Friday, October 22, 2010

The story of Jesse

I love everything about Fall - visiting the pumpkin patch, the changing leaves, carving pumpkins, crispness in the air (which translates to 70+ degrees in sunny SC - HA!), pumpkin spice lattes, Halloween, pumpkin pies, fall festivals, and did I mention pumpkins?  But, the thing I love most about this time of year, is that it marks the anniversary of Jared and I first becoming parents.  And, in celebration of Jesse's 2-year anniversary of living with us, here is his story:

We tried for 3 years to conceive a child on our own.  I went through a number of medical interventions, but  nothing worked.  We were devastated, knowing that God intended us to be parents, but didn't understand why He was withholding a child from us.  We prayed ((ALOT!)), and looked into all of our options, finally settling on adopting through the foster care system.  It took us just 2 days to complete our paperwork, but over a year to get the call.  In that year, we found a sibling group of 3 that we wanted to adopt and 2 private adoptions of infants fall through.  It was the craziest roller coaster ride of emotions...but then...

On October 7th, 2008, we got a call from DSS stating that they had a little boy for us to foster.  His name was Jesse, and he was a 2 1/2 year old little boy who would more likely than not be up for adoption.  We had wait 3 excruciatingly long days to go to Charleston to learn more about him, but after reviewing his history, we decided that he would be a good fit for our family.  It's there, in that little DSS office, that we first saw pictures of our son.  (Pictures do not do him justice!)
That weekend, we visited him at his foster mom's house.  He was so tiny for his age, and was a bit wary of these weird people mooning over him.


(Oh!  That bowl haircut!  ha ha ha!!)  And then, just a few days later, on October 20th, Jesse's social worker, Laura, dropped him off at our house.  We were prepared for the worst - crying, sobbing, a lot of "you're not my mommy" moments - but Jesse just walked into our house (and our hearts) saying, "This is my Mommy.  This is my Daddy.  This is my house.  These are my dogs...."  He was right where he was supposed to be!  Here's a first family picture:
I remember those first days with Jesse being filled with awe that he fit so well into our family.  We waited so long for him, yet it seemed like he was with us forever.  God knew exactly what he was doing when he brought this little guy into our lives, and we are so thankful for him!!!
Now, 2 years later, we are anxiously anticipating finalizing our adoption on November 12th - yet another reason to celebrate Fall!  (((God is so good!!)))

Monday, August 2, 2010

Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!

On April 3rd, my Mom, Mother-in-law, and best girl friend, Lizzy, threw Micah and me the most beautiful baby shower.  The theme was a jungle tea party (jungle for Micah, and tea for Mommy!), and it was simply lovely!  My Mom made the fruit salad, gathered and wrapped a number of fun prizes for the games, and made the gift bags filled with a homemade goodies - tea holder, Baby Micah Blueberry Lemon Marmalade, and a photo album for each guest.  My Mother-in-law hauled all of her beautiful tea wares from Indiana to South Carolina, and made a huge assortment of baked goods, sandwiches, cheese balls, and tea.  Lizzy put together and orchestrated the games, and hosted the party in her lovely home.  And the whole party was a perfect!  I'm only sorry I didn't get more pictures of the event.
The lovely tea settings
Gifts for the guests
Tiny baby hats
Little lion bath towels

I wanted to do something special for these three awesome ladies - for making my shower so special and making me feel so loved.  Little did we know that I would go into labor just 22 days later, with two months of bed rest to follow...  So, buying presents was out of the question, and crafting was limited due to amount of time I was allowed (or not allowed and took anyway....ahem....) out of bed.  I did a lot of embroidery during my time on bed rest, including these three pieces:
  

For Lizzy, I embroidered this little bird in grayscale from a picture of an embroidered bird I found online and matted it in an embroidery frame, using fabric and rickrack, inspired by this little guy.  

My Mom just redid her bedroom in browns and yellows, with touches of cranberry, so I whipped up this little cutie from this pattern for her, and framed it in a frame that looks like old barn wood.

And for my Mother-in-law, I made a little brown and gold bird from the first pattern, edged in yellow rose reproduction fabric, and framed in the same old barn wood frame.

So, ladies, thank you, thank you, thank you, for making Micah's shower such a special day (a couple of months late)!!!

Sunday, August 1, 2010

He's here!!!

I have been off the radar for a couple of weeks now because I have been very busy giving birth to, and then falling in love with our new little baby boy - Micah Owen Plew!  He was born on July 15th after 26 hours of labor at 6lbs, 6 oz, and 19 3/4 inches long.  And what a blessing he is!  I am still in shock that we have a baby, and all of the medical interventions and bed rest were well worth the result.  He made it to 37 weeks and one day (almost full term) because of the sweet prayers, meals, childcare for Jesse, and encouragement of our family, friends, and church family!  We are so blessed!!!  And now I will leave you with a couple of photos from Micah's first few hours of life on the outside....
Just a few moments old.

Spiderman visits Micah at the Hospital.

All bundled up.

Jesse loves his new baby brother.

Our first family shot on the way home from the hospital.

Sweet baby boy.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Lydia

My younger sister, Megan, is working on a project I want to share with you here.  Megan's best friend from college, Jen, had her beautiful baby girl, Lydia,  go to live with Jesus a couple of months ago.  I can't imagine how devastating it would be to lose a child, even though you have faith that your baby is now in the arms of our loving God.  Her whole story can be found here on Jen's blog.  Bring tissues.  Lots of them.  It's an incredible journey of faith, hope, and loss.

Jen and her husband, Micah, are in the midst of grieving, but have still set up a memorial scholarship fund in Lydia's name at the Christian school where they met as students, and taught as adults.  Megan really wanted to support her friends and honor the memory of Lydia, and blogs about her contribution here on her blog.  She is making the most beautiful purple felted flower pins with 8 petals, and 8 seeds to represent the 8 months, 8 days that Lydia graced us with her presence on earth.  Every penny of every sale goes towards the scholarship.  Please check it out!  (I've also added a link on my page if you'd like to directly link to Megan's blog.)  And please pray for Jen and Micah as they continue to mourn the loss of their little girl!  Sometimes God does things that I just don't understand.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Baby Project #5 - Baby shower gift

I love giving kits as gifts, don't you?  Whether it's a popcorn and movie kit (popcorn, movie rental cards, movie theater candy, and popcorn toppings in a big bowl), or a cookie making kit (ingredients for cookies, spatula, cookie sheet, and oven mitts), I think it's so fun to give a gift that has all of the pieces needed to make memories, have fun, or get a job done.  Well, changing diapers is no exception.  Although decidedly not as fun and exciting as baking cookies, it is a necessary evil of all new parents, and I just love the idea of having everything you need in one place.  That's how I came up with the diaper wrap.  I have posted on this blog before about it being my go-to shower gift, but I have changed the pattern a bit due my sister's critique of the changing pad being too small (thank you, Megan).  And now, it's better than ever!


I used some coordinating fabrics from my favorite reproduction 30's pattern stash (the most awesome Christmas present EVER from my Mom!) and some quilting binding I had had on hand.  Besides the changing pad, I also like to give the new Mommy-to-be a couple of newborn diapers, and a package of travel wipes.  I'm in the process of putting together a tutorial for this little present now, but it will take me a little more time to put the finishing touches on it.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Father's Day Present

Oooo.... It's been a long time since I've posted anything here.  I have been so tired lately, and I'm really ready to have this little baby so I can start feeling like a real person again!  Bed rest continues, as well as meds and monitoring, and not sleeping, and having to pee all night long....  But it will all be worth it when we get to meet our little boy!  We just can't wait!!!

While sitting at the dinner table a couple of weeks ago, Jared made a comment about the adorable shape of Jesse's head.  I thought this was a funny thing to say, but it sparked an idea for a Father's Day present.  And here it is (with a little tutorial in case you want to make one for the Daddy in your life):

1.  Get squirmy 4-year-old boy to hold still for a picture in profile.
There.  That's better.

2.  Assemble your supplies:
     *  Printer with paper
     *  Scissors
     *  Scraps of fabric for the profile (I chose black.) and background (red with polka dots)
     *  Iron-on adhesive (I used HeatnBond Lite)
     *  Frame or cards for the finished product

3.  Print out paper copies of profile, and cut around the profile, keeping all the detail you can intact.  (Micah's picture was a little easier to procure since I already had his profile from an early ultrasound.)
3.  Iron adhesive on silhouette fabric using manufacturer's instructions.
4.  Lay the picture on the adhesive's paper lining and trace around it.  (Right after I traced this, I realized I wanted him to face right, so I retraced the profile the opposite way and didn't get a new picture - sorry!)  Cut out carefully.
5.  Measure the size of your background fabric to fit the frame.  I used the mat as a guide and added an inch around each side.
 
6.  Lay the silhouette on the background fabric.  Peel off paper backing from iron-on adhesive, and iron on to background fabric using manufacturer's instructions.
7.  Place silhouette in frame or card.  Simple, sweet Father's Day gift - done!  

P.S.  I chose a card for Micah's profile because it was from a very early ultrasound, and I wanted to make a framed version of his profile when he comes out.  Oh!  And Jared just loves that we now have a permanent record of the adorable shape of Jesse's little noggin!  I also got Jared this book and it's absolutely perfect for my geek husband with (soon to be) two fun, curious little boys.  Check it out if you get a chance!

Monday, June 28, 2010

A bit of boring backlog

OK!  I finally did it!  I'm 99% packed for the hospital.  Now, I just have to add my camera, laptop, and cell phone to my bag and I'm ready to go.  Y'all should be very proud of me!  :o)  Here is my master packing list:

*PJs
*Slippers
*Nursing bras and tanks
*Nursing pads
*Outfit to wear home
*ipod with baby-birthing playlist
*Camera (batteries charged, extra memory card, charger)
*Video camera
*Snacks (dried fruit and almonds)
*Notebook and pens (I like to make lists!)
*Bible
*Toiletries (shampoo/conditioner, soap, facewash, makeup bag, lotion, nail clippers and emory board, razor, comb)
*A couple of extra surprises for Jesse in his blue bag (big brother t-shirt, new book, magnet playsets, coloring books and crayons, present from baby Micah)
*Baby bag (a couple of outfits that Jesse picked out, receiving blankets, little brother onesie, baby care kit, nursing cover)

Ahhhh....(deep sigh of relief)!  Now I can check packing off my list!  Hooray!

Plus, I've been busy checking some other stuff off the list as well (between naps of course)!

1.  Make Jared's Father's Day gift (I have such a fun idea for this, but can't talk about it until after it's finished!)  Pictures and tutorial on it's way!!!
2.  Sew comforter cover for the crib.  
3.  Move furniture into nursery (Jared's job).
4.  Art for nursery walls.
      4a.  Start birth announcement wall hanging.
      4b.  Hang animal print picture.
5.  Buy and start Micah's baby book.
6.  Print out pictures and add to Jesse's adoption book.  (My Mom commissioned a friend to make us this amazing scrap book, and all we have to do is add pictures, captions, and journal entries.  I'll post pictures when it's done.)
7.  Clean the house (difficult when you're on bedrest).
8.  Finish up thank you notes for the people at church who have been so sweet to us during my time on bedrest.
9.  Finish gifts for my Mom, Mother-in-law, and Lizzy (for the lovely shower they threw Micah and me).
10.  PACK FOR THE HOSPITAL!!!!

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Baby Project #4 - Vivian

Vivian is the beautiful baby girl of a friend, Natalie, who lives down the street.  Up until she was 36 weeks pregnant, Natalie was told that her baby was going to be a boy.  So, like all good parents, Natalie and her husband Aaron, painted the baby's room blue, and had a host of little boy things to welcome their son into the world.  Needless to say, Natalie and Aaron were shocked when the ultrasound tech told them their baby was going to be a girl, and they scrambled to get their home ready for a daughter!  They changed the nursery to pink and brown, and brought their baby girl home to a grande girly welcome!

My choice for Vivian's embroidery was easy!  It needed brown and pink, and when I found this embroidery pattern, I knew I had to stitch it up for her.

I trimmed the embroidery with some  of my reproduction 1930's fabric I received for Christmas from my Mom and Dad (by the way, it is THE BEST Christmas present ever!!!), and placed it in a frame, so that Vivian can always remember that she's surrounded with love!

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Baby Project #3 - Josiah

When my sister and brother-in-law had difficulty having a baby, and desperately wanted to be parents, they searched their hearts, and God's will, and started the process of fostering to adopt.  Their journey to parenthood is chronicled here, and it is amazing - please check it out!  So, to make a long story short, Josiah entered our family a little over a year ago.  He is still in foster care, and we don't know if he will be a permanent member of our family, but we love that little piglet!  And, so he didn't feel left out when his younger sister got something from his Aunt Amy, I made him a little embroidery, too.  It's not as elaborate as Molly's, but I have plans to make him a wall hanging like hers if/when my sister adopts him, complete with "gotcha day" date and adoption date.  Until then, this little giraffe will have to do (found here)!

Monday, June 14, 2010

A visit to the hospital

I think that Jesse took it the worst when I was in the hospital for preterm labor.  He was acting out at home and even started breaking out in little pimples.  When Jared asked him what he wanted for his birthday, he said, "All I want is for Mommy to come home."  Poor thing!!!    So, in an effort to make the next hospital stay more relaxing for the little guy, (hopefully after July 7th so I will be able to deliver at the hospital near our house) the hospital offers a sibling tour to see where Mommy and new baby will be during labor and delivery, and postpartum care.  I signed us up for the tour and we borrowed a wheelchair so that I could come too.  The sweetest nurse, Wendy, took Jesse around and explained to him what would happen when it was time for Micah to be born.  She showed him where baby Micah would get cleaned up.

She showed him what they use to clean the baby after he is born (to get rid of the baby slime).
They showed him how to work the bed that Mommy would stay in.  (He really likes to push all those buttons!)
And then, Wendy took him to the nursery to show him where baby Micah would be if he wasn't in the room with Mommy.

Then, Wendy proceeded to talk to Jesse about when the baby comes.  The highlights of the conversation are as follows: 
    
    Jesse - "When Micah pops out, Mommy can hold me again."
    
    Jesse - "My baby is not going to be brown.  He's going to be white."

    Wendy - "What will baby Micah eat?"
    Jesse - "Milk."
    Mommy - "What kind of milk?"
    Jesse- "Mommy's milk."
    Wendy - "Can the baby drink your milk?" (Meaning the kind of milk Jesse drinks)
    Jesse - "NO!  I don't have beans!!!"  (beans = Jesse's word for breasts)

    And as we were leaving....  Jesse - "They forgot to take baby Micah out!!!"

    
That kid just cracks me up!!!  He can't wait to be a big brother, and we've been practicing our brothering skills with a rag doll that I designed and made for him last week.  It is just a prototype, and has a disturbingly small head, but Jesse doesn't care.  He plays with it constantly!  Here he is cuddling with "Micah" on the couch.
I am so blessed!!!

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

A little confession regarding packing for the hospital

I have a little confession to make...
I haven't packed for the hospital yet.  I know.  I know.  I should have done this a month and half ago when I started to go into labor at 25 weeks.  But, I just can't bring myself to get this one thing done.  Why, you ask?  Because packing for the hospital means that I'm ready to have this baby....and I am not ready for this baby.  Despite being on bedrest, and having all the time in the world, I still have so much to do before Micah graces us with his presence (and a lot of it I can't do because of bedrest)!  Nevertheless, here's my checklist:

1.  Make Jared's Father's Day gift (I have such a fun idea for this, but can't talk about it until after it's finished!)
2.  Sew comforter cover for the crib.  
3.  Move furniture into nursery (Jared's job).
4.  Art for nursery walls.
      4a.  Start birth announcement wall hanging.
      4b.  Hang animal print picture.
5.  Buy and start Micah's baby book.
6.  Print out pictures and add to Jesse's adoption book.  (My Mom commissioned a friend to make us this amazing scrap book, and all we have to do is add pictures, captions, and journal entries.  I'll post pictures when it's done.)
7.  Clean the house (difficult when you're on bedrest).
8.  Finish up thank you notes for the people at church who have been so sweet to us during my time on bedrest.
9.  Finish gifts for my Mom, Mother-in-law, and Lizzy (for the lovely shower they threw Micah and me).
10.  PACK FOR THE HOSPITAL!!!!

UGH!  That's a lot of stuff to do!  I think the first thing I tackle will be packing, since baby Micah could come any day, and I would at least like to have my things in order to bring with us (if he comes in the next 4 weeks, we have to go to the hospital that's 2 hours away again!).  And now that I have posted this declaration of getting things done, I feel accountable, and maybe I'll actually start tackling this list.  I'm sure there will be more blogging regarding these things to come.....

Friday, June 4, 2010

Baby Project #2 - Molly

I started a wall hanging for baby Molly a couple of weeks before she was born (almost a year ago now!).  Molly is my sister Megan's miracle baby.  Megan, and my brother-in-law, Justin, had a very difficult time having children, and had 4 miscarriages before God blessed them with Molly.  They have an incredible story about becoming parents, both through foster care and birth, and the lessons God taught them along the way.  You can read about their story and see pictures of my gorgeous niece (and nephew - more on his project later) on Megan's blog.


I wanted to give Molly something super special to welcome her into the world, and record the important facts about her birth.  The teal linen circles are hand appliqued on a piece of vintage linen, and then embroidered.  (Side note: if I ever do this again, I will embroider the circles before appliqueing them.  It was very difficult to embroider through two layers of fabric.)  The little designs are adapted from a book I found at a thrift store on Victorian Stencils.  I layered the vintage linen with cotton batting and another piece of linen, machine quilted around the circles, then applied the vintage bias tape binding I inherited from my Grandmother's stash, using this great tutorial from Oh Fransson.

I can't wait to make one of these for each of my boys!  I'm waiting for Jesse's adoption to be finalized before I finish his, and Micah's will have to wait until he graces us with his presence.  Oh, and by the way, I'm officially 2 months away from my due date today!  I'm so excited to make it this far with this pregnancy, but I'm praying for just a couple more weeks of "baking time."

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Baby Project #1 - Grady

I cannot believe that it is already Thursday!  Where has the week gone?  You'd think the days would go by slowly while being on bedrest,  but I really have been busy crafting.  (Promise!!)

Since I became pregnant, I have been so tired.  It was all I could do to get up, go to work, pick up and take care of Jesse, make dinner, and climb into bed.  Weekends were reserved for playing with Jesse, and catching up on housework and naps!  (Hooray for naps!)  Since then, we've had a bunch of babies enter our little corner of the world.  I'm sorry to admit that since basic surviving took the place of baby crafting, baby presents are now sadly overdue.  Well, now I've had a bunch of time to catch up, and here is the first project, made especially for baby Grady.


I embroidered this sweet little elephant from a pattern I found and tweaked a bit from this blog, and free-hand embroidered his name.  And since Grady's nursery is all blue, green, and brown, I added a blue and green patchwork from some scraps of fabric I had left over from other projects.  Baby project #1 - done and done.   

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Busy, busy, busy...

I have been so busy being crafty the last couple of days, and I haven't had a minute to blog.  I've been sewing in very small intervals and felting, but mostly, I've been embroidering.  Embroidery allows me to stay in a reclined position while I create - the perfect bedrest craft!  :o)  Over the next week, I'll be posting a project every day.  So, make sure you check back to see my progress.  Maybe this bedrest thing isn't so bad afterall!  

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

I'm so excited!!!

I must admit that it's a bit of a bummer being on bedrest. I know that you might think that laying around, doing absolutely nothing sounds pretty appealing, but after a month of barely moving, with little contact with the outside world, it gets really old! I have a huge list of things I'd love to do - get my hair cut, take Jesse to the beach, I'd even clean the bathrooms if I could... I know it will be worth it in the end, and so far it's paid off! Tomorrow I'll be 30 weeks pregnant!!! HOORAY!!!

While I've been on bedrest so far, I've tried my very hardest to keep busy. I've watched a lot of movies and tv series thanks to Netflix, napped, knit a bunch, felted and set up shop on etsy, and entered a squirrel-making contest at the Brooklyn General. Remember this little guy?
Well, he won honorable mention! (See him? He's all the way on the right.)
I received a lovely gift certificate to Brooklyn General (which I cannot wait to spend on their delicious assortment of fabric and yarn)!  And to make matters even better, my little grey squirrel found a new, permanent home in Brooklyn, New York.  I'm just so excited!

Monday, May 24, 2010

Shop Update

Hello, sweet friends!  Just to let you know, I've updated my etsy shop a bit today.  I added a bunch of cupcakes, a felted bag, and few birds, too.  I'll be adding more later this evening.  I hope you're having a great day!!!