Thursday, August 30, 2012

Special Gifts and The Little Men's Room...

As many of you know, months ago, with Israel's arrival fast approaching, we went through a major in home rearrange of bedroom spaces.  7 out of the 8 of us moved to new bedroom spaces to fit everyone. We are all pretty much settled in now with just little projects to finish.  But I never did post a picture of the room we have done for Noah and Israel)the little men in our lives.  So here is the new space.

Noah's Thomas Corner of the world.

We, for the first time in this house, have put their toys in their room.  We do not have a playroom any longer in the basement, but we do have a bit more space in the bedrooms now-so this is pretty fun.  I was so grateful for the wooden shelves we found at a thrift store last year($8 each)  Even better than having to build them ourselves.

And we were so incredibly blessed with this new crib which was a gift from my sister and brother in law.  I am just in love with it.  We received it a little over a week ago and Cole built it for us.  Such a beautiful piece of furniture and it will become a bed for Israel when he is older.

And here is the reality of how the room usually looks;)  See, Noah has really missed sharing a room with Cole- and since Izy is not old enough yet to be in the room with him, Noah has been sleeping in the girl's room.  He does not like being alone.  So, Noah's bed has become the temporary dumping sight for laundry needing to be sorted.  I never have to worry about it being in the way at night if we do not get to it during the day.

And I had to just share this because getting sweet baby gifts are so fun!!  I had ordered some vintage star wars bed linens this week from a friend's shop on etsy(eagerhands).  And with it arrived these sweet little treasures!!  Super cute little onsies and a heavenly soft hat made by her mama!  What a sweet and unexpected surprise!  Thank you!!!  Fun to see how this new little man in our lives is so loved!

Almost 6 weeks old-sniff sniff-it is going to fast!!

Can't Be In Two Places at Once and Peanut Butter Cookie Dough

The week leading up to last Saturday was especially difficult for me in the area of mama-hood.  That stark contrast of stages between high school son and newborn son hit hard in decisions I had to make.  This past year we were blessed with the chance to finally have Cole, our oldest, in football-so it has been especially fun to watch him.  He had spent the year weight lifting in preparation for the football season and the summer has been practice practice practice-but we are now into the football game season.  I had looked forward to this time throughout my entire pregnancy with Israel and knew it would be interesting to be bringing a newborn to watch Cole's football games, but never thought it would actually be impossible, so this last Saturday brought a rude awakening to this mama's heart!  Cole's first game was this past Saturday, and unfortunately with a husband as a youth pastor, it fell on a weekend that Matt had a retreat for the Jr Highers at church, which left me needing to make the trip by myself.  When the reality of this trip began to sink in-2 hours away-4 little kids by myself(one being only 5 weeks old)-no place to really nurse the babe-and then mid 90's and no shade-I spent the week telling myself a great mom could make it work-so figure it out Amanda!  But that just didn't change reality and I finally had to make a very hard decision that for as much as I am Cole's mom, I am also Israel's mom and going just was not possible.  I wept when I finally told Cole and he just smirked at me and said "I know mom, it's O...K..." I would not have wrestled so if I knew Matt would be there, but I felt so strongly that at least one of us should be there to cheer him on, be there in case he got hurt etc. And I simply wanted him to feel I was just as attentive to him as I am to our new little babe.

So Saturday arrived, first I saw Matt and Madi off to the retreat at 6 am and then I saw Cole off to his game at 7:30 just went on without me for the 2 older kiddos.  I went about my daily care of the little ones, but I will admit, it was a bad day.  I was weepy, withdrawn, and ate about a pound of peanut butter cookie dough and drank a 2 liter of Mt dew "DEALING" with the reality of not being able to be in 2 places at once.  Feeling that there had been no good decision in this matter.  And sometimes, that is simply life-it is not always going to work out "perfectly" the way we think we are promised.  Sometimes we are going to have to let go of the "ideas" that we have created about what the perfect mom is.  And if we don't do that, it will actually hurt our kiddos in the long run.  Hopefully my children will struggle less with the ideas of what good parents are and the false ideas we all create, because they have watched Matt and I work these things out.

The blessing about Cole's game, my dad went to see him play, so he was not alone!  And for a dad with 3 daughters, watching his grandson play football was pretty special and I am glad for that bond.  Even better, Cole's team won!  But now it is my turn-this Saturday I will be going with the entire family to see Cole play-for this I am very excited!!

Monday, August 20, 2012

4 Weeks Old Today...

Hard to believe he is already 4 weeks old today.  He continues to bless us with a sweet disposition.  Growing each day and becoming more aware of his brothers and sisters.  We are loving how alert he is becoming.  We continue to praise the Lord for His gift of life and how wonderfully made Israel is.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Just a Few Bits and Bobs...

Time to sit down and put my feet up-they actually ache today.  I think my knees and feet are having a difficult time adjusting to me being back to my normal self-for the most part.  At first I was so confused as to way they would hurt now-now that I have had Israel, now that I am actually lighter than before I got pregnant(thanks to being so very sick), now that I am over 3 weeks out from his birth. And then it dawned on me, for most of the pregnancy, I was on my feet very little-so they are simply readjusting to normal life.  Funny! But for now, I am going to share a bit about my day and hopefully pass on some fun little ideas.

Since Israel's birth, I have been able to help so much more with the kitchen, food, cooking,etc.  And that means especially helping to keep food from going to waste.  With a family of 8, our fridge can be so overwhelming, trying to fit everything.  All to often, things will go to waste simply because they get covered up or "lost" amongst everything.  One thing that is new to us in the past few weeks is having a second frig.  We were blessed by a family in our church when they moved and gave us our second frig.  I cannot even begin to explain how wonderful it has been!  We could only shop for a few days at a time because we could not fit all of the food for a week.  Now I can plan for much more at a time and cook extra to freeze-the timing of this is amazing!

Here is one good thing that has come out of that struggle to keep food from being wasted.  Fruit goes like crazy around here!  But every once in awhile a mostly eaten container will get lost in the frig and start to go bad.  Unfortunately by the time I find it, it may not be bad, but the kids wrinkle their faces at it because it isn't quite fresh anymore.  So I began taking those little bits of fruit to my food processor to puree and then throw in the freezer for later uses.  On those days when the pantry seems barren, they can add a little something extra to vanilla ice cream, or are a perfect throw in for a milk shake.  They are also fabulous for making yummy fruit popsicles!  This is what i did just today.  I saved some stray strawberries and made blueberry yogurt popsicles with some berries I had frozen last week.

 I just store the blended up berries in a freezer bag.

 This is what I use for the popsicles(along with a bit of sugar) I use just plain yogurt which is always good to have around!
 Blueberries, yogurt and a few tsp of sugar. I put it in a bag and clip the corner of it for mess-less easy pouring.
 And then wait for them to chill!  Yummy!

And we have finally gotten our living room back to normal after the construction in our basement.  It was so crowded up here during those months, and now it is relaxing and quiet again.  it is also baby central now:), which I love. 
Took a break from sewing today and spent some of that time cooking with the younger kiddos, trimmed Joslyn's hair, organized a few things desperately in need of it, and went about the normal daily tasks with an easy pace.  I am definitely ready for my pillow though!

New Addition...

This time, "new addition" is not referring to our super cuddly newest little guy;).  It is actually about a new item I am going to be adding to the shop through the next few weeks.  I have made these for our kiddos in the past few years as a special treat for their birthdays.  These crowns are wonderful for replacing the throw away party hats that you mind as well just open your wallet up and dump the money straight in the garbage for!  That always killed me, a whole 5 minutes of wear after each year the kids deciding those horrible rubber bands that went around their necks,  were too uncomfortable and painful and the hats they just loved in the store, were tossed.  These crowns have been a wonderful new tradition around here in the recent years and they are a keepsake the kids can have from their childhood. 

The crowns are made from recycled fabrics-they are quilted-reversible-and have an elastic band in the back to allow for comfort fit.  This is the first crown added to the shop-more to come.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Already 3 Weeks..

It is going too fast, like I knew it would.  Trying to soak in all of these moments and burn them in my memory. 

Sunday, August 12, 2012

The First and Last...

I had wanted to share this picture days ago, but I had to keep it secret until today since Matt was using it in his sermon this morning.  We are just treasuring the variety God has blessed our life with.  I would have a hard time choosing a favorite stage of raising children-each stage comes with such unique and profound gifts.  Love that I have teenagers to sit and discuss deeper things with, but love that I can also do that while cuddling and rocking a newborn. And all the stages we have in between that as well.  Thank you Lord!

Friday, August 10, 2012

Blue Skies...

Was up early this morning with the wee one and didn't feel like crawling back into bed, so I finished the quilting on this baby quilt-Blue Skies.  I started putting this quilt together a year ago, and when we found out we were having a boy, I thought maybe I would keep it for him.  But I had a few other ideas for him that i went with instead, so this fun quilt was finished for the shop.  I was able to make this out of scraps from my scrap bins(which is always so much fun!)  It is a combination of recycled clothing, linens, and scrap quilting fabric. The quilt is a large baby quilt measuring 44x50 inches.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

This Week's Work In Progress...

Just a few glimpses at this week's quilting work in progress...

A few minutes here and a few minutes there-pure relaxation.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Life is So Good...

I have always loved the first weeks after our babies have been born.  Of course there are difficult adjustments and sleep doesn't come easy making emotions sway up and down, but for the most part, those emotions even are something I cherish.  Fierce love for this new little one that can make me weep as I hold him in the quiet of the night.  Innocent tears of weariness that come from a new sleep pattern being established, a powerful renewed devotion and love for my older children that comes from reminders of when they were so tiny and new. A bit of sadness at the complete awareness of just how fast time goes and how little time we have where they are ours, even more so this time as my oldest only has a few years left with us.  Fear of loss which can make it difficult to rest my eyes at night but it also brings such a deep need to know the Lord and trust His plan.  These first weeks seem peaceful to me, we move slower as a family, we observe life in it's smallest form together and bond over this new adventure that has changed our family profoundly. Troubles seem smaller in comparison to the joy of this new little guy, letting things wait until tomorrow seems like the right thing to do.

This time even brought continued construction on our bedroom only days after Israel was born.  Our bedroom was finished on Friday afternoon, we moved our bed and a chair in right away and an hour later, Matt's mom and Dad arrived in from MN to meet Israel, but somehow, there has still been quiet moments and rest.

Israel is doing wonderful, he is such a joy and such an easy going baby.  He doesn't mind the kids kissing and holding and touching even a bit.  They each seem to be able to soothe him in their own special way.  He is a week old as of yesterday.  Seems like a lifetime ago already that we were off to the hospital.

For those of you who have followed along with the changes in our house, I thought it would be fun to share our finished new bedroom.  Matt and I are overjoyed to have our own bedroom!  No more spidery dark basement nook to rest our eyes in at night, this new room is absolutely one of the best and most humbling gifts we have ever received!!  God is so good and we are so blessed!!

My mom is such a gifted crocheter and has blessed us over and over with her beautiful work.  I was beyond thrilled when she brought this blanket for Israel that she had made.  It is all white-which is something I absolutely love!!  For as much as I love color-which is not hard to tell when you walk in my front door or see the projects i am working on-I adore the simplicity of white.  But white is not the best for 6 kiddos amongst these beloved walls:).  So, a baby blanket in white works-and it is a true heirloom piece!!  Here is Israel sleeping next to me as I finally have sat down to the sewing machine since having him.  Think he is used to the sound of the whirring machine?

 Since our bedroom is finished in the basement, we have been able to start moving our family room back down there.  Oh my, have we missed this space!!  I gave up my studio space to be able to build downstairs, but I do still have some space to work in that is right in the family room.  My table is less than half the size it used to be, BUT!  I have changed quite a bit of how I work over the past nine months and it has prepared me to really enjoy enjoy this change.  I like the size of the table more now-it is easier to work on things from all sides.  I also like being right in the midst of the kids as I work and they play.

Here is my new work buddy!  I had always desired a Moses basket, but this is the first time I have had one.  I found it thrifting before I had gotten sick with the pregnancy-such a fun find.  It is great for the limited space we have.
We have not moved everything back into the family room, but the kids are having a great time with getting this space back. Board games, wii games, art....ah, so needed.
This afternoon while Israel slept and the kids played, I decided to sit down at the machine to finish a few projects.

I finished a fabric basket to keep at the changing table with all of the essentials. The nice thing is that I can easy grab it if I need it in another room.  I have one of these in our bedroom as well for in the wee hours of the night.

I was able to quilt this floor quilt for Israel as well.  I loved working with solids on this one.  Fun to look at.  Just need to bind it now.

Life is so good!!