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The Blessing Dress

April 16, 2014

Or “How I Spent My Spring Break” or “Why Do I Leave Things Until the Last Minute?”


I always wanted my wedding dress to be made out of brocade, but an August wedding in Utah wasn’t really conducive to wearing brocade, so my wedding dress was silk instead.  My mom and I then made my first temple dress out of brocade.  DH and I worked in the baptistry of the Provo Temple for about a year after we were first married and I washed that dress often due to the hem getting wet from the chlorinated water.  I’m sure it shrunk some, but I managed to wear it until I had A.  (My first child A.)  I think my rib cage spread from that first pregnancy and I never could zip the dress up after that.  Or else I couldn’t breathe if I did happen to get it zipped up. So it’s just been hanging in my closet for the past thirteen years.  I thought that maybe one day I’d have a daughter and I could cut it up to make a blessing dress. (Although the prospect kind of terrified me.)

Fast forward almost thirteen years, and I found out I would indeed be having a daughter.  My parents were out shopping one day and my mom called to say they were seeing lots of little white dresses and did I want her to buy one?  I said no, I was determined to make a blessing dress, even though I’m not really a seamstress and was still terrified by the whole process of repurposing my temple dress.

Somewhere along the way she happened to mention that she’d saved the brocade left over from sewing my temple dress.  She washed it and sent it home with me.  Whew, I wouldn’t have to cut up my dress after all!  But then I had to find a christening gown pattern.  I looked at one that I knew would be incredibly difficult to pull off with my sewing skills, but the only other (much easier) pattern that I really wanted was not in stock at any of the fabric stores around.  Then Baby A came 11 days early and I was still patternless.  On one of our outings to the doctor or to the hospital to draw blood, I forget which, we stopped once more at the fabric store in Millcreek and in a tender mercy, I checked the pattern drawer again and happened to find the very last pattern I needed tucked inside.  I snatched it up!

Looking at the yardage needed, I thought there was no way I could make the dress from the amount of fabric I had so I was back to cutting up my dress.  Then life was so crazy with caring for a newborn and getting little sleep, and well, all parents know how those first few months go and so I was about ready to go out and buy a dress.  But I finally got brave and cut out the pattern pieces and pulled out the fabric to see how I could make it work.  I quickly realized that the pattern was insanely long and I could literally fold the skirt pieces in half and still have a super long gown.  It ended up being a little narrower than intended, but that was okay as well.

Then came time to sew.  No problem–I can usually find time to sew after the kids go to bed.  But Little A decided to have about three weeks where she would not go to bed and was usually crying or at best being super fussy until about 10 p.m. every night.  No chance for sewing.  With the blessing looming and people getting sick right and left, it was time to declare it spring break from school mainly so I could work on this dress!

So here’s a look at sewing with a baby.  And a 4-year-old:

Get up, feed baby.  Feed everyone else breakfast.  Put baby down for a nap while boys go out to play.  Call the 13-year-old back in to finish his job of clearing and washing off the kitchen table.  Set up sewing machine on the table.  Pin fabric together to sew.  Sew four short seams.  Notice tension is completely wrong due to 4-year-old messing with every knob and button on sewing machine.  Rip apart every seam you sewed earlier and pin them together to sew again.  Notice you’re about to run out of white thread.  Check sewing basket for more.  Find nine different shades of blue thread, but no more white.  Baby wakes up.  Feed baby.  Run to the store to buy more white thread.  Come home to clear everything off kitchen table so you can feed everybody lunch.  After lunch the process starts all over again.

Add in another trip to the fabric store for fabric to line the bodice and about 8 yards of lace (boy am I glad I didn’t have to pay for the fabric too!) Finally I got smart and set up the card table in the living room and parked my sewing machine there for the week.  Of course E just couldn’t keep his little hands off of it and I had to unpick several more seams after he readjusted settings for me and I forgot to check everything before sewing again, but nothing major went wrong.

And Little A was a model baby all week, falling asleep about two minutes after taking her in for a nap, which after three days of her not being so easy this week, I realize was another tender mercy so I could finish what I’m sure is the most difficult thing I’ve ever sewn in my life.  I tend to steer away from patterns with gathered inset sleeves!  And they were so tiny; I had to inch the sewing machine needle around the openings very very carefully.


The only part I didn’t do myself were the three buttonholes in back.  I’ve never done buttonholes with my sewing machine before and I couldn’t find the instruction manual and didn’t want to experiment on this project!  So I asked a sister in my ward to help me with those.  After twenty experimental buttonholes on other fabric, even she was a little hesitant to sew on the actual dress.  No one wanted to mess up the what-will-hopefully-become-a-family-heirloom blessing dress! I assured her I’d prayed a lot over this project already and she told me to keep praying!  The buttonholes worked and Little A looked just beautiful!

I’m so glad I stuck with my original intention to make her a dress with some meaning.  I have some of the rose motif lace left over.  Maybe we’ll have another project for her baptism day!




Little A’s Blessing Day

April 16, 2014

We blessed Little A in church on Sunday.  It was a wonderful day!  I didn’t want it to end.  DH gave Little A a beautiful blessing. Quite a few family members were there to support us. We had a wonderful lunch after and enjoyed each other’s company, good food, and a beautiful spirit.  I am so grateful for this beautiful little girl in our lives!



These boys sure love their little sister!





Spring Break Week 2

April 15, 2014

The boys had been asking about spring break for at least a month even though we’ve never really gotten back into our full school schedule since Little A was born.  Homeschooling means we can take a break whenever we choose, but I was personally waiting for fabulous weather and a time when DH could also take a week off so we could get some work done around the house together.  We got the good weather last week and DH kind of got some time off, though not quite how he would have liked.

Let’s back up.

Friday, April 4:  D was throwing up all night long.  Saturday and Sunday was LDS General Conference weekend so we didn’t have to go anywhere or do anything more than sit on the couch (and in the conference tent) and listen.


Conference tent with bingo cards and other various activities

Whatever D had (which may have been the same thing C had the week previous) only lasted about 24 hours and then he seemed fine.  A went to the Priesthood meeting Saturday night.  DH met him there after work, they brought ice cream home which was wonderful for me since after dealing with a sick child, a baby, and a husband working Friday night and all day Saturday, I was looking forward to a treat and then having my husband home to deal with the baby and children for a while.  It must have been a rough week all around because I was so exhausted by Saturday night.

So what did I get?

Strawberry ice cream and then A and DH sick all night long and into Sunday where I ended up being the sole parent yet again the next day.


A perked back up pretty rapidly after sleeping on the couch off and on through the Sunday sessions of conference, but whatever it was knocked DH out for much more than 24 hours.  He didn’t even surface from the bedroom until Sunday night and ended up taking Monday and Tuesday off work.  Sunday night, after contemplating the weekend behind and the week ahead, I decided to call it spring break.  And all rejoiced.

I made a huge to-do list for myself but hardly accomplished any of it because sewing.  With a baby.  And a 4-year-old.  (That deserves its own post.)

And now we’re taking this week off too to make some more progress on The List, although so far it looks more like reading a little history (history club is next Tuesday), watching a lot of Studio C, and spending hours out in the sunshine.  But it’s what we need at the moment!


Little A being cute (as always)

Wordless Wednesday (almost)

April 9, 2014


Last Wednesday C got his Arrow of Light, the highest award in cub scouting.


2 months

March 31, 2014

It’s hard to believe Baby A is already two months old!  My, how time flies!


OK—2 months and 9 days now that I’m finally getting back to finishing this post!

Note to self: Take pictures before immunization shots are given.  She was pretty grumpy that day after the doctor’s appointment.

She’s growing though–9 lbs 9.5 oz. and 21 inches long.


The doctor was impressed with her leg muscles.  She really likes to stand on them.   She has a strong neck as well.  She has always liked to be up and looking around , although she’s not a fan of “tummy time” on the floor despite C’s daily efforts.

Her left eye still has a blocked tear duct and is quite drippy during the day and often crusted shut after a night’s sleep.

She’ll take a bottle willingly from any of the boys.  Hallelujah! Although pumping milk always makes me feel like a cow.  Moooo . . . Three of the boys hated taking a bottle; D was the only one who got used to it from his NICU days.  It’s nice knowing I can leave her with some milk when I start symphony rehearsals again at the end of April and since I’m back to teaching cello students one afternoon a week.
She’s begun to smile and coo which we all just adore.
Sleep–now there’s our single biggest issue with this child.  Or maybe it is with every child.  I know those first couple months with a newborn are always difficult, but I honestly don’t remember feeling so wiped out and dead tired with any of the others.  I was looking back through the blog a few days ago.  I did so many homeschooling projects with the boys when E was just a newborn.  And I blogged about it!   I have no energy like that this time around.  DH and I are really feeling our age with this child and the lack of sleep. 40 is looming just over the horizon for me!  And DH turned 47 last month.  We’re both feeling old!  Or as my doctor says, this is why you have babies when you’re 22.
Aside from our issues, Little A’s had her own issues with sleep, or rather with being spitty.  She is the spittiest baby!  Milk just doesn’t want to stay down!  It’s hard to sleep when everything you just ate starts coming back up.  DH is inclined to call it reflux, but she doesn’t seem to be in any pain like it’s heartburn or anything like that.  I just think she’s two months old and her sphincter muscle is still underdeveloped.  For quite a while, DH was going to bed early in the evening so that after I nursed her in the night he could stay up and hold her upright on his shoulder or at least on an incline in his arms so she could sleep more soundly.  Of course then he wasn’t getting much sleep, so it wasn’t a great solution.  And I was stressed out over his lack of sleep not to mention my own fatigue due to getting up and feeding a baby several times a night.
We were getting rather desperate when my mother finally asked us if we were putting her to sleep on her left side and something clicked in my brain.  Of course!  When you’re pregnant, sleeping on your left side is advised.  It helps blood flow and helps the kidneys work more efficiently.  But also your stomach is on your left side and so it’s an uphill climb for anything to exit the stomach and come back up your esophagus.  When you’re pregnant and there’s a baby pressing on all your internal organs, heartburn is still practically inevitable, but in babies, lying on their left side keeps the milk down in the tummy.  After we figured this out, Little A took probably the best nap in weeks and has been doing remarkably better ever since.  She’s getting more wiggly now and rarely stays on her left side, but she’s not nearly so spitty as she was.
There’s still the issue of all these brothers loving her to death.  Somedays she gets so wide awake and so stimulated from all the loving attention and kisses they give her that she has a hard time calming down and relaxing to a point where she can go back to sleep, but that’s rather a good problem to have, isn’t it?  We’ll never say she wasn’t well loved!
As now that she’s been fed again and is back asleep (and I can hear DH snoring through the baby monitor) I should be getting to bed myself.  Any more blog catch up will  have to come later, but don’t hold your breath waiting.

March 30, 2014

We survived DH being gone for the better part of four days, although as I mentioned in my last post, Baby A was not fond of sleeping this week. Well, sleeping on a warm body, yes. Sleeping in her bed, no. On Wednesday afternoon I finally drove to Sam’s Club just so she’d get a decent nap. That, and we needed milk.

We took the day off from school on Friday and planned to do some work on Saturday instead which I thought would be a day with fewer disruptions than Friday since DH was coming home from his trip and we had to take E to his Kindermusik class instead of having DH do it like usual. The boys really enjoyed their day off and then Friday night DH mentioned that the baptism was “tomorrow at 11.”  Baptism, what baptism?  Oh yeah, we were invited to a baptism.  I know the boys did some of their individual work on Saturday morning before I got up, but the day was kind of a bust as far as the reading and other activities together I had planned.

Then on the way home from the baptism DH asked me who was going to watch the boys that night.  I was planning on going to the General Women’s Meeting (for our church) and mentioned that it didn’t start until 6:00 and since he got off work at 6:00 . . .

“Remember I’m working until midnight tonight?”  DH says.   Ummm, nooooo . . .

“Yeah, so-and-so traded my Friday night for his Saturday night shift.  Remember?”   Well that was nice of him to work Friday night for you so you wouldn’t have to work after being in Vegas all week, but no I didn’t remember that was the tradeoff.  I’m so sleep deprived right now that I don’t remember anything you told me more than 20 minutes ago.  And you really won’t be home until midnight???

“Oh, and someone needs me to work for them on Sunday noon to four.”   Just shoot me now . . .

Luckily A is my built-in babysitter and is more than happy (usually) to watch his brothers so I got to go to the Women’s meeting and the ice cream social after with Baby A, who then took pity on me and slept from 10:45 last night until 5:00 this morning!  I feel almost human.  And she’s asleep this evening, hence the attempt to catch up on some blogging.

Guess who’s smiling?

March 25, 2014



This is the best I’ve got; she’s too fast for my camera!  She’s turning into a super smiley baby though!



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