Monday, November 28, 2011

Carrying on a Family Tradition, One Stitch at a Time

Growing up, I loved to hear the story of my mom's birth...

My Grandma, who was 40 years old at the time, was stationed in Germany since my Grandpa was a pilot in the Air Force during World War II.  She arrived at the hospital, 12 pounds heavier than she was when she got pregnant and delivered a healthy 4 pound baby girl (my mom).  I can only imagine how relieved she was at this point (as I now know what it feels like to be in labor and give birth!), and I cannot imagine what went through her mind when the doctor looked at her and said, "Mrs., you have one more baby you need to deliver."  TWINS!  TWINS?  Sure enough, she gave birth to another 4 pound baby girl!  I wonder what my Grandpa's reaction was when he was allowed into the room to see his wife and his new baby girlS.  What a moment of shock, excitement, fear, and an over abundance of joy they most likely felt!  Apparently my uncle, 11 years old at the time, had wanted a brother, but he decided that two girls made up for one boy!

My other favorite story highlights my Grandma's love and devotion for my Grandpa as well as her determination and courage...qualities I hope depict my life as well.  After falling in love in Ohio, my Grandpa was stationed in California.  They couldn't stand the distance so she flew to Reno while my Grandpa took a very quick leave of absence so they could get married.  My Grandpa was deployed 2 weeks later.  Grandma was left alone in a base housing apartment with 1 can of tomato soup, 1 lb of hamburger, no job, and a car that she couldn't drive.  At this point I have to stop and think about what I would have done.  After a few good tears, I hope I would have followed in my Grandma's footsteps...she made the most of her situation and got a job as a secretary for the base commanding officer.  When she earned enough money she hired a driving instructor to teach her how to drive the car parked in her driveway.  By the time my Grandpa returned, 18 months later, she had opened a savings account with several thousand dollars saved.  I can imagine that he was proud of his new bride!

Sadly, my Grandma passed away in the early 90s, but she started a tradition that has been continued for several generations and her legacy will never be forgotten.


While reading the October 1973 edition of Family Circle, Grandma came across a needlepoint stocking pattern.  She was an excellent seamstress and she decided to buy the pattern and make a stocking for each of her three children. 

the original Family Circle article

My mom, my aunt, and my uncle's wife made a stocking for their spouse as well as each of their children...13 new stockings at this point!

When I got married, my mom made a stocking for My Hero.  My mom also made a stocking for my sister's husband and she plans to make one for my brother's future wife.  In our immediate family, Addison is the first child in the next generation and with my mom's guidance (as I am not a seamstress, needlepointer, etc) I decided to carry on the tradition.

My mom teaching me the intricacies of needlepoint

As I have been working on Addison's stocking I've learned many things.

First, needlepoint takes a LONG time!  I cannot believe the amount of time each pattern and row takes.  I have a whole new respect for my Grandma who made the very first one from a simple, simple pattern.  I am positive I could not have completed one section if I didn't have my already-made stocking to look at and count each stitch! 

Secondly, since it has taken me so long, I have had many hours to think.  My Grandma has come to mind often.  If she was still alive, I can imagine she would be very proud to see another stocking being made for her great granddaughter in her honor.  I wish I would have been older before she passed away so I could have gotten to know her better.  She was a remarkable woman.  Also, thoughts of my mom always come without any effort.  Not everyone can say this, but my mom is my best friend.  I pray that Addison and I will have a relationship like my mom and I do.  My mom's devotion to the Lord, care and service to others, and ability to see God in the good areas as well as the challenging aspects of life have molded me into the woman I am today.  Her kind heart and soft spirit are qualities that people would use to describe both of us.  I never fully understood the sacrifices a mother makes until I had a daughter of my own.  I owe my life to my mom and I hope she never questions my love for her.  Maybe one day Addison will ask me to help her start a stocking for her child.  What an exciting day that would be for me as I think back and tell her about all the great mothers who made stocking prior to her.

Finally, with each stitch, I prayed for my daughter.  How I long for her to grow up and live an abundant life in Christ.  My prayer is that this stocking will represent her heritage, the love I have for her, and ultimately, God's desire for her heart and life. 

My goal is to be finished with the stocking in the next two weeks.  I have about four more sections to go.  I probably won't be around much until it is finished as it takes most of my spare time

Counting gifts...

628.  Remembering my Grandma and the legacy that she left
629.  Praising God for my mom and the wonderful woman that she is
630.  The gift of recently becoming a mother myself
631.  The comfort that comes with knowing that God is pursuing Addison's heart as I pray that she will one day choose to run to His open arms

I Heart Faces Photo Challenge: Laughter

Just for fun I thought I'd enter a recent picture I took of my spunky daughter into the I Heart Faces weekly photo challenge. This week's theme is "Laughter."

This photo makes me smile every time I see it.  I can still her her giggle!

Click here
Be sure to check out other amazing photos on the I Heart Faces website!

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Birthday Blessings

Today I turned 27.  

This year, on my birthday, I continued to count gifts, slowly unwrapping all 27 of them...

601. Waking up to cards and heartfelt notes left by My Hero before he headed to work
602. Growing even more in love with him each year and knowing that he feels the same towards me
603. Seeing an envelope with "Mommy" on the front.  I will never take for granted the gift of being the Mommy to my precious daughter.
604. Seeing her 22 month old scribbles across the card and her face of pride as she showed me her artwork
605. A quiet morning with no where to go
606.  A cold, blustery day reminding me of how grateful I am to have a warm, cozy house
607. The many calls, messages, texts, and cards from loved ones
608. My friend surprising me with a cookies 'n cream CFA milkshake (an extra-special treat!!)
609. Finally getting our brand new replacement computer in the mail after months of waiting!
610. A 3 hour stretch of time to myself as Little Miss napped...I am usually doing good if she sleeps for an hour and a half!  I don't remember the last time she slept almost 3 hours!
611. Her joyful mood after such a good rest
612. Going shopping for our Operation Christmas Child shoebox and involving Addison in this experience as I tried to tell her that we were buying gifts to help another little girl.  How I pray she will have a spirit of generosity and one that is not controlled by her own selfish desires.
613. Pushing her in the shopping cart, so proud of her and what a beautiful little girl she is
614. Feeling the welling excitement as I imagine a little girl opening up the shoebox and discovering many gifts that she would not otherwise have...all in the name of Jesus Christ
615. Praying and knowing God hears the pleas of my heart
616. Sharing an answered prayer with friends and family members
617. Getting tears in my eyes as I drove home and passed several daycares.  Words can never express how thankful I am to my husband for working and making it a priority for me to stay home with Addison.  Every sacrifice we have made and continue to make never even enters my mind.  Even on the long, hard days, I wouldn't change anything.  I am beyond blessed and I recognize that every single day.
618. Thinking about how my relationship with God has grown and deepened through my first year in BSF.
619. Hearing Addison sing "Holy, Holy, Holy," "Jesus Loves Me," and the ABCs.  :)
620. Ella's Kitchen baby food pouches...who knew eating vegetables could be so much fun!?
621. Peace that passes all understanding
622. Laughter
623. Snuggles, kisses, and hugs before bed (even though her baby dolls got way more kisses than I did!)
624. Fleece, footie pajamas on a freshly bathed little girl
625.  Calling Daddy before bed.  He asked Addison what she did today.  Her response, "Mommy's birthday."  Too sweet!
626. The way my hands linger the smell of baby wash long after Addison's bath
627. Getting in bed after a long, hot shower and ending the day with prayers of thanksgiving for an abundance of what really matters

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Teaching Toddlers - Learning Fun!!!

We had so much fun today with these simple, recycled learning activities that promote fine motor skills, learning the ABCs, counting, and an unexpectedly long time of fun for my little girl! 

Baby Food Lid Letters

26 baby food jar lids (more if you plan to make lowercase letters as well)
ABC foam letters (I found them at Michael's for about $5)
Empty plastic container with slit cut into the lid

Games to play: 
1)  Place 4-5 lids face-down on a table.  Ask your toddler to turn over each lid one at a time and tell you which letter was "hiding."
2)  Play a game of memory...match uppercase to uppercase letters or uppercase to lowercase letters.
3)  Place 3 lids letter-side-up on a table.  Point to each letter and say them with your child.  Cover 1 letter up.  Ask your child which letter is covered up.
4)  Arrange the letters in order of the alphabet while singing the ABC song.
5)  Encourage your toddler to stack the letters to make a tower.
6)  Practice saying the letter sounds as your child fits them into the slit in the container.

Beans in a Parmesan Cheese Container
(Thanks Dana for this great idea!)

1 empty Parmesan cheese container
dry beans or other small objects

**Note- This game is only suitable for children who are past the stage of putting everything in their mouth.  Even then, do not allow your child to play this game unsupervised!! 

Games to play: 
1)  Allow your child to put the beans in the container while counting each bean.  Dump the beans out and start again.
2)  Have your child shake the container with beans in it to make "music."
3)  Give your child another container and practice pouring the beans from one container to another.


What are some of your favorite, inexpensive learning activities to do with your toddler??