Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Oreos.

Today Judah learned a very important lesson.


 Oreos are best eaten when dipped in milk.


Mmm....

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Books!

I've been doing quite a bit of reading lately thanks to my kindle and our local library. Here is some of what I've read:

In the middle school/elementary category:
1. 100 Cupboards by N.D. Wilson - I actually read this entire series a few months ago and couldn't put them down. The author is the son of Doug Wilson, a well-known pastor/author. These are such great books full of adventure, drama, and truth. Christian elements are present but not in a cheesy or forced way. I think anyone would enjoy it, but I do think it's an especially great book that boys would enjoy. Here are the second and third books in the series as well.

2. The Girl who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of her own Making by Catherine Valente is another fantasy/quest/adventure story that is somewhat reminiscent of Alice in Wonderland, but in a less creepy and stoned sort of way.

3. the Girl who Ruled Fairyland - for a Little While is a short novel that is a prequel to the previous book and only 0.99 on kindle!

4. The Dragon's Tooth - also by N.D. Wilson - I just finished this book this week and I am also adding it to my list of books that I want to own actual, physical copies of. I loved it and can't wait for the rest of the series to come out. This is another that will be a fun read aloud with Judah in years to come.

Speaking of great read-aloud kid's stories, Did you know that Andrew Peterson has a series of kid's novels out? Called The Wingfeather Saga, these are similar in feel to Nate Wilson's books but even better.  Right now there are three of them, and he plans to write one more. I only mention them here because I was looking back at the blog and couldn't find where I'd ever blogged about them before even though I finished the third one months ago. These are probably the best reading I've done in the last year. (Although The Emperor of Maladies (see below) was outstanding in a totally different way.) Andrew Peterson is super talented because not only did he write the books, he also illustrated them. Writing + singing + guitar + drawing = more talents that one guy should have. Anyway, if you don't get anything else I post about, please, please do yourself a favor and get these.

Regular fiction:
1. Major Pettigrew's Last Stand by Helen Simonson is a fantastic book about family and relationships. I thought it started a bit slow, but I definitely go into it by the end. I had debated about purchasing this for the kindle, but then found it at the library. As much as I enjoyed it, it's not one I'd rush out to buy, unless you can find it used.

2. The Inheritance of Loss by Kiran Desai. Another library find. I stuck it out and finished it, but can't say I really enjoyed it. It won the Booker prize so I thought it would be good, but it was a little too disjointed for me, and then ended without any kind of satisfying resolution.

3. The Tiger's Wife by Tea Obreht -  There are some fantastical elements in this story within a story that I really enjoyed. This was a bit of a slow start, but this would be a good library pick up.

Non-fiction
1. Harry Truman's excellent adventure by Matthew Algeo -  Honestly, I read this one because it was cheap on the kindle. I did learn a lot about Harry Truman (did you know he was the last person to be president who only had a high school diploma?) and the stories of his road trip adventures are somewhat quaint and humorous. The writing left a little to be desired, but it was a fun read.

2. The Emperor of All Maladies by Siddhartha Mukherjee is an incredible biography of cancer - as a disease, in society, treatments, research, etc. As a doctor I thought it was some fantastic medical history, but I think anyone could enjoy it.

3. Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand - The Biography of Louis Zamperini, olympian and WWII POW. An incredible story of survival and finding faith. I'm not normally a big biography person, but this was a great story.


So there you have it. Anyone else read anything good lately? I decided to re-read all the Borrower books since a new movie just came out. As Jeff and I never make it to the movies, I probably won't see it, but I'll enjoy the books regardless.

Quilt update.

Remember that quilt that I started almost 18 months ago? The one I hoped to finish by Judah's first birthday??

I actually got the top finished this week! The pile of fabric has been mocking me long enough so this weekend I decided that I was going to finish it. I realized tonight that I made it a little too long, so I'm going to take off the bottom row. I'll probably use the extras to make a pillow sham or two to go with it. My goal is to have it totally done by his birthday. We'll see if that happens.... Reading the last post I wrote about this quilt makes me wonder about my math skills. Last time I decided I needed 80 (!!) quilt squares total. I can't, for the life of me, figure out where I got that number. Because I actually needed only 48. Perhaps I should have had someone check over my calculation for how many yards of fabric I needed for the back before I ordered it tonight....

I have just realized that although I like the idea of quilting and like the finished product, they take a longer-term commitment to them that I am normally willing to give. I can only work on it for so long before I want to move on to something else. I like sewing, but even more than the actual sewing, I like the actual finishing of the project even more. And quilting means lots of working on something without actually finishing it.

Pictures will be forthcoming. Now that the end is in sight, hopefully I'll have a little more motivation to work on it.

Friday, February 24, 2012

The pinterest files

This week's fun:

1. Cookie dough truffles. I made these for Jeff's valentines present in addition to some Oreo truffles. I think he preferred the Oreo ones, which was fantastic for me since that meant I could eat a few of them. They taste just like raw cookie dough dipped in chocolate, which is another way of saying that you should make them soon.

2. Headbands! I saw this pin, liked what I saw, and within 30 minutes I had two made. Easy project and a great way to repurpose an old shirt. I love the satisfaction of being able to start and finish a project in less than an hour. I will definitely be making more of these.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Backpack!

Pardon the bad photos, but I was so excited about how this project turned out I couldn't wait to post the photos. I realized the other week that our diaper bag is really too big now. Mostly when we go places, all we need are a few diapers, a cup, and maybe a snack trap. Instead of just getting a smaller diaper bag, I decided to make Judah carry his own stuff. I briefly thought about trying to wing this pattern, but when I saw the perfect backpack pattern already made up, I realized that it would be much, much easier just to buy it.

I bought this robot fabric a while back but hadn't found a project I was willing to use it in. Since it's just a quilting weight fabric, I used a medium interfacing and also made a lining for it. The pattern was fabulous. Great descriptions, excellent photos, and she included a few alterations as well - the optional lining and a larger version that will fit an 8.5 X 11 folder. I think I'm going to make the bigger one next.
I love the padded adjustable straps and the tiny handle to hang it by. The only change I made to the pattern was to add a loop of elastic to the inside so we'd have a place to corral his cup.
Although there is one somewhat fussy part - trying to get the sides to pin up evenly with the front and back - I started and finished this project this evening. I will definitely be making this again. Even though I always complain that there are not very many patterns for boys, I am slowly finding the good ones.

Friday, February 17, 2012

Consider.

Today was sort of a tough day. Nothing overwhelmingly bad happened; a variety of things just transpired in such a way that I spent most of the afternoon sad. I really have been doing well lately. I'm feeling good, getting more excited about what our future holds, and finally feeling like I can move past this. Then today rolled around.

The women's bible study I'm a part of is studying the book of James. We're using a Beth Moore study and this is actually the first Beth Moore study I've ever done. (I feel like I'm going to get kicked out of the female evangelical club for saying that, but it's true.) I was sort of rushing to finish all the homework this week since I missed the last two meetings, and didn't really get to appreciate all the great teaching that was there. Since we are spending two weeks of discussion on each week of the study, we have time for plenty of discussion.I was especially thankful today that the other women could point out the nuggets I'd missed in my hurry to get through.

One such nugget was about James 1:2 - "Consider it joy, my brothers, when you face trials of many kinds..." I'd never really thought about that first word - "consider." I guess I had kind of always assumed that I was to feel joyful when I faced trials, but the verse says "consider." It's not about what I feel. It's about what I think. I cannot feel joyful about losing a baby. I can only feel sad. I can meditate, though, on God's goodness to me and remember what the verse says next: "for you know that testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance have its full effect so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything." 

Now that is a hope to cling to.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Valentine's day.


I realize this post is two days late, but hey - I'm working again this week and it's been a long one. Thankfully, I had a light day yesterday and was able to come home early and spend some wonderful time with my two valentines. This cute one here learned an important lesson yesterday - if your hands stay wet for too long your fingers become raisins. He was highly concerned about the wrinkles.


My other valentine ordered some beautiful tulips.

The last few months I have just been so proud of him. He continues to wait on God's timing patiently - much more patiently than I do - while looking for a new job, a task which he has poured a lot of energy into. In spite of the frustrations with our presbytery, he has continued to work to bless our little church even though he is not allowed to do the preaching that he loves. He teaches TWO different bible studies and was recently elected a ruling elder. He also is in charge of our church's search committee and is doing his best to find a good pastor to lead the congregation. I knew when I married him that he was a great guy, but having a front row seat to this trial has made me love and respect him that much more.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Eating

Judah may be on the slower end of the language acquisition, but man - he sure can operate a fork. Yay for fine motor skills!

video

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Sewing!

I love giving handmade gifts. I especially love all the handmade gifts I was able to give this year at Christmas. The downside, though, of so many homemade gifts is that after Christmas my desire to make anything is completely gone. Even if there were occasions that normally would compel me to make something - I just can't. I decided that sometime around the fourth pair of pajama pants I was making on Christmas Eve, my sewing mojo just vanished. I'm happy to say that it's back, though. It walked back into my life this week and bit me. Big time.

This week, I made a knitting needle holder for Jeff's Grandma (just a few weeks late for her birthday), and these two adorable baby dresses - gifts for some new and almost here babies. I decided that I really hope to have a daughter one day because the girl-related sewing just kills me with its cuteness.


Ric-rac hemline! What could be cuter.



Of course, I found the pattern on pinterest. Diaper cover tutorial found here.

Up next? Judah's getting a backpack. I can't wait.

Friday, February 10, 2012

A Few Christmas photos.

With starting back to work right after Christmas and then everything that followed, I never got to post some of our Christmas photos. I had meant to, and then our camera battery was dead and we lost the charger. Several weeks and one new charger later, here they are! In addition to the other handmade gifts that I did, because my whole family was going to be together, I wanted to make matching pajamas for all 4 boys. Because I had to make four sets of whatever I did, I definitely didn't want to do anything too complicated. But I was pleased with how they turned out.


I made some very simple flannel pants and then embellished shirts. The shirt design was one I came up with on my own, and was very simple - three overlapping circles and a bit of ric-rac. Ric-rac makes everything cuter, I've decided. For the pants, I used my favorite tutorial, which is very straightforward and easy. When there are no pockets, zippers, or buttons involved, making pants can actually be very easy.



I do love how all our sweet boys seemed to enjoy their new PJs- and each other - a lot.

Thursday, February 09, 2012

A Judah update.

I feel like Judah is changing so fast these days that if I don't record what he's doing then I won't remember all the really cute things.


1. Talking! He is really starting to talk a lot more. He has started to do this adorable thing when he wants me to hold him where he will stretch his arms up to me and say, "Me-me". The way he holds his arms open so wide and looks up at me just makes me melt every time. Yesterday when I was making dinner, he followed me around saying "up please" for a while before I figured out that's what he was saying. I have been working to get him to say please, so I feel bad that it took me so long to realize that's what he saying. He is getting new words every day and getting better and better at saying the old ones. I love hearing his sweet little voice.

2. Singing! He really loves listening to singing and I'm trying to sing more kid songs around the house with him. "The wheels on the bus" is a favorite, especially because it involves hand motions. He also does this cute thing where he'll open the hymnal we have at home and "sing" along as he turns the pages.

3.  He has really gotten into giving hugs and kisses. I normally ask him for a kiss, but today I was holding him say "I Love You" and he just laid one on me. He is also something of a flirt with the ladies; he will tilt his head to the side and give a really big smile to them. It's adorable.

4. He's also at an age where he loves being tossed onto the bed or couch and will also play the game where he throws himself down onto the bed for quite a while. I'm wondering if he's going to be some kind adrenaline junky.

5. We had our first visit to the dentist today, and I'd say Judah did pretty well. He only screamed while he was laying down on the chair with people poking into his mouth, and stopped at soon as I picked him up. I call that success. We got a good report, though I do need to do a better job brushing the front of his bottom teeth. Teeth normally come in pairs as they erupt in the mouth, and Judah seems to be missing one on the bottom, which I had noticed. The dentist wasn't too concerned about it yet, but it is something to watch. He also has a tight frenum - that little piece of skin that connects the top lip to the top gum right in the middle, which I hadn't noticed. Another thing we have to watch because sometimes they have to be clipped.

6. I just borrowed a little potty from Melanie and went to the library to check out some potty training books. I don't think Judah is quite ready to start, since I tried to get him to sit on it today without a diaper on and he flipped out, but I'd like to start in a few months around his birthday. Our library didn't actually have any good potty training books (??!?) so if anyone out there has any advice or book recommendations, I'm all ears.

Monday, February 06, 2012

A few things.

1. I watched the Super Bowl at my parent's house, which was great. We ate pizza, noodles, and homemade guacamole. Yum. Not that I really cared, but I was glad the NY won. For whatever reason, I just can't cheer for the Patriots. (Although I do like Tom Brady....) I was glad that all my reading of Sports Illustrated really paid off as I got to teach my dad about automatic safeties and knew what college Tom Brady went to.

2. This whole mess with Komen and Planned Parenthood has just made my blood boil at numerous points this week. Reading comments on news stories at places like MSNBC or Slate is definitely a bad idea for a conservative like me. Of course, I am strongly pro-life and the rhetoric against the pro-life community this week has been maddening. (I love how our "unbiased" media writes about "pro-choice" groups and "anti-choice" groups. That's not biased at all.) It seems crazy to me that an anti breast cancer organization would give money to a group that doesn't perform mammograms in the first place.

3. I've been making a photo book on shutterfly this week and have to say that I LOVE the updates they've made. It is now completely customizable - you can change the size of any photos, move them around the page, make text boxes bigger or smaller, as well as add "stickers" that give it a more scrapbook feel. It's an excellent change. I have made numerous books but often felt a little constrained by their design options. Now there are more design options AND you can completely change around what is there as well. The new backgrounds are great, too.

4. I feel like for the most part I am a fairly laid-back mom. There are a few times when I notice that I really get stressed out, though. Although Judah is a pretty good traveler, sometimes in the car he refuses to nap and gets really fussy. Trying to entertain a nearly two year old in the car when he is strapped in and over tired is exhausting. Similarly, when we are at someone else's house and there are few toys and TONS of "no-touches" at toddler eye level, I get frustrated and worn out in a heart beat. Apparently I need to do a better job bringing toys/snacks/entertainment if it seems like there might not be any at our location.

Wednesday, February 01, 2012

Heartbreaking.

I give a lot of bad news. I guess it's par for the course of a hospitalist. I have told people they were dying of cancer. Told loved ones a patient had just passed away. Had countless frank bedside conversations with patients and families about mortality.

Today I had to tell a 38+ week pregnant lady her baby had died. With all my experience giving bad news, that is one piece of bad news I've never had to give before. I got called into her room as the in house ultrasound expert because the residents were having a hard time finding a heart beat. I looked for a long time, and all I could see was a baby that was very still. Too still. And then I told her. She cried; I wanted to hold her and cry along too.

It is easy to think that my struggles are hard until I am given the task of telling someone else devastating news.

I am praying for this family tonight.