Monday, June 20, 2011

Anna Ruth's blue dress (finally!)

I finally finished the project I started before Josiah's birth over 3 months ago.  I think it's my favorite pattern so far.  I love how elegant it is.  And the color is unique and looks great on her.  For those who may be wondering, the smocking plate is called "Cynthia" by Creative Keepsakes.
full-length view

detail view


As you can tell, 3 kids has been a big adjustment for me.  Two seemed so manageable, I figured 3 wouldn't be that hard, but oh, was I wrong.  Rich and I are now outnumbered.  And the 2 older ones are in the stage where they need lots of training.  I guess it didn't help that Josiah had reflux and was very fussy for the first couple months.  He didn't like to be put down ever.  He is just now starting to feel better, and so he's happy sitting in a bouncy seat for a while.  He is also starting to sleep through the night now.  But even with that help, it's still hard to meet all their needs.  Anna Ruth is a talker, and craves interaction.  She wants to help, but many times it's more work to let her help.  James is all boy, and I can't take my eyes off him for long.  The other day he opened the front door and was out in the street watching the garbage truck before I even realized what was going on.  He also likes to get a rise out of Anna Ruth by taking her toys or messing up something she set up.  Anna Ruth is a drama queen and reacts loudly to James' pestering.  Josiah just wants to be looked at and talked to while he is awake. (which I would love to do, if I didn't have a thousand other things on my plate!)  Since he spits up all the time, he also makes a huge amount of laundry for being so small!  So 3 kids has been pretty overwhelming, and I don't know how I would survive without parents helping out.  I have a brand new appreciation for my mom who had her first 3 closer together than I had mine.  Every day is an adventure and a chance to be more sanctified.  But sometimes it's discouraging as I see I am not nearly as patient as I thought I was, not as self-sacrificing as I need to be, and not a good manager of my time.  Having children sure does bring out the worst in me.  I know it is God's way of showing me who I really am in order to bring about change in me.  Maybe by the end of this, I will look a little more like Christ.  If that's the case, it is so worth it. 
Don't get me wrong; I love my kids.  I love hearing their little voices say "I love you Mommy" and feel their sweet kisses on my lips.  I love seeing them do the happy dance when I tell them they can have dessert.  I love hearing their squeals of laughter when they get tickled.  I love hearing Anna Ruth talk about her understanding of a Bible story and hear both of their prayer requests during family worship.  I love watching them dance in the living room with Daddy after dinner.  I love seeing Josiah's huge smiles and first little laughs when I kiss his neck.  They are all precious gifts from God.   I love them so much, it's hard to believe that my Heavenly Father loves me even more than that.  It gives me hope because I know he will keep forgiving me and working everything together for my good.
So, if you have 2 kids, and you're wondering whether you should have another, I would say definitely have 3! :)

Monday, March 28, 2011

Meet the newest member of the Hamlin family!

Josiah Hudson Hamlin was born on March 8, 2011 at 12:54 p.m. weighing 6 lbs. 14 oz. and measuring 19.5 in. long.  He had a bit of a rough start since he had some fluid in his lungs making it difficult to breathe.  They noticed him grunting a lot, and so they put him on oxygen to help him breathe easier.  Then he had a couple episodes of apnea, where he stopped breathing for little while, so they had to keep him in the nursery hooked up to several monitors to make sure it wasn't developing into something more serious.  He had no signs of infection and all the other tests came back normal, so he ended up being sent home with a clean bill of health.  We were very thankful that he was fine and to finally get to go home on the 14th of March.  Anna Ruth and James have been enjoying their new little brother.  They both love to hold him and kiss him.  James is learning how to be gentle and sweet, and so far, he has not seemed jealous of Josiah.  We are all excited to have another family member!  Enjoy the pics...

Wednesday, March 02, 2011

2 down, 2 to go...

Here's the latest completed smocking project--another dress for Anna Ruth.  This was by far the most complicated pattern I have tried, but it was fulfilling to finally get it done.  I really like how it turned out, and Anna Ruth keeps asking when she can wear it to church. 

close-up view of the butterflies
I am now working on a more elegant design on a pale blue dress, and I hope to be able to get that done before Tuesday.  We'll see...  I was supposed to get an outfit done for the new baby, but I ran into a problem with the size of the design, and I'm not sure I'll be able to do it.  I will not be getting that one done before he comes, but it's a 6-9 month outfit, so I have a little bit of time to get it done.  More updates to come!

Getting ready...

Things have been very busy around here with all the usual stuff along with getting ready for our new arrival.  I have been tweaking the baby's room, moving stuff around, and figuring out everything I need to have on hand.  I am very excited about this new baby, but it still has not quite set in that I will have a newborn in less than a week.  I don't think it will set in until it actually happens.  I feel about as prepared as I could be except for getting enough sleep.  Rich is super busy at work trying to get things in order before he takes 2 weeks off starting on Monday.  I am thankful for all the help I will have with my mom and mother-in-law in town, Rich being home, and a wonderful church family helping out.  I am excited to see Anna Ruth's reaction to her new brother, and hoping James will not be too jealous and whiny.  He does seem to like babies, but probably will not appreciate this one taking up so much of my time and attention.  Anyway, here are a few pictures of the nursery, which is ready and waiting to be occupied.  I changed a few things from the way it was for James, like I added ribbon to the wall art to give it a different look, and (with the help of my mother-in-law) I added more cushion and re-covered my glider rocker and ottoman.  I think it looks super cute!

Wednesday, February 02, 2011

1 down, 3 to go...

Here is the first dress that I worked on.  This pattern wasn't too challenging except for the actual tulips.  I had to take out several of them and re-work them to get them to look right.  But overall, it went fairly quickly.  I started this project last Monday and finished it by Friday night.  I worked on it for a few hours in the afternoon and evenings each day.  I'd say it took about 8-10 hours total.  Not sure if that is good or not, but if I continue with the rest of my projects at the same rate, I will be able to finish them all before the baby is born, which is my goal.  I am currently working on a pale blue dress for Anna Ruth, but it will be more elegant.  Check back in for more progress updates!

close-up of the tulips

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Ketchup Post

No, actually, this post is not about ketchup

BUT I do need to catch up on the happenings of the Hamlin household, so here goes.  As I've mentioned before, I knew this kind of post would be necessary from time to time since I am busy with all that's going on and blogging is not exactly my first priority.

The next event on the list after James' birthday is Thanksgiving.  It was our year to spend Thanksgiving with Rich's side of the family, which makes it nice since we get to stay put--traveling with kids is something we try to avoid if possible!  Anyway, all of Rich's siblings except for Shannon were able to come to town, and it was especially good to see Ben and Judith since we knew they would soon be leaving for Germany.  Anna Ruth absolutely LOVED Adia Sulwen, and has now named several of her dolls after her little cousin. 
Anna Ruth holding Adia Sulwen
We all participated in the Turkey Day Run, which was a lot of fun.  Rich ran it, I walked it with the kiddos in the stroller, and Anna Ruth and James also did a kid's fun run after the race.  They each ran with their respective age groups and genders, but they both needed a parent to run alongside them (and in Anna Ruth's case, I had to practically drag her because she was scared to do it on her own).  They both got a t-shirt and a medal, and we hope that they next time, they will both do a bit better. 
After the race, we went back to Rich's parents' house to hang out, make food, and play a little 4-square.  We enjoyed a wonderful meal of ham, sweet potatoes, crockpot mac 'n' cheese, corn pudding, spinach salad, and pumpkin and apple pie for dessert.  Wish we would have gotten a picture of the food--it was amazing.  We always feel more justified in pigging out on Thanksgiving dinner after exercising in the morning.  :)

Anna Ruth's 5th birthday quickly followed Thanksgiving, and this was the first year we had an actual party for her where we invited some of her little friends over to celebrate with her.  She was so excited to have a princess-themed party!  We asked each of the girls to come dressed up as a princess, and the activities were as follows:  decorating princess-themed sugar cookies, decorating purple jewelry boxes with gems, giving make-overs, and playing dress-up.  A while back I had seen a castle cake online, and decided I would give it a try for Anna Ruth's birthday.  I made it purple, since that is her favorite color and added the princess figurines at her request.  I stayed up very late the night before the party making it, but it was worth the look on her face in the morning when she saw it.  She got lots of girly presents including a princess comforter for her bed, a Rapunzel dress-up outfit, a ballet nightgown with a matching nightgown for her doll, and a special gift from Daddy--a real pearl necklace and bracelet set.  We can't believe how fast our little girl has grown up! 
front of the castle cake

back of the castle cake
Anna Ruth showing off her new pearls from Daddy

our little princess on her 5th birthday

Anna Ruth wearing the new nightgown with her matching doll sitting on the new princess comforter
A few days after Anna Ruth's birthday, she performed in her ballet Christmas prgram.  Her little class danced to "Away in a Manger", and it was adorable!  She was scared at the beginning, but she pulled herself together and did a great job.  (As a funny sidenote, whenever James hears the song "Away in a Manger", he starts twirling, with his hands above his head, just like Anna Ruth does in her dance.)
a big smile before the program

Anna Ruth striking a pose
Christmas was spent with my side of the family this year, and my 3 sisters were all able to be here along with my parents and my grandmother (my Dad's mom).  It was pretty chaotic with 8 kids in the house (my oldest sister Sarah's 6 and our 2), but the adults had just as much fun as the kids.  We enjoyed many wonderful meals, played games, had a comedy night, sang Christmas carols, went out thrift store shopping and out to lunch, and opened TONS of gifts on Christmas!  Again, I wish I had gotten more pictures, but everything seemed to happen so fast and stay so busy, that I rarely thought about getting out my camera.  We also celebrated Sarah's 30th birthday and Milienne's 11th birthday, which are both on December 29th.  Overall, it was a blast, and we are looking forward to the next time we will all be together.  
the living room full of presents!

(from left to right) Sarah, Jessica, Mom, Olivia (me), Lisa
We are wearing the matching pajamas Sarah got us.
Just in case you didn't see our family picture we sent out this year in our Christmas newsletter, here it is:

One of Rich's Christmas gifts to me this year was a real pearl necklace, that I absolutely love!  I wore it to a wedding, and Rich wanted to get a picture of me with it on.

Other than holiday festivities, we've also been keeping busy attending lots of oyster roasts associated with Rich's work, going to lots of doctor's appointments, getting back into the routine of Anna Ruth's school one day a week, going to the library, etc.  I've also started working on some smocking projects that I would like to get done before this little boy shows up in early March.  I have plans to smock 3 dresses for Anna Ruth and one outfit for the new baby.  On Monday I started on the first dress and have made some good progress on it.  I will post more pictures as I get each one finished.  
This is a spring dress for Anna Ruth that will have pink and purple tulips on it.

Thanks for reading, and I will try to do better, so that I don't have to have such long ketchup posts in the future! ;)