Our New Life

I’m trying to start this post but all I can think of are cliches.

When Michael had his surgery in August 2015, we were so optimistic that it would end his cancer struggle. We were so looking forward to putting cancer behind us and moving forward with our lives.

Well, we did. Just not with our Daddy with us.

But I’m jumping ahead. After his surgery, Mike was trying really hard to get back in shape and get strong enough to go back to work. But no matter what he tried, he just couldn’t get his energy level up, couldn’t get his appetite to improve. About two months after Henry was born in October, Mike went in for a check up at the hospital. They did scans and found that the cancer had come back, his fourth diagnosis. We were crushed. Doctors started him on chemotherapy and radiation but by February 2016 they took away what little hope we had left. They said there was nothing more they could do for Michael and they gave him about 4 months left. By that time the cancer has spread into his liver, spine, pelvis, spleen cavity, lungs, ribs… There was just too much and his body couldn’t take any more, and the treatments weren’t working.

2016-03-16 09.10.05Unfortunately, by that time Michael was so weak, doing any exciting trips or vacations were really out of the realm of possibility. We spent quiet days at home with our new baby, took a couple short trips to nearby Palm Springs (Mike loved sitting in the heat by the pool) and just spent quality time with family and friends.

Less than three months after getting that news, my husband Michael passed away. He died at home on May 5th, 2016 at about 3 in the afternoon on a Thursday. I cried and cried over his body, not even caring who was around or who heard me, I clutched his hands, his arms, his legs, not wanting to believe he was cold and gone. After that outburst I went curiously numb and stayed that way for days.

We held his funeral a few days later on a Monday. I didn’t cry, I just felt numb. I think part of me didn’t want to accept that it was all over, that my life with him was all over. I had been with this person for the past 13 years of my life, since I was 17 years old. I’ve never been an adult without him. I really, really thought he would survive all this cancer and we would go on with our life. It would be a hard life and he would be disabled, but we would still be together.

Our former catering company donated the food for the event and a wedding event venue we used to work with graciously allowed us to use their facility for no fee, as well as a DJ. A lot of our friends and family were there, overall it was a very nice day.

It’s been over a month since he passed away and I’ve already hit a couple of milestones: his first birthday after his passing, the first father’s day. It’s been incredibly hard. Every day I have to convince myself to keep going, to take care of our son who’s just 8 months old. I miss Mike every day and I think about him and the life we had together all the time. I have a new life now, a life I never thought I would have, a life I never wanted.

2016-02-11 14.50.02When I pictured myself having children, I never expected to be doing it alone. I don’t think most single mothers do, but I was confident Michael and I would never split up. I know that Michael didn’t want to leave us and he desperately wanted to be a father. He would have given anything to be here to help me raise our son together. He was so looking forward to all the things he would teach our son one day. But now it will be up to me, and sometimes I’m overwhelmed by the prospect.

This is our new life, for better or for worse. Henry and Mama take on the world.

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Quilt Finish – Hungry Little Caterpillar Quilt

Another finish under my belt! This quilt is a gift for a dear friend of mine having her first baby.

I bought this Hungry Caterpillar Quilt kit from the FatQuarterShop.com. The instructions were great, really easy to follow. I had some trouble with the flying geese units, hopefully I’ll get better at those in time.

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The quilt finished at 49.5″ x 58.” I used an all over stipple in white thread on the top and bottom. Here’s the back.

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The butterfly panel came with the kit and I used some leftover binding fabric on the back, too. The red fabric was from my stash, happy to get that out!!

Stash Report – April 18, 2016

I just finished the Hungry Caterpillar quilt I have been working on for a couple of months, so I’m happy to show some progress on my numbers! Unfortunately I also hit the remnants bin pretty hard this week, so not as much as I was hoping!

Used this Week: 7.875 yards

Used year to Date: 36.335 yards

Added this Week: 5.807 yards

Added Year to Date: 21.187 yards

Net for 2015: 15.148 yards used

Thanks for stopping by!

Design Wall Monday March 21, 2016

I think I mentioned here during one of my stash reports that I bought a quilt kit for A Very Hungry Caterpillar quilt. I meant it as a gift to a friend having a baby. Well her baby shower is coming up and thankfully I got the quilt top finished up last night. 

  
This was my first time making a quilt from a kit and I really liked it.  I bought it from FatQuarterShop.com. I had some trouble with the flying geese units but I managed to fix them and I’m glad I did. It made piecing the top together so much easier. 

Now all that is left on this quilt is piecing together the back, quilting & binding. Luckily I already have the binding cut & ready to go. The kit came with an extra panel. The caterpillar panel went on the front and I’m going to use the bonus butterfly panel for the back along with the scraps I have left from the front. 

I’m linking up with Patchwork Times

Quilt Finish – Beach Ball Baby Quilt

I’ve finished the Beach Ball Baby Quilt!

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It’s a free pattern from the Moda Bake Shop.
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I bought 2 “rolie polie” rolls (I guess they are mini jelly rolls) of Lucky Star by Zoe Pearn Designs for Riley Blake Designs to make the quilt:

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The white background, binding and backing were all from my stash. I used some leftover beach ball pieces to piece a portion of the backing as well. I could have added another row and made the quilt a little bigger, but the sizes on these pieces were off. If you make this quilt, I highly recommend buying a 60 degree triangle ruler. I just used the 60 degree marker on my cutting ruler and it wasn’t quite as accurate so I had a little trouble piecing.

Of course, I had to include a picture of a baby using the baby quilt!

Of course, I had to include a picture of a baby using the baby quilt!

The quilting was a free motion stipple using blue variegated thread on top and white on bottom. If I had to do it over again I probably would not do the blue thread and would have stuck to white for the top, too. I think the blue is just a little distracting. The finished size is 48″x45″.

Thanks for stopping by! I’m linking up with Crazy Mom Quilts for Finish it up Friday.

2015 Quilt Finishes

Another busy year for me! My husband was undergoing cancer treatment again and I was expecting and then delivered our first child, a baby boy, so not much time for quilting! Plus, I took on a very challenging quilt, the Leaves & Berries Quilt, that took me a few months to finish 🙂

Superhero Quilt, completed in January 2015 for my sister-in-law and her new son:

Leaves & Berries Quilt, completed in August 2015 for my aunt and uncle:

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hi[bear]nate quilt for henry, completed September 2015:

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Sunburst Quilt, completed September 2015:

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Design Wall Feb 8, 2016

A couple weeks ago I got an invitation to a friend’s baby shower. I figured it was coming up soon and I already had the fabric and the pattern I wanted to use, so now it was time to make the quilt.

My son 4 months old so it’s been a challenge to find time to work on the quilt, especially with my husband being sick again. Thankfully my mother and mother in law have been gracious enough to come over and watch the baby while I work. Here’s what’s on my design wall this week:

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Beach Ball Baby Quilt from the Moda Bake Shop. Here’s the front of the quilt.

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Some extra beach balls I’m going to use for the backing.

I’m linking up with Judy over at Patchwork Times today.

Stash Report week 14 – 2015

Stash Report – 2015 Week14
No finishes this week and I have made no progress with my Meet in the Middle Quilt. Having an 8 week old makes quilting kind of difficult. I did buy some fabric this week for baby quilts. One is a quilt kit from FatQuarterShop.com for a Very Hungry caterpillar quilt, and two “Rolie Polie” pre-cuts. Can’t wait! 
Week 14

Used this Week: 0 yards

Used year to Date: 22.46 yards

Added this Week: 10.38 yards

Added Year to Date: 15.38 yards

Net for 2015: 17.46 yards used
Thanks for stopping by! I’m linking up with Judy over at Patchwork Times.

Cloth Diapering: Initial Thoughts

My friends made fun of me when I first became pregnant because I had lots of ideas for how I wanted to raise my son and how I wanted to run my household once he arrived. Mainly, I did NOT want to use disposable diapers or disposable baby wipes. First of all, disposable diapers are so expensive! The prospect of spending $100+/month just on diapers was just not in our budget, so I wanted to find a way to save money on that. Secondly, they are so bad for the environment! They are not biodegradable and I don’t even want to think about how much human waste is seeping into the ground water from landfills. My friends teased me that I wouldn’t stick with the cloth diapers once I found out how hard they are to use. I still wanted to give it a try.

I was inspired to consider cloth diapers by John & Sherry Petersik of Young House Love. I appreciated how they broke down their cloth diapering experience and from what they described, it just didn’t seem that hard. I also talked to my parents and their generation about cloth diapers. I didn’t know it, but my parents didn’t use disposable diapers with any of my 3 siblings or I — they just couldn’t afford them. Same with my husband’s parents. Turns out, disposable diapering is a fairly recent phenomena. I figured, people have been cloth diapering for thousands of years so I could probably do it, too. We ended up buying the same Bum Genius Elemental One Size All In Ones the Petersiks use, but they are a little too big for our newborn Henry at the moment.

So, my wonderful and generous mother gifted us 6 weeks of a cloth diapering service for the first weeks of Henry’s life. This way we wouldn’t have to invest in newborn cloth diapers for just a short period of time. The diaper service goes more of the traditional cloth diaper route; that is, the cloth diaper with the “rubber pants” over them — today they’re referred to as diaper covers. I almost wish we went this route for our cloth diaper investment instead of the all-in-ones. They’re so easy to use; even my husband, who is a complete diaper novice, has no problems at all changing baby’s diaper.

I can definitely see why some people might prefer disposable diapers. We used disposable for the first two weeks of Henry’s life until we got the diaper service set up. It’s nice to just pull out a diaper, slap it on the baby and throw the old one away. They’re also a lot more compact than cloth so you can bring a lot more with you when you’re out and about with baby. But the cloth diapers aren’t that much more complicated to use than disposable and I find that I need to do a lot more laundry these days anyway, so throwing some diapers in the wash isn’t a lot more effort when I’m already doing laundry. Also, since I am a stay-at-home-mom for the moment (I have no plans to get a job anytime soon, but you never know about life) cloth diapering isn’t a big drain on my time. I can see how a house with both parents working away from home might not be able to cloth diaper, and I don’t even know if daycare centers would use cloth diapers. But for me and my family, it makes sense.

Another thing I decided on for baby was using cloth wipes. Again; I hated the thought of spending money on wipes and sending so much waste into landfills. Since I am handy with a sewing machine anyway and I had plenty of flannel fabric on hand, I went ahead and made a bunch of cloth wipes myself. All I have to do is spray a soap solution I made using Dr. Bronner’s soap on to baby’s bottom, then wipe away the waste. When I’m done with the wipe, I throw it into the wet bag hanging next to the changing table. I usually only need one wipe per diaper change. Once we start using our own cloth diapers they will also go into the wet bag, but right now we have a separate wet bag for the laundry service to pick up. And if you’re wondering about the poop smell, it’s not terribly noticeable (at least, not to me). I won’t go as far as saying that breastmilk poo doesn’t smell like some people claim, but it’s not a terribly pungent or overwhelming smell.

You may be saying, this is all well and good for when you’re at home, but what about when you’re on the go? It’s pretty much the same idea. I have a smaller wet bag I use for my diaper bag, so when I change the cloth diaper, I just throw the soiled diaper in there and then transfer to the big bag for laundry when I get home. I do stock my diaper bag with disposable wipes. I also have some disposable diapers in my diaper bag just in case we run out of cloth.

Anyway, these are my initial thoughts about cloth diapering after our first week of use. I’m sure things will change once we have to wash the diapers ourselves but for now, we’re really happy with our decision to cloth diaper.