Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Summer is speeding by!

I can't get over the fact that it's been  a little over 2 weeks since I touched base here! 

We've had various appointments taking up our days: 
*a couple with the local high school where my younger daughter is now enrolled & so had to meet with the guidance counselor twice to go over class options & then actually schedule said classes
(let's not even go into my coming to terms with no longer homeschooling!!)
*a couple appointments with the orthodontist for the same 14 year old to get that ball rolling
(and another coming up to put the actual braces on later this week!)
*one dental appointment for the customary teeth cleaning but also for pulling two teeth for the same 14 year old daughter in preparation for those braces
*a general physical for THE SAME DAUGHTER to get her into public high school sports
*an appointment with our wonderful homeschool evaluator to finish up the 14 year old's 8th grade school year
*and a random eye appointment for myself
(to get bifocal contact lenses--shhh I'm still in denial about this)

Along the way I've also gotten a decent handful of quilts done for Stitch & Craft. Here's one of the latest: (sorry the pics aren't the greatest)

I spent a couple days reorganizing my sewing room & it's closet
(the bad side)
 (the good side--though now both sides are good)

Went hiking with the family on Father's Day
(Maegan, me & Morgan)
 Me & Marshall

I swim Smokey most days after we've walked. 

And Morgan & I went to a used book sale, grabbing 40 books & 20 magazines for $5!! 
(Yes, we are book hoarders)

We're having fun & getting lots done, but I'm really looking forward to some SUMMER VACATION days!! You know the kind where I wake up when I darn well feel like it & the dogs' bladders won't explode, I veg on the computer or whatever I want for however long I want, float aimlessly in the pool for as long as it takes for me to get bored, have a completely ready dinner miraculously appear in my kitchen, someone snaps their fingers to clean up like Bewitched, and then I go up to read leisurely before bed while someone else puts both dogs out separately & also goes out to find the cat & bring him in...

Oh dang, I slipped into dream-mode again.... 

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Random Quilt Finishes

I've been finishing client quilts left & right, but I've also been winding up our homeschool year & dealing with numerous appointments, and just generally being hectic, that I haven't kept up with posting the finishes. 

So today's blog is short on words & long on eye candy 
(or pics for those of you who don't "dig" quilts)

Remember these are quilts pieced by clients & given to me to do the actual quilting part:

Flannel plaid blocks pieced by an unknown client through the quilt shop Stitch & Craft in Manheim, PA
Quilted with freehand Puzzle Piece pattern
(I almost like the quilting on the back better because it usually shows up more)

Victory Quilt pieced by Renee Thomas
Quilted with Freehand Leaves, Ferns, Butterflies

T-Shirt Memory Quilt pieced by an unknown client through Stitch & Craft
Quilted freehand Puzzle Piece pattern
 A couple shots of the blocks in closer detail...

The back is a pieced dark/light fleece. 

Not sure the name of this quilt pattern, but it was pieced by an unknown client through Stitch & Craft
Quilted with freehand Diagonal Water pattern

This is a $5 BOM pieced by the shop Stitch & Craft
Quilted with freehand Custom Quilting 
(meaning each block and/or sashing area is quilted according to it's individual pattern & piecing)

This is a "before" shot

Some of the sashing/border work

I tried to keep the writing & descriptions to a minimum. I hope I didn't cause eye-glazing to occur with so many pictures one after the other??

 Tomorrow I'm hosting a Sanity Saving Sewing day here at my house-- actually we're celebrating a dear friend's birthday, but it'll also help save my sanity :)

And I'm hoping to have another Christmas present or two finished....

Sunday, June 05, 2011

A "Quilts for Kids" finish

I've actually had quite a few finishes lately and will start "showing them off" with this one that is near & dear to my heart. I've written before about the Quilts for Kids organization, and how they are driven to provide comforting blankets to hospitalized kiddos. 

They precut the fabric & send it along with very clear directions on pattern construction as well as what to do to prepare your quilt for being loved by a child (wash, dry, remove all pins- isn't that last one a DUH???) 

With all of Montie's hospital stays, he'd received numerous blankets... almost one every time he was an inpatient. I got to witness first-hand what a difference that extra, tactile-love made to my child when he was hurting and/or scared. Having something soft & warm, colorful & vibrant adds a homey touch to an otherwise sterile environment. 

If you're a sewer please consider checking out the Quilts for Kids website to request your own kit be mailed to you for completion. The only expense to you is your time, some batting, and the postage to send it back. All the fabric for the top & bottom are provided.

Thanks for looking/reading. Hope y'all are having a Sanity Saving Sunday!

Friday, June 03, 2011

Today is Montie's Birthday

Montie would be 13.

Instead he's celebrating in Heaven in his ageless, perfect body. I can't help but imagine him full-out RUNNING around with our dog, Addie, up there-- maybe whooping it up a little with other angel boys? Maybe with his own brother & sister?? 

Montie was such a smily guy right from the get-go. Can you believe this little kid was wearing hard contacts in these pictures?

And some of you may remember his affinity for Oreo cookies? That's the messiness in the picture below...

He wore this back brace from about 6mo of age thru almost 5 years (well, he'd get a new one once he grew of course.) By then one of his spinal curves had reached 88 degrees, which as you can imagine put a little squash-effect on his poor lungs, and he'd had to have titanium rods implanted (and then seven subsequent surgeries to lengthen those rods.) 

Because of his low muscle tone, Montie didn't walk until he was 3 years old. Before that he got around by scooching everywhere on his butt: legs thrown forward & using his hands to propel himself. Though his body was weak, his determination was great. He wore holes in the tiny hiney of his overalls quite frequently! 
(he's helping Daddy mulch here)
Otherwise, one of us would give him "a lift". As you can see, the extra cuddling we got to do while "lifting" was of great comfort to both of us <3
And for Daddy too...

 Yes, Mont loved Blues Clues, dressed up for Halloween & then wore the costume for months-- sorry, Montie, it was YEARS before we realized Blue was a girl!! 

The picture below of the five of us was taken on Thanksgiving. Montie was almost 18 months old (making Morgan about 4 & Maegan about 8) and gearing up for surgery in early December. He became the youngest person at that time to have a valve-sparing aortic root graft. It was one of the scariest times of our lives as parents to know no one younger had had this done before, but I'm happy to say the age has dropped since. 

During surgery which was scheduled to take most of the day,  Montie was put on a heart/lung machine, and his body was cooled to slow circulation. His heart literally had to be stopped while they worked on it. And after midnight when everyone else had left the Johns Hopkins waiting room hours ago, and there was no receptionist from whom to get updates from the OR, Montie's surgeon came out to say he was stabilized BUT they'd had trouble & thought they had lost him. They'd done the root graft, warmed up his little body, and gotten his heart started again, only to lose pressures & realize something was terribly wrong: a minute leak in one of the sutures. 

Can you imagine how terribly tired this doctor had to have been, literally in surgery all day & into the next day? But still... the surgical team pressed on, cooled Montie's body again, put him back on the heart/lung machine, and repaired the leak, then went through the whole process of getting him off the machine & stabilized. 

In our frantic naive youth, the magnificence of this continued to land deeper as time went on.
 And Montie thrived... left Johns Hopkins on Day 5 after surgery with scared parents & eager sisters.
I've always prayed over my kids' relationships with each other & felt blessed till heart-bursting that they were each other's best friends.
 And while challenged physically, other than being virtually blind for months before we knew how bad his vision had gotten on two different occasions, and the obvious set-backs due to missing vast amounts of school, Montie was smart & funny & witty & oh-so-goofy. 

He also had definite things he was into. I was ECSTATIC when he became a Star Wars fan!! I wanted to marry Luke Skywalker when the first of the movies came out!!!! My brother & I had the 3" Star Wars characters & various hover ships we played with when we were kids. To revisit all this with Montie was terrific fun. 
We played a lot of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles too...

 Montie was mischievous ...
...loved his sweet desserts...
 ...loved hangin' with his family...
...LOVED his motorized red scooter (man he was the shiznit at school!!)
...loved legos (Star Wars ship) with his Dad...

...loved his pets (Dino on the left, Lucky the guinea in the back, and Addie on the right)
 Montie's 10th Birthday
(pan cookie)
Don't ask...
 Mont also LOVED playing army. He had night vision goggles, tiny army men & vehicles, medium sized army guys & vehicles and up to extra large sized of these things, army sheets/blankets, posters, games, etc... pretty much obsessed with anything military.
Montie's last Christmas with us & his Man Robe. haha He practically lived in it!! In fact, Montie is still wearing his Man Robe :)
 Below is the last picture of Montie taken at home, and I find it just a little funny that he took it himself. In fact, perhaps you saw the awesome pencil drawing one of his best friend's had done for us?? I posted it several months ago. It's done from this picture. He looks so grown up here...
My little man... 
Montie had had 13 surgeries in his 10 years. Do I think about the fact that his 13th surgery was performed on Friday the 13th? I'll admit I do even though I'm not superstitious. 

Montie came home from this 13th surgery on Wednesday, March 18, 2009. As I was getting his favorite red snowman pjs on to leave the hospital & go home, he was in terrible pain, and it was slow going. But in the midst of it he stopped me & kissed my left cheek. I don't remember him ever doing this before- he was much more a hugger. He was so happy to be going home.

I sometimes wonder, too, what might have happened if we'd stayed an extra day in the hospital. We were often allowed to take Montie home earlier than may have normally been allowed because they viewed us as "caring & experienced". 

What if....

I try not to go there. I try to focus on how pain free Montie became in the early morning of March 19th.

 But I'll admit sometimes that's hard. Sometimes I'm just a selfish Mommy who wants to hold her boy on her lap while I call every store within a 50 mile radius to find a place that has THAT ONE video game he's been saving for... or to snuggle in bed listening to him ask for the millionth time "How many subjects are we doing today?" once we'd started homeschooling... or to listen to him proudly reading a mystery chapter book ... giving him a lift up the stairs & hearing his sneakers attached to his long, lanky legs gently knocking on the stairs... listening to him playing & bantering with his friends on PS3...

Montie was seriously THE HAPPIEST, most well-adjusted human being I've ever known. Not perfect mind you... but a best friend to his sisters, a sushi-eating companion for his Dad, a Star Wars & Indian Jones movie watcher with his Mom. We miss his happiness, his inquisitiveness,

Happy Birthday Montie!