it and it was even ready yet! I had Perry come look at it and give me his best opinion on whether I should spray paint it or just use regular paint. He was convinced which ever one I used was just going to wear off. He didn't understand, nor did he want any part of, my silly project.
Saturday morning was SO peaceful in our house. Because Hunter was at Grandma's, there was no one to wake us up in the morning. Perry and I slept in until 9 am. I'm sure Charlotte woke up around earlier but was entertained with all her books that she could care less about leaving her room. JP slept in until 10 am. No joke. It didn't help that we kept him up super late, but still. If Hunter goes to bed at 10pm, he still gets up at 7, if not earlier. After a peaceful breakfast, Perry, out if no where, brought my table upstairs to look at it. We three laid under it for quite some time trying to figure out how we were going to make it into a Lego table without modifying it too much so I could still use it. We spent a good hour discussing different ways. Turns out we just need two more hinges and then a bin for the Legos, which can be removed when I want to use it.

With a plan in place, Perry hauled my table out to the garage to get measurements while I went out and picked up a pair of stools, also found on craigslist, for $5. They don't know it yet, but I'm going to paint Ninja Turtles on them... When I got back I started working on the pile of laundry in the laundry room. JP came up to me with our health insurance cards he found in my office. I promptly told him to put them back so I would know where they were in case we needed them.

I kid you not, one minute later, Perry came busting into the house yelling, "Sadie!!! We have to go to the ER NOW!!!" With that I scooped up Charlotte, who was supposed to be napping and only wearing her diaper, and decided I didn't have enough time to get her dressed, so I wasn't bringing her. I hauled her naked little self (and forgot her blanket!) and shouted to JP to come with as I sprinted across the street to the neighbors house. I knocked a couple times and then busted in, handed off Charlotte and said, " Can you watch the kids? I have to take Perry to the ER. I think he cut off a finger." They kind of didn't have a choice because I was gone before I got an answer. I ran into the house and grabbed my shoes and hit the road.

All things considered, Perry was pretty calm about the whole thing. Often times we ask each other silly questions that start out with, "Would you still love me if..." so it only made sense the first thing out of his mouth once I got into the car was, "Will you still love me if I'm missing a finger?" I couldn't help but to laugh a little. Yes Perry, I will still love you - it's only a finger. He was even cracking jokes with his (male) nurse. Perry *absolutely hates* needles so when his nurse asked him which arm he wanted his tetanus shot in, he quickly retorted with a, "Yours" for an answer. It took the other guys in the room a few seconds to get the joke, but I caught it right away. Silly Perry...

(As a warning - a picture of his finger, which is kind of cool, is posted just below this picture of Perry in the ER. Feel free to scroll on past!)
We finally left the emergency room two hours later with a splint and a bandage wrap on his finger and a handful of prescriptions to be filled. They didn't do a darn thing to the wound itself other than clean it up, so it's still an open wound as of Sunday evening. The ER doctors thought he might need part of his finger amputated because he hit the bone, so we left the emergency room with discharge papers saying *amputation* in bold print. Kind of daunting. Here's the picture of his finger...
I did have to help him re-dress it Saturday night as it was still bleeding. I nearly fainted three times. Hang on Perry, I need to sit down for a minute. Okay I'm good. Okay I need to sit down again. Okay let's do this fast. Oh damn, I can't see anything, I'm laying down now... Poor guy! I'm such a wimp! He did not express that he was in pain, nor did I see any blood so I have no idea why I was getting woozy. Just the thought of it I guess...
After a low-key weekend, we headed to see the orthopedic surgeon first thing Monday morning, only to find out they didn't have any record of Perry in their system, and the doctor we were supposed to be seeing wasn't going to be in. Ugh. Luckily his nurse came in and informed the desk staff that because of the numerous accidents over the weekend, he was coming in that morning. Perry was able to get in right after the guy who shot his hand and had a pellet stuck in it...

When we finally went in for his appointment, the doctor unwrapped it, looked at the x-rays, then pulled out his ruler and determined that NO AMPUTATION was needed. They re-dressed his finger and sent us on our way. No stitches or anything. Just left us with that gaping hole in his finger. We celebrated the fact that gets to keep his finger by eating a box of Swedish Fish on the way home. (He couldn't eat since the night before in case he needed surgery.)

When all was said and done, we both (probably more so for Perry) felt like we just won the lottery. He played Russian Roulette with his miter saw and won! For now the Lego table is on hold for a while. Since I took a shop class or two in my day, I feel like I could probably finish the project, but Perry won't let me...I was hoping to have the table done by the end of spring break but that clearly isn't going to happen. 

Saturday, March 28, 2015

We Saw Baby Lambs!

Yesterday Grandma left work a little early to pick up Hunter for his weekend at the cabin. He's been wanting to redeem his coupon for a while but the weekends just haven't worked out. They finally picked a date last Sunday and he had been asking me about Grandma all week long. Monday was a struggle to get ready for school as he would have much rather have been packing for the weekend. Yesterday afternoon couldn't come fast enough for any one. Just about every fifteen minutes he was asking when Grandma was going to get here. 8 more hours bud. 8 more hours...
 When did she arrive, Hunter climbed in with her and JP, Charlotte and I followed her to her co-worker's farm, not far from our house, to see the new baby lambs. (JP was excited to show off his glasses to Grandma!) 
 Charlotte was all sorts of cuteness too. Like always...
 Hunter and JP kind of went off and did their own thing when we got into the pen. (They also found the manure pile and had some fun on that before we kicked them off...) There was one ewe who had twins so one of the kids was bottle fed. My boys had the chance to hold the bottle but none of them were too interested. I did make Charlotte pet the kid while it was eating though...
 Not only did they have baby lambs, but they also had chickens (the boys loved chasing them around) and a 2-year old turkey. 
 Aren't they sweet?
Who would have guessed this is IN Missoula? 

Friday, March 27, 2015

JP Has Glasses and I Can't Even...

A month or so ago, I took JP in for his 5 year check-up which later lead to a trip to the eye doctor. When everything was said and done, we learned he needed glasses. Just as we were ready to get him glasses, Hunter caught the flu bug, followed by JP and then Charlotte. Luckily we made it to Shopko (one of the select few places in Missoula that takes our eye insurance) and picked him out some glasses. Guess what sold him on these ones (since they didn't have green ones)? NINJA TURTLES! If he looks to the right, he can see it on the inside of his frames. Score. And it's his favorite one - Leonardo. Double score!
Just look at him! I could eat him up! 
 He wasn't too sure about them at first. But as the day progressed, he became more comfortable. 
 Seriously! Just look at him!!! GAHH! 
 We picked up his glasses today, just before Grandma came over to pick up Hunter for his weekend at the cabin. Since Hunter was being spoiled by Grandma, we thought we'd give JP *a lot* of extra love tonight. We took him and Charlotte out to Johnny Carino's for dinner (because I knew they had Mac 'n Cheese there!)
 Before we actually picked out his glasses, he told us he wanted green ones, but then later changed his mind and said he wanted some like dads. Adorable!!
After dinner we went across the street for ice cream, because it's a rule - glasses come with ice cream. 
We finished the night off with a RedBox movie - Mr. Peabody & Sherman. JP loved it! 
I loved watching him snuggle up in his TMNT jammies and eat popcorn from his TMNT mug Aunt Bobby painted for him, all the while wearing his glass. Seriously, I could have just stared at him all night. My heart was about to burst. 

If you see him, be sure to compliment him on his new glasses! He's really self conscious about them. I think the phrases, "Put them back on," "Push them up," and "Stop playing with them" were on repeat this afternoon...

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Parent-Teacher Conferences

A few weeks ago Hunter's teacher, Perry and I took a couple tests to assess Hunter's behavior at school. We cannot get this kid to sit still and focus. In one ear and out the other.

We found out while he's at school, he for most part, behaves like other kids in his class. His teacher scored him in the average sections on each of the six sections (inattention, hyperactivity/impulsivity, learning problems, executive functioning, defiance/aggression, and peer relations.) Perry scored him in the high average & elevated range, whereas nearly all my scores for him fell into the very elevated range.

Because his scores were normal at school, it rules out the possibility of ADHD, which is a huge relief. He can keep his attention long enough at school and follows directions which had lead the psychologist to believe there is some dynamic at home that he is battling. Let's not place blame, but given that he behaves pretty normally when he's by himself, I would guess his brother has a lot to do with his defiance at home. But the same can be said the other way around. While Hunter is at school, JP is the easiest kid. As soon as Hunter gets home, they start bouncing off the walls. They have that effect on each other and it drives me nuts.

We went over his report card and he did much better than the first trimester. At the end of the first trimester, he scored a lot of "needs help" whereas this semester he had "satisfactory" scores and a handful of "very satisfactory" scores.

He's been responding very well with his check-in/check-out program at school, so his teacher and the psychologist suggested doing something similar at home to see how he performs. Hope it'll keep him on track more. He's such a smart kid- it's just trying to get him on the same page as Perry and I that's been a struggle. I asked about what's been going on that has made him hit other kids at school too - in short, he doesn't feel comfortable talking to other teachers/staff members about the issues and conflicts he's having with the other kids, so he does what he knows how to do - he hits. Although it's not a form of conflict resolution they approve of, they also know that he's still a kindergartner and doesn't know how to process everything yet. They reassured me he's not the only one. THANK GOODNESS!

Perry and I just need to work on relaxing (Ha!) and giving him more one on one time. He's expressed to his teacher it's not fair he has to go to school, and JP and Charlotte get to stay home with mom. Clearly he's feeling a little unloved, and it breaks my heart! His homework for spring break is to play outside so I plan on taking him on a few bike rides, just him and I. Maybe even dinner with mom :)

Psalms 147:3 “He Heals the Broken Hearted and Binds Up Their Wounds.”

I'm not good with keeping things bottled up inside me. But there is one thing I have a hard time sharing about my past - my experience with rape. In fact, up until last week, I could count on one hand the number of people who knew. I've been able to keep it in my past for quite a while, but with there being so much news coverage on rape, it's hard to keep it out of my mind. I toy with the idea of deleting my Facebook account solely because of all the articles people post on rape. I don't even have to read them to be reminded.

Half way through my first semester as a freshman in college, my roommate and I started hanging out with one of her guy friends, who happened to live in at a fraternity house. I wasn't crazy about going over there, but we would occasionally go over and play a few games of beer pong and then go home. There was one guy there I started enjoying hanging out with, but one night he started ignoring me and it made me mad to the point that I decided to walk home early because my roommate wasn't ready to go. He saw me leave and convinced me to come back. In the emotionally, partially drunk state I was in, I agreed and he led me to the attic at the fraternity. It was at that point when he tried to rape me. I had told him I didn't want to have sex with him but in his drunken state, he forced me down on him while yelling, "Is that all you got?!" Eventually he gave up and tried to ram his limp self into me. After a while my roommate found me, as she had been looking for me since I didn't answer my phone. I cried the whole way home. When we arrived back to the dorms, I just wanted to go to bed and sleep it off but as I started to strip down, I found bruises on my  wrists and arms from where he held me down. I looked down at my chest as I took my shirt off and discovered I was covered in hickeys. My breasts were covered in them and they remained there for several days.

I sat naked in the communal dorm shower and cried and cried. Of the five classes I was taking during the semester, he was in three of them so I couldn't even avoid him... I didn't know what to do, who to tell, how to move forward. What would happen if I did tell someone? Would he go to jail? Would it be his story against mine? How would my parents react to all of it? How would my home community react to it? Would I even dare go back? What would people think of me? I simply didn't know what to do so I did nothing. Clearly other people at the party heard what was going on because it became a running joke when one of his "brothers" would run into me to say, "Is that all you got?" But I did nothing. I played it off like I didn't care and like it didn't hurt. They don't teach you this stuff in school.

That was eight years ago. For the most part I've been dealing just fine with keeping my story in the past until all the rape articles started popping up in the news. I followed the Jordan Johnson case for a while and still don't know how I feel about the verdict. I read the article this past October or Novemeber that the Rolling Stones magazine published about the girl who was gang raped at UVA at a fraternity and it really got me thinking about my past. It was the story coupled with a "bedtime rendezvous" with my husband where he left a hickey on my chest, something he had never done before, that sent me over the edge.

For a while after that being intimate with my husband was hard. He had known about my attempted rape, but not the details. How was he to know that an innocent hickey would do that to me? There were plenty of nights where I cried myself to sleep over it but I was too ashamed to tell him what was really going on in my mind. As I said before, I'm not good with bottling my feeling up inside me, so eventually with the help of a bottle of my favorite wine, I broke down in tears and told him why I would cry after being intimate. I cannot tell you how much better I felt to just get it off my chest.

Everyone handles trauma in different ways. For me I'm left with regret and self blame. What if I just stayed with my roommate until she was ready to leave? What if I never went at all? Why didn't I fight back? I go through rough phases where I get really depressed about it too. It's usually then that I start using other things to make me feel better. In college I smoked weed and consumed alcohol on a regular basis. I even have struggled with anorexia as a means to be able to control something in my life.

I've wanted to share this part of my story for a while. I don't want people to feel bad or have pity for me. Maybe this is God's way of making good out of evil. Perhaps some day I will be able to comfort some one who has gone through the same thing.

"Every time you remember, every time you struggle, every time you feel that your heart is breaking under the weight of what happened to you, ask Him to help you." - David Powlison

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

My Story, As Told by Me

I've been wanting to share more about my life on my blog, but I didn't know how I wanted to go about doing it. When I first started blogging, it was mostly about my kids (because they're adorable!) and not much about me. The past few months I've been blogging more about me and the struggles of parenthood. With that said, last week at the Bible study I've been going to, it was my turn to share my story, and I felt it was scattered and missing a lot pieces - if they could even get all that through my tears, so I thought this would be a better way to share it. Without further adieu, here's a better version, but I'm warning you, it's long!

I grew up on a farm in northern Montana, just north of a town with 100 people. I lived in a round house, one that looked an igloo, and every time the wind blew (which felt like all the time) the fireplace in the basement would rattle and scare the jeebers out me. As a child I was terrified of wind, and living on the prairie, 40 mph winds were more of just a breeze. 

One thing I feel is very common in small communities is their faith. Just about everyone went to church, with the majority being either Lutheran or Catholics, and a handful in another kind of Christian church. As a child, it was odd if your parents didn't drag you to church Sunday morning. My sisters and I grew up in the Catholic church. We took part in receiving the sacraments of faith - we were baptized in the church, went through our First Reconciliation, our First Communion in our pretty white dresses, and we took Confirmation classes in the church. I grew up knowing about God. 

Looking back, I remember going to Continuing Catholic Developement class (CCD) after school on Tuesdays while in elementary school. We learned songs and memorized prayers and heard stories about the Lord. At youth group in high school, we were studying to be confirmed. I remember going to Vacation Bible School and learning about the Beatitudes given by St. Matthew. But I now find it interesting I was never taught to read the Bible, or maybe I was and I didn't realize it? Once I went along with my best friend to a Lutheran Bible school, and I found it odd they were studying Bible verses. The one they were studying was "Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud..." I can't tell you where it is found at in the Bible, but that verse has always stuck with me. In the same regards, my boys come home from pre-school spouting off Bible verses and I'm over here like, "Way to go boys!" but really I'm thinking, "Why don't I know that one?"

At dinner our family would bow our heads and make the sign of the cross and say our dinner pray, but I feel like that is kind of the extent of our religious practices at home. (Okay I also remember praying the Rosary during a storm with my little sister under the stairs once.) As I grew older I feel like the more distant I grew from the church and the Lord. 

When it came to my sisters and me, I have always felt like the odd one out. I hated going out and working with my dad in the field because I loved sleep. For whatever reason he never made me help. I willingly helped with branding, though I was always nervous sorting cows, but I never had to fix fence or help with harvest. I've never driven the tractors or the combines or the grain trucks like all of my sisters have. I made lunch for harvest, that was the extent of me helping. (Don't ask me to bring it out to you either, I'd get lost!) In small communities like mine, aside from agriculture, sports is huge and I never really played any. I did volleyball, but was never any good. I hated playing basketball, but I didn't want to be left out so I was *always* the manager keeping stats. (I can't even watch it without tracking rebounds and such...) I did track in junior high but as I got older, I developed a pain in my left foot to the point that I could hardly walk so my love of running was completely out of the question before too long. With my lack of willingness to help on the farm and my lack of interest in sports, I feel like the relationship with my dad really plummeted. I wanted him to be proud of me for something, like he was for my sisters. I think the relationship with my dad really made me hunger for approval from others, like the opposite sex.

Throughout high school, I almost always had a boyfriend. I spent a lot of time with my first serious boyfriend and his family. I loved being around his family because of the love they showed me and each other. They said "I love you" to each other on a daily basis, which was completely new to me. I recall crying to my sister about how I couldn't remember the last time our parents told me they loved me. It killed me. Eventually I broke down to them about it and it was weird to finally hear those words said to me. I knew they loved me, but it's different when you actually hear it. (Clearly as a child I felt loved by 'words of affirmation'.)

For the next few years I broke up with boyfriends and got back together with them over and over. Having a boyfriend all the time made me less reliant on making friends. By the time I got to college, I had no idea how to make friends, truthfully, I still don't. As a college freshman, I was eager to get out and meet people and make friends but I had no clue how to because I was so shy. I won't get into the details in this post, but halfway through my first semester in college, I reluctantly went out with my roommate and I had someone try to rape me. I didn't spend much time at home that Christmas break because I didn't want to be around people. I kind of shut myself off from everyone. When I returned back to school after winter break, I found a job at a hotel where I worked on the weekends so I had an excuse not to go out and be social anymore.

That summer I decided I wanted to start doing things for myself and be less reliant on others to make me happy so I broke up with my co-worker/boyfriend and up and moved to Michigan where I started an internship. I hated the job so much that I moved back two weeks later. (I loved Michigan and wish I would have stayed and pursued something else while I was out there...) When I returned to Missoula in the fall to start my second year in college, I went back to work at the hotel and lived in a small townhouse with two other girls I barely knew. Still not having any close friends, I started smoking weed with some people I knew, just so I could fit it. (Seriously, I feel like I'll do anything just to have a friend!) And then I started drinking again to fit in.

It was that winter when I met Perry through a co-worker. Our relationship started out fast - we were inseparable for the first couple months. He took me on adventures, made me try new foods and basically pulled me out of the shell I was in. He was always the life of the party and everyone loved being around him. (It still surprises me that he picked the "wall flower" to pursue!) I knew him for all of 3 1/2 months when I found out I was 5 weeks pregnant. For the longest time, maybe since my first boyfriend, all I had wanted to do was settle down and get married and have a family of my own so I could feel loved and wanted. In that moment when I took the pregnancy test and it came back positive, I wanted nothing to do with settling down and having a family. I was terrified. I was terrified to tell Perry because I had no idea how he would react, I hardly knew him after all.

Over the next few weeks we discussed what we were going to do. Neither of us were ready for a baby. We went to Planned Parenthood and discussed having an abortion. I thought about giving the baby up for adoption. We were both so lost, but having my faith, I knew no matter what, I could not kill the being that was inside of me, even if it's what my boyfriend wanted. With that, I also realized that while having a baby wasn't something I wanted to do, I also couldn't imagine someone else raising my baby. Seven full months of fighting later, Hunter was born and has been keeping us on our toes ever since. I cannot image life without him. Many people cry when they first hold their new baby. I did cry, but not at that moment, maybe because I was scared of having to take care of him and everything else running through my mind? I did start crying when my dad came in to see me and Hunter. He leaned down and kissed me on the forehead and said, "You've done good." My dad doesn't know how to express his feelings, but that was all I needed, his approval.

Perry and I have always had a hard relationship. I feel like the first two years together, all we did was fight. Yet somehow in those two years, we managed to get engaged and set a wedding date, call off the wedding date, have another baby, and buy a house. There were an uncountable number of times when we just wanted to be done. (I threw my engagement ring at him in front of his friends and it didn't even phase him! That's when I should have left...) When we were at our final breaking point, Perry parents bought us tickets to attend a weekend retreat hosted by Christian speaker, Timothy Keller and his wife, called 'A Weekend to Remember'. It was all about rebuilding marriages and how to work through problems. The weekend together plus the book, 'Five Love Languages" by Gary Chapman, that my co-worker lent to me (and haven't given back!), really helped Perry and I overcome our differences.

A couple short months later, we finally agreed we were in the right place in our relationship to get married. We set a date for the end of September and after a long eight months of planning, we were married in a Lutheran church. As a prerequisite to be married in the church, we had to attend marriage counseling. Although I would have liked to get married in the Catholic church I grew up in, there was no way Perry was going to covert to being a Catholic to do so. Instead, I had my best friend's dad, who is a Lutheran Pastor, marry us. Having been baptized myself as a baby, I had been wanting my boys baptized as well. I thought doing it at the wedding, because both families would be there, would be the best time to do it. We went round and round with that one because his family just wanted to dedicate them and instead had a family unity blessing. (It still bothers me my children aren't baptized.)

Perry and I have now been together for seven years, and haven't been happier together. It's taken a long time to get to this point, but we've made it. While we're happy together, we're both missing things in our lives. Having become parents at the ages of 20 and 23, we missed out on finding out who we each were as people. As young parents, we've also had a hard time finding the right people, or any people at all for that matter, to hang out and be social with. When people my age were going to college and doing what ever they wanted when they wanted, I was at home with the kids. I say my age because it took me throwing my ring at Perry for him to own up to having kids and responsibilities.

When we had Charlotte, I quit my job knowing that sending three kids to daycare was going to cost more than we could afford. Though I was surrounded by my children all day, I felt, and sometimes still do feel so alone. I have spent many nights crying to my husband about how I'm used to people cancelling on me last minute for play dates or just not showing up at all. For the past few years, all I've known is rejection, and I can't say it any other way than it sucks. Over and over I would get excited because I was asked to do something with someone and then over and over I was let down. It got to the point where Perry had to start telling me to stop getting my hopes up. He's the same way though - he loves playing poker and many times he'll have people tell him they're coming over to play only to have no one show up. He knows how it feels to be rejected, but he's learned from it and has stopped asking people. With his dad passing away a year and a half ago, he's really shut himself off from everyone and it kills me to see him this way.

I'm trying to find out what my calling is in life - what it is that God wants me to do. In a car wreck I should have died in, He saved me and left a cross on my wrist to show for it. When looking at the suburban after the wreck, the door I was next to was the only door without a scratch or dent on it - we rolled three times. A couple years ago I went to a church retreat with my mother-in-law and didn't know anyone but her; yet there were these ladies there praying over me who could tell the Lord had good things planned for me and that I had such a tender spirit. On the last evening of the retreat, a healer came to talk to us. At the end he had invited anyone who had cancer or knew someone who had cancer to come forward and pray with him. At the time, one of my aunts had stage 3 or 4 breast cancer, so I went up to pray for her. He placed his hand on my head as we prayed and then I blacked out and collapsed. A few weeks later I found out she was cancer free.

I feel like for the last ten years He's been calling out for me, and I just haven't been listening but I'm at a point in my life where I want know Him and not just know about Him. I'm excited to see what he has planned for me and my family.

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Super Hero Cake, To Go Please!

JP's birthday cake was a hit last month, so much so that I got a cake order out of it. Boo-ya! Not just any cake, but another super hero cake! At first I was thinking, how am I going to make another one without just copying the first one. And then it hit me. Make a rectangular one! 
For some reason when I made JP's cake, I drew a picture of it first. I can't tell you how much drawing it before hand has helped me! When I sketched this one, I colored it too since the crayons were out anyways. Coloring my picture helped me tremendously because then I was able to see what colors I would need and approximately how much of each. I think the longest part of the decorating part is coloring the fondant, or maybe the most boring? So much kneading... I did pretty good dividing it up though, except I forgot to save some white...oops!
 Like I try to do on each cake, I did a little something I hadn't done before. I cut the fondant after I put it on the cake. I really really really wanted it to look like the hand was coming through the cake. How'd I do? In retrospect, I'd have made the tear marks bigger, but it was my first time...
 Love the web on the back of the cake too! Can I admit I like this cake more than JP's? 
I stayed up until 1am Saturday morning getting most of the cake decorated. All I had left to do in the morning before I sent it off was to add the black buildings, red side border, and the make the black frosting for the web and cracks. I finished it up in about 45 minutes first thing after breakfast and then sent it off! 
This is what my kitchen looked like when it was all said and done... Perry has a love/hate relationship with me making cakes. This is the hate part.
My boys get so excited when I make cakes because they know they'll get to play with the leftover fondant. Who needs Playdoh when you have fondant and all of mom's cake tools? Playdoh is a thing of the past... But if you don't watch them, they'll scarf it all down in an instant! Too much sweets = one big belly ache!

Friday, March 20, 2015

I've Been Quilting Baby Quilts!

At the end of last year, I went on a little quilting binge. I was anxious to make another quilt, but didn't need another big one, so I thought I would make a couple smaller ones. At one point I thought about selling them as baby blankets on Etsy. Maybe some day when I get it down! But these two were good practice!
Let me start out by saying, I LOVED the fabric in this collection I found on Missouri Star Quilt's website. At the time I had a neighbor and a sister having a baby boys but I still went the girl route anyways when picking out fabric. I'm not normally a "pink" person either...but I loved the elephants mostly. As soon as I got them in the mail, I set out to sew them the next day after picking out the matching pinking fabric. 
I had a heck of a time getting it square. Luckily my mom was in town and was able to give me a few pointers. After she showed me how to sandwich the quilt top with the batting and the backing, it was a lot more square. Still not perfect, but much better. 
When I serged the edged though it ended up wavy...It drives me nuts. I had been having problems with the tension on the serger, so I feel like that was most of my problem...
After I finished it up, and nearly ran out of thread on the binding, I was so thankful to just be done with it. This was the first quilt that I quilted on my own. I used my small portable sewing machine - the one I curse at a lot. While the back has it's own problems, it's still nice to snuggle up in with Charlotte every so often. 
 For Christmas Perry got his mom and my mom together to go shopping for a new sewing machine for me. I think he was really tired of hearing me curse at the one I had. It got the job done but... So he gathered the mothers together since he knows nothing when it comes to sewing machines, and had them pick one out for me. The one they decided on was a Pfaff Quilting Expressions machine. This machine has free motion quilting on it so I'm able to tell it where to go instead of turning my fabric in hundreds of directions. And it has built in scissors so I don't have to clip my thread when I'm done sewing. Pretty cool! There is also no lever to move the presser foot up and down - it does it automatically! It's the simple things... Anyways, this was the other quilt top I made last year and after quilting the other one, I just stuffed this one away because I was kind of over it. And then I got the machine...
 I've done a few projects on it already, you know, like mending 300 pairs of jeans because my boys clearly use their knees more than their feet... I practiced pebbling a small blanket for Charlotte's babies... I made a Bible cover for Hunter and pebbled it as well... So with that little practice I thought I was ready to get this quilt top out and finish it up.
 I had no idea what I wanted to do to it, but I really liked the flowers and they seemed easy enough. I didn't anticipate doing the square meandering over the whole but it ended up that way. I was going to pebble in between the flowers, but because I was working with flannel, it was really hard to move, so pebbling was out. I'm impressed with how it turned out! An other than the binding, I was able to complete the quilting portion of it while Perry was out of town. (That means I was able to leave all my sewing stuff out on the kitchen counter for the week!)
I've been wanting to make a quilt for my dear friend Britta because she's had a rough year, but she won't pick out a darn pattern she likes! I've got one in mind already, but I did recently fall in love with a hexagon quilt and bought fabric to make it already so hers might be next after this one...

Thursday, March 19, 2015

A Look Into My First Bible Study

Last year mid-summer, I broke down to Perry in tears about wanting to spend more time as a family. I blogged about it here. I don't know if it was Perry who suggested it, or myself, but we agreed together to start going to church. We were both raised with a faith background and we thought it was best to start giving that same thing to our kids.

Having come from two different Christian backgrounds made choosing a church a challenge for us though because he didn't connect the way he felt he should in a Catholic mass, and I didn't want to stray from my Catholic roots. Eventually we agreed to start attending the Lutheran Church we take the kids to preschool at. While I felt like I could fit in more with their services, because their similar to the mass I'm used to, after several months, Perry confessed it wasn't doing much for him. After the new year, we started going to the Christian Life Center. While the Lutheran Church had a Sunday school for the kids, it was in between services so we were having to wrangle all the kids during mass instead of actually listening to it. At CLC there was a special room for each of the kids - nursery for Charlotte, preschool for JP, and youth mass for Hunter. (Bonus that the boys weren't together!) And we've been going there since pretty regularly. (I even know some of the songs now since I've been listening to AirOne, a Christian radio station, lately!)

Another one of the things I wanted to do more of this year, aside from going to church regularly, is read. I have a stack of books, in my head, I want to read, but I just never sit down to do it. I started out strong in January by crossing a book off my list called, 'Love Does' by Bob Goff. I don't know what it was that made me buy this book on my Kindle sometime last year, but I did, and finally 6 + months later I actually started to read it. It's a book about the lessons he has learned throughout his life in regards to the Bible. While it may not sound too interesting, I took a lot from it, as I'm not normally a Christian book reader.

In one of the chapters he went on to explain how he pulled a prank on one of his good friends. A while later he received a call from someone in Uganda asking him to be a member of the Uganda counsel. Thinking it was a prank set up by his friend, he decided to just say yes to everything they wanted just too see where it got him, and it ended up not being a prank after all! For some reason it resonated with me- just saying yes. I feel like I am really good at making up excuses not to do something instead of just doing it. At that point I decided I would say yes to the next opportunity which presented its self- no matter what.

I don't recall if it was later the same afternoon or the next morning, but a mom from JP's preschool class messaged me. It wasn't out of the ordinary for her to do so, but her question caught me a little off guard - do I want to join in on the Bible study she was going to be teaching? It was clearly all in God's timing that she picked the time she did to ask me. I had no idea what to expect from a Bible study as this would be my first. But I kept my promise to myself, and I said yes. I was so nervous just to go, let alone answer simple questions about who I was. But I did it. I sucked it up and did it. And then I continued to go back the following weeks.

As I mentioned in a previous post, we're currently working on sharing our stories about how we've come to know the Lord in our life. I'm really bummed to have missed the first week of it because Charlotte was still getting over the birthday cold I gave her. I heard a few last week and some brought me to tears. I'm a cry baby anyways though... At the end, our group leader called me out saying she wanted to hear my story next week. I knew I was going to have to share, but that made it a little more real.

For the past week I've laid wide awake in bed thinking about my story. I mostly couldn't get past the idea of sharing something so intimate with a group of (wonderful) women, whom I hardly knew. I wasn't sure how all the events in my life have lead me up to this point, how they've made me who I am. The first few nights I laid awake, I couldn't get past a meek, "I was born and raised in the Catholic Church. I've known the Lord my whole life." But had I? Had I really seen Him in my life and believed He was there? In the moments, no, but looking back, while I lay half awake, yes, I could see He was there. Slowly over the next few nights I pieced my story together and then slaughtered it when it actually came time to present it. Seriously. I cried nearly the whole time and I felt like the whole thing was scattered and didn't make sense. Let's face it, I'm not good at impromptu...

I can't tell you enough how blessed I am to have these wonderful women in my life now. They've really inspired me to be a better person - to be a real Christian, one who knows the Lord, not just about Him. A couple sessions ago we dug into the topic of prayer. It was very enlightening for me and something I need to do more. Being raised in a Catholic church, I was taught prayer after prayer. While they have a purpose, I never really felt like I was connecting the way other people seem to when the pray. At the end of the session, I confessed to the small group I was in, that I didn't know how to pray as they did. Though I knew how to say a prayer, I felt it was different than actually praying. It seems silly, but hearing these lady open in prayer and close in prayer, makes me wish I was articulate like them.

As the study comes to a close in the next few weeks, I'm anxious to see where this path takes me. While at a church retreat with my mother-in-law a few years ago, quite a few of the ladies there prayed for me and with me, and could tell I had a tender soul and that "God has good things planned" for me. So I'm anxious to see where this path takes me!

Saturday, March 14, 2015

Run For the Luck of It: My First Race


I did it! I ran my first race today! I've been wanting to start running again but I haven't had any motivation to do so. I'm hoping to get a few more races in this year - and hopefully they'll be easier than this one! Good grief am I out of shape! I signed up for this race a few days before my birthday, specifically because it's my favorite holiday. What better way to celebrate?! It came with a free beer afterwards, but let's be honest, I was dead tired. 

I was really motivated to start running to get prepared when I signed up, but then I was plagued, yet again, by the dreaded yearly birthday cold. I should have known... Needless to say, my motivation tanked. After I recovered from it, I had just over a week to prepare. Since Charlotte caught the cold after me, there was no way I was going to take her out running with me, so I stuck to the treadmill during naptime. I thought I was doing great - I had my 5k time down to 24:40. Pretty excited about that time! I should have known not to get my hopes up. I know the day before a race is supposed to be a rest day, but after taking a few days off, I thought I better get outside and run, just to see how my treadmill time compares. Turns out it doesn't. It took me around 34:00 minutes to run a 5k around the neighborhood. I was exhausted!
I crawled into bed last night around 8:30 and was so glad to get some rest! But this morning came too soon! Hunter had the flu bug Thursday evening, and we woke up to JP feeling sick. I had asked Perry to drop me off downtown so I wouldn't have to look for parking. And since I was running a little late, there was no way I was going to find parking and make it to the race on time. So JP brought a garbage can for the short drive - and used it. I felt so bad for dragging him out of the house! As soon as Perry dropped me off at the bus station, I re-thought wearing short sleeves. I briefly thought about wearing a long sleeved shirt under it, but it was so nice out when we left...I forgot downtown is a wind tunnel. It was SO COLD. It wasn't too bad when I was running, but that 15 minutes leading up to it I thought I was going to freeze to death. 
 I pushed through and ran the first mile and then it was a combination of running and walking. There was no way I was going to be able to run up the Scott Street bridge in my condition!  I have this problem of making bad deals with myself when I'm tired though... I'll tell you what - kudos to these ^5 young girls^ running the 5k - but there was no way they were going to beat me. I wouldn't have cared so much if they didn't continuously cut me off or walk in a line like this while at the narrowest spots on the course... 
 After the race selfie! I never take these but I figured it might be the only picture I get since my cheering squad was sick at home. Next time... The coolest thing about finishing the race was hearing my name announced right after I crossed.
 Okay, the bagpipers piping me across the finish line were pretty cool too! Nothing reminds me of my wedding quite like bagpipers do! 
These legs are not ready for running! I can barely move now! And to think I have to work this afternoon... Yuck! But at least I got a cool t-shirt out of it!