Monday, August 11, 2014

Another Gayner Baby

Meet Sophie Grace Gayner.
 Born August 2, 2014 at 5:49pm
 7lb 4 oz, 19.5 inches long
15 hours of labor, which is why I look so tired - I was.

 But everyone agrees - she was worth every minute.
 The kids really...
 ...really... her. Really.
 Not surprisingly, she looks just like the rest of them.
 Even Caleb is smitten, once he realized she was ours.
 A family of nine. So thankful she's ours.
Like arrows in the hand of a warrior are the children of one's youth. Blessed is the man who fill his quiver with them!  Psalm 127

Monday, July 28, 2014

The Next Chapter

Well, it's been pretty quiet here on the blog, but that's primarily because there's been so very much going on in our not-so-little family. Let me fill you in what we've been up to.
Toby finished up his year at the Sovereign Grace Pastor's College, excelling in his studies, and all of us loving our time spent there. The graduation ceremony was such a sweet time, recalling great grace over the year, laughing at many fun memories, and shedding a tear or two, especially when a group of largely unsung heroes were honored - all the children of the families!
Unfortunately, there was no time to catch a breath, for early in the morning the day after graduation, Toby left for a couple days of interviewing and house hunting north of Boston. Having made the decision to move to New England to pursue the possibility of church planting, getting a job and home were of greatest importance!
Just a couple days after returning home, Toby was offered a senior engineering position with Bostik - the only company he heard from, the only company he interviewed with! We saw clearly God's hand in all this, right down to the fact that he didn't have multiple interviews with lots of travelling to deal with.
There was still a home to find, however. Toby's house hunting was not very successful, but we were blessed to have help from a couple of friends who were willing to continue to look into and visit potential properties for us. In the end, our pastor's wife visited a home and gave us a call via FaceTime to show us around. We pretty much fell in love with it and sent in a rental application. Though there were several other applications for the property, God gave us favor and we were accepted!
With a lot of hard work and a lot of help, we got our home in Louisville packed up, loaded into a large moving truck, and the house cleaned up to return to the landlord. We then started on our journey east, making stops in Ohio, Maryland, and New Jersey to spend time with friends and family. It was so good to see people that we love, not to mention breaking up a long trip.
After 4 days of travelling and visiting, we made it to Massachusetts. It was lovely to meet our landlords, get the keys to our new home, and actually see it in person! We spent a night in a local hotel until our moving truck arrived first thing the next morning. Toby and an incredible team of helpers (and new friends) had our very large moving truck unpacked in a matter of hours, unpacked boxes, put together furniture, cleaned rooms, and brought food. In just a couple of days, these amazing people made this house a home! We don't actually have central air conditioning here, but we were loaned several window units - and then our landlord surprised us by bringing over 3 brand new units he had purchased for us!
We had a week of settling in time before Toby started at work, and we filled it with errands, furniture shopping, and learning a new area. Going back to work full-time has been an adjustment for Toby, but it's nice to have a little more free time in the evenings. He's also getting to grips with the responsibilities of his internship at church. He'll be overseeing Children's Ministry and a Care Group, which will begin in the autumn. We are loving getting to know our new church and its people - they are an amazing bunch of individuals, and we already feel blessed in the new friendships we are forming, both for the grown ups and the children alike.
As for me, I'm now just waiting for a baby. Yesterday was her due date, come and gone. Can't say much seems to be happening at the moment, but I'm in faith that I won't be pregnant forever, trusting that God's good timing is better than my own.

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Patchwork love

I do not consider myself a quilter. I don't think that following proper patterns and snipping thousands of little octagons and hand-piecing them together is really my thing.
 Using up what I have, making simple, pretty things, and borrowing on past successes is my thing.
Since making the patchwork Kindle case, I felt a new confidence to try my hand at patchworking again, though on a larger scale. I also had two other considerations to make:
  1. I have a large bin full of scrap material that I have no interest in moving yet again. At least, I'd like to use as much as I can!
  2. Anyone who knows me knows I make each of my new babies a blanket. Some have been crocheted, some knitted, and one rescued from the thrift store and given new life and service. This new wee babe needs her own blanket, just like the others.
I'm so pleased at the way this turned out. It's very forgiving, not showing just how crooked my seams are. It's also special, since every piece is a scrap of some other project. We've all enjoyed looking at the different pieces and remembering other things that were made or worn by and for others. "Hey, that's in Ellie's skirt!" "Remember that dress you made for Anna? That piece is from there!" Even the backing was once used as wall decoration in the previous house.
In spite of not really knowing what I'm doing and kind of making it up as I go along, something sweet, simple, and serviceable has been made. I'm looking forward to putting it into use.

Friday, May 2, 2014

A February Sweater for a May Baby

This little ditty is dedicated and was gifted to Mercy Rose, the beautiful little lady who joined her 3 older siblings in the arms of her parents late last night.
 In spite of the sweater pattern being called the February Baby Sweater, I think it'll suit this May baby just right. Made with Knit Picks Swish DK in Sugar Plum. Buttons are from my vintage collection.
I woke up at 5:30am this morning to the news "There's a new little person in the world!" I first thought, "I didn't have the baby already, did I?" My fogginess was only there for a moment, but still...

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

A lovely, golden day

This past Saturday was so special, such a sweet blessing to me...
For more than a month, my phone calendar had "family day special" as an event for Saturday, though I had no idea what that meant, since Toby entered it and was determined to keep things a surprise.
We started the day by heading over to see the start of the annual hot air balloon race - it's a pretty popular event!
Folks line the streets all around the air field to get a glimpse of the action, clutching their venti lattes and sporting bed head (since it starts at 7am). We were a little late smart, so we just drove around to see things from different angles.
Afterwards, we came home for breakfast, did some chores and headed out again. I was intrigued as we headed across the river into Indiana, but said nothing - I actually like being surprised and didn't want to spoil it! As we neared our destination, Toby passed me a little card with kind words of thanks for keeping up with things this year and some spending spend at a fiber festival!! Be still my heart...
It was so fun. There was plenty of stuff to look at - I could barely get the girls away from the looms - though not too big, which would have been overwhelming. After I'd taken a tour around, we went outside for a picnic...
...tried on some felted hats and had some faces painted...
  ...and made some purchases! There were several spinning wheels around, but as they're in the hundreds of dollars and we face an impending move, I didn't think that now would be the time to start an expensive, new hobby. A drop spindle, however, has been on my list for a long time, is of minimal expense and very portable. This new hobby I could make room for! I bought some beautiful roving to go along with it - I have no idea what I'll knit with it, but knit it I shall.

And how's this for a bonus - seeing a time machine on the way home! 
 Some intrepid soul made a bunch of people's day that afternoon - we were totally geeking out over an actual De Lorean from Back to the Future!

I couldn't make out if they had a proper flux capacitor inside the dash, but they still get full marks for the externals!
 All in all, a good day, indeed.

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Right now

The world keeps turning, and life keeps happening...
Toby had his 39th birthday this week. Amazing. I remember when 39 seemed so old - just one year from 40! Now, we both still feel like a couple of kids who are playing at being grown ups. Bizarre.
Easter was lovely. 12 adults and a couple dozen children combined at our house for food, fun, and egg hunting. I did little cooking, and had a nap - loved it all.
Walking Bridge over the Ohio River
There are now 6 1/2 weeks to go until graduation. I can't believe how quickly this time has gone! It's been good, intense, fun, full. It has not, however, been normal. I'm not completely sure that the word "normal" applies in this situation, though...
I'm looking forward to the next phase of life now. Funnily enough, we're not really sure what that is. We don't yet know where we're going after graduation, but one of many good things about this season at PC is that it has made us eager for the next phase of our life. We're excited to see how God's going to use the training and investment we've had here.
Which all means we're in kind of a weird time now. Lots of getting ready without knowing what we're getting ready for. Gonna move, but don't know where. Need to start packing, but don't know where to send a moving truck. Planning school for next year - should we order now and pack the supplies, or wait until we're in a new place? And don't get me started on where this little girl is going to be born...(I'm kind of hoping in a hospital, somewhere, rather than on the side of a road).
In the crazy not-knowing, there is peace; there is faith. The wheels are turning, decisions are being made, and something will happen at just the right time. We may not know what comes next, but we know the One who does, and it's in Him (not the plan, not the ticked boxes and met deadlines) that we place all our trust.

Monday, April 14, 2014

It was time

Beneath the mop of this "Cousin It"- like creature...
...I began to uncover the strangest thing...
 Behold, a charming little girl with a beautiful smile!
 This little hair cut was long over due...

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

All warm and pink

A friend here in Louisville asked me if I would make a baby blanket for a family member who just had a little girl three weeks early. Since this is one of my favorite blanket patterns, the choice was easy.
Made with Cascade 220 in Flamingo Pink - I love the effect of the gull stitch pattern!
Since a new baby needs a lot of love, food, and warmth, I'd say this is blanket will fulfill the third requirement, leaving the new Mom and Dad to take care of the rest.

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

A Quiet Time Thought

Mark 6:1-6, v 6 And he marveled because of their unbelief

Marvel - to wonder at

Generally, Jesus is not surprised by the world and its workings. Usually others are marveling at Him - at His words, His power, His miracles, authority and preaching. This is, perhaps, in reference to the finite mind of man that cannot comprehend the mysteries of God. But when Jesus is marveling at the unbelief of those who have known him for years, this is no compliment. Is it comparable to when one of my children do something amazingly foolish, leaving me thinking, "Did that really just happen?" I'm often not "surprised" by their foolishness, but can experience incredulity as I witness certain actions. Is this how Jesus felt - amazed, though not surprised?

In the end, he left his hometown to minister elsewhere, because their unbelief hindered Him. Though Jesus is now raised on high, unhindered by all but his own patience, I want to be cautious about being a hindrance - I'd much rather the Lord work through me, rather than in spite of me. I'm sure I give him much foolishness to marvel at, but I pray that a habit of acting out of unbelief is not one of them.

Monday, March 31, 2014

My new Kindle case

Every so often, you complete a project that turned out just as you had hoped. This one was mine.
 I found this tutorial on Pinterest and was intrigued. Not that I need another Kindle case, but I do have some cute material to use up and I wasn't completely happy with my old case.
 I would like to point out that I have little experience with patchwork, and there are several places where my seams aren't straight, but it doesn't really matter. The sewing tips were great and the whole pattern is rather forgiving.
 Thanks to helpful instructions and some fabric that I love, I have a cute, functional case that will keep my little reader pretty and scratch-free.

Friday, March 21, 2014

I don't know who is growing up faster...

 ...the gorgeous little boy...
 ...or the beautiful young lady looking after him.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Shake things up a little

Recently, I was finding that our daily school schedule was in need of a little shake up.
You know how, sometimes, the same old routine just isn't working for you all of a sudden? The schedule that worked so well for a while, now just ain't cutting it? Sometimes, the needs change; sometimes, we just need a change of routine - whatever the reason, it's time for something new.
It's important to recognize that it's okay to make changes sometimes. There are times to press in when doing a hard thing, but generally how we do those hard things are fairly subjective. I still need to school my kids, keep the house fairly sanitary, and put food on the table, but how I go about those things is pretty much up to me. But since I do not exist in a bubble and how I structure our day impacts several other people, I took some steps:
  1. I talked to the kids. My three big kids (generally known as "The Students") have the most work to do and need to work around the needs of their younger siblings. They are also able to do a certain amount of work independently of me, so I wanted to get their feedback on when they would like to do certain subjects and see how their desires would work for the family as a whole. For them (and me), it seemed like a good idea to modify our schedule so that they were doing most of their independent work in the morning, and we would do our "together" work when the little ones were down.
  2. I sought to prefer my little guys. Ellie is Kindergarten - her school work takes about a half an hour. Dan is about the same - he loves his workbook (he's probably my only "enthusiastic" student!). With the old schedule, I was fitting in their work where I could, which often meant that it only happened a couple times a week. With the new schedule, they get my full attention for an hour while the big kids are doing their own work. They know that their school time is important to me, and it's not getting missed. Score!
  3. I made note of my own needs. I'm generally a morning person, so it's good for me to give my attention and energy to needful projects in the morning. So now, for half an hour after breakfast, I get busy with my own to-do list, whether it's prepping dinner in the crock pot, chipping away at a larger project or just folding laundry. A half an hour isn't long, but it's more than I'd had before and I'm finding that spending time, little and often, on a job is better than waiting and whining for that 3 hour window of peace and quiet. When's that ever going to happen with 6 kids running around, anyway? 
So, that' s what we're doing. It's not perfect, but it's working for now. I'm fully aware that the time will come, probably sooner than I'd like, that we'll have to change things up again to make allowances for a new need. And that's fine, because in the end, whether the schedule is strict or flexible, it's there to serve me and my family (or you and yours), not the other way around.
Are you seeing any areas that need a shake up? Share your thoughts!

Monday, March 17, 2014

More making do

I've had this remnant of upholstery fabric for a while, with no real plan of what to do with it. I also have more bath towels than this family needs. Put those two things together with a sewing machine, and you've got yourself a new mat!
 I was originally thinking this would be good in one of the bathrooms, but it's currently more needed at the kitchen sink. If you have a go, be sure to add some non-slip backing to it - I bought some at the dollar store and stitched it on by hand.
I have some more of this fabric to use, and I'm thinking of using it to freshen up some old and falling-apart-throw cushions. Watch this space!