Thursday, December 27, 2018

Really Random Thursday, 12/27/18

Christmas is over for another year. It's not always an easy time for everyone, but I hope yours had more peace than stress.

Last Friday, Ella turned 5. That's so hard to believe. We celebrated her birthday by going to see the new Grinch movie. Christa made the cutest Grinch cupcakes. But then scraped the red frosting off before anyone ate it, because although it looks good, sometimes that paste food coloring is yucky.

I made some last-minute pillowcases--aka gift bags for new pajamas for the grandkids.
Haha, Part 1.

Haha, Part 2. Just a thought...

We alternate our Christmas celebration time with Christa's family. This year it was our turn for Christmas Eve.

We had some snacks (Grinch fruit skewers especially for Ella) and opened stocking stuffers.
We played Christmas Family Feud. I purchased an interactive game from Etsy, and it was actually pretty fun--and easy enough for all ages.
Then we ate dinner, a red and green dinner: stuffed pasta shells (marinara sauce, stuffed with ricotta and spinach), fruit salad (strawberries, kiwi, raspberries), and spinach salad (with craisins and feta cheese).
After dinner, we went to the Christmas Eve service at church, a lovely low-key service with familiar carols and candlelight.
Then it was back home for snacks and gifts.

Aaron made this cool Christmas tree (he wasn't able to find green flour tortillas, but the red ones were just fine). I forgot to take a picture, but he also made awesome cranberry bliss bars--as good as the ones you get at Starbucks.
Somehow magnetic snowman was turned on his head.
Our adorable Christmas Santas.
Mark had the funny idea of telling the kids they were each getting their own iPad. At least when he told them, they were thinking "iPad." However, what they each got was really just an "eye pad." Haha. They were good sports about it.
It was such a fun and relaxing evening. The adults don't exchange gifts. But every year, I know that the best gift I could ever receive is time spent with these dear ones whom I love so very much.

On Christmas morning, Mark and I did what we do every year--head over to Dennys for breakfast. We always look around and secretly pay for someone's breakfast. And yes, I often feel like this...
Later in the afternoon, we went to Reedley and had dinner with my father, and then drove him and my aunt around town to see the Christmas lights. I'm not sure how long he will remember it, but it was a fun evening. I forgot to take pictures, but Aaron, Christa and the kids went there yesterday and took these.

Today I was ready for Christmas to be packed away.
I always get a sentimental about this ornament--the first one we received shortly after we got engaged, handmade by a very dear friend.
My favorite Christmas wrapping paper this year.
Mark made this nativity scene over 40 years ago. We should have taken a picture of it before we took it apart, because then we couldn't remember how to get it back in the frame.
Before the calendar turns over to 2019, I'm organizing my fabric and reflecting on the goals I had for 2018. Hmmm....I didn't make much progress. Although I did make several quilts that were not even in my dreams when I made this list.

I want to document by far the most unusual thing that has happened to me on social media, as it is unlikely to ever happen again. I had posted my Christmas in the City quilt on Instagram in late November. It's not a new quilt--people have seen it before. But as I walked through our dining room one afternoon, the room looked so pretty. I didn't spend any time staging the picture, didn't do any editing, and didn't add hashtags. It then ended up getting by far the most "likes" of any picture I posted the entire year, over 1,100! Which just goes to show you--you can try to figure out the Instagram algorithm, but you really can't.

Then Make Modern Magazine (an excellent digital magazine written by three oustanding quilters from Australia) reposted it on their Instagram feed. And what?? Nearly 6,000 likes?? Mind blowing.

I still hope to write some posts about quilts I completed in 2018. If that doesn't happen, then I'll see you in 2019. :)

Friday, December 21, 2018

Really Random Thursday, 12/20/18

This will be mostly a Christmas-themed post. However, I want to start with this.

I have been anxiously awaiting the results of my sentinel lymph node results, as those results dictate the course of treatment going forward. Waiting is soooo hard. Even though from the beginning, when I first had my biopsy and the radiologist said, "Your lymph nodes look clear," and the surgeon told Mark the same thing following surgery, the reality is that you don't really know until you KNOW.

I had a telephone consultation on Tuesday morning, with the surgeon telling me that the margins of the tumor were clear, and also the lymph node was clear. I started crying. Mark yelled out a loud "woohoo!!!"

I'm not sure when radiation will actually begin, but this makes such a difference in how the rest of the year plays out, both in terms of Christmas peace and the following week when we enjoy a few precious few days with the family at a beach house on the central coast. Again, thank you to everyone who has been so very supportive during this time. I appreciate it more than I can even begin to say.

My friend, Janice, sent me this adorable 3D snowglobe card. Since I have a little display of snowmen that I put up every year, this will become part of the permanent collection.
Gabriel got some kind of hot glue toy. He has tried to explain it to me, but I probably need to see what it looks like to get the full gist of how it works. Anyway....he made these fun glasses with it.
Photo bomb by his friend, Isaiah.
Haha, Part 1.
I made this cute little block last year. I think it needs to become part of a Christmas quilt for next year.
I can't resist posting this picture of our son (on the right) at his optometry office.
I always love looking at the Christmas stockings, all handmade by me over the years, except for mine, which was made by a lady in our church when I was very small. I suppose that qualifies it as being a vintage stocking. :)
We went to Spaghetti Factory for dinner the other night, one of our favorite places. This was on a bannister next to our table.
This is what you do when you live between two houses that have LOTS of Christmas lights (I jumped out of the car to snap these pictures, accounting for the extreme blurriness...)

Haha, Part 2.
Yesterday, Gabriel, Ella and Charlotte were over for a few hours. I put Charlotte to work addressing our Christmas card envelopes. Ella was watching a Christmas movie, and Gabriel was busy drawing something. I supply the colored pencils and paper, and wow, does that kid get creative. Do you remember the four-part dot-to-dot picture he drew at Thanksgiving? Well, now he makes his own crossword puzzles as well. I love the amazingly inventive way he wrote "crossword"--an X on the "O", which also looks like a bow on a wreath. And he did a Christmas-y font without even looking at anything. He never ceases to amaze me with his artistic creations.
I realize the holidays are not always the happiest time of year for a lot of people, but I hope you are able to find some peace and joy during the next few weeks.

Friday, December 14, 2018

Really Random Thursday, 12/13/18

This week has been anything but random. So let's just pretend for a moment that I'm writing this on Thursday instead of  Friday.

This is how my last month has felt. After unexpectedly finding a small breast lump on November 10, and being quickly diagnosed with infiltrating lobular carcinoma on November 15, my world has felt toppled upside down.

On Tuesday of this week, I underwent a lumpectomy.

Mark took this pre-op photo after the surgeon initialed my shoulder.
The surgeon is confident that she removed all the cancer. And meanwhile, I await the results of the sentinel lymph node biopsy. She also feels confident that this will be clear. Although my feeling is that you never know until you hear the final pathology results. So time seems to drag by while I await those results.

Yesterday I was able to shower and wash my hair. Those are things I take for granted on a daily basis. But when you have to give them up for a couple of days, they become one of life's great luxuries. Pain has been minimal and Mark has been an excellent recovery nurse. When you need to spend most of your time on the couch while recovering, Christmas is a lovely time to do just that. My comfy spot on the couch.

My view from that comfy spot.
Gabriel was convinced that our house needed more decorations, so last week he spent some time going through bins of decorations that I have saved over the years but rarely put out. He found these precious drawings, made by his daddy at probably the same age, 7. He taped them to my sewing room door and I'm so glad he did that.
Sunday night was the children's Christmas program at church. Gabe played a piano solo.
Levi was part of a reader's theater.
Charlotte and Levi played a piano and violin duet (it was hard to get a good picture).
And of course, listening to the smaller kids sing is always a highlight.
So it's been an interesting week, to say the least. I have a good support system--meals have been delivered, cards have arrived, flowers have shown up, and friends have kept in touch with calls and texts.

Barring unforeseen findings, the doctors have told me that treatment will be two to four weeks of radiation therapy. So while I await the final report, most of all, this is what I need to remember.