Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Will it be ok?

I guess I'm writing this down to help me think through this and sort things out in my head. I don't know if I will get an answer this way, but maybe seeing it in black and white will help me see an answer and maybe it will help me to look back on it later and laugh at myself for making more out of it than I should have.

My youngest is 4 1/2 years old. He is my baby and will always be my baby. If you know me, you will know that I have a hard time letting go of my children and that can be a good thing or a bad thing. It was really hard letting my oldest go 3,000 miles away to college, but somehow I managed and I didn't die and she is doing very well.

My youngest on the other hand has been babied much of his life and I know that. He has also taken his time and enjoyed his role as the baby too, but I know that he will have to grow up eventually.

He started preschool this year at the only Christian preschool in town that is full day. I work full time, so there wasn't the option to put him at another Christian preschool. I wanted him to go to a Christian preschool to get the Bible training, but I thought also the love and support of the teachers at the Christian school.

Instead, I'm not seeing much love at his school. There is a great deal of discipline, which I realize that he needs as well. Being the baby, he has been allowed to get away with a lot of things the older kids were never allowed to do. I'm not saying he never is punished or disciplined at home, but it seems he is always getting in trouble at school and is getting notes home and time outs and comes home crying a lot of days.

Then, today, he had an accident in his pants. They told me that if he did that, they would call me and have me come down and change him. Instead, they helped him get cleaned up and wrote me a note saying that I needed to teach him how to clean himself at home, as though this wasn't something I had been doing. The note made me feel like I'm a bad mother because my 4 1/2 year old son had an accident and couldn't wipe himself well enough so that the teacher had to 'put on gloves' and help him clean up.

I guess I'm embarassed for him and I feel bad that it happened and I wish that he was the perfect child. I wish they had realized that kids have accidents sometimes or at least made me feel like he wasn't the only child to ever have had an accident at the school or to need help.

I never hear good things about him, only get the bad notes. When I ask how he is doing, the teacher says 'fine' and then I find out that he had 2 time outs that day.

It is hard to leave your baby in the first place, but to not LOVE the place you are leaving him makes it even harder. I don't know if I should give it more time, because he is really learning things and doing a lot of great activities and learning the letter sounds and has some days where he seems really happy, but then it is days like this where I think...what am I doing?

Like I said, I didn't expect to come up with an answer, just to put down some thoughts and come back to them later, with some more wisdom and maybe have a better idea on a decision.

Monday, September 29, 2008



I can't figure out how to copy the picture from the website, so you will just have to click the link and go to the website yourself, but my oldest had a great tennis weekend and did very well in her college tournament. I'm such a proud mother!

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Turning a corner???

Well, after giving into the cold yesterday and admitting defeat, I think I might just be turning a corner. I had to get up early again today to get my daughter to a pancake breakfast she was helping to serve at and decided to come home and crash on the couch until the boys woke me up. The little one joined me and let me sleep until 9:30. I never sleep past 6:30 so I knew something was going on and my body was telling me I was tired. I rested on the couch for most of the day again, getting up to finish putting the binding on the quilt for the Girls State Auction today and then going back to take another nap. When I finally got up and decided to start my day around 4pm, I think I actually feel a little better. If only all of my days this week could have been this lazy and easy, maybe I wouldn't have been sick for so long!

It is hard for me to admit defeat like this and give in when my body says rest. There are so many things to get done around the house and I have no idea how, but things have a way of moving on their own and it looks like a tornado came through here this week and re-arranged everything so next weekend will have to be spent cleaning up from being sick, but I think one more day of laying around and I will be ready to go back to work next week.

I managed to sit last night for an hour and fix the grade program, at least for now, so that is one less stresser on me.

But, now I have one more question and if you are reading my blog and are an insurance person or have any experience dealing with auto insurance, maybe you can answer this for me.

Last May, I was in a car accident. I was hit from behind while I was stopped. The lady was doing about 40 miles an hour and wasn't paying attention to the traffic and just ran into me. Our cars were locked together, her airbags went off, she got out, said she was so sorry and that she wasn't paying attention...etc. My son and I both went via ambulance to the hospital with neck pain. We both had the exact same injuries and the insurance company wants to give him 2/3 the money they want to give me to settle the accident claim. I wrote to the company and complained that he is not less of a person than I am and that I don't understand why they would offer less since we had exactly they same injuries. They have our medical records. We both took the same time off of work/school. The money is not for my lost wages, that is separate, so that doesn't account for the difference in the amount they want to pay.

I got a letter today from the insurance and their answer is to up his amount to the original amount they were offering me and to up my offer again. I'm not complaining that they want to pay me even more, I'm just so confused as to why they would be willing to pay me more than they are willing to pay him. Yeah, he is a kid, but he is still 100% human and has the same pains that I do.

If you have ever had any experience dealing with insurance and can put this in perspective for me, can you send me an email?

smaejmlewis at comast.net

Friday, September 26, 2008

I'm exhausted!

I give up! I surrender. The battle with the cold is over and the cold has won. I'm so glad it is Friday again. I can't believe I made it through this week with only taking one day off. I have coughed so much that I think I lost one lung and gained some ab muscles. I know I haven't slept more than 2 hours at a time any night this week and probably kept everyone in the house up too. The kids are crabby and fighting and everyone is looking forward to doing nothing this weekend!

To top it off, this week has been extra stressful with the new grading program they are making us use at work. They are trying to save money by switching over to a new grading program that nobody has worked all of the bugs out of yet. Plus, the person who was in charge of the program last year has taken on a new job and there is nobody who is an expert who can help all of us who are trying to learn how to use the program. Grades are disappearing, students are showing up that aren't in our classes, and it is taking 10 times longer to do things than last year. When they decided to make the switch (to save money--which I totally understand with all the budget cuts) they tried to sell it to the teachers by saying that it was going to save us all a lot of time when it came time to put grades in at report card time. Well, it is report card time and I have spent hours fixing the mistakes the computer is making that I never had problems with in the past.

Probably if I wasn't sick, it wouldn't bother me as much, but today I got so frustrated with the program, I almost started to cry. When that happened, I knew it was time to just give up and leave it be until Monday. Maybe then I won't care as much, things will be fixed, or everyone else will have the same problems I'm having and they will actually care about my problems. Today, they just told me to stop whining about my troubles which frustrated me even more!

I think I will play with some fabric and yarn, take a nap or two and enjoy the first weekend of fall. I have some ice cream in the freezer. What could be better?

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

I got a new job!

You didn't know I was looking for one, did you? Well, today I intervied for the Peer Tutoring Coordinator position at my high school and got it. I will be responsible for coordinating the matching of tutors and tutees and making sure the kids work well together and get the help they need to be more successful in school. I was a little surprised I actually got the job because the lady who ran the program last year was one of the people doing the interview and I told her some of the things I had problems with about the program last year. I also talked about how excited I am to get kids who are having problems in science involved in the tutoring program.

Either the other people who interviewed said worse things than I did, or they really liked the good things I said because the Vice Principal came to my class about an hour after the interview and congratulated me. Now, the fun starts, trying to coordinate about 100 students and pair up those needing help with those wanting help. I just hope this doesn't cut into my quilting time! Maybe I can talk some of these tutors into cutting fabric for me...insert evil laugh here...

Monday, September 22, 2008

kitten blankets and Girls State quilt

Ok, finally some pictures to share. I'm still not feeling perfect, but maybe 10% better so it was time to stop feeling sorry for myself and get busy. I stayed home from work today and slept most of the morning away. When I woke up, I could breathe again and that meant I could quilt again!

Here are the three kitten blankets I got done over the weekend, two quilts and one crochet blanket.

And this is the quilt for the Girls State Auction this Saturday. I still need to get the binding on, but I have that cut and ready so sew, at least. I should be able to finish this one by Saturday. If you click on the picture and make it bigger, you can see that I wrote things in the white parts, America the Beautiful and such. I didn't realize how hard it was to write with stitching on a quilt. Some of the cursive letters are a little strange, because when you write, you pick up your pencil, but you can't just pick up the sewing machine and put it down again, so I had to emprovise a little. I hope you can read all of the words.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

I'm trying

to follow the directions, rest, liquids, rest, but I'm feeling worse. I laid around on the couch most of the day after going out to get some pseudafed. My head was about to explode and I needed something to take the pressure off. There are about 20 different medicines that say they do that for you, so I asked the pharmacist and she said, oh, you have to have the pseudafed. Of course, I had to sign my life away to get it, driver's licence, signature, I'm surprised they didn't take a mug shot and fingerprints right there too. But it was worth it. I don't think my head will explode anymore, but the nasties have dropped into my chest and now the fun coughing starts. That usually lasts a week or until a lung has actually been expelled from my body, whichever comes first.

I know that the pharmaceutical companies are making tons of money off of cold medicines, but I sure wish they would work on an actual cold remedy. Something to stop the cold/flu from taking over your body. I've tried all the 'preventions' out there like Airborn--you know it was invented by a very smart teacher who is no longer working with little germ bags. It's just a bunch of vitamins and herbs that are supposed to help your body fight off the germs on its own, but I want something that actually attacks the virus, like antibiotics. I wonder if someone has come up with it, but decided they can make more money on treating the cold?

I did manage to get two more kitten quilts done this weekend, in between feeling sorry for myself and dying on the couch and I made one in crochet as well. I have a zillion and one skeins of yarn and while sitting on the couch, decided to just crochet single crochet to make a square. Started with 35 chains and just kept going back and forth until the skein was used up and I had a big square, about 18 inches I guess, then put a scalloped edge on it and called it done.

I'll box up these quilts and any more I can get done and ship them out in the next week or so to the cold little kittens in Ohio.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Anybody get the licence plate...

of the truck that ran me over? Boy am I feeling like I was hit by a truck and then backed up over and sat on for a while. My head is about to explode from the sinus pressure and my nose is dripping and I'm just feeling icky. I've tried resting and I've tried cleaning the house and I've tried sitting there feeling sorry for myself and nothing makes me feel better. Maybe a good night's sleep would help, if only I could breathe!

I have so many things I need to be doing and getting sick is getting in the way of what I want to get done. Bummer...

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Thank God It's Friday!

Yes, I mean that literally! Thank you God for helping me make it through this week. I started feeling a little sick yesterday, with a midly scratchy throat and today my throat is screaming sore. I decided to come up with a super easy lesson that the kids could do on their own so I didn't have to talk today so I wrote a great worksheet. Problem was, it was too easy for most and too hard for some. It did its job, separating out those kids who can make graphs from those who can't so that was a good thing, but it didn't keep me from talking the whole period like I had hoped.

At least I am done with school for another week and can rest and relax for a minute before starting the weekend plans.

My daughter's boyfriend goes off to college this weekend. It will be like losing another child. He hasn't been around much these last couple of weeks, but the past two years he was over almost every day. The great thing is he is going to college 20 minutes away. I can visit anytime I feel like it, but not too often =) I joked that I would come over and have dinner in the dorms now that I can be his guest. Bring the whole family and eat our fill. They have great food in the dorms you know, and you don't have to wash the dishes when you are done!

I also have some quilts to finish up this weekend. I wonder if I will get the bindings done on any of those that are still sitting on the cutting table???

balancing act

Having 4 kids is fun. It is challenging. It is rewarding. It is faith stretching.

Today I got a phone call during the middle of the day from my oldest who was so excited that she got a writing assignment back with top marks on it. She wants to be an author one day and was concerned that nobody would like her writing. For her to get confirmation that what she has done is good from someone other than her mother meant the world to her. My emotions are so closely linked to child #1 that I was so happy for her and feeling great...until the fire drill 6th period...you remember my special friends in 6th period?

Then, my youngest had a hard day in preschool. I asked his teacher how his day went and she said it was fine. He did well today. When he got home, he broke down in tears. Not just normal tears, but great sobs. He said that he got in trouble because the teacher thought he colored on the table. I asked him if he colored on the table and he said not this time, it was the boy sitting next to him, but when the teacher asked that boy, the boy just shook his head no. So, the teacher made my son clean up the mess all by himself. Now, I know my son pretty well and I know that my son has troubles with the truth at times, but from the story my son told, it seems he spent quite some time crying and carrying on about having to clean up a mess he didn't feel like he made. I'm sure the teacher has other things on her mind, but from the sounds of it, it was a doozie of a fit. To me, that isn't a fine day. I guess I will have to leave a note for the teacher tomorrow and ask her about it.

Daughter #2 twisted her ankle in cross country practice yesterday and seems to be fine, except for running. Hoping that things will be ok for the first meet on the 25th.

And finally son #1. He wants to be in the school spelling bee this year. Never showed interest in spelling before, but this teacher has lit a fire under him that is unstoppable. He is looking up words I've never seen before and practicing in the car. He wants to be labeled the 'super nerd' and is working hard to earn that title.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Back to School night

I have to leave in about 10 minutes for Back to School night. I hate back to school night. This is the night where I get to talk to parents. It is one of the longest days of the year. I feel like the adult on Charlie Brown. Wahhh, wahhh, wahh, wahhh wah. You know, you are making noises, but nobody can understand what you are saying. You are talking and talking and people are sitting there looking at you blankly as though you aren't saying anything. Then, the bell rings and they all leave and the next batch comes in and you start all over again.

After yesterday's post about trying to make a difference in one kids' life, I got a reality check up today. One of my friends got called for jury duty. She is waiting to see if she gets picked for a murder trial. She is on day 2 of the duty. Yesterday one of her students was giving the substitute a bad time, so I offered to babysit him today. He was my student last year and I thought we had a pretty good relationship. He didn't do well in my class (that's why he is taking it again this year) but I thought we understood each other.

So, he comes in my class and I had the work all ready for him. I told him that since he couldn't behave for the sub, he had to stay with me today and do the work in my classroom. Well, he didn't like that at all. He wanted to go back in his class and goof off with his friends. When I told him that wasn't the choice, he said he wanted to go and punch the substitute in the face for saying that he wasn't behaving yesterday. He said that he always behaves now. I said, oh, yeah, like right now? Then, he starts cussing me out and walks out of my class. Reality check! Kids are going to make choices and he just made one. I didn't have the impact I thought I had and I won't be offering to babysit him again. From now on, he will go straight to the office when there is a sub for that teacher. At least he didn't punch me in the face =) See, I am an optomist!!!

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

school...who needs it?

School is really cutting into my fun time. I mean, I love being a teacher, and helping kids reach their full potential and all...yeah, who am I kidding! I love being a teacher and having summers off! I really have some great kids this year up until the last class of the day. That one is a real challenge. There are about 6 boys in that class that I don't think are going to make it the full year without ending up in juvenile hall. They behave themselves in my class, but from the stories they tell and the conversations I overhear, I don't think they will stay out of trouble for very long. I pray for them in the mornings before I get out of my car and hope that I can make a difference just by being a consistent force for them every day. I don't always think that I can make a difference, but maybe for one of them, I will.

I have had students come back years after graduating and tell me that I did make a difference. It is usually the kid that I thought I wasn't getting through to and they sure didn't learn science from me. But so much is going on at home that science is the last thing they need from me. They just need someone who shows concern that they are alive and I try to remember that when they are driving me crazy every day.

That's why I love to come home and play with my fabric. It gives me a sanity break from all the craziness I have to deal with in the classroom. I may not see the diffence I make with the kids, but after an hour of working with some fabric, I can see the changes I make quickly. I get that instant gratification in finishing a project and if it doesn't turn out how I wanted, I can give it away and start a new one the next day.

I don't understand people who don't have hobbies. I work with a lady whose life is teaching. She has no hobbies and she said that if she won the lottery she would keep teaching and working. Not me. I would be playing with fabric all day and taking my kids all over the world to see and experience what the world has so they could see how good we have things in the United States. I would also visit all of my online quilting friends! Of course, I would have to buy a ticket first.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

quilts done

I got the two quilts done today for the librarian's daughter in law who had to give birth early so they could start cancer treatment on her. I hope she likes them both! The blue one is for the mom and the more colorful, darker blue one is for the baby. There is one block that is in both quilts. I thought that would be a nice touch to tie the two quilts together. You can see it in the baby quilt, next to the yellow square near the top. I just happened to have an extra block leftover from the mom's quilt and it sort of went with the colors of the baby quilt.

I also promised to show the quilt tops that were sent me by my online friend. She did a great job. She sent me 4 quilt tops to use in the charity auction for the Girls State fundraiser. I hope to get them quilted this week. They are just perfect for this event!
Thanks Kathy C in Indiana.
And finally, here are two mini quilts I made to send to my daughter at Oberlin. She has been helping out at a cat rescue center on the weekends and says they have the cutest little kittens there. I told her I could make her some little quilts for the kittens and this is what I came up with from some scraps I had on hand. I'll send her these and see if they like them and then make some more if they do. Even kittens need their own little quilts!

Saturday, September 13, 2008

quick update

Just a quick update before I head out to help my daughter hit some tennis balls. I have the baby quilt quilted and the quilt for the mom quilted, now just to put the binding on both and those will be ready for Monday. The shoulders are still giving me troubles. Frustrating!

I also got a box with some quilt tops from an online friend that will get posted tomorrow. They are great! I can't wait to share them with you.

And, I managed to sew together the blocks for a Quilts of Valor quilt and that will be put together tomorrow I hope. Not as much as I had planned for the day, but with my shoulders giving me troubles, at least I got something done.

Friday, September 12, 2008

weekend plans

I just love Fridays, because the weekend is here and I can dream about all the things I can get done. I don't usually get 1/10th of them done, but Fridays I still have the excitement of what could be!

This weekend I would like to get the baby quilt done for the lady I work with whose son's wife gave birth to a preemie because she has cancer and they wanted to start treatment. I also want to make a quilt for her as she undergoes chemotherapy.

I also want to work on some more Quilts of Valor quilt tops to send to Alycia. She has about 100 quilted and another 40 or so quilt tops. Her goal is 400 by May, so that is a long way to go. I would like to send her 20 or so in the next box which means I had better get busy on those. Each quilt top doesn't take long to put together and I have a whole bunch already cut out and ready to go.

I also need to get the binding on about 10 quilts that are in my way. They are sitting on the cutting table in the sewing room and I keep having to move them. Rather than moving them, I'd like to cut the binding for them all this weekend so when I get a few minutes I can just start sewing bindings on them. Binding quilts by machine doesn't take all that long, it's just having everything ready to go that takes me forever to get around to.

I also need to work on the quilts for the Girls State Silent Auction Dinner that is coming up in a week or so. I had better get busy on those. I work well under pressure!

I just hope my joint pain goes away. It started on Monday and I thought I had slept funny on my arm. My elbows and shoulders have been killing me all week. They are bad in the mornings, but terrible at night. I don't know what is going on with them. It is a deep ache that isn't helped by ibuprofen, tylenol or even the muscle relaxer the doctor gave me for my whiplash from the car accident. I'm too young for arthritis aren't I? I haven't done any strange physical activities that I can remember and I'm not under strange stress, other than missing my daughter terribly. I really need to get in to see the doctor, but my doctor has semi-retired and you have to call on a Monday to get an appointment for either Tues or Thursday of that week. I'll have to wait until Monday to call for next week.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

September 11 memories

Well, it is fitting to stop and remeber 7 years ago today. I remember waking up and turning on the TV. I don't do that anymore, maybe because of that day. Maybe because I don't want to start my day knowing what is happening in the world outside of my own little world or maybe because I'm so busy with things in my own little world that I just don't have the time to sit and think anymore. I was up around 6am and the first plane had crashed into the tower by the time I had turned the TV on. I wasn't sure what to think. When the second plane crashed I called into work and asked if we were supposed to come in. I teach at a high school that is right next to an Air Force Base. I figured if we were under attack as a country, they would want everyone to stay home and be safe. I was told to come in. We weren't sure what was going on, but that I needed to be there for the kids.

I remember coming in and there were only about half the students in class. My own two kids who went to school on base couldn't get to school. I had to take them back home again. I was worried for their safety all day long. The students I had in class were worried. Many of their teachers had radios on or TV's or the internet going all day in their classes. The kids had images going all day and were scared. I tried to have class as normal. I remember we were teaching about observations and inferences that day. Strange that I can remember what exactly I was teaching that day when I can't even remember what I taught yesterday.

My kids actually thanked me for not having the TV going or the radio on. They wanted a break from the news and the images. Most of those kids had parents who went to war shortly after 9/11 and I'm sure they were worried about it all day.

My friend at work had a brother who was in one of the towers and who got out safely. I remember that she was worried about him, but she kept on teaching as well that day. I don't think I could have done that if I had a family member who was there. Most of us were on autopilot that day, going through motions and trying to remain calm for the kids.

I will never forget. That is one reason I make the Quilt tops for the Quilts of Valor project and send them to Alycia's project. Won't you join me?

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

letting go

When my oldest went off to college a zillion miles from home, I thought my heart was going to break. She had never been away from home for more than a week and when she was gone, I would cry every day because I missed her so much. Now that she is gone long term, I am trying to come to terms with the new phase of life. Everyone tells me that it is so much better and that our relationship will be so much more enjoyable. I'm having a really hard time making this adjustment. So far, I haven't found it to be better and I haven't found that the ache has gone away. I'm trying to let her be more independent and over the last couple of days to not bug her so much with constantly texting her or calling her. Today in fact, I only texted her once this morning and asked what she was up to. I got a one word response and haven't heard back from her the rest of the day. I guess that is a good thing, because that means she is busy and doing things a college kid should be doing, but letting go is so hard.

my son, the public speaker

Last night, my older son, who is 11, gave a speech at the school board meeting. Kids from his class have been working on this for about a week. He went over to his friend's house this weekend both Saturday and Sunday for several hours and they did research and practiced. He even called his grandfather to get some research. You see, his school was built 50 years ago and the principal wanted to have a big celebration. They researched what school was like 50 years ago and are going to have a party and wanted to invite the school board. There were 8 kids all dressed in 50's styles and each gave a 2 minute speech about life in the 50's. It was really cute. There were about 50 people in the room at the board meeting, parents, grandparents, kids, all proud of their child up there giving the speeches. Then, the teacher passed out the invitations to the board members.

Then the board president spoke. I had a run in with the board president at graduation last year when he tried to take my seat. I had gotten to graduation early and wrapped a sweater around two seats. I had asked for special permission from two of the board members and the principal to sit in the front row, but the school board president wasn't there early enough to ask permission of. Since I am a teacher, I have to be a part of the ceremony and stand among the flags as the graduates walk past. When I came back to take my seat, the school board president was standing in front of my seat that still had my sweater wrapped around and on it. I asked him to move over since that was my seat. We had a huge argument in front of 2,000 people and the two other board members came running over and finally got the board president to move over. Most of the time, I am a meek and mild person, but my daughter was graduating valedictorian and I was not about to give up this seat. This man was not going to back down, because "school board members always sit in these seats". He could care less that I had special permission to sit there, or that my daughter was valedictorian or that he is an elected official.

Back to last night. After the kids gave their wonderful speeches, he opens his mouth and says, "You need to do better research. I was there, when Center Elementary opened, the day after Labor Day, 1959!" The room went silent. The kids looked at the teacher and their mouths dropped open. The parents were embarrassed. The rest of the school board members were embarrassed. The teacher said, "well, I guess we will have to come back and do this again next year." The principal came up and said, "There is a plaque on the wall that says it opened in 1958."

I wanted to get up and use the great line from Seinfeld...The jerk store called and they're running out of YOU!

I swear if I meet that man alone I'm going to .... What did he accomplish by doing that in front of those kids and all of those parents? Did it make him feel better? Probably. He is a pompous, arrogant fool. Did it make the kids feel about 2 inches tall. Absolutely. My son came home and cried. I hope he is happy. This man used to be a teacher? No wonder people think teachers get paid too much. If that is what they remember about teachers, I am embarrassed to be called one. I just hope everyone in that room remembers come election time and tells 100 of their friends about what he did to 8 kids.

Monday, September 8, 2008

my own stitches west

Last night, my youngest was playing around and I said, if you keep doing that, you are going to fall and split your head open and we are going to have to go to the hospital and get you some stitches. Not 10 seconds later, he ended up falling and cut his head open and we ended up getting him 2 stitches. I think next time I'm going to say, if you keep doing that, you are going to end up falling and we are going to win the lottery and win a million dollars. Hey, it just might work!

I took pictures on my camera phone and I have to figure out how to transfer them onto the blog. I'm sure there is a way to send them to my email or something. I'm just not that tec savy yet. It took me forever to figure out how to use the camera on the phone in the first place and now I'm having a great time taking pictures of everything and sending them to my daughter in college. I take pictures of our dinners and send those to her. Those are a big hit, when she is eating dorm food. Of course, I would trade her in a second to have food prepared for me every night and get to choose from 50 different things and then not to have to wash dishes! That sounds like heaven to me! But, when I was young and lived in the dorms, I didn't appreciate it either. Now that I work and come home to last night's dirty dishes and have to wash those before trying to figure out what I want to cook for dinner tonight, I long for the days of dorm food.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

more preemie babies

Today I promised myself that I was going to work on some of the preemie baby dolls that I make for an online charity group called All Crafts 4 Charity. It is a Yahoo group that makes items for a different charity each month. Last year I challenged members of the group to make 100 items for the different charities and I would make them a preemie doll so they could try out their hand made items on the dolls so they would actually fit a real preemie baby. I make the preemie dolls in all sizes from 1 pound up to 6 pound. The 6 pounders aren't full term size, they are skinnier than a full term baby. It is hard for most people to understand just how small a preemie baby really is. I've never held a real preemie baby, but I saw one up close once and boy was he tiny.

So, today I got two of these little guys done. The light skinned one is 5 pounds (size wise, not in real life) and the dark skinned one is 2 pounds. What a difference!

Each baby will go to its new home this week and will help to size items for real babies. Each baby takes about an hour an a half to two hours from cutting out to sewing to hand sewing and stuffing depending on if I'm watching TV or not.

You can purchase the pattern here

Saturday, September 6, 2008

I couldn't wait to share

I was going to hold these pictures until tomorrow, but I just couldn't wait to share them. I finished the quilt tonight and wanted to share with everyone who reads this blog because I'm pleased with the finished quilt. It measures 60 x 84 inches. This is the quilt for Matt Garcia's mom. Matt was the city councilman who was shot on Sept 2. I'm going to give it to a student of mine who will be going to his funeral on Tuesday and is a friend of the family. I met him once, when my daughter was recognized as a valedictorian last June. My heart breaks for his mother. Being separated from my own daughter is hard, but at least I can talk to her every day. I wanted this mother to know that I'm praying for her and I hope this quilt brings her some comfort.

back in the groove

Today felt like a normal quilting day. I got up fairly early and got some chores done, loads and loads of laundry, dishes, yard watered because it has been over 100 degrees for weeks and everything is dying and then got my #2 daughter out hitting tennis balls on the ball machine in the backyard before it 100 degrees today. Then, it was into the sewing room to work on quilts. I sewed together fabric for the quilt top for Matt Garcia's quilt and then decided to put bidings on two quilts that have been sitting here for a month. It really doesn't take a long time to add bindings to quilts, it just takes effort. I had some fabric cut that wasn't specifically meant for bindings, but would serve the purpose and so I figured done was better than perfect and I wanted these quilts done before church tomorrow so I got them done and they are ready to go tomorrow. The happy blocks quilt is my favorite quilt I've ever made. I just love the colors and this picture sure doesn't do it justice. I don't know if the flash didn't go off or what, but it sure is dark. I will have to take another one outside to capture the colors of this one so I can remember how happy it made me. It took a long time to make and I wanted to give up a couple of times while making it, but I love how colorful it is and how happy it makes me feel to look at and I'm sure some child will love it. Both of these quilts will be headed to Kazakhstan soon.

These two pictures are the before and after shots of my youngest's first day of preschool. He was so excited the day before, but wasn't too sure the day of. But, look how happy he was when I came to pick him up.

You can tell I was going to be ready for sewing when I sat down last night. I got my bobbin winder out and started winding bobbins. I just love this thing. It is called a Side Winder and its sole purpose in life is to wrap thread on those little metal bobbins. My machine has the bobbin winding part stuck so when you wind the bobbin, the whole needle thingy goes up and down and I've broken a couple of needles while winding bobbins because the machine shakes so much the foot falls off. I got this about a year ago and it sure has earned its keep! I went through two bobbins today already.

Friday, September 5, 2008

the first bad note home

Well, I don't think it will be the last one unfortunately, but my youngest got his first 'note home' today. He was playing on the playground with a little girl and they were pretending to be animals. She was a tiger and he was a dog. She didn't believe he was a dog so he hit her in the face. His story was that she scratched him first, but as a teacher I can verify that we never catch the first child. When I picked him up, I made him apologize and then they hugged and everything was forgiven. Maybe this is his first little girlfriend?

I'm so glad it is Friday. I have many plans for the weekend. I am hoping to get a quilt made for the librarian's grandson. He was born 8 weeks premature. His mother has cervical cancer and they had to take the baby early so they can begin cancer treatment. He is doing very well and is already 4 pounds and 17 inches long. That is one long, skinny baby!

I'm also hoping to work on some more preemie baby dolls for my online charity crafting group. I'm so far behind on those and really need to get a couple done this weekend. The kids have a few activities planned as well so I will be running them around.

I would also like to make a quilt by Tuesday for the family of a local congressman who was shot and killed last week. He was only 22 years old and was really making a difference in the community. His platform was taking a stand against gangs and violence. The police aren't sure who the shooter is yet, but they have hundreds of police searching for the gunman.

You can hear about the councilman here:

or go to
and type in Matt Garcia in the search box and read the articles about the concilman who changed the city for the better.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Hope Again

Here is a picture of some of the blankets that were given to children at Hope Again in Hollywood. I love seeing them being loved!

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

things aren't the same

My husband is the tennis coach at the high school we both work at and I help by driving the girls to the tennis matches. Today was the first match of the season and boy did it make me miss our daughter even more. Usually she would be done with her match before I had the chance to get out there and I would have to ask her to slow things down so I could watch a few points of her match. Well, today, she wasn't there to watch. The other team was excited that she wasn't there and won the #1 singles match easily. It made me miss her so much to look out and see all of these other girls playing and remember being excited to get to watch her play.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008


Today was my oldest's first day of college and my youngest's first day of preschool. Talk about extremes in the schooing continuum! Both had great first days which was great for mom

Monday, September 1, 2008

quilt for Matt L

Matt L is a student at the high school where I work. I found out on Thursday that he had a heart attack over the summer and had to have open heart surgery. He is a senior this year. What a way to start your senior year! The students are making cards for him and one of the teachers is bringing those cards to him tomorrow. I said I would like to make a quilt for him and this is what I came up with. I used my favorite pattern, the Buttonberry Stashbuster pattern because I already had the fabric cut out and it takes about 30 minutes to sew together the squares, another 15 minutes to arrange them and then in a couple of hours you have a quilt ready to go. I got it done this weekend and it will be ready to deliver tomorrow.
The back of the quilt is a cheater panel of patriotic prints that I have about 10 more yards of. I have it loaded on the quilting machine so I think I will quilt up a few more of these tops I have sitting around.
Michael starts preschool tomorrow and needed a nap mat cover. This is what I came up with. The school sells these for $11 each. They are 28 inches wide by 50 inches long and are really just giant pillowcases. I made his out of African safari fabric so during his rest time, he will have something to look at. He is so excited to be starting school. Can you tell?

unexpected phone call

One thing I love about Binky Patrol is the unexpected phone calls. I get them for different reasons. Sometimes people call needing blankets for kids in crisis. I love those because it spurs me on to action. I get inspired to make a quick quilt and get excited to know that a little bit of fabric and a little bit of time can bring comfort to a child in need. I also love the phone calls like the one I got today. This one was from a lady who had called me before. She is downsizing her fabric and called to see if I could take some more. Since I had my shoes on and lunch didn't need to be made for another half an hour, I told her I would be right over.

Look at what she gave me!

Some are bags of unfinished project. One is a finished quilt top that they just didn't like. Look at this block of the eagle! This one will go to Alycia for her Quilts of Valor project. There is a baggie with more pieces and maybe a pattern for how to sew the rest together? Not sure about that one. I think I might even have given up on that, but I love the end result. And the crazy quilt blocks. I just love the colors on those. There are directions for that one and pieces and scraps to finish it up. Wow, what fun to play with for the rest of the day.

even more

Last day for Oberlin pictures. Tomorrow is Michael's first day of school so there will be pictures of that! And maybe a quilt picture later this afternoon if I can sit down long enough to get some work done today. With Ariel being gone, I haven't felt much like sewing again. I hope the missing part goes away and the excited part starts soon. Everyone talks about that being the best part about your child going off to college. Sharing the excitement, but that hasn't happened yet.
Here is a picture of the dorm she lives in. I just love the old, brick buildings at Oberlin. It was built in 1853 and was the first college to allow women and minorities to attend alongside men. This is the front entrance. The building is shaped like an X with four wings coming off of the center of this building.
On every pole downtown, they had these hanging baskets. Some were even prettier than this one, but we took this while driving because I kept forgetting my camera when were were out walking and this was the best picture I had. I wondered how they kept these from wilting, but it seems like they get rain every couple of days so maybe they don't need to water them? Some of them hung to the ground with trailing vines. Just gorgeous.
Of course you have to get a mother/daughter shot. I won't tell you which is which. I will tell you that I did get confused for a college kid once again. My daughter hates that, but I just love it!
Here is the bike we bought from the neighbor of the assistant tennis coach. The assistant tennis coach and his wife were so helpful in getting us settled and finding us this bike and loaning us some rolling carts. Things would have been more stressful without them, that's for sure! Not sure what the 5's are for, but Michael had this idea and he was the 'producer/director' of this action shot!
Walking to the car to go home across campus. Michael had to get one last picture. I did tell you he is my photographer a lot of the times. I didn't cry too much, but this was a tearful walk. Michael didn't understand why we just left his big sister at college. Why does she have to stay there and learn things? Why can't she come home and learn things?