Saturday, September 10, 2011

Home Retreat

I love quilting retreats but they don't really fit into the budget or the calendar these days. I have a local friend who quilts, we plan late night sewing nights a few times a year, starting usually lunchtime or mid-afternoon and going as late as we can both stand.

She had some extra vacation days to use, so we planned a two day "home sewing retreat," two days put aside to sew as much as possible. It's usually much easier for me to be home, this time it was easier for her to be home so we have been meeting at her house. The upside of not being at your own house is that your family is not there wanting/needing you to do something, I've been pretty steadily sewing the whole time.

We planned this some weeks ago, so I planned a new quilt top and actually bought fabric for it....the bigger pieces in my stash are becoming fewer and further between and while I love the challenge of making quilts from what I have, sometimes it's fun to buy all the fabric for a new project. I pinned triangle paper and got it all ready to begin sewing as soon as we got set up.

While on a roll, I had fabric for another project that I hadn't prepared, yet, so that got pinned as well on the not likely at all chance that I finished my project and needed more to do.

We got together at 10:00 Thursday morning, with sewing late into the evening in mind. We got our machines an cutting areas set up, an ironing board is set up over by the other window. After some prelimary sewing we picked up Chinese food and brought it back, a rare treat for us both. We bought enough to have some for Friday dinner if we were still sewing. With lunch over, we resumed sewing.

Before too long, blocks turned into a row. I'm sewing this one a block at  time and putting it into rows as the blocks are done so the tedious pinning of those long rows is spread out.

Ruthie joined us for the evening on Thursday, all her siblings had somewhere to go. She was happier than this picture would indicate, she spent some time drawing on this couch having a snack, and also spent some time interacting with my friend's oldest daughter, who is also our oldest son's girlfriend.

 I love blocks of time set aside for sewing projects, I'd nearly forgotten how much in the last few months. I have my little corner set up with my Featherweight and my computer (the pattern is on it and it allowed me to check email, look up a few things we were wondering about along the way, and just have a few minutes of diversion every so often.)

A steady stream of snacks and caffeinated beverages kept us going and we worked until midnight before calling it a night.

We resumed at 10:00 Friday morning after a good nights sleep and, other than a break just before dinner time for an appointment, we sewed until midnight again.

I packed up and came home, my project well under way.

Jonathan and Rachel kept the home fires burning, Lucas and Ruthie were well fed and entertained. Lucas poked his head out when I got home, sheepishly saying they had just gone to bed, having played games for candy the entire evening.

I'm looking forward to seeing this face tomorrow, she was sleeping when I got home and I just saw her briefly this morning.

After what I hope is another good night of sleep I'll set up my sewing area and continue on. My plan is to sew most of Saturday as well, and I'm hoping these 3 days will have set me up for continued productivity as we head into the fall and winter months.

Until next time,
Sweet dreams and Happy Quilting!

Monday, August 29, 2011

Bits and Pieces

As usual, there is a lot going on in our house. School for our college kids has begun, one doesn't live at home but with the "playdates" he makes with his brothers and family dinners, he's around a fair amount.

Since we homeschool, we can choose our start date, we have always started the day after labor day and will again this year. We have one more week of summer before schooling begins.

Jonathan had a busy summer, with occasional lawnwork jobs and some work for our cleaning company. He also took on the task of maintaining and sprucing up the yard, which included trimming trees and bushes, fixing up the edges on a couple of bush beds and cutting out an area for the swings, which will soon be filled with pea gravel. This way we don't wear out the grass and he doesn't have to move them all the time to mow under them. Here is the "before" picture, I guess since the pea gravel isn't in I haven't yet taken an "after" picture!

Lucas and Mike have enjoyed a few fishing outings this year, one of them in the canoe. He caught 5 small fish on one outing but threw them all back. This one was a keeper, a 2 1/2 pound bass. The week before Mike got one that was just a bit bigger, I'll be making them a fish fry lunch one day soon.

The wedding plans are in full swing, we found her dress last weekend, she bought invitations today, she's been gathering bits and pieces of things. Rebekah made her own veil last summer and offered to make Rachel's for her, so we got beads to get her started on that as well. Things are well in hand at the moment, we'll enjoy that and hope it continues.

Ruthie and Mike have bonded over books of late, she'll bring him books to read to her and they will stay happily settled in this spot for quite some time.

Today was a rough day, one of those where nothing seems to go right. We were out running errands, Ruthie, while mostly cooperative, was also just not in a very social mood and she ignored or grunted at most people who talked to her...and there were many today. We found a hat on the dish soap shelf at Walmart, it was on a shelf at Ruthie's eye level, and looked at me, pointed that tiny finger at it and said "hat? Tootie have it?" She pulled it out and oh my, she loved it (she loves hats anyway, but oh my) so we used some of her allowance money to buy it. I think I will be trying to find some plain, child sized fedoras that we can decorate for her to wear.

And, the quilting. It's not been a good summer for that, it seems. I did do quite a bit of piecing earlier in the summer, but have not done nearly as much as usual since. The upside of that is I really felt like I had a summer vacation. The downside is I feel like I have to really be focused the next few months to accomplish what I need to. The wedding quilt is underway (pattern picture on the right,) I have a quilt in the hoop that is nearly done, and a couple more tops that I have fabric for and just need to get the ball rolling on. Rebekah got her Tablecloth Quilt for their anniversary, which was fun.

Rachel bought a laptop for school and we needed to make the house a wi-fi hotspot. I guess "NEED" isn't quite right but it would most certainly make it much more enjoyable for everyone not having to share one wireless modem. Brian had told us about a place in town that buys old gold and broken jewelry so I figured I'd see what I could get for mine. I had accumulated quite a bit over the years, and hoped to get a couple hundred dollars for it...enough to buy the hotspot adapter that I needed and fabric for a couple of quilt tops.

I got much more than expected and was also able to get this:

I'm beyond thrilled, I've wanted a laptop since they first came out and were so much more expensive than desktops. I've dreamed for a long time about a work space that included my own computer so I could easily switch between tasks and it is even more wonderful than I imagined. I escaped from my not-so-great day by coming outside at about 3:30 with my hand applique and my computer and sitting outside with the fire going watching day turn to night has done much to improve my mood.

Tomorrow, I tackle the printer problem, tonight, I work some more on the wedding quilt. I'm still in the early stages of it and hope to have a lot more to show for my time in a couple of weeks.

Until then,

Happy Quilting!


Friday, July 8, 2011


It seems we're doing a lot of this these days. We are not downsizing our house, it's not that big to begin with, but we are able to start purging some unneeded things, and replace some well worn ones.

I had 2 sets of dishes, a stoneware set that could be microwaved, but were rather cumbersome, and a set of second hand china which was pretty and not as heavy, but could not be microwaved because of the gold edge.

Neither made my heart flutter, they were just functional. We also had a bunch of plastic plates which were getting shabby so I thought that if we switched to Corelle that I could get rid of all but a bit of the plastic and have dishes that I didn't have to worry so much about breaking.
I found the set at right, which perfectly match my kitchen/dining area, and knew I had to have them. My plan was to buy them a set at a time (each set was a place setting for four) until I had 6 sets. While our household is shrinking, our family is growing.

Being a want and not a need, collecting these sets was a long term plan, but my kids had other ideas. I bought one set early in the year, and my Mother's Day gift was another set. I opened the box and while exclaiming over them, heard Rebekah quietly say "the rest are coming."

They had ordered the remaining 5 sets of dishes but the order was split into shipments and only one box had arrived. She said the others would be showing up over the next couple of days.

In actuality, the rest arrived the next day. I had spent Mother's Day evening boxing up my old dishes and cleaning out cabinets. The old dishes took up the better part of two cabinets, I was able to get rid of some other things, too. The cabinets are much less cluttered now. I still feel a little giddy every time I open this door.

The car saga has finally (at least we hope finally) come to a close. It's been over 3 1/2 years since it began, when our van was in need of major work. We got it back just about a year later only to have my husband's work van break down just one week later, leaving him in need of our family van for work.

Our older kids all had cars and we shared and traded as needed, but now two have moved out and the last is away for most of the summer. I'd been pretty down about the whole thing and beyond tired of having to find rides everywhere. I found myself looking at used car sites, trying to figure out how little I could spend and still have a decently reliable vehicle and finally decided that I was toturing myself. The only way I'd be getting a car any time soon was if one fell from the sky.

Two days later, one did.

Some family friends came into possession of an extra vehicle, they shuffled their cars around and the "leftover" one was going to be donated, to us if we wanted it, to a charity if we didn't. For the price of licensing and title transfer (and the obligatory $1 to make it legal), I am now the very proud owner of a 13 year old Plymouth Neon. My husband teasingly refers to it as the Mercedes and I don't mind. To me, it might as well be! Since my vehicle used to be the van, I guess my vehicle has been downsized, too!

The body has a few bumps and dings, the inside is almost like new. Best of all, it runs great, is fun to drive and gives me my life back. Initially when we accepted it (sight unseen) my hope was that it would keep going until such time as we could get my husband a needed work vehicle and figure out what was next for me. I now hope that we can keep it going for a LONG time. It not only is a fun little car, but I feel like it is a reminder that there is an end to trials and difficulties and no matter how dark things seem, at some point the light works its way back in.

Ruthie LOVES the new car and will even come along for the ride if all I'm doing it going through the drive through at the bank.

She's also starting to enjoy a bit of independence. She's tall enough to open the screen door to go out by herself and figured out how to get back in on her own, too. She will often go out and sit on the porch and blow bubbles while watching the world go by.

She uses this little chair to open the door, or reach further on this table. In the kitchen she will stand in my basket of towels to reach on the counters. She's a resourceful little thing, and thankfully not too mischievous!

You may have noticed no mention of quilting so far. That isn't because I've not been doing any, in fact, I've been quite busy. The problem is my camera batteries have died and I can't get pictures of what I've been working on. Grocery day will find me with new batteries and quilting updates will soon follow.

Rachel is home for a few days, she leaves for camp again Sunday morning. Tonight she is at Marshall's parents' house for dinner and some of the evening, but we'll be watching Say Yes to the Dress shows and scoping out both wedding and bridesmaids dresses while being entertained. Until then, I'm watching baseball and hand quilting, tonight or tomorrow I should be finished with the current project.

More to come soon! I hope everyone is having a wonderful summer.
Happy Quilting!

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

A Happy Surprise, and Updates

We found out just a couple of weeks ago that the house was still a possibility for Rebekah and Brian. Our determined son-in-law wasn't ready to give up on their dream house. He figured there had to be a way and continued communications with the mortgage company, unbeknownst to our daughter. After the intense disappointment, he didn't want to get her hopes up for nothing, but a couple of weeks in when he needed some paperwork, he had to tell her.

The rest of us were kept in the dark, they didn't want to tell us all, only to have to tell us, yet again, that it was a no go.

They quite happily signed MOST of the paperwork yesterday. As these things usually go, something was missing and it's not officially official, but they were given the keys and the lockbox was removed. I got to see it yesterday and it's WONDERFUL. (The house is not on this lake, this was actually taken during their wedding rehearsal.)

Joshua is quite happily settled into his new home. If the landlords had any qualms about renting to two young men, I'm sure they will be quite happy as time goes on. When they are not busy with their friends and girlfriends, Joshua and his roommate are caring for their home. Mostly Joshua cooks (he starts culinary classes next week) and Steve cleans, but they both work in the yard and it seems like they are keeping up with everything pretty well. (Joshua is the young man all the way on the right, catching the garter, his roommate is the young man in black in the front and center of the group.)

Rachel leaves on Friday to be a camp counselor for about 8 weeks. She will be gone from Sunday morning until Saturday afternoon during that time. She can hardly wait and I'm sure she'll enjoy it very much. Once she comes back, the wedding planning will begin in earnest. The date is set, June 9, 2011, the hall is picked (same as Rebekah's, though will have a totally different feel for this wedding) and quite a few things have been decided. The picture at right is Joshua and his girlfriend, Kayla, Rachel, and Joshua's roommate, Steve. Rachel made a cake in honor of her sponsor child's birthday, and we took pictures so she could send them to him.

Rachel's leaving means I will have little, if any, car access for the summer. It's something that I'm really struggling with, but there really isn't anything we can do about it right now. It may not be much better in the fall, with her working and going to school full time.

I've been hand quilting quite a bit, I have so many tops here and I need to quilt them. Some are pattern samples, others are just tops that have been waiting for me to have either time to work on them or money for batting and backing. This one was made from the tablecloths at Rebekah's wedding, It's nearly done so will be a housewarming gift.

I'll have more pictures of this one and the quilting on it soon!

I'm not nearly as good as multi-tasking as I used to be. I find that somewhat disconcerting as I have so many different things that need to be done. It used to be I could have several quilting projects going at once, but I'm not so good at that anymore. I'm trying to figure out how to balance it all and I think I'm starting to settle into a routine.

I also have learned to move on if I'm not feeling very motivated. It does no good to sit with hand quilting in my lap because I've designated this hand quilting time if I sit and stare at it because I don't feel like doing it. I used to be able to push through and do things anyway, but whether it be getting older or just a shift in mindset, that doesn't work so well unless something absolutely has to be done.

So today is computer day...until I'm tired of staring at the screen. I'll quit by dinner time and switch to hand quilting tonight. If it's earlier than that, I'll switch to a piecing project or start my hand quilting early.

Ruthie is doing great, she has multiple little dolls and stuffed animals that receive her attention. Right now, Spongebob is dancing across the top of our couch. She is a constant stream of chatter. A favorite thing is lining up various little objects and chattering away while she walks them around, then lines them up, then walks them around again. This particular lineup is a snowman pepper shaker, a clear glass teddy bear, and two s'mores ornaments.

We had a few lovely days a week or so ago and the kids were all out back. I looked out to see Ruthie, gently swinging back and forth and grabbed my camera. I love this picture, I may have to have a print of it!

Now it's time to get to work. I'm learning the ins and outs of EQ and I feel like I'm taking a computer class! I'll enjoy my computer time (with one computer for 6 of us, it's sometimes at a premium!) though am already looking forward to hand quilting later one.

I hope everyone is having a happy, healthy summer, and, as always,

Happy Quilting!


Saturday, May 7, 2011

Time Flies

This surely seems to be a recurring theme for me. I need to find a way to do short posts more often so I don't feel like I'm totally rambling when I do post.

After much waiting and jumping through way too many hoops, the house was not to be after all. Rebekah and Brian were intensely disappointed for a couple of days, but then regrouped and came up with a new plan. They are still leaving their apartment at the end of the month, hoping to find a townhouse or house to rent between here and his job...which will put them very close to her job. The emotional adjustment has been made and we know that when they do get a house of their own it will be just the right one for them.

Their change in plans meant a change for Joshua, too. His friend's parents' house sold quickly, they moved into a house about a mile or so from here in the adjacent neighborhood. They are having a great time. Today Joshua came and picked up Lucas to spend the day at his new house, and next weekend we'll go there for dinner. He's clearly thrilled with this new phase in his life.

Rachel had a big month, too, she got engaged Easter weekend, on their 3rd anniversary together. We are planning another wedding but have more time this time, the target being June 2012. Along with the wedding will be a move, Marshall will be going to grad school, very likely in another state.

How did we get from the top picture, taken when Ruthie was just a few months old, to the bottom, Rachel so happy to be starting her new grown up life?

Our summer will be interesting, Rachel is spending most of it working as a camp counselor and will only be home for a few hours each weekend. We have a lot of the wedding plans figured out, the actual working of the plan will happen starting in August.

Ruthie continues to do very well and still loves to be photographed. Here she is ready to pretend shop. For a while she had to wear that hat every time we left the house. She often had it pulled so low that she had to tip her head to see. She loves to go to the store and comes along whenever I have the time to bring her and she wants to go along.

She loves the computer and used to mostly watch youtube videos that we'd find for her. She got tired of waiting for us to click another for her one day and she did it herself. She's since learned to play a couple of games, too. I find myself "competing" for computer time with her some's so good for her, though, I try to let her go for as long as she'd like.

I've been busy with my quilting, getting quite a bit done while waiting to buy EQ6. I have several patterns designed, planned another quilt I need to make, and worked on several of my "sample" tops. The one on the right is in the hoop and should be done before long, the one below will probably be next in line.

Just this week I got the program and have spent the last several days learning to use it and putting a couple of patterns into the software. I'm hoping to have a very productive summer, and have a quilt top I need to quilt to add in the mix! Quilt above: Ring around the Stars©2011 Quilt in Piece

Spinning Wheel©2011 Quilt in Piece Designs

Life sure does seem to be speeding along at a breakneck pace these days, but it's quite enjoyable, too. I do wish it would slow down just a bit!

Happy, Healthy spring to all, and Happy Quilting!


Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Scheduling and Updates

Sometimes I really feel like things are getting away from me. Trying to fit all I need to do and all I want to do in a day is a challenge.

It always surprises me when I come back to post and find it's been a month since the last one. I would like to change that, I suppose it needs to be a line item in my planner each week.

I also feel boring. My life is unremarkable, there is little drama or excitement by others' standards so I think I feel like I can't post unless there is a bunch new to say.

Still, there is something satisfying about putting words on a page and seeing bits of one's life in some semblance of order.

Not that things feel orderly at the moment. On the surface, I suppose it would certainly look like we have things well in hand and are sailing along a ripple-less sea. We know any moment, though, that the ripples are coming, we hope they are made by a pebble and not a boulder. What are we waiting on? The Big Move. It still has not happened. Brian and Rebekah are in it for the long haul, they want the house and are jumping through the hoops set before them. They are in no hurry and can ride it out until they move, or for some reason the deal falls through.

While they wait, so do we. Joshua is ready to move out, but the planned move is into their old apartment. If it goes much longer, he'll go somewhere else and has a promising plan B already in mind.

Jonathan is looking forward to making their shared room his own and has paint colors picked out and new furniture placement in mind.

Also floating along is my quilting business. I've got several patterns well under way, but am lacking the program I need. Very soon I will have enough for that and hopefully that will give me a needed jump start. I'm enjoying this process immensely and it's a win/win. If I can help my family budget, that will be great. If it doesn't really go anywhere, I haven't lost anything and have tapped into a part of me I didn't know existed. As I play with, and get lost in, patterns and colors, this all seems possible.

When I look at the work of putting it all together and getting "out there" it seems decidedly less possible.

Through it all, Ruthie is like a little anchor. For her, all of this doesn't really exist. We all may feel on pins and needles waiting for things to happen, but her days are pretty consistent. Even on the most scattered feeling of days, her smile can calm us all. Here she is getting a haircut from big sister, Rebekah.

She loves grocery day. Putting away groceries takes twice as long when she decides she wants to help, but it sure is fun. She pulls everything out of the bags, one by one, and names the item. If she doesn't know, she asks "wha' zis?" and I say what it is and she repeats it. It's good exercise for me, too, I normally pick the bags up and put them on the counter, but when Ruthie empties them I have to bend down to the floor to pick up each item. We're taking advantage of her desire to help and let her do so whenever we can.

Her sense of pretend is ramping up which is really fun to see. She combines all her different toys to play and it's quite amusing. We have to pretend we aren't listening/watching or she'll stop. She also loves anything remotely like a cell phone and will have long conversations on them complete with pauses to "listen" to the person on the other end and laughter at their "responses."

Joshua's girlfriend is an art major and wants to be a photographer. Ruthie tends to stay shy with people for a long time, but Kayla figured out how to tap into Ruthie's love of being photographed and can get her to pose and follow directions to get the picture she wants. She was in the middle of taking pictures of her when Ruthie pulled her foot up to her chin, and she was able to capture it. The coloring was part of an art project for school.

So, generally, we're sailing along pretty smoothly right now, waiting for waves we hope are only ripples as we settle into a new normal with one more of our kids moved out of the house.

And through it all, I quilt. Sometimes it helps me think, sometimes it helps me NOT think, and always at the end I have something made with my own hands and heart.
Life is good.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Blizzard 2011 and Other Musings

They predicted, and they predicted correctly. I think the official total for our area was 18", we haven't seen that much snow at one time for about 12 years.

Of course, I don't want my loved ones stranded out in it, but with the predictions as they were, many businesses in the area were shutting down early on Tuesday and already shut down for Wednesday as the storm moved in late Tuesday afternoon.

My family was no husband was sent home after half of his shift (he works 2nd shift, so was home early evening,) my son was sent home a bit early as the work they needed to do for the day was finished anyway, our married daughter (she's a nanny) was also sent home by late afternoon and was safely tucked in her apartment around the corner from us, her husband already on his way, too.

The only one in our family hugely affected by the storm was Rachel. She was due home on a flight from Paris Wednesday afternoon, which was pre-emptively cancelled Monday evening.

She had no way of knowing and no way to get in touch with us to let us know what was going on.

So she flew from Ouagadougou to Paris, her group all separated to catch flights on other airlines or to go explore Paris, and she went to her airline check-in only to find that her flight had been cancelled. (At right, she is with part of her group, in Africa.)

She arrived in Paris early Wednesday morning (Paris time, Tuesday night our time), with no way home. She tried to find people from her group, to no avail, and then went to book her new flight home. We found out Wednesday morning, through the organization she toured with, that she was on a flight from Paris to Dallas and would have to spend the night there as no flights were expected to fly into Chicago on Wednesday.
I stayed up until 3am Wednesday morning, partly hoping she could find a way to contact us, but mostly to enjoy the storm. I love these kind of storms and watched as the snow fell and drifted.

When she called Wednesday around dinner time, she had gotten her luggage, gone through customs, reserved a hotel room and was waiting on the shuttle bus. My baby is all grown up!

She didn't know until she arrived in Dallas why her flights had been cancelled (her Thursday morning flight had been cancelled while she was in the air, she had to re-book that as well.) We took pictures so she could see how everything looked before we dug out.

Rachel's car was all but buried in it and drifts left huge piles in some areas, but not so much in others.

I was intrigued by the snow that curled over the railing and hung there for days. It shrunk some a few days later as the weather warmed and some melting began, and Jonathan cleared it all off just this past weekend.
Mike and Jonathan spent 3 hours shoveling on Wednesday morning, we were thankful the storm had ended by then, it was predicted initially to continue on into Wednesday afternoon.

Ruthie and Lucas very much enjoyed the snowstorm, Ruthie watched as the snow slowly buried our table and flowers on the porch (first picture) and periodically would call someone to the window to look with her.

I spent quite a bit of time working on the Posies and Celtic in the last few weeks, as well as working on some of my patterns.

We have a busy weekend coming up, we hope, the newlyweds are supposed to be closing on a house on Friday so the weekend will be spent helping them move.

Joshua (oldest son) will sublet the apartment they are vacating and spend those few months looking for a place to go to after that, probably with a friend. That means he will be moving this weekend, too, so it will be a crazy one!

Ruthie continues to do well and has most definitely come into her own. Still still loves to have her picture taken, which has worked out nicely for Joshua's girlfriend who is an art major with an emphasis on photography. She has taken many, many pictures of Ruthie, who is even starting to take some direction for more specific photos. It's really fun to watch. And really, who can resist that face?
The days now are busy ones, and even those that I plan to be quiet seem to fill themselves up pretty easily. It's a nice kind of busy, though, mostly low stress and enjoyable.
Once these moves for the kids are over, I hope to settle into a good routine for my quilting and pattern work. Hopefully there won't be anything else big in the works for a while!

Hope this finds you keeping warm and happily busy!

Monday, January 24, 2011


The days seem to fly by. There never seems to be enough time to get in the things that I want to finish each day. I'm getting more diligent about making daily lists and bought a planner book for that purpose. It also holds the many schedules and events that need to be worked around. My book shows a week at a time, with nice lined sections for each day, it seems like I turn to a new page far too quickly.

Rachel is doing a different flying, she left yesterday for Paris to meet up with her group and is, as I post, on her flight from Paris to Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso, Africa. At left is her visa picture, she was not thrilled with it but the smile tells it all. This is a much anticipated and planned for trip and my hope for her is that she finds it all she expected and more. She'll be gone for 10 days, I doubt those days fly by for me, though I'm sure they will for her!

Quilt ideas are flying from my brain to my fingers these days. Each time I wonder if I will be able to come up with anything new, I sit down with my pad and colored pencils and start to draw and one or two more ideas come flowing out. I feel like my brain flies a mile a minute while I try to put all the different pieces of this venture into some semblance of order. At left is a peek at one of the new designs.

In addition to working on new patterns and tops, I'm hand quilting on the Celtic and Posies. Not only do I want to finish this one, hand quilting time is really good thinking, praying, and meditation time for me. It's so relaxing for me to hand quilt that my jumbled thoughts have time to sort themselves out. I lot of ideas and solutions to problems have come to fruition while hand quilting.

Ruthie continues to "fly" as well. She strings more and more words together, is nearly always able to easily communicate what she wants and can be quite bossy at times. Where words used to be great effort for her, they come much more easily now. She used to never react verbally, the words didn't come quickly enough, but now we hear "oh my" or "donnit!" (darn it) and other various comments on things happening around her. She loves to sing, though it's still very rudimentary, few words, mostly vowels and not really in tune, but she clearly has the idea of her voice moving up and down for notes. This is a skill we'll work on as it will provide her much pleasure. Very few activities these days don't include a lot of chatter and she'll call out to anyone passing by her to tell them what she's doing. She likes hiding and will climb into boxes, the pantry, under blankets and then call out for someone to come see while she pops out.

She's doing more counting, identifying colors, starting to identify letters, and her problem solving skills continue to improve. Her smile lights up the room and she still garners attention everywhere we go.

Life is good! And I hope the same for you.

Happy Quilting!