Friday, October 31, 2008

Finally Finished!

I finally finished my "April Diane Designs" price tags at long last, and my kids' clothes are ready to take down to the shop! I called today all excited to take them in, but they told me I need to come in on, Tuesday it is. It feels sooo good to have these all done and ready to go, what an accomplishment!

A group shot of my wee creations: Two months' worth of designing and sewing.

Close up shot of the tags

Thursday, October 30, 2008

My Daughter is a Genius!

So Sarah brings home this letter today that reads:

Dear Parent,

We would like to invite you and your child to participate in our Gifted and Talented Education Program (GATE.) Your child has been identified using a series of assessment tools. We use the Exercise in Divergent Thinking and the Exercise in Divergent Feeling tests and we look at STAR test results for students that score in the advanced level in English/Language Arts, Math or Science. We are confident that your child will benefit from participating in our multi-level program...and on and on it goes.

So, it appears that Sarah is very smart, just as we suspected of course! I want to find out what these "divergent thinking and feeling tests" are though...I went to college and I have no earthly idea of what that even remotely means! I was involved in GATE when I went to school and I remember loving the language/English side of things, but since I was mathematically challenged they kicked me out of the program. It seems unfair, but it sounds like they have changed things since then and hopefully Sarah will love it. She excels in all subjects, (lucky her), so I'm sure she will do fine. She gets to go on an all day field trip up to HSU for special workshops in Math, Science and Language Arts in November. She's thrilled about it and can't wait to do the dry ice experiments class. Who knows, we could have a future scientist on our hands!

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Fire and Light

For the past 2 years Ron has worked at the annual Fire and Light Seconds Sale. Fire and Light glass is made locally from mostly 100% recycled glass. When Ron works the sale he gets paid in product, (firsts!) I am so appreciative of him putting the time in to get me gorgeous dishes I couldn't acquire other wise - thanks honey! Here are some pics of the dinner set for 4 and beautiful plum bowl we got this year, (can't wait to invite people over for dinner!):

The plum bowl looks so beautiful on my black side board...the picture doesn't even do it justice!

We also got the large Zen bowl the pumpkin is sitting in (see post below), at the sale.

The Many Reasons I Love Fall

Fall is my absolute favorite season of the year! Here are some of the many reasons why:

Sarah and my birthdays are in October

I love watching the leaves change into beautiful colors of red, orange and yellow

Pumpkins: carving them, decorating with them, etc.

The weather here in Humboldt County is beautiful in the fall, (usually)

The kids have loads of fun with Halloween, dressing up, etc.
Here are some fun fall pics. I think Justin shares in my joy of fall!

Monday, October 27, 2008

Gown for Baby Rickstrew

I designed and made a baby gown for a baby shower for a friend of mine, (Tracy.) I made a pattern from a vintage baby gown I had been given for Sarah when she was born. The pattern was easy to make because there are no arm holes or sleeves since it's one piece. The little flap that closes at the front was a bit tricky, but other than that it was pretty fast and easy. I found some super soft flannel with a beautiful vintage print and did an embroidered R monogram on the front. Tracy loved it!

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Grandma's Blackberry Buckle

When I got married my Grandma gave me her old recipe cards. She moved out of the farm house and into a smaller house some years ago and had a big estate sale. I got her antique lunch box tin she used to store her recipes in. She told me she used to carry this kind of a lunch box to school when she was a girl. It's missing one handle, but I think it adds to its charm.

One of the recipes I've been wanting to try is her Blackberry Buckle. She used to make it for us when we were kids and we loved it. Her farm had loads of blackberries growing on it, and we kids used to go pick bucket fulls so we could have cobbler. I made the recipe the other day and it was delicious and brought back good memories. Here is the recipe:

Blackberry Buckle

Blend and add:

1/4 c. butter

1/2 c. sugar

1 tsp. vanilla

1 egg

1 c. flour

1 tsp baking powder (sifted)

1/4 tsp. salt (sifted)

1/3 c milk

Spread in greased pan and cover with 2 c. berries

Mix 1/2 c. sugar

1/3 c. flour

1/2 tsp. cinnamon

Cut in: 1/4 c. butter

Sprinkle over the berries

Bake at 375 degrees for 45 min.

(Double recipe for 9X13 pan.)

Thrift Finds

I absolutely love to go thrift store shopping! I haven't been for a while, so in the spirit of fun and economizing, Justin and I went on a thrift store adventure the other day. I found the cutest hand embroidered vintage tea towel, (also known as the modern day kitchen towel), and an adorable vintage hand made butterfly hankie which I plan to use on a little girl dress in some way or another. Justin found this vintage metal ambulance which had been very well loved. He wouldn't leave the store without it, so what's a mother to do! My stuff was $5 and Justin's ambulance was $15, which was a bit of a splurge, but he plays with it non stop so it was worth it.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Whirl Wind Weekend

After having the best birthday ever the weekend was jammed packed with fun! My parents came up for the weekend from Sacramento to visit us and took us out to Rita's for my birthday dinner. Rita's is my all time favorite restaurant here in town. The Mexican food is soooo good and the margaritas rock. If you haven't tried Rita's you need to!
Saturday the life group that meets here at our house did a garage sale fund raiser for a family who had their house burn down in a fire. Our church has been encouraging the life groups to do service projects. We thought this would be a good opportunity for us to help someone in need in a tangible way.
My parents took me out for some birthday shopping in the afternoon and I got the cutest pair of shoes, thanks dad and mom!
That night we went to a pumpkin carving party Ron was invited to by a co-worker. The kids had a blast, as did Ron and I. Here are some pics of the weekend festivities:
The beautiful pumpkin artistry created at the pumpkin carving party. Mine is the left back one. All the kids said, "that pumpkin is scaaary!" when they saw it. Justin cringes when he walks past in on the porch, bad mommy!
Ron focusing on the serious art of pumpkin carving.

Sarah, "Take my picture and put it on your blog mom." Sarah modeling her new coat and rhinestone bracelet Grandpa and Grandma bought her.

Grandpa and Justin having some cuddle time.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Where Do I Go From Here?

As I was writing the post "37 Things About This 37 Year Old" I began pondering about my life and I started thinking about the fact that I will be 40 in three years. Then I started asking myself, "Have I accomplished everything I had hoped to up until now in my life?" "Where do I go from here, what plans do God have for me now?" I think I'm beginning to understand the phrase mid life crisis! There are so many dreams I have accomplished from having kids to traveling the world and lots in between. But, there are also many dreams I have yet to see happen. I decided to set some short term goals for myself for the next 3 years. Basically, things I want to see happen before I'm 40. Here's the list:

1. Finish my art degree. (I'm half way there already.) I've had this dream since high school when I fell in love with art. I've dabbled in various mediums for years, but have decided to go with graphic design. There are several reasons for this: Firstly, I can do this career from home, so I can still be with the kids. Secondly, I can do work via the Internet so I can go out side of the area for jobs.

2. Buy a home. This is contingent on the economy of course, but with God all things are possible! I've always had a dream to buy a home, but it seems that as time goes on that desire gets stronger. I moved so much growing up and never really felt like I had a permanent home. I want my kids to have that security. I also want to have a home where people can come hang out and feel God's love.

3. Get my health up to speed. I've come a long way on this one, but I've got a ways to go. My pregnancy with Justin was a rough high risk one and it's taken me a while to fully recover health wise. I had a heart surgery this year to correct an arrhythmia I had suffered from since I was 13. It has changed my life in a great many ways for the better! I've been able to get my thyroid up to speed which has increased my quality of life so much. My health is better over all, but I'm not where I want to be yet. Someday I hope to write a book about my health journey, but that one is more than 3 years away!

4. Last but not least, and most importantly, realize what God has for me next and step into it. I've been feeling for a while that God has a new season coming for me. The past few years have been full of a lot of changes for us as a family with Ron going through school, graduating, starting a career, etc. These years have been a long season of waiting. I think I had been on the mountain top for so long spiritually that coming back down to the valley wasn't what I wanted or expected. After all, it's supposed to keep getting better and better, right? Anyway, I don't know exactly what God has in store, but I'm sensing it's going to be something that will challenge my faith, (in a good way), and take me into a new, fresh season.

Friday, October 17, 2008

37 Things About This 37 Year Old

I've lived 37 years on this earth as of today! I thought it would be fun to write 37 things I've done in my life thus far:

1. I was born in San Francisco on October 17, 1971

2. I moved about 12 times growing up and have lived in 4 states: California, Oregon, Colorado and Washington D.C.

3. I used to live only a few miles from Disney Land

4. I've been to the Grand Canyon when I was a teenager

5. I played the flute in school

6. I was a model for my uncle's paintings when I was a kid

7. I used to spend summers on my Grandparent's farm in Oregon

8. I met Jesus when I was 4

9. I went to an inner city performing arts high school and graduated in 1990

10. I've worked in church ministry off and on since I was 16

11. I've been to Mexico twice on mission's trips

12. I went to Kauai when I was in high school

13. I learned French in middle school and Spanish in college

14. I was a dance instructor in my 20's

15. I've led several dance troupes

16. I graduated from Bible School

17. I married Ron in 1995

18. I was a youth pastor

19. I graduated from College of the Redwoods with 2 Associate Degrees

20. Ron and I helped create and manage a coffee shop

21. I've had 2 kids, (Sarah in 1998 and Justin in 2006 without pain meds)

22. I have 3 babies in heaven

23. I’ve had an amniocentesis (with Sarah)

24. I had post partum depression

25. I've had 2 major surgeries

26. I've had and recovered from several chronic illnesses

27. I'm an artist and have recently become a mosaic artist

28. I've recently become a children's clothing designer

29. I've created and painted stage props for professional productions

30. I've been published in a local publication

31. I had a used on line book store

32. I've done professional alterations

33. I've made 6 quilts

34. I've done art shows locally

35. I've been to England and Scotland twice

36. I've been to Canada

37. I've lived 37 whole years!

Thursday, October 16, 2008

We'll Miss You Elizabeth!

Today we had a special mommy's group for our leader, Elizabeth. She is moving away to Southern California and we are all going to miss her a lot! She's been such an awesome support for all of us for such a long time. We did a "Hollywood Ending" party and some dressed up in high style. Some of the moms worked on a beautiful quilt for her as a going away present. Here are a few pics from the day:

Elizabeth with her beautiful quilt

Mandy and Jonah

Dee sporting her vintage bells

Cute girls hanging out on the porch

Larissa signing the quilt for Elizabeth

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

National Day of Remembrance for Pregnancy and Infant Loss

Today is the National Day of Remembrance for Pregnancy and Infant Loss. This day was created on September 28, 2006 by a resolution that passed through the House of Representatives. Here is a link to the official site for the National Day of Remembrance for Pregnancy and Infant Loss:

For those of you who don't know, I lost three babies through miscarriages. It's still difficult to talk or write about it, and the pain of the loss never completely subsides, but the sting is slowly fading away with time. These were three precious children I lost, three souls, three babies who never had a chance to live their lives here on earth. What hurts the most is that I won't get to even meet them until I pass from this life onto the next. My comfort is that they are in a far better, safer place right now and that someday I will meet them. They never had to feel the pain this life can bring, but they never got to experience the gift of humanity either in the sweet sorrow of their existence.

I still don't understand why God allowed them to live such short lives, but I do know that He has used the pain I have gone through with my losses to help comfort others who have had the same loss. He has brought good from the pain I suffered. Now I can bring comfort, healing and understanding to those who grieve, and for this I am thankful.

Thank you God for my three precious children who you hold tenderly in your arms. They are safe, warm and loved with a love beyond what I could comprehend; They know a far better love than any human could ever give. Thank you for their lives, although short on this earth but eternally yours. Although I miss them dearly, each day I live is one day closer to the day when I will see them, hold them, laugh with them and rejoice. This gives me more hope, more faith, and more trust in the One who created them and who holds them in the palm of His hand. Someday I will fully understand this mystery of life and death, but until then I will trust that the plans You had for them are for good, not evil. Thank You for the comfort You bring to the pain of loss so great it is hard to comprehend at times. It comes in enormous waves, but Your love is so much stronger. I feel I have come to know You better through this pain. Thank you for the comfort You bring to my heart and the hope you give that lights the way.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Garage Sale Fun

Tom, myself and Bethany sorting the moola

Today the kids and I joined our friends the Csehs and the Rickstrews for a group garage sale, it was so much fun! I forgot to bring my camera - oops! so there aren't any pics from the event, but one of my friends is going to send me some, so I'll add them when I get them. I've never done a group garage sale before this one and I have to say that I've been missing out. The great thing about the sale was that we got great deals on one an other's stuff. I got Justin some cute clothes and a toy truck, Ron a pair of Birkenstock, a vintage radio, and some glass beads all for $10 - now that's a deal!

A friend of mine came to the sale later on in the day and we headed over to the annual Fire and Light sale where Ron was working for the day. I'll have to post some pics of these dishes, they're so gorgeous. Ron gets paid in merchandise, (at a fraction of what it's sold for), and it's the only way we can afford to get it. This year we're adding the dinner set.

All in all it was a really fun day...great because it was spent with friends. Next weekend we're doing another group garage sale fundraiser to raise money for a family who lost their house in a fire. Hopefully I'll be able to get rid of the stuff I didn't sell in this sale. It feels really good to get rid of the things we don't need, down sizing rocks!

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Berry Picking

Today Justin and I went blackberry picking with our friends Bethany and Isaac who were generous enough to share the blackberry patch behind their house. It's the end of the blackberry season, but there were still a sufficient amount of berries to pick enough for a cobbler. The boys had a great time picking and mostly eating the berries! A neighborhood cat decided to keep us company by running and playing with the boys. I'm convinced he thought he was one of them. A good time was had by all!

Walking along the trail

Justin and Isaac reclining in the ivy

Working hard at eating berries

Our cool cat companion chilling out by some graffiti


This morning when I returned from taking Sarah to school I spotted the first blooming iris, lit up by the early morning light. Some of the petals are a vibrant violet, so beautiful! Pictures like this inspire me to get back into painting, aahhh. I really need a better camera with a good micro zoom lens to get details like this because you can't see the breath taking petal intricacies in the picture. But, you get the idea! I love the fact that it's October and our garden is still in bloom thanks to my amazing gardener husband.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

What are the chances....

that my dryer, dish washer and kitchen sink would all become non functioning at the same time???

Add to this the fact that we don't have the funds to get them fixed for a few I have laundry hanging all over the house and I'm bailing water out of the dish washer and kitchen sink every day....what are the chances?? It's starting to become humorous to be honest, and a bit ridiculous I have to admit. I keep thinking, now what else could break at any minute? Please, not the clothes washer God....or the cars! I know I'll look back and this will be really funny at some point in time, but at the moment I feel like I'm bailing water and putting clothes up to dry all day long. This morning I used the hair dryer to dry Sarah's pants for school, and no, I'm not kidding. So if you need some humor in your life you're welcome to come over and watch some pioneer living going on here, and I would be happy to have the company and moral support as well!

Monday, October 6, 2008

"Holly", "Cowboy", and "Plum"

"Holly"- 2-4T Mama's Helper Apron is made from genuine bandannas and has a vintage button on the pocket. The perfect accessory for helping mom bake during the holidays!

"Cowboy" patch pants, (side view) Size 1T. Made from cords, bandannas, and repro vintage prints. These are the cutest boy pants!!! They look even better in real life.

"Plum" Size 3-6 mo. Made from green repro vintage print, and cool Amy Butler fabric.

These are the last 3 pieces I needed to finish! I love how they turned out. I'll be taking them down to the shop this week!

Big Boy Bed

Last night Justin crawled up onto the futon we have in his room, put his head on the pillow and said "night." So, I pulled down the covers, he crawled in, and thus began the first night of the big boy bed. He decided it was time, and we were ready. This morning he still yelled, "Mom!" from his room, not knowing that he could get out of the bed....on his own...any time, ack! I had left the door open and the hall lights on in case he decided to venture out. I'm sure it won't be long until he'll figure out he can come and go from his room as he pleases, but until then I'll stay in blissful denial about that!

Sunday, October 5, 2008

"April Diane Designs" Logo

Ron designed my graphic logo for "April Diane Designs", my kids' clothing line. I absolutely love how it came out! Going with the vintage theme, he used a picture of a vintage carousel horse. The picture was taken while we were on vacation in Seattle last summer, so it has sentimental meaning to me. I'm hoping to take my clothes down to Ship Wreck this week, so be looking for my logo soon!

Sarah's Slumber Party

Sarah had 4 girl friends over last night for her birthday slumber party! It was the first time she has had a slumber party here. A great time was had by all! The night started out with eating pizza and watching movies, followed by opening presents. They did manicures later in the evening and watched a few more movies, blew up balloons and made animals out of them, then ate ice cream and candy. Yes, things got quite hyper around here from the sugar highs, but they need to be cut loose once in a while after all! The house got quiet around 1 a.m., but they were up and ready to go by 8. We did the birthday cake this morning, and they played wii games until the parents came to pick them up.
Here are some pics from the festivities:

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Happy 10th Birthday Sarah!

Mama and daughter

Sarah's Birth Story

Ten years ago after 12 hours of labor, pitocin, one epidural and many cries of "I can't do this any more, this hurts!", Sarah came into the world. She was born at Redwood Memorial Hospital in Fortuna. After I had her people told me how great I looked considering the fact that I had endured a complicated labor for 12 hours. At the time I thought they were just being nice, but looking at the picture now I can't believe how good I looked!

Sarah's labor started at around 3 in the morning. I was having pretty regular contractions and realized it was time to head to the hospital. We lived a ways from the hospital, so I wanted to make sure to get there on time, ha ha, no worries there! I remembered feeling nauseated, but thinking that everything was normal, I was in labor after all.

When we got to the hospital I was so excited to practice my Lamaze. I was walking all over the place, squatting, doing whatever I wanted to...except for being in pain of course. The nurse did a urine sample, again, a normal procedure. Soon the doctor entered and she had a really serious look on her face. She informed me that I had severe pre-eclampsia. I had a basic idea of what it was - high blood pressure in pregnant women. It can be very dangerous if left untreated and can lead to a condition called eclampsia. Not a pretty diagnosis, it can be fatal. The doctor then told me that I would need to lay flat on my back for the entire labor, no moving around, standing, walking, nada. I was devastated, although I didn't know what I was in for. I was going to be given magnesium sulfate to stop the pre-eclampsia. She asked me if I wanted an epidural since I would be in so much pain. I accepted, I figured she knew what she was doing. Labor continued on and I was able to handle the contractions. It wasn't too long before things started to get going though and I was ready for the pain to be gone. After I had progressed enough (it was mid morning by this time), I got the epidural as promised, and it worked, it was wonderful! No more pain, just a little pressure and I could sit back and rest.

Around 1:oo pm I started to feel the pain returning slowly. I kept asking the nurse to re-up my epidural, please. She kept saying she was waiting for the anesthesiologist. Another half hour would pass and I would ask again, still no epidural. Around this time I realized I wasn't getting any more, and that was when things got scary. Then, the doctor decided that due to my pre-eclampsia my labor needed to be sped up because the baby was in distress. She told me they would need to give me pitocin; little did I know what that meant! Of course my contractions got unnaturally harder and longer; I was in for a wild ride. I panicked when the epidural had worn off. By this time the pitocin had kicked in big time. I didn't get the chance to slowly move into the pain as it intensified. It hit like a ton of bricks, and it was mainly in my back. At this point the nurse, (who was a mid wife as well), was helping me the best she could. Ron was so great, he really tried, but I was in so much pain I had no way to cope. I started feeling like the pain was going to kill me, that I couldn't survive this. I cried and let the whole world know that this was too much pain for any person to endure. I started to see the nurse and doctor's faces look concerned, and I was afraid I was headed for a c-section. A little while after this the nurse told me that I could push, finally! This was the hardest part of the labor. My back was in so much pain I felt like my spine was being snapped in two.

After half an hour of pushing she was finally out! The doctor had warned me that she would be a floppy baby from the epidural and mag sulfate. She didn't cry at all, but she was beautiful. The nurse whisked her off into the hall way as soon as I had seen her. My room was so full of machinery and medical staff there was no room for her to be examined so they had to take her out into the hall. Later Ron told me that she was intubated, but responded quickly. It seemed like forever until they brought her back into the room. She looked perfect in every way and was really pretty for a newborn. Her weight was 6 lbs. 2.5 oz, height - 19 1/2". She was tiny! (We had to put her in preemie clothes for the first week because she floated in the newborn ones.) Within a few hours her color looked good and her apgar scores were fine. The doctor told me later that she was on the verge of doing a c-section when my labor suddenly progressed. I am so grateful that I was able to birth her naturally!

I am so thankful for the ten years we've had with Sarah. We're blessed with a wonderful, smart, strong, and talented girl. I never imagined I would have such a wonderful daughter. I look forward to many more precious years to come!