Thursday, February 28, 2013

Growing Daisy

Daisy's growing up before my very eyes! Every time she hits a new phase, I think, "Oh yeah, babies do this." Today she opened a kitchen cabinet, pulled out plastic bowls and threw them around the kitchen. Oh yeah, babies do that.

She crawls around like a champ, pulls up on short tables, and even climbs up steps. She eats everything we put in front of her: carrots, green beans, and apples to name a few. Our infant toilet training is still happening at a slow pace. She poops on the toilet once or twice a week, when I can get her on the toilet at the right time. When this occurs, there is much rejoicing.

She is in a major attachment phase right now, which is super endearing, but can also be a little frustrating. Luckily, daddy is an acceptable substitute most of the time.

She used to go to sleep at 6:30pm and basically sleep until 7:30am (with me waking her up to eat at 10:30pm), but last week she didn't want to go to sleep at all ever. I spent many long stretches rocking and holding her in the dark, quiet nursery. As much as I wanted her to go to sleep, it was special bonding time where I could pray over her and rejoice over the blessing that she is.

We named her Daisy Love, because of God's love for us - that He calls us His children (1 John 3:1). When I think about how much I love her (a whole freaking lot!!), it helps me wrap my brain around how much God loves me, which isn't an easy concept for me to accept.

I'll leave you with a cute video. Last week went to Denny's on my birthday for a free birthday grand slam, where this happened:

[Update: Sorry, I can't get the video to load, and I'm too lazy to figure it out right now. I'll try to upload it in the near future!]

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Hosting a Japanese Student Week 1

It's officially been one week since we picked up our Japanese student from MCO last Tuesday.

Zane was in class, and grandma had Daisy, so it was just me at the airport! Notice the cloth bouquet!

Tuesday launched us into one of the busiest weeks of 2013 to date. We were juggling fools with the following flaming bowling pins in the air (because juggling balls is too easy): school, work, home management, Daisy, Nonoka, Zane's broken thumb, and being contact person(s) for the Mission to Japan welcome party venue.

This picture is at the welcome party the night before Zane's surgery. They're about to start dancing the Virginia Reel. I usually participate, but I had a squirmy baby to attend to, so I watched. My cheeks hurt from laughing. Everyone had a great time that night. 

With the surgery and welcome party behind us, we've been home free (except for juggling normal life) and able to enjoy time with Nonoka. We've gone on walks, talked culture, and played Mario Kart, Super Marios Bros., Ticket to Ride, and Rummikub. We also took her to Sonny's and Pei Wei for true American cuisine.

Sonny's with 33oz drinks, corn nuggets, and Zane's thumb cast. 

Sonny's has become a must for taking our Japanese students, mostly because of the one-size 33oz. drinks. They're always shocked and surprised. Apparently, everything's bigger in the U.S. I can only imagine the shock and awe that would occur if they visited Texas. 

I hope to update more about our adventures with Nonoka!

Monday, February 18, 2013

Cloth Flower Bouquet

We're hosting another Japanese student this year! Sometime last week I was thinking about gifts to buy or make for our student, and I thought a bouquet of flowers would be nice. But I wanted to sew her something, so I decided to sew them instead of buy fresh ones.

I started with this little cute baby hung around while I gathered my supplies. When she went down for her nap, I kicked it into high gear. 

Last year I bought green canvas to make a pillow for my sister, but canvas is really stiff and hard to work with, so it wasn't right for a pillow. It is perfect for flower stems, though!

1. Stems

Cut the canvas in strips that are 1'' in width. The length is however long you want your flowers to be.  Fold the edges in twice, like this:

 Pin together. I also cut leaves out of green fleece that I stuck into the seam before sewing it together.

Sew it down! 

 2. Petals

For petals, I scrounged up cute fabric remains from other projects. Most of the petals are from leftover satin-like fabric from when I made shirts for my sisters for Christmas. Each petal is about two inches wide and three inches long. Sew a curve around the top like it was a finger puppet. Trim around the curve and flip it right side out. This picture shows the progression from top to bottom.

Take five or six petals, fold one corner of each over, and arrange in a flower shape. Hand sew an anchor in the middle of the petals to keep them all together while you sew on the flower center.

The flower center is sewn like an applique. The first one I sewed with a tissue paper circle on the BACK side of the flower, and the material on the front side. I sewed along my tissue paper circle, then ripped off the paper afterwards. The subsequent flowers, I just sewed a little circle without the tissue paper as a guide.

Trim the excess fabric 

Voila! A flower! Repeat to make as many flowers as you want. 

 3. Attaching the petals to the stem!

Roll the top of the stem into a little disk (see below). 

Hot glue the disk onto the back of the flower. I also added a little dot of hot glue to the top of the stem to keep it flat agains the back of the flower.

To make your flowers stand stiffly, insert a bamboo skewer into the stem. Shimmy it to the top of the flower. 

Repeat with each flower, and you've got a whole bouquet!

This was a fun nap time sewing project. We pick up our student tomorrow. I can't wait to give her these cute little flowers that won't die after a week!

Saturday, February 16, 2013

California Daisy Love, An Update

Not quite a year ago, I was introduced to the story of a little girl named Daisy Love in California. I've written about her a couple times (here and here). She's a sweet little girl, who battled cancer multiple times in her eight years of life.

I follow Pray for Daisy on FB and just saw the update that little Daisy has gone to be with Jesus. She loved Jesus on Earth, and now she's with Him in heaven.

My heart is sad. I was thinking about her earlier today, feeling pretty low and resigned that she would probably not live much longer. I had hoped that Daisy's story would be like Zane's - victory over childhood cancer. God had a different plan. My heart aches for the Merricks and other parents who have lost children. I can only imagine the steady suffering, even on the best days, that one must feel. It makes me long for the day when there is no more suffering, no more pain. Daisy is already experiencing that now.

Our sweet girls shared the same name and the same birth month. I hoped that someday they would meet, and we could tell California Daisy how we prayed for her during her season of illness. I rest in the hope that we will meet in heaven, and I'll tell her then.

These photos below show Zane and me wearing our Daisy Love shirts. We get to share California Daisy's story whenever we wear them, because people always ask if we got them custom made.

Psalm 39:9 "...Each man's life is but a breath. Selah."

I hope that with the breath that is my life, I can show the love of Christ as Daisy did and as her parents continue to do.

Be praying for the Merricks as they grieve. You can read more of Daisy's story at

Monday, February 11, 2013

Shoe User Problems

I recently bought this really great pair of b.o.c. leopard-printed flats: 

I love them. I wear them almost everyday.

I've been wearing them for about six weeks. I told Zane how I love that they have formed to my foot, especially above my toes. I even had him feel inside the top part of the shoe at how rigidly it had formed to my toes. He was impressed.

About a week later I slipped my shoes off in the passenger seat of the car, and out came the cardboard piece that keeps the shoe's form. Guess what? It was perfectly formed to my toes.

I had been wearing the shoes WITH the cardboard insert piece for SIX weeks.

Needless to say, they are even more comfortable now than they were when I had the cardboard in them. I'm actually considering buying more clothing that goes with leopard-print shoes, because I want to wear them more often. They're my fave!

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Three Split Pants

You know how in movies and cartoons, a person bends over and their pants split down the back? I used to think that only happened in movies and cartoons, until it happened to me. Then it happened again. Then it happened again.

2003: When I was sixteen, I was on a double date at a putt putt golf course in a not-that-tight pair of American Eagle jeans. I had run out of clean underwear, so I was wearing bathing suit bottoms (which Liz Lemon endorses (I did it before 30 Rock)). At hole 10 or so, in an attempt to be a pro-golfer, I squatted down to get a good angle on my putt. I immediately felt a tear followed by a cool draft on my buttocks. I jumped up, backed up against a totem pole, and called my friend over.

She didn't believe me, so I showed her. Then she laughed. Then we told our boyfriends, but they didn't believe me either. It did sound fake, "I tore my pants, but I'm wearing a bathing suit, because I ran out of clean underwear!" How could you make that up?

My date gave me his shirt (he still had on a an undershirt), and I  tucked it into the waist of my pants, and we all continued our evening.

2005: I was wearing my favorite jeans. These were Lee brand. I wore them ALL the time. Leaving the bank, I sat down in my driver seat and felt the familiar sensation of my pants tearing. No one was around to be embarrassed in front of, but I was pretty bummed about my favorite jeans.

2006: I was leaving our UCF Cru meeting to go to Pie in the Sky across from UCF wearing a pair of Levis. When I sat in the driver seat of my car (same scenario!), RRIIIIPPP! I had my jacket in the car, so I tied it around my waist and ate some pizza. No pants would keep me from being social.

By the third time, I was tired of losing jeans, so I repaired them with hand-embroidery. I still have them, but I haven't worn them lately because embroidered butt jeans aren't really in style right now. But I've considered making them skinny jeans, since I know how to do that now.

There are two morals to these stories:
1. Your favorite jeans will eventually fail you.
2. Don't let pants ruin your fun. Just tie a jacket around your waist and keep going.

Friday, February 8, 2013

Shot Through the Wallet

When I was a kid, my sister and I used to go to a summer day camp. Sometimes we went on field trips to cool local places like Water Mania, Discovery Island, or the bowling alley.

Being the older, mature sister, my mom gave me the money to handle. This was so my younger, immature sister wouldn't blow it all on something stupid (like when we went to Old Town, and she used up all her soda pop money on the arcade, and our teacher bought her a soda because she was a cute little first grader with no money management skills). 

One time we went to Cypress Gardens. Halfway through the day we ended up in a gift shop. My little third-grade eyes were alive with wonder at all the garden-themed goodies. I soon found the spinning kiosk of shot glasses, where I saw one with "Deborah" written on it. I NEVER saw products with "Deborah" written on them. I had only ever seen "Debbie" or "Debra." So, of course, assuming I would never again see a product with my spelling of my name on it, I HAD to have it. 

I presented the shot glass and all our day's money (for sodas or ice cream) to the cashier, who told me, "You're ten cents short." Sensing my embarrassment, the cashier pulled a dime out of her pocket and gave me the shot glass. 

Later on, all the other kids bought ice cream, and my sister wanted some too. We couldn't get any, because I bought a shot glass with my name on it. 

The end. 

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

A Mean Dog Story

Today I went to the park with my friend and her kids. Rufio came along. The idea was for him to play with my friend's sons, but he was more interested in investigating the various smells of the park.

After a while of playing off the leash, I clipped his leash back on, so I could keep him near me while I nursed Daisy on a blanket. I knew I wouldn't be able to go get him or mediate his interaction with people while nursing.

An elderly man entered the park with an unleashed, small, old, overweight terrier of some kind. I had just finished nursing Daisy and had her sitting in my lap when the dog approached our blanket. He sniffed at Rufio (who was SUPER excited that a dog came up to our blanket) and growled.

I'm used to this kind of canine reaction to Rufio, because his boundless energy can be overwhelming to older dogs. I pulled Rufio back and had him as tight as I could on the leash, but the older dog kept growling and not leaving the area. Daisy started crying.

It went on for a few seconds, and the elderly owner walked over saying that his dog wouldn't bite unless Rufio instigated something.

I laughed and said, "Yeah, he's old and doesn't have any patience for puppy antics, huh?"

At this point, I expected the older dog to leave us alone, but he didn't. With Daisy in my lap and Rufio's harness in my hand, mean old dog kept coming within Rufio's extremely limited area of movement and growling and nipping. The man stood by, but didn't get his dog.

I was getting nervous about Daisy's safety. I pushed the little dog away, and he growled at me. My adrenaline was surging. I was shocked that the old man hadn't retrieved his dog from this lawsuit waiting to happen.

I'm a super non-confrontational people-pleaser, but the words spoke themselves from my mouth, "Can you please get your dog?"

The old man said, "Oh, he won't bite."

My friend, who was watching the situation, said, "He's biting at him right now."

I said, "I'm nervous about my kid being right here."

The old man said some kind of shrugging-it-off statement that I can't remember.

I said, "I'm uncomfortable with it."

I stood up with Daisy crying, and the old man looked at Daisy's shirt, which said "I love mommy" and said, "Do you love your mommy?"

Trying to be polite, I half laughed and said, "Yes she does," as I tried to maneuver calming Daisy and saving Rufio from an angry twerp of a dog.

Then my friend declared it time to leave the park. She took Rufio's leash, while I got Daisy into the stroller. While she had Rufio, the little old dog instigated another growling/nipping thing, and my friend had to pick up Rufio to avoid a dog fight.

The old man kept saying that his dog was only acting like that because of Rufio, which might be true of Rufio's very presence, but let's look at the facts of the situation:

Rufio was leashed next to me.
Old mean dog unleashed in a park that's not an official dog park.
Old mean dog approached us and wouldn't leave the area.
I verbally asked the man to apprehend his dog.
Several adults were present as witnesses.

I'm just saying that if something had happened, I was in the clear to win a lawsuit.

We all kept our calm pretty well, but I was SUPER frazzled on the inside. I'm very grateful to my friend for helping me out. I don't even think the kids noticed how frazzled we were, but the momma-bear in me was on her way to drop-kicking a terrier. Where's Cesar Milan when you need him? That dog had serious anxiety issues that almost got himself a court order to be put down.

Blah! Whew. Okay. Settling down.

I had a great time with my friend despite the crazy dog encounter. People! Am I right?

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Trending Daisy Pillow

Last night Zane and I were on a on a date and walked past a Pier One. I stopped him and pointed into the store window at this:

Seriously?! I just made two Daisy pillows this week out of old clothing in my giveaway pile! This Pier One pillow is $25.00, but mine were abso-freakin-loutely free (actually the cost was time, instead of money. It just depends on which commodity you want to spend).

I definitely like the offset pattern of the Pier One style. I might try to create that look to add to my daisy pillow collection. I just had to share that fun discovery with you guys!

Saturday, February 2, 2013

Baby Sleep Sack

Zane and I took a super long trip to Joann's on Wednesday. We were going to get quilt fabric, but after an hour and a half of doing the math, I decided I wasn't ready for the financial commitment of that project. 

We did get some great fleece for this project that I found on Make It Love It. It's a baby sleep sack, or a wearable blanket.  

I whipped it up in about two hours on Wednesday night in preparation for a cold front. I always worry about Daisy being cold overnight when it's cold here. I'm snuggled in my blankets, but she kicks hers off in her sleep. 

Thursday morning, I tried it on her:

Whoops! Too tight! 

I made it 30'' long for my 27''-long girl, but apparently I underestimated her waistline. When I got home from work on Thursday night, I was really tired and not in the mood to sew. However, Thursday night was the cold front, so I pushed through my fatigue and altered the sleep sack so she could wear it that night. 

I added a 2'' panels to each side seam. I tapered it into the top and bottom of the sides, so I wouldn't have to alter the arm holes or bottom edge. 

Before we put her down for the long-haul, I slipped her into the new sack. Perfect fit. It was pretty cold that night. I woke up a few times from being cold and thought, "I'm SO glad I finished that sewing project or I'd be REALLY worried about Daisy being too cold right now." 

Here she is Friday morning in her custom-fit sack.
Before breakfast (she's a little annoyed that I'm taking her picture)

After breakfast. Content for a photo shoot. 

It was a really simple project, except for the zipper, but Make It Love It has a great zipper tutorial too! And she has a snap tutorial! This was my first time installing a snap. They're super easy.

You can find Make It Love It's tutorial here: Wearable Baby Blanket.