6.08.2015

Well, a few things changed.

I realized when emailing with a friend this week that this blog has not been updated in over 5 months. I'll make is short and sweet.

We had a great Christmas.
 We went to the Lower Lights Christmas concert. I love their music and the feeling present at their concerts. You leave feeling like you have a bunch of new friends.

We played some games with family, including a ridiculously large version of Tripoly.

In January we bought a new car:
I love my  new blue Ford Focus hatchback. Best zoom zoom car every.

Then on January 23 our lives changed forever. We went to work as normal. Around 11 am I got a call from a cousin who said there was a baby boy born in Texas and they were looking for a couple who could be ready and there that night. I called the coordinating social worker and talked to her about it. I talked to Daniel and we decided that we would put our info forward. So I sent her our homestudy and profile and 15 minutes later we were notified that we had been picked. We needed to have the fee to the agency by close of day and then be on a plane to Texas. I left work at my lunch break and went to Babies R'Us with my friend and mom. We got the basics. Daniel booked a hotel, rental car, and plane tickets. We stopped at the agency on our way to the airport and dropped off the necessary documentation. By 8:00 that night we had boarded a plane for Texas. The next morning we met Ariel and Lucas. Ariel was great. She was so easy to talk to. Holding Lucas for the first time was beautiful.



We spent parts of Saturday at the hospital and then running errands. Saturday after lunch Lucas was admitted to the NICU for a program of withdrawals due to some prescriptions that Ariel was taking. Nothing major, he just had to be supervised for a few weeks. We were in Austin for 3 1/2 weeks. We spent most of everyday at the hospital. My mom came and visited us during that time.

The last few months have been wonderful as I have been able to be a stay at home mom and spend all my time with my little boy. He's growing like crazy and changes everyday. Life is truly joyful these days.






To keep updated, follow me on instagram: @toadybear42

12.04.2014

Another shirt

I'm excited about this shirt. It uses the beautiful bird that Cady Driver drew for us and a quote from my favorite author, Jane Austen.


It's available in a couple different colors, long or short sleeve. 

This effort is helping me keep up hope. The holidays are harder when there are no children to share it with.. Fortunately, we have some amazing nieces and nephews. It's been a long time that we have been hoping to adopt and feeling the support of our friends, family, and strangers helps me keep my spirits up. Someday I be a mother and there is some amazing woman who will become our birth mother and hopefully be counted among our best friends. 

Will you indulge in a flight of fancy?

9.25.2014

The epic quilt.

Oh. My. Gosh. This quilt took so much effort. But it was so worth it. I got the idea from a sewing conference. Then I got the idea to do the same thing on a large scale.
I liked the concept of the color bleeding over and making the circles look complete. I just had to figure out the logistics on a large scale. So I put together a mock-up. 
This is my paint version of the front and back.

I told grandma and she sent me these few fabrics to start with. 
 So I found the same fabric line at a local quilting shop here. So I got the other 22 fabrics I needed. 30 fabrics and 37.5 yards of fabric.
 The colors worked so well together. The whole of them made me feel so happy.

 Then I cut them into 10" squares and 5" squares. The large squares served as the front and small squares were put together to create the back of each square.
 The I laid them out in groups according to light/dark and by row.
 It took me 35 hours to put the back blocks together. I laid them each out and put them together each row, lights and darks. It took quite a bit of brain power.

 Then I hard to iron each four patch with the seams open. I need a new tool for that now. That was lots of tiny hot work. But no burns!

 Then I took my 9" round stencil and traced 240 circles. There was a total of 240 patches. That means I ironed 4,800 inches of open seams. This project took miles of thread too.
 These are the backs to the blue squares.
This is all 240 matched up front/back patches. 
 After tracing all the circles, I sewed around each one. That was 30" around each one. So at this point I  had sewn 12,000 inches.
Then I trimmed them all around the edges with some very heavy left handed ginger pinking shears. My thumb was bruised for a while.
After that, I to do the most heart-wrenching part, and cut a 4 inch incision in the whole part of each circle. That was hard. Then I had to turn them all right side out through the cut. I had to stick something in there (the end of a paint brush) to get the rounded seams pushed out as far as they needed to go. Then iron them all into perfect 9" circles. Lots of time at the iron. Are you catching a theme here? Lots of time...

 240 circles wrong side out.
 240 circles turned right side out.

 240 circles ironed right side out and in the correct piles for each row.
I put each circle into rows. light/dark alternating. This is where the logistic part from above was so crucial. 

All 15 columns with the right block in the right place with the right patch on back. 
  
 After I put each square together along the straight line, the scalloped part then had to be sewn down, creating a flower look.
 The middle section.
 On the bed.

 The whole quilt. My floor isn't quite big enough.
 I think I accomplished my goal of having each circle look like it is completed by overlapping. This is where the logistics of the back side came into play. It is actually the back side of the patch next to it folded over it.
 The back looks so cool. 
37.5 yards of fabric 
30 colors
240 squares
4800 inches of ironed open seams
33,800 inches of thread over 16,900 of seams
7,200 inches of pinking shears cut out
240 stenciled circles
Turned into one quilt with 150 hours of sitting at my sewing machine. 

One amazing quilt that I love. 

Any questions?

8.31.2014

Shakespearean Festival!

I have wanted to go for many years and finally this year they had a play I absolutely could not say no to. Sense and Sensibility. It was so well done. I'm so glad we went. Check out this video about it. The pin board on pinterest has a few stills from the play. It was so good and so well done that even Daniel enjoyed it. They stayed true to the story, did a very good job and presenting the characters true to form and even kept it light-hearted with the appropriate amount of emotion where it was called for. I look forward to going to the festival in years to come. I hope to see some of these same actors in other places as well.

We also so Twelfth Night. It was pretty funny. Some of the same actors from Sense and Sensibility were in it and it was fun to watch their talents in such different roles.

On Saturday we wandered around downtown Cedar City and then drove up to Cedar Breaks. We had a very pleasant weekend.



8.03.2014

Adoption Expsenses

Adoption is expensive. People ask how they can help with our adoption. This is a way for you to help us and get something in return. Spread the word, let's sell some shirts and find us a baby!!



7.30.2014

On hope and letting go of bitterness

We have all had bitterness in our lives at some point. Maybe it's held personally towards another person or circumstance, or maybe it was held towards us. Maybe it was a stew of bitterness at a general situation that then explodes with the final straw.

Today at work I was the receipt of someone else's bitterness. This person blew up over a parking issue. This person was parking where they shouldn't have. Simple as that. It ended by their calling me some pretty terrible names with some ugly language. I know this person and know that they are now divorced, their business is suffering and things are going down hill in general. But that is no excuse for being mean to someone. This person seems consumed by stress, bitterness, and anger.

I think we all have moments that are consumed by stress, but I hope to be able to avoid the bitterness and anger. If we look for it, we can find any reason to be bitter or angry. Life is so much better when we let it go, or better yet, don't even allow it in the first place.

I've held bitterness before, a grudge, if you will. It  has not been worth the effort. Ever. Did you know it takes effort to hold a grudge and to keep bitterness in you? It can exhaust you. Just let it go and move on to much better things. There are so many better ways to spend your energy.

Sometimes people have bitter for us in the adoption journey. Don't be jealous for us. It's our battle, our journey, and we are walking it pretty well. Be happy when others are blessed, have hope for our turn, and spread the love of adoption. I try very hard not to be bitter when others get picked, when we've had an active profile for over 3 years and are still spending our evenings going to bed early and sleeping through the night. We are trying to enjoy the time we have with just the two of us and being happy for others.

Sometimes it hurts to not be picked, or matched, or have our name spread as much as others. But I trust the Lord to do what he promised to do. To provide me with a family and children of my own. I tease that it's taking so long because God wants to send me the perfect children. People get a chuckle out of that, but really, we will get the perfect situation for us. And when the time is right, it will happen. In the meantime we are trying to let go of bitterness and enjoy the happy things and the beautiful things and do what we can while we can.

2.01.2014

A little help for a "friend"...

Okay so up front this is Daniel hijacking Ashley's blog. While Ashley and I were living in China we had a lot of opportunities and a lot free time on our hands. Often that free time was taken up in reading. I expanded what I was reading a bit and was introduced to Robison Wells and his books.

Since then I have stalked followed him on social media, mostly twitter, and seen a window into someone else's life and an interesting life it has been. Robison was a professional in marketing, or some such important job, when he was able to publish Variant as a side project.

Then the unexpected happened as it often does. Robison had some mental issues. In his words from his blog
I was diagnosed in 2011 with a severe panic disorder, which quickly morphed into agoraphobia, which joyfully sprang into obsessive compulsive disorder. I’m now on meds (which kinda help) and I’m in cognitive-behavioral therapy (which kinda helps). I still enjoy doing book events and meeting people, I just have to prepare myself better and plan ahead.
Robison has been very upfront about his illness and how he handles it. I, as well as others, have benefited from the information and courageous example in dealing with one of the taboo subjects in our culture.

In fact Robison and his family are the type of people who make me okay with paying more in health insurance as part of "Obama-care" as he and his family were able to get health insurance for the first time in a while.

Oh yeah did I mention that he recently had a Cancer biopsy on his ear?

Now why do I tell you this? Well Robison posted this on this blog:
Most of you know about my mental illnesses. They hit a new low this week, and I nearly checked myself back into the psych ward.
Some of you know about my current financial troubles. They also hit a new low, with bills on the way that will break us.
A few of you know that I’m waiting on results for a cancer biopsy, possible melanoma. They already removed a little part of my ear. Could be a lot more.
Anyway, I want to ask for your prayers. My family will be fasting on Sunday, something you’re welcome to join in. Whatever devotion you hold to, I come to you humbly to ask for your help.
Or, if donations are more your style, someone on Facebook suggested a fundraiser to help. The link to that is below. Any little bit helps.
So this is a call out to those who follow here to help someone in need. I could throw out some scriptures, for those of you who are religious, or make reference to when you help us buy a water buffalo for others in need. But I'm not going to guilt you into doing anything.  Instead I'm going to put the options out there, tell you what Ashley are going to do, and trust you to do what is right.

Options:
1. Buy Robison's books. I really liked the Variant-Feedback series they are fast paced and fun. They are great YA suspense books. The latest is Blackout and a novella Going Dark. Get them on Amazon: Variant, FeedbackBlackout and Going Dark.
2. Give directly to Robison via the donate link on his blog; at the bottom of this post.

Now since Ashley and I already own the first series of the books I've purchased Blackout and Going Dark and I'm excited to read them. Not that I needed a reason to get them but this helps move them up to the top of the list.

Also we are in a position to give so I'll sacrifice some of my dinning out in the next couple weeks to help Robison.

I often think that trials happen to other people to allow for the rest of us to become better by helping. Robison's willingness to ask for help has provided that opportunity, and I for one are going to take it.

Will you?