Wow, I really suck at this blog thing. We have just been so busy that I find myself writing far more "catch-up" posts, than real posts. Prepare yourself for a jumble of information that is in no particular order. I do have a few quilt related posts to enter, but first let me post about Christmas...
This is the first Christmas ever...EVER...that I have been without Jakey. It has been pretty hard. It is all I can do to not call him incessantly. Instead of the mom-call-apalooza, I have settled for texting regularly and a few "face-times" thrown in for good measure.
My sweet, 13-year old Jake also met another milestone. For the first time, he flew across our country, unaccompanied. Holy cow! I can't think of one thing that was harder as a mother to do, than to watch my 13 year old man-boy board a plane alone and watch it leave the gate. My heart. Ugh.
But, I digress. He is having a great time with his new little brother and his dad and he'll be home soon. So, that makes me happy.
Here he is walking through LAX like he owns the place. As we were going through TSA, I reminded him of the time (before 9/11) that we were flying home (or perhaps back) and he was carrying a lunchbox full of his hot wheels. When the lunchbox went through the x-ray machine, the security had the strangest look on his face. I explained what the heap of metal was and he had to see it for himself. We had a good laugh over that.
We had such a busy holiday that I didn't get a lot of pictures this year. (Crazy, huh?) I do have a digital version of our Christmas card to share. This year, I made a flip book that included a stack of eight photos printed on card stock. It turned out fairly kitschy and cute. :)
The kids were cooperative; however, I wasn't feeling well so I didn't stick around to get the best photos.
Also, we were very sneaky this year and actually caught some photos of the fat man as he dropped off his Christmas booty!
Once in the front room....
AND we caught him again in the family room...
Apparently, we have been very nice this year. OR the right kind of naughty. I'm just sayin'.
Merry Christmas to you and yours. I hope that your holidays were beautifully blessed. :)
Ok, I am pretty sure that I have already posted a picture of this quilt, but I am unable to find it. If my memory serves me correctly (which it probably isn't,) I posted the quilt top and not the finished/quilted project. So, in the spirit of catching up, I want to post the finished product.
Just a little reminder...
My friendship group exchanged snowman blocks earlier this year.
In case you are unfamiliar with a block exchange, let me give you a quick explanation. Each member of the group completed eight of the same blocks. (The only requirement was that they had a snowman included. There were no size or style parameters.) So, when we met to exchange the blocks, we gave away all save one of our blocks and then received seven different blocks (one from each of the other members) that we could use to create our friendship quilt. In order to complete the quilt, I created one more block to have an "even 9" (quilters will probably understand that...others probably not.)
So, here is my little sweetie:
This is one of the four quilts that I entered in the Fallbrook Quilt Show. It was great to have them lined up with other quilts from my friendship group. I think that I took some photos at the show, let me see if I can rummage them up.
Well, shucks, I think I may be missing someone's quilt. We didn't all enter them, but I thought more did. Below are photos of my quilt, along with Sue's and Linda's.
These were super-fun to create and will always have a special place with my Holiday quilts. :)
On the first day of fall, I am happy to present a quilt with which you can get downright snuggly!
The quilt is made of flannels with some chenille thrown in for good measure. I bought this kit at Road to California Quilt Show. My friend, Linda, and I couldn't quit gushing over how fun this quilt was. The pieces of black simply make the quilt striking! (That is my sweet hubby holding the quilt for me, sporting his head full of curls and no shoes.)
It is, by far, the easiest quilt I have pieced together. What could be easier than piecing square blocks together???? The only issue was in the quilting. It was nearly impossible to quilt over the chenille due to its bulkiness. I simply quilted around those blocks and then just used an old school tack with embroidery floss. Problem solved!
For the back, I used a flannel that I bought on clearance at the Quilter's Cottage. (I got it for a steal!)
The kids love this one! It has been getting much use and I see that it will continue to be a favorite.
After walking my students to the front of the school yesterday afternoon, I returned to my classroom to find that there was no power. The kids and I waited a few minutes to see if it was a quick interrupt of power or something larger. Well, I think that we know the answer to that, now. Apparently, all of San Diego County and parts of surrounding counties were affected by an unprecedented power outage.
Regardless of our perceived plight, my family had one of the best nights! Around dusk, we took a long drive on one of our favorite roads. (Sleeping Indian from Oceanside to Fallbrook is this amazingly circuitous road that Rene loves to ride on his road cycle, but it is also fun to drive. Sidenote: He actually hit 52 mph on one of the downhills. I don't even like going down the hill going 50 in my Odyssey.)
We laughed and played games by candlelight and it was pretty fabulous! There was a spirited game of charades. We made shadow puppets by flashlight. It was nice to be able to enjoy each other without other distractions.
After the youngest kiddos had gone to bed, Jake and I sat on the front porch and read by candlelight and Rene enjoyed a little nappy.
Close to nine o'clock, the whir of power startled us all. It was almost as if it had broken the magical spell of quiet.
We did, however, get an unexpected surprise. During the outage, all San Diego County public schools had canceled schools on Friday.
Except when it simply threatens to fall and it doesn't. Today was such an odd day, but absolutely beautiful. The cloud cover and breeze were such a fun change of pace. Things have been so hectic, recently. Between our last minute summer "daycations," Vegas, my sister coming to visit, and getting ready for school to start, I feel like we have been whirling dervishes. Of course, I wouldn't want it any other way, but it can get a bit chaotic. Heck, just getting the four kids out of the house might be considered a feat of strength. :)
So, without further delay, here is the next quilt I have to share. I titled this quilt "Bloom Where You are Planted." This quilt is the result of a block exchange with my Cabin Fever Friendship Group.
When we were on our last retreat to Idyllwild, Marian suggested that we each complete a raw-edge appliqué flower block to exchange with our members. The fun thing about raw-edge is that the edges will "rag" up when the quilt is washed. (Marian completed her blocks for everyone before we left that weekend!) Since I have never attempted raw-edge appliqué, my interest was piqued.
I decided to use poppies as my flowers in a little galvanized steel water can.
(Sorry that the picture is such crap.) When I received the other blocks, I realized that I was going to have a pretty big void. I thought that I might do an embroidery block with a quote, but struggled to find a quote that was apropos.
Instead, I chose to create another block (oversized) to fill the space.
(I love the way that this picket fence turned out.)
I wanted to add sashing between all of the blocks and then bordered them with a green floral that I used on a previous quilt.
I finished using a meandering stipple pattern to quilt. J'adore. My friendship group is so unbelievably talented. I am fortunate beyond measure to be amidst such fabulous women! :)
I promise a quilt post in a few days. I wanted to take a moment to post about our family's quick little jaunt to Las Vegas! Now, Vegas happens to be a favorite getaway for Rene and me. However, we have never been with the family, for obvious reasons. :) Well, my dad told me that they could get a pretty cheap fare to Vegas, if we wanted to meet them. He didn't have to twist my arm! We rented a beautiful home that would hold us all and it had an outstanding backyard. *love* Take a peek....
The pool had four waterfalls, diving platforms, and a rock slide. What was not to love?
We took the kids over to the strip for some family-friendly, touristy sight-seeing. The big hits were the Bellagio and the Venetian. Here are some shots from the Bellagio:
We stopped to watch the fountains at the Bellagio and had this great view of the Paris.
The kids LOVED the fountains.
Daniel (and Rene) were immediately distracted and sucked into the Ferrari Store.
The Gondolas were a hit.
While waiting by this Oxygen Bar, Jake asked why anyone would pay for oxygen. I tried to explain the concept and he scoffed and asked if there was also a place in the mall where they sold a penny for $50. My cynical, little son.
We did a little shopping. Rene kept tempting me with some Jimmy Choo shoes. He knows that I have a tremendous weakness for cute shoes. I was seriously proud of my will power.
The weather was perfect, but it was seriously hot! That's right 111 degrees and that was at 5:30pm.
So, we did an awful lot of this. (Gaby-jumping, Daniel-sliding, Jake-cannonballing, and my dad-floating...He will kill me when he sees this shot.) Ha! P.S. This was filmed with my iPhone using the new nifty underwater case that I bought. *awesome*
It was fabulous to see my parents and let them get some grandkid time. Of course, I always love a little Vegas time with my husband. *wink*
Sweet-I was so happy to make this baby quilt for Derek and Tina's baby boy (due in October.)
Bitter-the reminder that Derek and Tina will be leaving the first week in August for Beaufort, South Carolina...Derek's new duty-station.
Well, here we are. The end of July. Sigh. Derek and Tina will only be here about two more weeks. :( Jake is used to Derek being gone. He has been deployed to Iraq/Afghanistan five times since 2001. However, this is different. But, I digress.....
For Baby Cooper's quilt, I chose to use Hoffman's "It's a Jungle Out There" fabric line. They actually have three versions: one featuring primary colors, one using neutral tones, and the one I used. :)
Hoffman has a free pattern on their website that I tweaked slightly for this quilt. I will be honest. It turned out a little too busy for my tastes. If I were to do it again, I would probably use more solids within the quilt to add more definition. Maybe???? I decided to use this as the backing fabric because elephants (especially cartoon ones) make me ridiculously happy.
Well, I hope that Baby Cooper enjoys snuggling, drooling, and crawling all over this quilt. <3 <3 <3
Well, I finished my second donation about a month ago and was able to send it off for donation, as well.
I finished most of the quilt top of this quilt while at our Idyllwild Cabin Fever Quilters' Retreat. I loved how easy this was and it really came out pretty nicely. I plan on making some similar quilts to use up some of my fabric rolls, that truly seem to be over-taking me.
For this quilt, I used Moda's Sunkissed line. Love it. It reminds me of sherbet with its oranges and greens, thus the name: Sunkissed Sherbet. I used a stacked coin idea, but combined it with a bargello technique that I had recently used. I really liked the outcome.
The backing fabric is from the same line and is super-cute.
Another thing that I loved about this line is the "dictionary" entries that were incorporated into the fabric. I used one of these as the binding, as you can (kind of) see in this close-up.
This quilt, along with the Letters to Paris quilt, were both raffled to benefit the Kaitlyn's Promise Memorial Scholarship Fund. - Posted using BlogPress from my iPad
Ok, I am behind again. I have a few quilts to post, but before that I wanted to share my night of favorites.
Recently, I got to share a night with my favorite guy: my husband, Rene. We went out to celebrate our anniversary. :)
My favorite guy made reservations at what is now my new favorite restaurant: Paon Restaurant and Wine Bar in Carlsbad, California.
I love this place! The location is fantastic (downtown Carlsbad), the ambiance is perfect, and the food was scrumptious. (Rene had the veal sweet breads with smoked pancetta, braised endive, and black truffle sauce. I can't remember what he had for the main dish, but I had the provencal herb-crusted colorado rack of lamb with porcini mushrooms, red plums, spinach, and potato puree. Rene had to finish it off for me.)
Now for my last favorite....
I have a new favorite wine that I thought I would share with my wine-loving friends.
It is delicious. We liked it so much that we had to go to the wine bar to bring a few bottles home. :)
Happy anniversary, sweetheart. Thank you for making my life perfect and our future bright! xoxoxoxoxoxoxo
Hear that Captain Caveman voice? Love it! We have always known that Daniel had large adenoids. The guttural language patterns? Check. Deep voice? Check. The snores that sound like a Mack truck and often interfere with sleep? Check.
Although he has had enlarged adenoids, he hasn't really been sick in about three years. So, this year, beginning in January, we couldn't understand why he was getting ear infection after ear infection and every sinus bug he came across.
While on his second round of antibiotics, one day I noticed that he could NOT hear me. Not the normal "I am a kid and I have selective hearing when my mom wants me to do something" loss of hearing, but a genuine loss of hearing.
I am hypersensitive to that because when I came back from maternity leave with Daniel, I realized one of my kindergartners was unable to hear within normal ranges. I referred him to the school nurse, who immediately worked with Medi-Cal to get an ENT referral. He had permanent bilateral hearing loss due to an infection that had gone untreated. He was eventually (in 2nd grade) fitted for hearing aides that he now wears full time. (By the way, he goes to school with Jake and is an A/B student! Yeah, Juan H.)
So, Daniel's pediatrician tested his hearing and diagnosed him with diminished hearing from the fluid that was failing to drain from his ears due to his enlarged adenoids. She quickly referred him to an ENT doctor.
When the ENT saw Daniel's tonsils and adenoids, he felt we should remove the adenoids and tonsils (also enlarged) and put tubes in his ears to help with the draining. He was positive that Daniel's hearing loss wasn't permanent and would be better on the drive home from his surgery.
Perfect! Here Daniel is having his vitals checked. (Look at that crazy hair! He couldn't use any hair pomade or gels.)
Waiting for the anesthesiologist, Daniel kept himself busy with his DS. Once the anesthesiologist saw his airway, he had to do some scrambling. Due to the size of his tonsils, he was uncomfortable blocking the airway for general anesthesia. He decided to do an IV instead. That was no fun!
The surgery only took about 45 minutes. Dr. Lebovitz was amazed at the size of his adenoids. Apparently, they were twice the size of the tonsils which were already out of control. Poor guy! We had no idea! Here he is still under the effects of the general anesthesia.
Still feeling woozy, but starting to come around. He is watching Looney Toons on my iPad.
Although Daniel was in a lot of pain, this certainly made his day better.
Daniel was still taking it easy about a week later. What a life!
On this special day, I wanted to take a moment to thank the special dads in my life! First, I'd like to recognize my daddy. He is the sweetest, most loving dad with whom I could ever be blessed. My daddy has always supported me in my endeavors and adventures. I love this picture of daddy and me.
Next, I want to recognize Jake's dad, Derek. He is a terrific father to Jake and I sincerely appreciate the way we work together for Jake's sake. He will always hold a special place in my heart for the love that he provides Jake.
Last, but certainly not least, I want to recognize my husband, Rene. He is the most amazing man that I have ever met. Not only is he a wonderful provider for our family, he is a fantastic father to our children. He is their playmate, and at times their disciplinarian. He kisses boo-boos and challenges them to chess. He gives them unending support and loves them beyond measure. Finally, he is a model patriarch. He is kind and giving while being firm and clear. He couldn't be more perfect! (Not to mention, he is absolutely gorgeous! *whistle*)
I hope that all of the fathers out there were treated well on this special day! - Posted using BlogPress from my iPad
With summer vacation finally upon us, I am playing a bit of catch-up. (As is par for the course.)
Although my kids are in the GATE (Gifted and Talented Education) program and must be placed with teachers who have obtained their GATE certification, I am still somewhat able to pick teachers for them.
So, there are teachers that have had all four of my children.
Last year, to celebrate the kindergarten teacher that had taught all of the kids, I made this Brown Bear, Brown Bear Quilt for Linda DiVerde.
This year, I get to celebrate Joan Dyer. She has not only been there for all of my kids, but she has also been a good friend to me.
I chose to use Eric Carle fabrics again, since he is such a staple in early childhood literature.
This quilt features many of the characters found in the Eric Carle "The Very" series: "The Very Quiet Cricket," "The Very Lonely Firefly," and "The Very Busy Spider," among others. (Check out my mitered corners! This is the first time that I've ever done them.)
She absolutely loved it, and we absolutely love her!
I am so proud of my son, Jake. (Well, I am proud of all my children, but this post is dedicated to Jakey.)
At the close of each year, the kids get to celebrate all of the things that they have accomplished that year.
Tuesday of this past week, we were invited to two awards ceremonies for Jake. The first was during the school day and it was the awards ceremony for Grade Point Average.
Jake had a 4.0. One of only 5 students in all of seventh grade! Woot!
He also received an award for being a member of PLUS (Peer Leaders Uniting Students.) It is a leadership group that holds forums for teachers and students, alike. This was his first year on the PLUS team and he thoroughly enjoyed it. He will be continuing with PLUS during his eighth grade year.
During the evening ceremony, we anticipated that Jake would win the Outstanding student for 7th grade math, like he did the previous year.
However, we forgot that he can't win that because he isn't in a 7th grade math.
He is actually in the Algebra class for 8th graders. (The counselor suggested he skip 7th grade math and take the 8th grade Algebra because math is so easy for him. They were right because he was one of only two students with an A at the end of the year and the other was an 8th grader.) Well, the instructor had to give the award to an 8th grader, even though he told us that Jake was his best student; but, I digress....
So, we had no idea what award he would be receiving. Well......
Jake received the Outstanding Student in Language Arts for 7th grade! I love his wrinkled brain! I really do! Here is a snapshot that I took during the ceremony, after he received his medal. Isn't he adorable?