Thursday, September 30, 2010

Today was a good day.
Bean's school has today and tomorrow off for fall break.  Middleman's school schedule is based on Bean's for vacations and breaks.  He had classes at our LHS, then the rest of the day off!

I actually had time to go to Joann's and find this

bright, happy and fun fabric that I will use to bind the Aloha quilt.  Thank you to all of you who suggested ideas to finish it off.  I think I'm just going to leave it the size it is (nice lap size), finish the Single Irish Chain

back I'm working on for it, bind it and call it a day.
This quilt will probably go to church for those chilly Sunday mornings where I just can't seem to get or keep my feet and legs warm.

The quilt top and binding fabric playing nice together on a beautiful fall day.

Since the sun was out, I thought I'd take a couple of new pictures of the top.

Way, way too windy today!

Also in the mail this week were two more of my blocks

Alison's block and Lesly's block.

I'm a little bummed.  As the weather turns cooler, I need to move my sewing tables and machine inside to the den.  In the spring, I move everything out to our sunroom so I can be as drenched in the warmth and brightness of the sun as possible.

As soon as I finish Shelby's memory quilt, I'll get Middleman to help me rearrange furniture and things and close up the sunroom for the season.

While at Joann's today, I bought

Some yarn to crochet a scarf for Javi's special friend, E.  They've been dating for a little while and her favorite color is green.  This is the perfect project to work on during our 2 hour soccer practice that I stay at.  Bean has homeschooled younger bros and sisses of the other soccer players to play with on the play equipment or down by the creek.

More soccer games this weekend.
The canoe trip was awesome!
We made a 2 & 1/2 - 3 hour trip in 4!
Most of that backwards and ducking to avoid low hanging branches.
Javi and I shared a canoe and it was so nice to have this time with him.
Talking some more.
Letting the river take us where it would.
Usually into a rock.
Or tree stump.

Blessings for the weekend!

Friday, September 24, 2010

Amy Butler Show & Tell Friday

Today is the Amy Butler Extravaganza over at Amy's blog.  You.  Do.  Not.  Want to miss this!

My contribution is my finished, pinwheel piecing for the Aloha quilt.  I knew I should have taken pictures yesterday when the sky was brilliantly blue and the sun a little higher...

that would have been way too easy and would have looked way too good!

When I started this quilt, the colors, the boldness and the wildness of the print made me think of Hawaii.  Robin Jones Gunn's book "Sister Chicks Do the Hula" has the most incredible description of the word "Aloha" and the Holy Spirit in it.  It has stuck with me all these years and it is an image I cherish.  If you get a chance to read this series of books, you will not be sorry!

So, the Aloha quilt was born.  Using a new fangled tool bought at a LQS, lots of head scratching, choosing fabrics, sewing and pressing.  There are a lot of hours involved in this piece.  Don't get me wrong, it was also a lot of fun, but just time consuming.  Okay.  I'm done whining now.

Here's my dilemma.  How to finish this off.  Colors?  Patterns?  Width?  So many unanswered questions keeping me from finishing this.  Which I really want to do.


Greens?  Lime?  Pink?  Coral?  Yellow?

Heading off to quilt stores soccer games tomorrow and a canoe trip on Sunday with hubby love's compay.  His brother also works there, so we will be canoeing with some very special and much loved family too!

Hope your weekend is good, sunny and blessed!

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Stars Over Indiana Quilt Top Blocks

I am forever amazed at how much time parenting takes.  I mean, really, shouldn't some part of my day be about me?  LOL  Not just playing Taxi drive, cook, maid, laundress, teacher, companion, accountant and personal assistant!

That means less time blogging and reading other people's blogs.
Mega bummer.

Firstly, thank you for the words of encouragement from the last post.  I know each of you have battles you're fighting, but it sure helps to know we're not alone and that somewhere out there in bloggy land, live awesome people I wish were my real life neighbors.  You know the ones you can grab and go get a donut and soda with?  Vent.  Listen to them vent.  Laugh.  And then go home much more settled, centered and sane.

In my world, happy packages have been showing up in my mailbox.  From my bee buddies.  You can find them here and here in all their creative, quiltey goodness and genius!

I wanted to share these ladies' beautiful blocks they've made for me.

This sweet, floral block is from Lydia, who has the most gorgeous smile!

Madeline's block with the beachy sand dollar and paisley fabric.  Included in her envelope she sent me was a vintage photo card of the Eiffel Tower, cherub confetti and some Perugina chocolate.  Which is now in my emergency chocolate kit.  But, the way our English class is going, probably won't be there for long.  3.5 ozs of heaven.  Ahhhhhhhh!

Suzanna's block in all it's perfect point goodness.

Solidia's block with a print that reminds me of four leaf clovers.

The block of mums and cool, stripey fabric from Claudia.

And last, but not least, Jennifer's block in all its green and aqua-ey (lol) boldness!

I would encourage a look at all of these women's blogs!  They are amazing!  I am so humbled and excited about having blocks made from all over North America and one day would like to meet Solidia, who lives in my state!

The block I made. 
As the title of my post says, this quilt is going to be called "Stars Over Indiana" since all of the fabrics were collected from Indiana quilt shops we visited on road trips.  I found another shop while traveling for a soccer game.  And Saturday, we travel to a new town for two games so you know what that means!  The Garmin comes out and we go shopping!

So far our soccer team is 0-6.  It's a fairly young, coed team learning the coach and each other.  Middleman is not keeper anymore and is having to learn, sometimes the hard way, the loud way, new positions and plays.  But I love watching them practice and compete!

What part of my sewing area looks like!  Eeks!
Hope this week treats you gently.  I'm hoping to finish up Shelby's memory quilt by the end of next week.
Until next time, piece out!

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

It is so very hard to think positive, be motivated and be patient when you don't feel good.

I positively hate this part of Fall. Where germs are no longer on summer vacation and we start shutting ourselves up inside to keep warm and dry. Colds. Flus. Strep throat. The usual culprits at our house. I am thankful though that our children are too old for croup. That they can make it to the bathroom and I'm not running full sprint to them with a trashcan when their little tummies are teapots tossed in a tempest.

I'm thankful they can verbalize what's wrong with them, and I'm not left guessing. Well, for the most part. LOL

As a mom, wife and home educator (golly, that sounds so professional!), getting sick just isn't on the daily planner for me. I've asked not to help with the little ones at co-op because I've had kids that age. I know where their hands and fingers have been! I love them-don't get me wrong, but I don't love the way I feel after catching something from them, or how I feel knowing I've passed it on to someone else. Usually everyone else in our family. Add to that fact a mom with Stage IV cancer, and my being sick could mean not being there for her if she needed me.

This is day three of not feeling good. Not looking for sympathy, just sharing some thoughts.

We went to a soccer game yesterday for Middleman. The team we played is the one he used to be on. At the school he used to go to and that Bean still attends elementary school at. Over the years, it seems we lose parents who used to be friends or at least, friendly, because we've chosen not to have Middleman there. And we have the gall to let him play for a rival homeschool team and then root for his team to win against their sons.

Each fall, at the beginning of soccer season, when we play this team-the air gets chillier.

Here is where being sick comes into play. Am I not as friendly to these people because I just don't feel good and because of this, I imagine they're not as friendly? Is it because I'm not circulating and actually forcing them to speak to me? That they're not even seeing me as I stand right in front of them? Sometimes waving at them?

It can be a difficult thing to choose to do what you feel in your heart is best for your children. And even harder when that decision means you aren't doing what other people just know would be better for them. A few years ago, when we decided to bring Middleman home, we got a lot of raised eyebrows and condescending nods from the other parents at school. To them, the problems we were encountering were really all our fault somehow. Middleman just wasn't measuring up. Didn't fit in. We were overprotective parents whining too much.

Last year, at a camp the school requires 7th grade and up students to attend violently answered those attitudes we were on the receiving end of from the other parents. Three boys in Middleman's class (it's a very small class with only 6-7 boys total) were involved in physically abusing two smaller classmates. Shock and surprise from teachers, administrators and parents alike.

Except for us and a few other parents whose children had also been bullied and abused. We felt vindicated in our decision not to have him in this environment with these boys, and relieved Middleman was no longer in this class. One boy was expelled and two others were "disciplined" and then the matter was quickly and quietly hushed up. For three years before this we had tried to work with the school's adminstration and teachers on the problems these boys were making for other children. We saw our once happy, smiling, enthusiastic son become an angry, bitter and extremely unhappy young man. The school wouldn't, or couldn't, help us. So, we made the choice to homeschool.

This year, three families who have boys in the class Middleman was in decided to send their children to public schools instead of our small, private, Christian school. I phoned the school and talked to the headmaster and tentatively probed for a change in attitude that would persuade us things had changed. That things were better and that Middleman could be enrolled there for his freshman year.

We're still homeschooling. And that tells you a lot about what is happening at this school. There are days I don't even want Bean there because of the attitudes and actions of the teachers, staff, administration and students. But, he's a different kid with a different personality. Different teaching arrangements and the class he's in has dropped from over 20, to 13. The two boys who were bullying him last year, didn't come back this year. If they had, and the school allowed it to continue without any real effort to stop it, Bean would have been taken out of this school and enrolled in our public elementary down the street, or we would have homeschooled him too.  Different child.  Different choices.  Not what I would want, but what we feel he needs and that he can be happy and successful there.

Why do we keep Bean there? I used to think it was because the school was such an awesome alternative, really the only alternative, to our public schools here. That this private school was so far ahead in academics compared to public schools. That the public schools were places we didn't want our children to be. Bean spent his 3rd grade year at the public school right at the end of our street. The teacher he would have had at the private, Christian school is one we swore would never teach any more of our children.

What we saw that year amazed us. Pleased us. And we were thankful we had made the choice to have him skip this teacher. That was another year of other people knowing that what was best for our family really wasn't what we had been shown would be the best for us. It was the best school year ever!  So many surprises for us on what was reality and what we had always assumed or been taught was true about public schools.  Don't get me wrong, public schools have very large problems too-but ones that aren't that different from the ones kids who are at private or Christian schools encounter.

Trying to wrap this up as the cotton starts filling my head again, the eyes begin hurting and the nose feels like I have potatoes stuffed in there.

I have learned a few things. That we as parents, when we love our children and truly only want what's best for them, can't make bad decisions. We can only make decisions on information, feelings and thoughts at those moments in time. That prayer is needful, necessary. I've learned that if people stop being friends or friendly with you simply because you don't do what they "feel" or "know" is best for your kids, they aren't worth having as influential people in your life. That you make new friends and find other people to be friendly with. Laugh with. Sit at soccer games with. And that it's really sad that it has to be this way when a little mercy and grace would cover a multitude of differences of opinions and traditions.

I've learned that you find other people who understand that not all kids are cookie cutter kids who learn the same way. Who relate to the world and other people differently than the majority of others. And that that is okay!

Thanks for reading. It's a hard couple of chapters in our life to think about. Looking back is pointless. Going forward in faith, trust and love is what is going to get us through the next game we play against this team, with their parents watching from the stands. Judging. Measuring.

It is hard not to be bitter, but it's getting easier each time I look at Middleman and remember how far he's come. Learning to be thankful for the direction we felt we had no other choice but to take. Because it means we've met some incredibly loving and beautiful people. Done some amazing, miraculous things. Broken down stereotypes and tried new things we would have never done before. And been blessed til our cup runneth over. Ever looking for that silver lining that I know is there for my children and not letting anybody else rain on our parade. And when they try, looking for the rainbow.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Long Time Passing

And someone said I would have more time this year?  I'm not sure what nut job said that (oh, wait, I think it was me), but whoever did seriously needs to come live my life!

A couple of weekends ago, we loaded up the younger boys, the older boy and his homework and laptop, chairs, cooler and various and sundry items and headed to the lakes.  The snowbirds have a spot up there and we had not been all summer long.

This is by far, one of my favorite pictures of these two.  Huge thanks to hubby love for capturing this moment on film for me.  Both boys caught a few fish and we got to spend time with my mom and dad.  Also special that day was having Javi, the college boy, on our trip with us. 

He's quickly learning that Life goes by fast and demands you keep up.
Bless his lil' heart.

Ignore the flash spot at the top.  I wanted to put up his just now taken "senior" pictures for the family members who follow along.  Yes, you will get copies, but I just wanted to share what a good lookin' kid he is!

Guitar lessons started up last week for Middleman.  Bean is now the proud student of the French horn.  God help me!

First soccer game angsted over.  I told Middleman four things would happen hoping this would calm his nervousness:
You will make mistakes.
You will survive.
You will learn a lot.
You will have fun.

We have another game tomorrow out of town.  Javi will be batching it while we're gone.

Joan of the Indianapolis Quilt Guild sent out these vibrant batiks for her August blocks.  Just a simple little thing that packs a punch!  I will mail this back to her as soon as I can get to the post office.  I promise.  No.  Really.  I do.

I have been working away on Shelby's memory quilt.  It's over half-way pieced.  This one wasn't speaking to me.  I think clothes say a lot about a person, and this mom, loved her family.  I think she was a quiet sort of person.  With a servant's heart.  I took a leap of faith and I'm adding bright, happy fabrics from my stash to the four squares.  The quilt likes it better that way.

A sneakpeek of what I've been doing when I have 5-10 minutes of down time.  They're easy to cut and piece, and I love sewing curved seams.  This might become a wall hanging.  If it tells me it wants to be.  If it wants to grow up and bigger, well, we'll just see what happens.

Remembering nine years ago driving home from dropping Middleman and Javi off at school.  Bean in his car seat in the back and NPR on the radio talking about a plane flying into one of the World Trade Towers in New York.  My best friend in the world calling me from work asking me if I had heard the terrible news and sharing with me what he was seeing on the tv in someone's office.

I didn't want to be alone.  So, I drove to KT's house.  She was there with her little ones and we cried in each other's arms.  I remember not calling her into the room when the first tower fell, because I didn't want her to have that memory.  But then, we both shared the horrible vision of the second tower falling.  Who knew?

My prayer is that we always remember how we felt 9/12 that year.  The resolve to stand together.  The unity.  The compassion and compelling need to reach out and connect to those around us.  Looking for sanity and safe harbor in a world gone suddenly wrong.  Let us not forget the victims, the heroes and their families and friends.  That freedom is not free and seek to shelter and minister to the weak, the weary, the needy while encouraging them to grow stronger and learn independence is priceless.

God bless America.