Wednesday, December 28, 2011

two for two.

Hannah Grace woke up December 23 with a dry cough and runny nose. This eventually turned into a congested cough and super runny nose, accompanied by a fever. She woke up from a three hour nap yesterday evening completely miserable, and John and I decided to take her to a nearby Urgent Care clinic. After a chest X-ray to check for pneumonia, a catheter to check for a UTI (sounds odd, but we had reasons for wanting to check), a thumb prick to check her white blood cell count (and one other thing, but it slipped my mind), and a throat and ear examination (to check for an ear infection and strep), we finally were that everything looked fine, with the exception of the X-Ray, which showed some Bronchitis. We were given a Rx for an antibiotic and were able to leave. 

The catheter was the most traumatic thing for her. I think the worst part about having a sick child so young is not being able to explain what's actually happening. John and I both had to hold her down while the nurse inserted the catheter and collected the urine, and although Hannah Grace screamed the entire time, the whole ordeal lasted maybe 90 seconds. She also hates having her ears and mouth looked at, so those (short) examinations required both John and I to hold her still. John went with her to have the X-Ray done and said he would have been traumatized if he were Hannah Grace. Apparently they had to wrap her arms around something (to get a good shot for the X-Ray), and then John had to hold her arms still. They were at the very end of a hall from where I was, and I could still hear her crying. The thumb prick upset her for a moment, but she calmed down as the lab guy took her blood (this was a process unlike any I've had done, and it was much easier to do with a toddler). 

She woke up at 8:00 this morning still coughing and with some pretty gross snot/boogers caked on her face. Other than that, she seemed to be feeling a little better. I gave her a little medicine, and she perked up even more. For days she hasn't been interested in eating, but she finally ate about half a bowl of oatmeal for lunch. We've been able to keep her drinking milk and juice fairly consistently, so I haven't been worried about her becoming dehydrated. She is napping now, which is good. In the days leading up to her getting sick she napped terribly (if at all) and fought going to bed at night. I was so confused why she was suddenly having so many issues with sleeping, but I think the illness was slowly setting in. 

We're going to lay low at least through tomorrow, and then I'm hoping to get out to the grocery store. We have no food in our house, and spending an hour at Wal-Mart yesterday was the last thing I wanted to do (even if I could have grocery shopped by myself). 

John and I were laughing last night because Hannah Grace is now two for two with getting sick at Christmas. Last year she threw up on Christmas Eve for a couple of hours after eating Gerber puffs. She hadn't been able to eat rice cereal or oatmeal because the grains made her throw up. We had hoped she would be able to handle the puffs (which are rice based), but she couldn't. And then this year she got to deal with Bronchitis (although, I'm happy to say that on Christmas Day she was actually feeling pretty good). Here's hoping next year she'll get to celebrate Christmas sans sickness!

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Christmas presents

With Christmas just a few days away, I thought it would be fun to share what Hannah Grace will be getting this year. 

If you've been reading long enough (or know us well enough), you'll remember that last year, just three weeks before Christmas, John found out his position with AT&T would be no more by the end of the year. It was a (long) two weeks before we found out we would be leaving Knoxville and moving across the state for a new position. During those two weeks, we decided we wouldn't buy presents for each other or anyone else, except for a couple of things for Hannah Grace (we literally spent $40 on her gifts). We didn't know if John would have a job at the end of the year, so presents were the absolute last thing on our mind. 

This year is different: John's job is really good, we've paid off some debt, and that has allowed us to have a bit more fun with gifts. John got a guitar and gave me Lightroom 3 last month, and I began brainstorming about what to give Hannah Grace this year. John and I are fairly adamant about not having many electronic toys. The key word there is many. We're not completely against them, but we'd rather she have things that really allow her to use her imagination. I think we did a good job with what we picked out: 

Mega Bloks. These are like giant Legos, so they'll be easy to Hannah Grace to both grip and build. This particular bag is normally $21 at Target, but thanks to Black Friday and a $3 off coupon, I snagged it for $7. I also found a deal through Wal-Mart's website that had a tub of 100 Mega Bloks in the primary colors for $10, so I got those, too. John wasn't wild about buying a second set because he's afraid he'll trip over them, but I assured him they wouldn't scatter. Much. 
Elmo house shoes! A cute $5 stocking stuffer than Hannah Grace will love!
Veggies Tales DVDs. I think I paid $4 for It's a Meaningful Life, $2 for King George and the Ducky, and $5 for Princess and the Pop Star. We've actually been watching It's a Meaningful Life, but the other two will be opened at Christmas. I don't mind Hannah Grace watching TV in moderation, but I really hate all the commercials kids are exposed to, so I'm starting to build a (small) DVD collection for her. 

Leap Frog Shapes and Sharing Picnic Basket. I really had no rhyme or reason to buying this; I just thought it was really cute and Hannah Grace liked it when I let her play with it in the store. My sister in law gave her a cooking pot with veggies that was the same idea as this picnic basket for HG's birthday in May, and she loves it, so I knew she would enjoy this. I got it off Amazon for $15 on Black Friday, which is $5 cheaper than it sells for in stores, so it was a pretty good deal. 

Farm activity cube. This is an all wooden activity cube that a friend of mine bought for his son a couple of months ago at Costco. John and I had seen these before and liked them but felt Hannah Grace wasn't old enough for one until now. So, I messaged my friend and asked if he would pick one up for Hannah Grace (we don't have a Costco where we live), drop it off at my in-laws, and then have me send him a check for the cost. He obliged, and now Hannah Grace is going to open it on Christmas! This was $50, which is isn't bad considering how sturdy it is (and that Amazon was selling this same one for a little over $70!). I love it because it is straight up wood and will last a long time. The pictures on the different puzzles and figurines are eye catching, especially for a toddler, and I know Hannah Grace will love it. 

I don't know what my mom is getting Hannah Grace, but John's parents bought her a mini trampoline, and it arrived several days ago. She loves sitting and "jumping" on it (her feet never actually leave the surface of the trampoline); I know it's only a matter of time before she's REALLY jumping, and then I'll be putting it outside, ha. 

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

new phone

After two years of having an iPhone, I've made the switch to an Android phone, LG's Nitro. The ONLY reason I made that decision was blatant curiosity. AT&T and phone manufacturers have been sending John various Android devices over the last year and a half, and I decided I wanted to try one out for awhile. I still LOVE the iPhone and would recommend it as anyone's first smart phone (at least on AT&T's network). Android phones are not as user friendly as the iPhone, but according to John, they are more capable. I'm not even sure what that means, nor do I think I will truly benefit from these 'capabilities', but I guess someone would.

I'm not gonna lie: I hated this phone the first night I had it (two nights ago). It is much more difficult to navigate than the iPhone, typing on the touch screen is different, and it was just hard to figure out (but that goes back to the whole user friendly thing). John sat down and showed me a few different things about the phone, and I warmed up to it a little. This is my second full day to have the phone, and while I still can't find anything about it I prefer over the iPhone (other than the super pretty screen and 8 mega pixel camera), I like it much more than I did Monday night. I also like how large the screen is, but that's truly a personal preference, since many people prefer a smaller screen. 

Now I'm just hoping Android app creators hurry up with an Instagram app! That was my favorite app on the iPhone!

Saturday, December 10, 2011

The Quilt.

I started the quilt the first week of June. By the second week I had cut solid squares into strips, sewn them into patchwork blocks, sewn the patchwork and solid blocks into rows, and sewn the rows together to create the quilt top. Sometime around the third week of June I had purchased batting and decided on my back piece and sandwiched the layers together, using about 100 quilting pins to hold the whole thing together. Then I began quilting by machine, and it was a process. So much of a process that after just a couple of rows, I decided to take a short break from the quilt and work on something much less cumbersome, so I think I made a couple of dresses for Hannah Grace. 

Then I lost Dad, and that lead to quite a bit of unplanned traveling to and from middle Tennessee over the next couple of months, and then there were small projects that caught my eye that I worked on, and then from mid-October to about two weeks ago I just didn't feel like sewing. This happens from time to time, and I usually wind up focusing more on photography, which is what happened. Well, that and I put quite a bit of effort into cleaning and organizing our house. 

I finally pulled the quilt from under a pile of fabric Thanksgiving weekend, and it sat on my sewing chair for a few days before I finally decided to finish it. This consisted of finishing the actual quilting via my machine and binding, which I expected to be a nightmare. As it turned out, the quilting was my biggest frustration, and the binding was quite easy. 

But I finished it. 

And I love it: 

For the quilt top I used a layer cake by Moda in the Breakfast at Tiffany's theme. I used this tutorial to make the quilt, following each step exactly. The only thing I did differently was the material for the back of the quilt. Rather than using the snuggly fabric Moda suggested, I decided to use the flat sheet from the first set of bed sheets John and I had. The matching fitted sheet had gotten a hole in it, so the flat sheet was just folded up in our linen closet. Because it is a (real, we've learned fake ones exist) 1,000 thread count sheet, it is much softer than most of the bed sheets out there. Instead of buying or making a separate binding for the quilt, I went the (much) easier route and left about two inches of the bed sheet around the outside of the quilt, and I folded it twice, pinned all the way around, and sewed it. My mom gave me that idea; easy peasy. 

This is a great quilt for someone to make to has zero experience in quilting. Not only is it smaller than a full size quilt (this is more like an individual throw), but the directions in the above tutorial are very simple. I definitely want to make another one in the future; I just hope it doesn't take six months!

Monday, December 5, 2011

I can't believe Thanksgiving weekend was just last weekend. Since my mom left last Sunday, we've had two more sets of visitors in the last week: John's mom from Wednesday to Thursday and Andy, Cherie, and Zach from Friday afternoon through yesterday afternoon. Both of those visits were fun, and now that we're going to have some normalcy for the next few weeks, I'm not sure what to do with myself.

While John's mom was here, I was able to make quite a bit of progress on the quilt I started back in June. So much progress, in fact, that by the time she left the only thing I had to do was bind it. AND, by some act of God I was able to pin the binding in place and sew it down while Hannah Grace was awake last Thursday afternoon. SO. THE QUILT IS FINISHED! I haven't taken any pictures of it yet, but I will have a post dedicated to that soon.

I have one more larger project I started earlier this year that I'm also hoping to finish by mid-January. It, too, is a quilt-like project that is a picnic blanket. Obviously that won't be used in this cold weather, but I'd like to have it ready and at hand once the warm weather returns.

Other than sewing, I've been finishing up the Christmas-izing of our house, wrapping Hannah Grace's presents, and getting the overall state of our house in a consistent organized and clean state. A couple of weeks ago John shampooed our carpets and I scrubbed our kitchen tile. Since then we have been super motivated to maintain the cleanliness of the floors (especially now that we know what not maintaining them can do), so I've been mopping and vacuuming very regularly (I'd already been vacuuming regularly, thanks to HG, but not so much with mopping-- mostly because all I had was a Swiffer, and those don't work well on my kitchen floor). It's amazing how doing basic chores can really make your house look so much better.

John is off today, so we've been lazing around. We grabbed lunch at Arby's earlier, and when Hannah Grace wakes up from her nap we're going to Sam's. Such a wild life, I know :p