Thursday, April 30, 2009

We're Going, I think

You're all probably wondering if our trip to Mazatlan is still on. At this point I think so. The flu is completely contained to Mexico City, so it would be like not going to Montana because there was flu in Chicago.

Actually, Mexico has done a whole lot better at containing the virus than the US has.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Happy Birthday Gracie!

Our son and DIL have been married for 17 years. They were told from the outset that it would be very difficult to conceive a child. After many tears and prayers they finally decided to adopt a child. They started by fostering an 18 month old boy. We all fell in love with him and miraculously they were able to adopt him.

When Christopher was five, they got a call from his birth family. His cousin, also five, needed a place to stay for a couple of weeks. Weeks turned into months and pretty soon it was clear that Isaac belonged with us and he was adopted too.

Jim and Millie still wanted to have a girl. I started praying for them that somehow, by birth or by adoption, they would have their girl. I asked God to let Millie get pregnant, just once. Just one girl.

Be careful what you ask for.

At the end of a very scary and stressful year, a year in which Millie almost died from gastric bypass surgery and my mom did die in an automobile accident, I got a call. "Mom, are you sitting down? We have something to tell you." "Millie is pregnant!"

Talk about unending joy! God had heard our prayers and they were going to have the baby everyone said it was impossible to have.

As the months went by, they planned and prepared. They decided on names. If it was a girl, it would be Grace, since it was by God's grace she had been conceived. If it was a boy, it would be Samuel, which means, "God Listens." Then the ultrasound-"Mom, it's a girl!" "I told you so!" "OK, Jean Dixon!" The reason I knew it was a girl was because we had asked God for her.

Then at 22 weeks, came the terrible news. Millie was in danger of losing the baby. She had started to dilate and the baby's foot was sticking out. The doctors tried to talk them into letting the baby miscarry and then go on to try for another baby, but we knew this baby was supposed to be born so the decision was made to try everything to save her life.

She spent one week in the Bozeman hospital, with her feet higher than her head to keep the baby in. Then another week and a half in a Billings hospital, after stitching her cervix and buying some more time. Then it became clear that the baby was not going to stay in much longer, so they flew her to Salt Lake City, to the University Hospital, so that Gracie could have the best neonatal care possible. Stan and I drove down a couple of days later to bring them their car.

The day after we arrived, it became apparent that Gracie wanted to be born. So at 25 weeks, she came into this world at one pound, twelve ounces, and was a whopping fourteen inches long. Immediately she was rushed to the NICU, where she spent the next 3 1/2 months of her life.

It wasn't easy. She had pneumonia, she had an infection that went septic, she kept "forgetting" to breath and had to be on the ventilator longer than usual. Once, a few weeks before Gracie was due to go home, I got a call from Millie. She was crying. They had found a perforated bowel. They were going to do surgery, but the surgeon wanted his own set of x-rays, so they were waiting for that. Fixing a perforated bowel in a preemie is risky business-it might not work, and the baby could die from the surgery. Millie and the boys went to the chapel to pray and I got down on my knees at home. I specifically prayed that the doctors would be "baffled" because the perforation would be gone. After the prayer I fell sound asleep in my chair. The phone woke me up-it was Millie, excited out of her mind. "You'll never believe this, the doctor said they were really BAFFLED because there was no sign of the perforation!"

Finally she got strong enough to come home. The next several months were hard, with trips to the hospital because she stopped breathing, and dealing with medicines, monitors and constant oxygen. As the months went by they were able to drop all those things one by one and by the time she was one she was fairly healthy.

Today she is five. A tiny sparkle of a girl, with flashing blue eyes and a huge smile, she is smart, stubborn, and is excited about going to kindergarten. She loves horses, pink and purple, and going to coffee with her Grandma. She wants to be a doctor so she can help tiny babies like she was, and she's going to marry Johnny, a boy from Sunday School.

Her middle name is Catherine, named after my mom, who had died ten months and one day before Gracie was born. Her smile is Mom's and so is her spirit.

I always said that Gracie was God's way of comforting us for losing Mom, but she is ever so much more. Happy birthday, Grace Catherine, and Grandma is going to come get you for coffee today.

This is the picture the staff took within minutes of birth. It was a lifeline in the beginning.

At one month, with pneumonia, she was a very sick baby.

First steps at sixteen months. What a tiny girl!

This Easter in her new dress (not pink-a miracle) and healthy as can be.

P.S. If you want to read her story in its entirety, go to Gracie's mom's blog and read all the installments.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Thanks, Lera

I never win anything, but last week was the exception. Lera had a drawing for these lovely napkins, made from thrifted sheets. I got them this morning-what a nice thing to happen on a Monday!

They even have a cozy home, but I think a basket would even be nicer.

It's so cool that she lives in a small town like I do-my town has about 1500 people. Her return address is a PO box like mine! City people have no idea-they're always asking me for my mailing address, not getting the fact that we actually have to go to the post office to pick up our mail. A neat thing that Lera and I have in common. Thanks again!

Saturday, April 25, 2009


My kitchen and bathroom cabinets have been showing 28 years of wear. Knowing we don't want to stay forever in this house, and whoever buys it will probably replace all the cabinets, I decided to do a fix-up job.

First I scrubbed them with trisodium phosphate, rinsed, let dry, then I sanded, stained, and put two coats of polyurethane on them. (See previous post about having an occupied garage.) The guy at Walmart who said he refinished furniture for a living, said it couldn't be done, he said I would have to completely strip the cabinets and doors, then start from scratch. I told him these are old cabinets and I'm not putting that much time and money into something that someone might tear out in five years.

Well, here are the results.

The first picture is the worn cabinet, after scrubbing and sanding. The second is after the stain. I used a gel stain-I like the way it doesn't drip or splatter. I'll use it again.

And here are the final results:

Not so bad if I do say so myself!

An aside- DH decided he had to help me reinstall the doors, and as we speak he's trying to figure out how to fix the broken screws that are stuck in one door in our bathroom. His motto is, "If hard is good, harder must be better," and he broke them clean off. If he would have just left me alone..............

Friday, April 24, 2009

No Cottonpickin' Way!!

This is what we woke up to this morning:

And of course, I've been refinishing my bathroom cabinets and all the doors are spread out on sawhorses in my stall in the garage. I'm hoping I can let the sun soften some of the ice on my car before I have to go anywhere.

Yes, that's really the temperature:

Springtime in the Rockies, gotta love it!

In other news, two of my grandkids registered for kindergarten yesterday. My babies! Weren't they just born? Their moms and I are pretty close to tears. One DIL said some of the moms at registration WERE crying! I'll probably wait for the first day of school to do that. A neat thing-they might be in the same class, since they both live in the same neighborhood. They have all-day kindergarten every other day, so it will depend on whether Sydney gets the Monday and Wednesday like Gracie or the Tuesday and Thursday class.

They look enough alike that they'll probably go through school mistaken for twins. Then add Sam who'll start next year (oh my) and people will really be confused. They've already been mistaken for triplets.

Well, back to varnishing. One more coat on the doors and a 24 hour wait and I can have my garage back.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Another Trip

Stan's sis has some timeshare points to use up, so she asked us if we'd like to accompany her to Mazatlan in May. Of course! Mazatlan is one of my top five favorite places on this earth. We'll be staying for seven nights at a beautiful condo and probably wear ourselves out running around the city.

There are beautiful beaches:

Fantastic fiestas:

Plenty of palm trees:

And bananas grow right next to our balcony:

Add to that wonderful people, fabulous food, thrilling bus and taxi rides, and the best shrimp I have ever tasted and it becomes the nicest place on earth. Oh and did I mention inexpensive?

Can't wait-we leave on May 21.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Some More Spring

The robins are a hoot. This one was sitting in our aspen tree singing his lungs out. I think he's looking for a girlfriend.

Yesterday he was cleaning out our rain gutter. Every now and then I would see showers of leaves and debris raining down on our deck. We figure that he was moving the leaves to find bugs. Stan got the ladder out and looked to make sure a nest wasn't being built. That led to his getting the hose and sprayer and cleaning out the gutter. THAT led to him shivering in the house soaking wet because the wind kept blowing the spray right back on him!

Monday, April 20, 2009

For Earth Week

I just put these coffee cup cozies in my shop. One little part I can do for our Earth.

The denim ones are made from old jeans. An equally frugal-minded crafter gave me a huge tote full of beautiful denim pieces. I keep one in my purse all the time and use it instead of the paper ones. The baristas all think they're cute, and I have actually sold some to a few coffee shops in the area.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Three Friends

I finished the bunnies. Blue to Sydney, red to Sam, and pink to Grace. Don't they look like three friends all lined up?

This is a Lion Brand pattern. It calls for Wool-Ease, but I was a very good girl and used bits from my stash. I wanted two blue bunnies, but didn't have enough yarn left so I went with the red.

The last time I gave them stuffed animals, Sydney became extremely attached to a dog with hearts on it-a Valentine's clearance toy. He named it Fred and it has to go wherever he goes and sleep with him. I wonder if these guys will be as loved.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

The Birds Think It's Spring

We had a flock of Red-Winged Blackbirds at our feeder yesterday. They have the most distinctive call.

I scared them off, so my pictures are kind of scarce-most of them show them flying away.

The good news? According to my Weather Channel Desktop it's supposed to be 77 degrees on Monday. Maybe the mushrooms will grow.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009


Whatever happened to spring? This is supposed to go on for a couple of days. And after such a warm and sunny Easter!In order to stave off cabin fever, this is what I've been doing:

I know, Easter is past, but the inspiration only hit me on Thursday. The little ones will like them anyway. The blue one is done, it will be for Sydney, the pink for Gracie, and I have red yarn for Sam. Sam likes to have lots of red because it's Lighting McQueen's color. Maybe looking down at the red will keep me from gazing glumly out the window!

Friday, April 10, 2009

From the Past

My mom was a fabulous crocheter. She dearly loved to make stuffed things-bunnies, dinosaurs, dogs, etc. About 20 years ago, when the rage was Cabbage Patch and crafters could buy Doll-Baby heads and make their own dolls, Mom bought a ton of tiny heads and crocheted dozens of these bunnies. She had apparently given two to my mother-in-law. The other day Mother brought me the bunnies and requested that I give them to Gracie. Of course I will, but I wish I could find the pattern and heads to make enough for all the grandkids. I might be able to find the pattern, I have most of Mom's but I'm sure they don't manufacture the heads anymore.

Mom would be pleased to know that Gracie had them. Happy Easter, Mom!

Thursday, April 9, 2009

If It Rains, It Pours!

Gracie is doing very well-she even got to go to her preschool Easter party yesterday.

THEN.....Christopher falls and messes up his knee for about the fourth time since last fall, when he injured it in a football game. So tomorrow he'll be having surgery for that!

It's sure a good thing they have really good health insurance. Their mom may need therapy after all the hours spent in the hospital with a kid.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

New Items

I just uploaded a couple of purses to my shop. Pop on over and see how I spend my "free" time.

These guys would make a nice gift set.

I don't do a lot of crocheting, but I had to do this-made it up in my pointy little head!

Monday, April 6, 2009

The Prayers Worked!

Gracie is going home! She improved so much in a day's time they decided she could leave the hospital. A great birthday present for her mom! Thank You, Jesus!

Prayers Are Appreciated

My almost-5 granddaughter, Gracie, was admitted to the hospital yesterday. Because she was an extreme preemie (1 pound 12 ounces, 25 weeks), and had to spend so much time on a ventilator, she has problems with her windpipe. If a cold settles there, she could have real breathing issues, which was the case yesterday. She's in ICU and seems to be improving, but our hearts are always in our throats when this happens. Life seems to be suspended until we get the news that she's going home.

Pray that going home will be soon!

Saturday, April 4, 2009

He's 40 Today

Today is my firstborn's birthday. He came into the world screaming, much to the surprise of the doctor. I had been admitted to the hospital four days before with a crushing pain in my chest which turned out to be Toxemia. I went into eclampsia and the Dr. was sure that we had lost the baby, so instead of doing a Ceasarian he just induced. He didn't factor in the power of prayer!

A cousin said he looked like a baby bird right out of the egg-no feathers!

Jim weighed in at 3 pounds 2 ounces and was healthy as a horse. He had no problems breathing or eating. In those days we counted months not weeks, but in today's terms he was a 35-weeker.

We didn't have an NICU in Montana, just Isolettes. They still didn't understand completely how to care for preemies and they lost some. Many survived even without the doodads and intervention methods they have now. The biggest thing back then was Hyaline Membrane Disease, which is totally preventable now if the baby's lungs are sprayed with a surfactant. Jim was far enough along not to have Hyaline as an issue.

In about two weeks time, there were six preemies born at Bozeman Deaconess-two singles and two sets of twins. The singles survived, but one of each of the twins didn't. They ran out of Isolettes so Jim got demoted to a crib a week or two early. I remember going in to see Jim and they had oxygen tents set up in the nursery. (Young people, ask your parents what an oxygen tent is!) He did fine, though, and probably could have come home sooner, but in 1969 preemies had to weigh 5 pounds before they could go home.

He was a happy baby-cute as a button!

40 years later, he's a dad to four kids, married to a super lady, has a great job, and would rather fish than anything. He was always a good kid, smart as a whip (actually because of a little dislexia they tested him and he scored at "genius" level). I'm just thrilled that we have had the privilege of knowing Jim and watching him grow up.

Happy birthday, son! Mom and Dad love you!

Second or third grade.

Last Halloween-Larry the Cable Guy!

Friday, April 3, 2009


There really are signs of spring, if you look hard enough. Stan and I took these pictures of the Dark-eyed Junco today. They've been hanging around our bird feeder this week cleaning up dropped suet and sunflower seeds.

I don't know how long they'll stay around but we'll enjoy them while they're here.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

The Munchkins Were Here

We had to sit on two of the grandkids today-the four and five year old-Sam and Grace. They are pure entertainment-we've had these tiny farm animals for a while, and the kids just discovered them. Sam decided to move animals the easy way-no stock rack here!

Gracie had to get into the act, too, especially after I got out the camera.

What did we do for entertainment before we had grandkids?

BTW, Gracie LOVES her green sweater! Her mom took her shopping for an Easter dress, and when she showed her the one I had found, she exclaimed excitedly, "That one will match the sweater Grandma made PERFECTLY!" Gotta love them!

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Finished Object

I finished the shawl. It really was fun to knit, and as I went along I got more comfortable with the circular needles. I think there might be more of these in the near future.

The edging is a crocheted cathedral edging pattern I found on the web. I wanted to have something pretty, but would go with the feathers and fans pattern. I think this worked OK!?!

Come Visit My Shop!

I have now opened a shop on Etsy! I'm so excited! Please come and see what I have-I hope to have a constantly updated inventory of fun stuff. I started out with the baby bonnets, and will list my wallets and bags soon.