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The story of our precious little girl's 17 months of life with Trisomy 18 (July 4, 2010 - December 15, 2011) and of us, re-learning to live "after Lilly."
"I will praise you for I am fearfully and wonderfully made ...." Psalm 139:14

Thursday, October 8, 2015

Hunter's Bright Lights - covering a lampshade with fabric

Hunter has been busy assembling some more vintage mason jar lamps.  We've decided that cute/interesting lampshades really make the lamps look better overall.  But wow - they're too expensive for us and would really knock up the price of the lamps, making them less affordable to others.

So I had the idea of covering some plain lampshades with fabric.  We bought these lampshades at Walmart for just under $5.00 each.

Then I went "shopping" in my box of fabrics.  I pulled out some of my favorite fabrics, hoping that someone else might like them too.  Then we watched a couple of videos on YouTube on how to cover lampshades with fabric.  The people made it look so easy!!  (hahaha ...)

I started with the first step - making a paper pattern of the lampshade.  This turned out to be the hardest part!  I think that is because our shades were shaped a bit differently than the ones used in the videos.

I cut out the fabric, using the pattern.  Ironed each piece.  Then took them, one at a time, outside to spray adhesive onto the back of fabric.  Then rolled the lampshade across the material covered with the adhesive.  This part was a little tricky as sticky fabric can act like SaranWrap and get all stuck together.  Ugh!  But it stays sticky for quite awhile so I could keep repositioning it without problems. 

Finally I was done.  It really didn't take that long.

Next, Hunter assembled the light kits.  You can buy kits already put together, but they are about $13.00 each.  I found these on and they were 3 for $21.85.  (Hunter didn't like the dark electrical cords as much, but at $7.28 each, they were just such a bargain.)

Hunter's completed lights!

My little business man will be selling these for only $28.00 each (or $33.00 for a base full of "gems") at an upcoming event.

Jesus said, "I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life." - John 8:12

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

National Midwifery Week

Recently I received a mass e-mail from the Women's Birth & Wellness Center in Chapel Hill, N.C. regarding a project they were putting together for National Midwifery Week, which is October 4-10.  I had three babies with the birth center and each was a wonderful experience.  So in response to the specific request in the e-mail, I e-mailed the birth center a photo and a note for the midwife that delivered my baby.  Here is what I sent:

I've been blessed to have 3 babies with the WBWC - Hunter, Lilly, and Solomon.  They were all amazing births and experiences.  Since you just asked for one photo, I will choose my daughter Lilly since her story is different. Lilly was born with a genetic disorder (Trisomy 18) which was discovered at my first ultrasound.  From that point on Maureen was by my side - coming to future ultrasounds with me, talking to hospital doctors, and being an incredible encourager. Doctors repeated what their medical books say - that Trisomy 18 is "incompatible with life" - but Maureen always just said "let's wait and see."  Lilly was born on July 4, 2010 at UNC with Maureen helping me and continuing to be so gentle and encouraging.  Lilly survived birth and lived another 17 months!  I will never forget Maureen and how caring she is.  Thank you Maureen for all that you do!

This picture is of Maureen, Lilly (at 15 months), and I at the WBWC annual birthday celebration - October 2011
This got me thinking about all of my children's births and I thought it would be fun to post a photo of each baby.

Tabby was born at Reston Hospital, in Reston, Virginia.  I had a midwife deliver her at the hospital.  It was a hard birth - I had back labor.  I didn't like the hospital setting and pushy nurses.  But of course it was worth it!

Tabby - 3 days old - with Rascal standing guard

Hunter was born at the birthing center in Chapel Hill.  I loved everything about the birthing center - the midwives, the care, the setting.  He surprised us in coming fast.  My entire labor and delivery only lasted 3 hours and 15 minutes.  I got to the birthing center with only 15 minutes to spare!
Hunter - dressed and ready to leave the birthing center - about 10 hours old

Lilly was my second birthing center baby, though her delivery was at UNC hospital.  This was because we had no idea what would happen with her and wanted hospital resources ready.  Maureen, my midwife, was right there at the hospital.  I didn't have much interaction with the regular staff.  In great part because Lilly's birth was so fast!  She was born 1 hour and 40 minutes after my first contraction.  Made it to the hospital with 20 minutes to spare with her.  (Left home on the 2nd contraction.)

Lilly - about 5 hours old - dressed and ready to leave the hospital

Solomon was my tricky baby.  I went into labor with him on his due date (September 14) and we hurried to the birthing center, not knowing if it would be another fast birth.  However, my labor stopped.  I ended up finally giving birth to him the next morning.  September 15th - 9 months to the day Lilly had died.  (When I had first found out I was pregnant with my rainbow baby, I had asked God if the baby might be born September 15, since the 15th was significant to me.  And he was!)

Solomon - shortly after birth

Last year, the day before my miscarriage, I had tried to contact the birthing center to set up an appointment.  For some reason I couldn't get my call completed.  It was strange, though the next day I was glad I didn't have to call back and cancel.  :(

this little bear I found on Ebay was offically named "Blueberry" - the nickname I gave to my baby I miscarried
I definitely recommend using midwives and if you're in NC - the birthing center - for pregnancy and delivery.  :)

"For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb.
I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, 
I know that full well." - Psalm 139:13-14

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Tabby's decorating with duct tape

When I was growing up, the only duct tape that was around was the boring dark grey colored kind.  Now there is an incredible variety of colors and patterns to choose from.  I probably like most of them, however there are some I think are ridiculous or just plain unappealing - like the pattern of cooked macaroni and cheese!

I know that decorating, embellishing, making things with duct tape is not new.  But Tabby has been on a kick using it lately and I really like the thing she's done with it.  I tend to reach for a can of spray paint, but I'm learning that duct tape can give interesting and colorful results too.

Tabby was given this old desk years ago, and decided to freshen it up with several different duct tapes.  Notice the metal part of her clipboard is covered in duct tape too.

We found the below cabinet being thrown out at an office building.  Tabby covered the dingy top and it works perfectly for music and storage.

This is Tabby's art table.  She has a storage bin underneath so she likes the material hanging around it to cover it up.  She used duct tape for the trim to hold the material on the table.

It is actually quite an old military table.  My dad used it for reloading bullets when I was little and if I remember correctly, it was used for a kitchen table before that.  I used it for a desk in college.  Then I used it for all sorts of things until Tabby took it over several years ago.

Probably my favorite duct taped thing in Tabby's room is her mirror and bulletin boards.  She used the tape to cover the boring colored frames.

there's duct tape around the a/c window unit too!
A couple years ago, Tabby checked out duct tape project books so many times from the library, that I eventually just bought her used copies for her own. (Just Duct Tape It! and Go Crazy with Duct Tape)

She followed instructions in one of the books for a pencil pouch - made with a ziplock baggie and duct tape - which she uses every day at school.  (I don't have a picture of that one!)  She took an empty can the other day, and plans to cover it with duct tape to use for pens/pencils.  I wonder which tape she will choose?

Tabby and I like to joke about how we have such a compulsion to embellish any thing.  I do believe that is a special trait that God gave to females.  (And yes I know some females don't care about it and some males do!  Just a generalized statement!)  My aunt Pam once told me:

"Embellish to your heart's content.  Remember, the JOY is in the creating!"

Yes.  :)

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Solomon's latest Montessori activies

We're now 7 weeks into our school term.  After morning school time, Hunter keeps busy making things.  What would we do without cardboard boxes?!  He recently got an old modem and was inspired to build an all-in-one computer:

For reading, I have a set (reprint) of McGuffey's Eclectic Readers.  These readers were originally published in the 1830s.  Though Hunter isn't totally fond of them, he prefers the stories in these because they are realistic, and not dumbed down like many of the modern readers.  I like the moral lessons and the rich vocabulary.  Hunter is a pretty advanced reader, but I still have him read to me because occasionally, he comes across words he can't pronounce correctly.  Twice a week we read McGuffey's lessons.  Then once a week, Hunter gets to pick what he wants to read to me.  It is usually one of his technical manuals.  Today was one on electricity and last week was a plumbing book.  By letting him choose books, this keeps his enthusiasm for reading out loud up.  And I usually end up learning about things I would never read about on my own.  ;)

I have a cart that I keep Solomon's current Montessori-type activities on. 

We push it into our living room each morning, so he can work in the same room where I am teaching Hunter.  I put activities on the cart that he can do on his own (after I show him how) and that are things he can do quietly so that he's not a distraction.  (That's the goal anyway - it doesn't always work!)

Here are some things he's worked on this month:

He's really into rainbows and the Noah's ark story.  So I printed out a rainbow and he matched little plastic bears onto the correct color.  (He added the "Lilly-colored bears" for decoration.)

We're working on numbers now.  Solomon can count to 10 and do several number chants (thanks to listening in on Hunter's lessons).  So I decided he was ready to start learning what the numbers looked like.  He talks a lot about Thomas the train being number 1.  So that gave me the idea of making Thomas the train cards and having him match the correct number to each card.  Many of the trains in Thomas have a number.  So I had Hunter tell me the trains that had numbers 1-10.  I then went to Google Images, copied train pictures, made number cards, then printed everything out.

After he was done, Solomon got out his Thomas the train engines and matched them too.

After a couple days, I gave Solomon some magnetic numbers I had, and he matched those.

I came across some "highway numbers" online and printed them onto cardstock. (See here.)  Solomon drives his cars through the numbers.  I give him a new number every few days, and we keep reviewing what he has.

We're having fun with Nursery Rhymes too.  I put our wooden nursery rhyme blocks on a tray along with Richard Scarry's Best Mother Goose Ever book.  Solomon likes to look at the book and match the blocks to the correct pages.  And of course build with them too.

When Tabby was about Hunter's age, she really enjoyed the book and CD set Can You Hear It?  I recently began introducing songs from this to Hunter and Solomon.  We listen to a new one each week.  The CD has a number of great works of music on it and the accompanying book has a picture for each and things to listen for.  We like to act the songs out when we listen.

For picture study, we are studying Leonardo da Vinci.  I am using Simply Charlotte Mason's picture portfolio for da Vinci.  I made Solomon his own set of cards of the da Vinci prints we are studying.  I printed 2 sets so he could match them.  I also gave him a book on da Vinci that we have. 

Whew!  Gotta wiggle around after all that!
Solomon is also learning to spell "Solomon" - or at least recognize the letters.  I got this neat idea off Pinterest.  I printed a picture of Solomon and two sets of the letters in his name.  I used velcro dots to attached them to a file folder.

One more activity, that had to be done in the kitchen, that Solomon really liked was when I filled a bowl with some water, put in some little plastic bears, and handed him some little sugar tongs.  He had to "catch" the bear and lift it out with the tongs, and then drop it into an ice tray.  This proved to be tricky!  He worked at it for awhile then when he was tired, he finished up by using a spoon to scoop out the bears.  This was a nice long project for him that allowed me to get several kitchen chores done while he was working.  ;)

Solomon enjoys taking structured activities, such as the above, then adding his own twists to them.  This is important.  Good for his brain!  He also really enjoys helping me do various chores and helping care for the animals.  He and Hunter play outside some of each afternoon too.  Also important - on many levels!

Play is important for kids.  (Though too much play can lead to trouble.  Parents of multiple kids probably know what I mean!)  Here is an article I read recently, that I found interesting:  "The Decline of Play in Preschoolers - and the Rise of Sensory Issues." 

Well this post is long enough.  I hope I've been able to give you some ideas to do things with your little ones, if you're in a similar place in life as I am.

Thursday, September 17, 2015

The Eye of Tabby - photography for the week of September 13

Here are Tabby's photos for the week.  I am amazed at how she even makes a weed look interesting!  Seeing our every day surroundings through her eyes - via her camera - help me to see things in a different way.  It makes me even more amazed with God's creation.