Friday, January 16, 2015

Finished Project!

Yay! I finally took a picture of my most recent Finished Project!!

And, I finally have a Finished Project logged in on my Ravelry page, heehee. I was beginning to think I was only going to use it to store things I'd really like to make, but never end up having the time to while I still have little ones of my own! Though I will happily make things for grandbabies! This is the  pom-pom scarf with hoodie by Mon Petit Violon. It was really a super easy pattern, and I just love it! Fortunately, so does Mia!

I'm so glad I remembered this and was able to make it while the weather is plenty cold!
I still need to give it a wash and trim up the pom poms a bit. I'm also making a small one for one of her dolls, but I actually had to go buy another skein of the yarn - I was so sure I still had one floating around somewhere, but no. I remember buying this yarn, knowing she loved pink  and thinking this particular pink would look rather lovely on her, and it does! I laughed when I first came across the pattern, because the one made up for it is about this color, too.

Speaking of rather lovely, Baby Alaina (as she's referred to around here) has started laughing out loud! She's a little hoot. She's already two months old, and her poor mama is gaining her firsthand knowledge at the Bittersweet thing motherhood is, and how fast they grow!

Can you believe those cheeks?
How's that for a short and sweet post? I didn't think I was really capable of such a thing, heehee!

Saturday, January 10, 2015

December. Part Two.

We're almost halfway through January, and I'm still getting caught up on December! That is exactly where our lives are right now. We're still cleaning up Christmas. I'm sorting again, every year getting packed away more efficiently, which I love. I will never have Christmas sorted room by room. I used to hope I would, then realized I don't decorate exactly the same every year, so it is pretty impossible. 
Amelia turned three on December 20, which has been incredibly bittersweet for me. She may well be our last baby, and even though I'm at a place in life where I'm *almost* ready to be done with having babies, I'm still sad over the idea of no more toddlers of my own!  I adore my little granddaughter, but she isn't *mine*.  I love where our life is this very moment, and wish I could put life on pause.  We have kids from 3 to 22, the two oldest have wonderful "significant others", and there is a very, VERY sweet grandbaby. *sigh* Getting on with Mia's birthday (she is now sitting on my lap singing "Happy Birthday"!). She currently loves rainbows and the only birthday cake at Costco was this rainbow cake. Perfect! We kept things extremely low-key, as we were already staying only barely caught up for Christmas! We got her some new Lincoln Logs and a doctor's kit. We had grandma and grandpa over for cake and coffee. At three, she's still a bit confused by having her birthday so close to Christmas.

I had been reading Thrifty Decor Chick's blog, when I saw this post. I specifically saw this snowman and knew we could make our own. David was in bed behind me, saw the same snowman and thought the same thing. I found this guy, too. We had leftover plywood in the garage, so he cut the shape out, then I painted him and gave him eyes and holly. I am very happy to have a treat/project/activity/little pieces -free advent calendar! He is easy to put up, easy to use. This year Owen moved his carrot nose first thing every morning.

 Every year we load up our van and drive around looking at lights. I only took a few pictures. The first house was set to music, which is fun to look at, but I'm so glad they aren't my neighbors! The lit up tractor was across the street from them. I just LOVED it, not sure why, but I did! We drove through town, up to the Column, which is strung up like a tree every year (you ever want a dizzying workout, that ginormous spiral staircase will do it! I'm always petrified to have small children up there. I haven't been up it in...hmm...a Very Long Time). The middle house is ours. We have never had lights on our actual house, only the fence. We started small, as poor hubby is no more fond of heights than I am, and he had to rebuild the porch this past summer, which required a lot of Being Up High.  I laughed pretty hard the first time I went out at night and saw our lights. You see, David has a Thing for Mandalorians (Star Wars - like this, for example). Our house looked like a Mando Helmet! The next house is my brother in law's. They went really big this year, even using a cherry picker to get those lights up! That blow up dinosaur was huge!!

Last year we "officially" declared a family tradition of Watching A Christmas Story and having Chinese Food for Christmas Eve dinner.  I really love it, as it gives us something to rely on that is pretty effortless while making last minute preparations and wrapping the last of the gifts. I thought for sure I'd be in bed early this year, but no. Alan was wonderful and stayed up so late helping with the gift wrapping. Even though we don't give each child a ton of gifts, when you have many children and they only add to the family, you still end up with a ton of gifts to wrap!  I'm hoping to eventually add to the traditions and have new pj's for all, but this year only the younger ones got in on new pj's.    Emma has been desperately desirous of footie pajamas. Because she's going to be ten next month, and the wish for something sweetly childish won't last much longer, I splurged and ordered her some from Land's End. I presented them to her Christmas Eve, along with a pair of Pink Christmas pj's I'd found for Amelia at Goodwill. Owen wore some Sock Monkey Christmas pj's that we've had for a few years. I'd bought two pairs at Goodwill a few years ago for Emma and Owen, but she'd grown out of hers and he grew into them. Mia will fit into his old ones next year. They had a lot of fun posing and being silly. Emma's footies are red and white polka dots, but not actually Christmas ones, so she can wear them pretty much year round, weather permitting. I didn't take too many pictures on Christmas, though it was a really nice day - probably because it was such a nice Christmas. I made a ham and a turkey, and they both turned out very yummy. I don't personally care to have turkey on Christmas, a month after Thanksgiving, but I have a couple ham-haters. Also, since we have been eating Thanksgiving dinner at my parent's, we don't end up with leftovers, so this way we do. Scott and Cecilia both liked the scarves I made them, and Scott is generally wearing his anytime I run into him at the store (btw, it's kind of a weird thing to run into your grown child at the store. You chit chat, then you're like, "Umm, bye." It feels like they should still hop into your vehicle and ride home with you, lol).  We actually didn't make our Christmas cookies until a couple days after Christmas. We just hadn't had the time. We did make a ton of cake balls to send into work with David. I'd unintentionally started the tradition many years ago,but had been unable to make them  the last few years. I have to package them separately according to shifts, and if someone has the day off when they come in, too bad! I almost made an extra batch for those who had missed out, but caught myself before setting another precedent! Rachel and Martae came back a few days after Christmas for another visit - that's the last pic in the collage. My oldest girl snoozing with her own girl and my youngest girl. Amelia is beyond in love with her little niece! Well, I think I've pretty well covered our Christmas. To sum things up, I felt like I was rushing the whole month to get things done, we did miss Christmas Eve service at church, but had wonderful family time with my growing family. I adore Winter, I wish we had snowy winters, but I like the cold rainy season we have, too. I love the early nights and am always a bit sad to see the days begin stretching out. I miss blogging regularly, and having time to get around other blogs; meeting more bloggers. David will be changing shifts in February - either swing shift if he gets a promotion he's put in for (he interviewed for it today, prayers, please!), or day shift if he doesn't get it. Either way, I *should* have time to blog more. Swing shift in summer isn't helpful, too much outside to get done, but swing shift in winter is fairly conducive to blogging, as well as making things to blog about. I did finish the project I mentioned before, and plan on posting about it tonight or tomorrow.

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

December. part one

Christmas, as usual, came and went too quickly for our taste! We are still enjoying the holidays, but I get terribly sad at how fast it goes. I so love the atmosphere, decorations, cheesy movies, baking, gifting, excited children, fun activities, etc. Because David is still on graveyard shift - which I have come to realize is the attempted murderer of Christmas - I haven't gotten to blog at all. By the time he is awake for a bit in the afternoon I am too busy with the family to do it, then by the time he leaves for work, I am both too tired, and this year, too busy still! He worked late today and is due home any minute, so I'll try to be quick about sharing a bit of our holiday. 

Starting the month off, our Parks and Rec put on an event with free roller skating, meeting Santa, and caroling downtown to the annual Lighting. We didn't take part in the caroling, which would have been fun, but the weather became so cold! We were not dressed for it and had already planned to take the kids to dinner after. This was the first time roller skating for our kids, and they had a marvelous time! I have been vaguely aware the old skating rink had been hosting some skating, but apparently it is a regular thing now. It will be fun to take the kids again. I wasn't sure how the kids would do with meeting Santa, but Amelia marched right up to him and stuck her hand out for a shake! Emma deemed herself too old to get in on the picture, but later wished she had. Poor thing, sometimes being almost 10 isn't fun. So quickly heading to the not-quite-a-girl-not-quite-a woman age. The dress Amelia is wearing in these photos actually used to be my oldest daughter, Rachel's! I can't believe I still have it.

This was our first year to cut our own tree down at a local tree farm. It was a lot of fun, and has been determined to be an official family tradition. All trees, no matter the size, are $25. I loved the more natural shape of the tree compared to the douglas fir we usually purchase at Fred Meyer. The branches were much sturdier, too. I still love our old trees, but I really loved this one! There was another family there with their five kids, who all hopped right on to the back of David's truck. The kids had fun chit chatting a bit while dad paid for the tree. The picture of Martae and Rachel is a little misleading, as that pic is of them with her dad, while they got their tree, but I just love the picture of the three of them, and it fit in with the collage, haha. Rachel has recovered from having that super sweet baby amazingly. 

We took a picture of the kids to send with our cards - it can be tricky getting five kids to all smile (normally - not like a crazy person), and turned out to be impossible with a dog this year, oh my!!! We went with the center one, and maybe the dog will do better next year. We don't even bother to try to include our kitties!!

We've had a bit of craftiness this year, with some wintery crafts planned for today. I spent many a night knitting until 3 in the morning, trying to finish up. I still have a blanket I'm finishing for Rachel and Martae. The top scarf I'm "modelling" is a "Gru" scarf for my son, Scott. The other scarf I'm wearing is a stripey Doctor Who scarf for Scott's girlfriend, Cecilia. I am sure I picked the two longest scarves I could have! Emma started knitting on a loom, and loves it. As she watched me knit, she really wanted to give it another go, but I knew I just didn't have the time to teach her and finish presents. I realized I don't have a non-silly picture of her with it, and she gave it to a friend of hers. Still, I think it's a cute picture. I was inspired by Marion to make the reindeer cards. Everybody contributed their thumbprint, though I had to instruct David that I did NOT want a jail-style, rolled thumbprint, hahaha!!! He had done exactly that when I gave him a practice piece of paper, too funny.  At the bottom of each I wrote, "Merry Christmas from the Hillard Herd". I want to do one just to frame, they turned out so great! I made my grandbaby her first Christmas dress. I wish I could have had her here to size it to, but it still turned out nicely. She's just so darn tiny!! Patterns always run big for newborns. We made some play "snow" for the kids. Amelia's got her feet in the last bit of it. Messy, but a lot of fun. It's just three cups of baking soda with a half cup of cheap hair conditioner, and it feels cold. I buy baking soda by the bag at Costco, so I will make them a bigger batch next time, but it was so much fun for them. They played with mini lalaloopsy dolls, vehicles, little people, and I don't know what else. Emma made a little winter diorama. The three youngest made cotton ball wreath that we sprinkled with fake snow and glitter, and have only just hung now that we're slowly packing Santa away. We will keep all the winter things out as long as possible, this is my favorite time of year!

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Taking the Bad with the Very Good

(The Bad)

Know what this is? Yup. Heartbreak in the form of half a head of my daughter's beautiful hair. Little Stinker climbed the toilet and felt around on the shelves, knowing the hair cutting scissors were there, supposedly out of her reach. No. Such. Thing.

 She may appear remorseful in this picture, but she isn't. She was looking into the cd she was holding, she is actually Quite Unrepentant!

I can sort of hide it in a skimpy ponytail, but will have to thin the other half out, too!! (And yes, I need to clean my house! I have stuff stacked all over the place, ugh!!)
 (The Very Bad) 

This happened in a storm yesterday to my poor daughter. Just when they lost their car insurance, too. I won't go into all their personal details, but Tillamook, Oregon is NOT  a friendly place for black people. That racism still exists just blows me away. I guess it shouldn't, stupid does exist everywhere. Martae is applying for a Corrections Deputy position up here, please be praying he does well on his testing and gets the job! It is a good job, it is what my husband does, and I've been able to stay home with our kids, which I am so thankful for.

Fortunately there is still this (The Very Good):

Having Sweet Dreams!
 Beautiful baby girl!

 Her eyes are open more and more. She is also quite full of smiles already.

Just how she was in mommy's tummy!

Already a week old! The time has only just begun to fly for mom and dad!
Alaina is such a beautiful little girl and I will freely admit that one of the benefits to Martae becoming a deputy up here would be getting to see this little girl grow up! I do feel sympathy for his mom, she is all the way over in Chicago. Off for some grocery shopping before I get back home to clean and get ready for church tomorrow. We've been absent from there for what feels like forever - I'll go into that later, hahaha.

Sunday, November 16, 2014

She's Here!

My granddaughter was born yesterday, Nov 15! She's super tiny, 6 lbs even, 18 1/2" long! It was a little tricky getting pictures in the weird hospital lighting, but here's a few for now. Rachel did really well, and looks wonderful. They're at home now, enjoying time as a new family, visitors checking out the new baby. We'll host an open house in a few weeks, so friends and family up here can see her. I was so happy we were actually all healthy, so we were able to go down the same day! I'm so paranoid after all the illness/pinkeye stuff we had last year, hahaha! I don't remember if I said before, but her name is Alaina (Rachel's middle name is Alain) Christine (Martae's mom's middle name is Christina). Daddy is super excited. Well, off to pick up #1 son's girlfriend from work, but I was antsy to share our grandbaby news!

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Cold Weather and Some Finished Projects for Grandbaby!

David burning our summer collection of burnables in our overgrown backyard.

So thankful for this wood stove!!

First doughnuts of Fall - such a good recipe!

Cold weather always means bringing my old Little People out!

Recovered car seat for grandbaby!

After realizing poor hubby must be working overtime, I also realized I should sneak in a bit of a post! Our weather has finally gotten cold, after a rather warm (record making, even!) Fall. We never did gather firewood over the summer, so we had to make a mad search for some. We ended up finding some that came with a guarantee of swift delivery, but we certainly paid the price for it! I'll admit I was a bit teary and fussy, though mostly kept it to myself, the night before. The man brought it out in a dump truck, which thrilled the kids to bits,  Mia, especially. They had so much fun watching it dump all that wood out! After loading a bunch of it, we are extremely grateful that it appears to be a very generous cord of wood, unless we've just been getting shorted in the past, hahaha! Mostly, I am very thankful to have had the money in the bank to cover it. We have had years that we would not have had it. We are very hopeful to get a new furnace next year, but that's been a hope for many years now. Something Else is always good at showing it's face, needing the money! I am very thankful to have that wood stove, even when we do have a furnace, we plan to keep the heat fairly low and supplement with wood heat. The thing I look forward to most with having a furnace again is a warm bathroom! Our house is old and not insulated. Still, as we read our way through the Little House on the Prairie series, I am reminded to also be thankful that our bathroom is in the house!
With the cold, we've made our first batch of doughnuts for the year, I'll share the recipe later, when I've had time to find it again (groan). They were sooo good. I made three batches the first day - one with egg replacer (worked perfectly!) for my oldest son and his housemates. Scott is not a doughnut eater, but even he raved over these. The other batch went to work with David, and we ate the third! We went through a couple  more batches, then decided maybe we didn't really need doughnuts daily, heehee.
Rachel may be getting induced today, I'm anxiously awaiting. She's an hour and a half away, and I keep feeling like I should be there, hovering, which would actually drive us both batty. Neither of us are the type to want people - even family- around during these kinds of things. I can remember when I was in labor with her and my in-laws kept hovering around. I was hissing at her dad "GET THEM OUT OF HERE!!! I DON'T WANT THEM HERE!! I CAN'T FOCUS UNTIL THEY LEAVE!!!" My mom was with my when I had my first baby, and I couldn't stand her being there! I only want baby's dad with me. Funny thing is, I don't care how many strangers are there! Have a new nurse? Bring her in!  Have a class of med students who want to see what's going on? Bring 'em in! Have a group of people just curious about birthing babies? Bring 'em in! Back to the point of this paragraph, I had told Rachel not to worry about a car seat, I still had Mia's and she could have it. It's good til 2017 and it has the kind of handle we both prefer. She wasn't crazy about the neutrality of it, so I offered to recover it for her. I found the perfect fabric for it and am so happy with how it turned out! The trim was already a light grey, so I was able to reuse a few pieces. I also finished the blanket I crocheted for baby! I used a Red Heart acrylic, which isn't my favorite, but at the time that who had the right colors. I am actually amazed at how soft it is, after washing it! I still have the car seat, when I got it out of the closet, a strap was missing!! I've ordered new ones for her, which she deserves, anyway, but we've been stressed about how she's going to get that baby home from the hospital. Turns out she's got a regular size car seat in her car for a little boy she babysits, she just didn't realize until we were talking last night that they can be used for newborns, too. What a huge relief! Well, this is a bit rushed, but I'm glad to have had a bit of time for it, though sorry for the lack of sleep poor David is getting!

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Baby Shower

 David worked a 12 hour, midnight to noon shift, so he gets off work in ten minutes. I realized I should take advantage, and write up a quick post! Graveyard shift is the hardest time for me to blog, as our computer is in our bedroom! In an old farmhouse like ours, you've just got to make things work where they work, and this is where it ended up and works best.  I really, REALLY miss my laptop. I don't remember if I've said before, but only days after we got it back from having the screen replaced, Owen came running out after getting hurt and slammed it into a cup of milk as he threw himself on me. So. I hosted my daughter's baby shower, which, being done by me, during this particular project finishing time, means complete chaos the days leading up to the big day. I warned her that the sewing area would not likely be clean and nice, I was only willing to stash so much that I would have to pull out again. Of course I wish I'd gotten so much more done, but there are only so many hours in a day. I had scheduled just a short party, Rachel and I neither one really enjoy baby showers,'s her first baby, so ya gotta! After a late night, I had given myself the hour between 1 and 2 to finish last minute things. At twenty to one, I was still not dressed, my mom was going to be over shortly to help, and Rachel was already there - looking at me rather oddly. I said something like, "I know, I've still got too many things to finish, but my mom's coming at 1 to help. We should be ready by 1:30 for those who come early". She says, "Mom, the invitations say this thing starts at 1:00". My eyes bug out, I run to the computer, and sure enough! How on earth did I push this an hour later in my brain?!? I throw my clothes on, my husband's aunt, cousin and niece are already walking up the walkway! Fortunately we were close enough to "finished" to just chuck a couple snacks out the window, figuratively speaking. I got very few pictures, but everyone really did have a wonderful time, there was plenty of good food, good things to drink, no games (we both really don't like baby shower games, though I have played a couple fun ones in the past), just lots of catching up with family and friends. We ended up with my son, Rachel's best guy friend (we used to think they would end up together!), and Martae at the shower.

This is my favorite picture. Martae is so excited to be a dad. I just love the smile on his face! He really enjoyed all the clothes, books and baby stuff they received. My mom and I went together and bought their crib, though I need to get a mattress still! Because we're weirdos, the car seat I had for Mia is still plenty new, and has the kind of handle Rachel likes, so she gets that. I'm going to be doctoring up the cover today, so the colors match hers. 

This is my Mother in Law. I was so happy she was able to come, her health has not been the best and she has been mostly housebound for quite a while. Without going into weird family details, that is my nephew  behind her, and that is the first time they've gotten to meet! That is my oldest kid on the couch, Scott.

These are a couple of the baby related projects I'd (almost) finished, and used for the party. The fabric ones are still a little loosey-goosey because we've managed to misplace my staple gun. The baby's room is being done in lavendar, gray, and white, with jungle animals. I have a bunting that I was attaching to bias tape when Rachel pointed out my timing error, so it got thrown into my bedroom! I'll finish that today, too. I've got to get all these baby things done for her, though she's realizing the baby really won't be in her room much for a while. I really would like them done so I can move onto holiday fun projects! I'm already pushing that, time-wise, as it is!! Good grief, every year seems to fly faster than the year before. I'm so excited for my daughter, that first baby is such a sweet time, she'll get to be a mommy this Christmas!