4 months

It took me so long to post Ella's 3 month pictures because my computer crashed, that she is already 4 months old like one post later. Here is her monthly shot:
I couldn't get down for her to look at me because I was afraid she was going to nose-dive into the corner of the mirror! She isn't the best at holding her head right now. She is trying, and she is working hard on it! She does have a neck under there. Luke wasn't home, so I had to position myself to catch her just in case. She was looking at Landon and laughing =) So cute!
After we took her back to the doctor on Monday--because the on call doctor seemed a little concerned that she was still vomiting -- he got her some medicine to calm down her stomach, and we haven't had any throw up since Monday morning!
 She is just now getting her appetite back. She was weighing in at 11 pounds and 6 ounces about 3 weeks ago, and after being sick she is down to 11 pounds 3 ounces. I'm sure she lost well over a pound.
But you know how toddlers and kids get over a stomach bug and seem to want to eat EVERYTHING IN SIGHT at that very moment. They gain their weight back quickly. Well sweet little girl has decided she is going to SCREAM her head off and cry and yell as if the world is ending today. I think she is hungry finally. It's been a long day, that's for sure! We have a few of those individual packets of 4 ounce formula that I've used. I pumped quite a bit while she was sick because she had several days that she was only drinking pedialite ( I think she got hooked on the taste and really wants some!). But that is all frozen and waiting for a day when Mommy gets to go on vacation. Yep, I'm calling in sick, I'm taking a mental health day, I'm using my yearly vacation days, and I'm using my personal days all at once.( Yes, this really only adds up to like 3 days??!?) And I WILL NOT feel bad about it. Hopefully. I didn't leave Landon until after he turned 1 & Luke was with me. I didn't leave Lucy ( besides the hospital) until about 15 months & Luke was with me then too. This doesn't mean that I don't trust Luke over others to watch our kids. He just hasn't been alone with all 3 of them for more than 2 - 3 hours. I don't think he's gotten them all ready to be somewhere. I've mastered the single mom getting 3 kids fed and to church by 9 AM thing. But we have a totally different understanding of time frames , and how long things take. And like he says, I do this EVERY DAY.
I'm sure he will be alright! But I'm trying to send him off to the country where there might be 3 other adults to help =)
I need some help! I haven't even attempted to run since last year's half marathon.
Getting it done ( SLOWLY , look at the people around me) @ 2 months pregnant.
Half marathon #3.

I do not like running at all. I  always resort to it because it gets me back into my pre-baby weight and size. I also know if I pay a stupid amount of money to RUN, then I have to train and actually do it. But I ventured onto a treadmill  one day this week. And it only lasted .73 miles. I wasn't tired or hurting at all. But I forgot that I need like 3 sports bras to run after having babies-- especially while nursing! I need a good new running-worthy sports bra!
If I can't get some help , then I'm packing the car up to Atlanta and stopping in at LIVI RAE'S.
Have you seen the show Double Diva's? Honestly, I probably wouldn't have heard of it if I wasn't obsessed with Dance Moms. It comes on right after that. Search for it on Lifetime and DVR  a few. It's funny. Love it!
I'm not wanting to spend a bunch of money on one unless I know it is good. And my Target ones just won't cut it anymore. Apparently, Luke was going to get me a good one for my Easter basket( I must have mentioned it a few times, seriously not realizing it), but he said he went to Academy Sports and had NO CLUE about what to get.
So, leave me a comment. Help me out!

UPDATE: I got several facebook messages and comments. I received this info:
Moving Comfort is the #1 selling sports bra for running. The jubralee and Juno are our top sellers at the store.


Free photo books

I'm so particular about printing pictures. I am ALMOST all the way caught up to date on them! YAY! I usually wait until Shutterfly, York Photo, or Snapfish has a coupon code, and I usually only pay for shipping. Luke got me a few albums for Christmas, and I have 3 coupons right now for free books. 1 came with our new computer, 1 was printed at Target after a purchase, and another was in an email. One coupon code expired tonight and another expires tomorrow! So, I've been busy busy busy on 2 of them. Of course, our Internet was on and off today. We never figured out why,even after several phone calls and several hours trying to figure it out. Crazy me made and ordered one that doesn't expire for months, so I might be hard at work tomorrow too before it expires! I Figure $7.99 for shipping is way cheaper than printing individual pictures and an album to put them in. Once I get all 3 books, and print enough to fill my new albums, I should be completely up to date on photos! Check out one that I did today =)
Click here to view this photo book larger
Click here to create your own Shutterfly photo book.


We finally have a computer again !And it's new. And it's big. I'm sitting down & typing on a keyboard, like really fast! I seriously dislike the Ipad and my Iphone to type. My poor laptop's hard drive evidently just fried. The Geek Squad could move NO files to a new computer. No edited pictures. No picture collages. No videos. No letters that were saved and sent the old fashioned way. No files AT ALL. =( If that's the worst thing that happened this week, we would be A OK!
Unfortunately, we've had the stomach bug again. Really. And this time it started with this sweet baby.
Oh my goodness. If you've never had  a 3 month old vomit on you, you are NOT missing out on anything fun. I actually think it started in Lucy's gross diapers, but Miss Ella was the first one to vomit. It was so bad. It lasted about 6 hours, and the last 5 hours were all dry heaving. So sad. Then Landon joined in until about 4 am. He complained to me the next morning that he hadn't gotten any sleep the night before. He just sort of forgot that I was the one waking him up as soon as he moaned, and moved his heavy little 4 year old body over his bowl, and held his head up, then laid him back down every hour on the hours. Love. Then of course Mommy got sick the next day, and a massive headache followed. Daddy and Lucy never threw up. But now it is Sunday night, and our poor Ella has not been herself today. She has slept almost all day, and not eaten very well. And then around 4 she decided to lose all her stomach contents all over her eye, forehead, hair, blankets, you get the picture =(  She did had a rather large spit up yesterday that we had to clean up, and we weren't sure what it was in the  middle of the night that drenched her. So I made a call to the after hours doctor, and I had a good, long chat with him about what to do today, tonight, and he wants us to for sure come in tomorrow.
Oh my sweet girl. Say a prayer it isn't anything un-fixable! I thought she was just worn out from being sick all week and wanted to snuggle Saturday and Sunday.

Thinking back and after talking to a doctor, we should have taken her in today. Now Luke and I feel bad. We just continued to watch her tonight ( while her few waking periods) to make sure she was recognizing us, and to make sure she didn't have a fever.
Now that we've got this sweet new HP all in 1 computer, I'll have to post some fun stuff tomorrow night. I still haven't gotten around to post my not so fun hospital experience yet! It's a busy week starting today with Palm Sunday. We have all of the Holy Week services, Landon's baseball practices, MARCH MADNESS, egg hunts, and family time on Easter.
Have a great week and GO CARDS!
Don't forget to donate to our March for Babies fund! If you live in Nashville, WE WANT YOU to come join our team and walk with us! I'm placing an order for our team shirt next week! If you want a shirt, let me know! They will be $9 each. If you live out of town and still want to buy a cute shirt in honor of our sweet Lucy Loo =) , let me know! I've already got one to send to KY and one to send to FL.
Our team is almost 1/2 to our goal!


Ella Ruth Howell

This was Thanksgiving. I went to the hospital the next day for tests, and they kept me until delivery on Sunday. Lucy makes us smile. I love my pregnant bellies ( OBVIOUSLY, or I wouldn't obsess over capturing it in so many pictures). I still can't comprehend how a human being was growing inside of me. Simply amazing!

Kangarooing with my Ella in recovery. Love those warm baby snuggles!

3 months old. :( Growing up so quickly. Love her!

Luke & his grandma Ruth & our sweet Ella Ruth last weekend in Memphis.


Busy Busy Busy

Tomorrow is her next hearing test. We are 99% sure her ears are great, but just checking due to prematurity & the risk of delayed loss. She is awfully loud though :)

Her blanket is completely completely finished now. I had some issues pop up in a few seams on the top :( One of the flannels did not work well, or I did not sew the seam at 1/2" instead of 1/4". Either way, it started opening. But my friend Leslie came to the rescue! She appliquéd an L on the seam. I tried to just hand stitch it, but the flannel kept unraveling. I was totally devastated too. There's 2 other small spot that I hand stitched this weekend, let's hope they stay! She also told me she has a quilting foot she hasn't tried! After I'm done tagging consignment stuff, making Lucy's March of dimes tutu/headband/outfit, sewing the girls' valance, I'm going to buy some super cute summery fabric and make a picnic quilt for this summer! I told her we need to give hers a test run :)

My big boy is now playing coach pitch baseball. Well, he had to go field & hit to be put on a team. We got his roster & he missed his first practice because we were in Memphis. He has practice Thursday. I went and got his helmet & cleats the other week, but he went with his daddy today (while the girls were shopping & sewing) to get a bag and a CUP! What?!?!

Ella Ruth:
My sweet baby is 3 months old. I have her chalkboard picture, but still no computer. Soon. She is getting 3 month pictures tomorrow & I'm SO excited about her little bloomers I got today! Yay!

March for Babies:
I'm working on t-shirts for our team. Please join. We want more walkers!!!! Just about 40 days left!


Lucy's blanket (quilt)

I should start saying blanket and not quilt when referring to the girls' bedding. I don't have an actual stippling foot ( I believe that's the correct term) for my machine, so I stitched in the ditch on both of them. I'd rather have been able to stitch curly swirly stitches , but it will do!
Luke and I had decided to just use 2 fabrics on the front in big squares ( zebra and pink/white flannel),and then use the same chevron on the back as Ella has. Then I came across this tutorial . http://www.1choice4quilting.com/easy-baking-layer-cake.html . Then Lucy started to become obsessed with elephants, so we thought little elephants would be cute for the back/bottom. But would we be able to find pink and white and gray elephant fabric? Of course! There were actually a few, but we decided on :This pink with white elephant fabric. So then I had a few squares of elephants to add to the front, along with a few squares of left-over chevron, the zebra, the pinstripe flannel, and then I bought a tiny bit of pink and white giraffe print.

It is mostly still zebra and pinstripe , almost too much zebra, as it made a pattern almost on the front :/, but it is what it is.
And Lucy LOVES it. She loves it so much, after 1 night and 1 nap sleeping with it,she decided to stick her hand in her poopy diaper and run her hand on it! Oh my.
She's beautiful.

and she shared her blanket this morning ( pre- nap time dirty diaper). Poor girl needs to be potty trained. Her brother had undies for months at this point.... Back to the quilt. I was really worried about the binding because it gave me trouble on Ella's. I figured I'd try to take pictures step by step and do another little tutorial like I did for the changing pad cover.

Step1) cut strips of 2.25" wide fabric. For Ella's, I used one fabric. For Lucy's I used all my scraps & some scraps from Ella's. You need enough to wrap around the perimeter plus about 10" extra.

You will sew all the strips to make one continuous binding strip.
Step 2) Lay 2 pieces right-side facing, making a right angle.

Step 3) Sew a straight line from the corner on the top strip down to the corner of the bottom strip. This is the only piece I used pins on-- not necessary.
Ignoring my fingers and nails.
Step4) Cut outside of the stitch.

Step 5) Open to check your strip.

Continue this process until your binding is long enough. (Iron open the seams). Check to make sure your coffee isn't close to the strip.

Step 6) Iron the binding strip in half.

Step 7) line up the raw edges and pin. Leave about 5" hanging before you start pinning. This will be used to connect the loose ends of the binding.

Sew straight down the quilt, making sure you are getting all the layers.
What about the corners, you ask?

Step 8) stop about 1/4" from the edge. Lift up your foot, rotate fabric as if you were continuing to sew around the edge.

Flip the binding strip up

Fold the strip back down ( top needs to be lined up with top edge). This creates a perfect corner when folded over the back.

Put your foot back down about 1/4" seam allowances like before. Continue all around until you get to the loose ends.

Step 9) pin the loose ends until the meet. Open the strip & pin the loose ends together, right sides facing, sew together to make a seam.

I'm not sure where the rest of my pictures are. But after you attach the 2 loose ends, you sew it on like the rest of the binding. You then fold the entire biding over the quilt & pin. Make sure you pin on top of your stitch you just made. If you don't , you might not catch it on your next stitch & have to do a little hand stitching. Once you've pinned, flip back to the front & stitch in the ditch all the way around. When you get to the corners, turn your quilt & keep going!

I also forgot way back in November to post the picture from the bed skirt, and how to attach with no deck panel.


So, my tutorial at least had good intentions, until I lost the last few pictures. But hey, that's what google & Pinterest are for, right? :)

My next and hopefully last project for their bedding :http://meandmadeline.blogspot.com/2011/02/tiered-ruffled-valances-tutorial.html?m=1
But first I MUST finish consignment sale stuff. I only have like 1 week left. Luke also started their bookshelf, but it's been on hold a few weeks. Hopefully their room will be done by Easter!


Today I choose....

To be a bad mom.
Last night our Motherhood group at church hung out & made attempted to make tank top dresses. We all had cute fabric, almost all had sewing machines, & a few knew how to sew. We had pizza, brownies, salads, sweet tea & got to work. Some dresses were finished, some were left to be finished, & I somehow cut my fabric 2" too wide (4" total), and had to cut it apart to start over. Well, one seam is still in tact! At that point I had been gone for 4+ hours. This is the longest I've been away from Ella, the longest the hubs has had all 3. From the texts I received I decided I needed to leave :/

 I didn't know that the 3 month old had cried the entire time--apparently that's all she does when I'm gone. Remember in baby class at the hospital where they say to never shake your baby? Well Luke didn't get overcome with the desire to shake her, just punt her into the swimming pool! I didn't know the valve would drop down into my 2 year old's sippy of milk, and apparently being out of the room 2 minutes can result in a room and toddler covered in said milk. I didn't know I'd come home at 10:30 to 2 children awake, toys out, a half nasty floor, a bottle sitting out, laundry untouched,a diaper out and laying open from post-milk bath bath, I didn't know I'd lose my mind because I can't leave the house for 4 hours because ," I'm just not as good at this stuff". So we're up until midnight, I got puked on as soon as I fed the baby, Luke has to wake at 3am ( his alarm went off 3 times,& I swear it talks and was talking about Rosa Parks), Lucy cried on & off until after 2( I attempted to let her sleep with us for the first time and she crawled all over me), and sleep didn't happen, and my dress was not done. Have I mentioned I haven't taken a shower in quite a few days?

So, when I'm in bed after feeding the baby at 6, I really should shower. But I can't keep my eyes open. My oldest comes in at 9, and I guess I typed the iPad password for him after telling him we were NOT TURNING on my tv because the baby was sleeping still. Eventually Luce woke up and Ella was cooing. So what does a good mom do? Probably she wouldn't put the oldest 2 in the crib watching Sophia the 1st, leave the youngest in the bouncy (unbuckled), and hop into the shower. She wouldn't get two cherry pop tarts out & turn on Oogieloves (who made this movie up?!?!) so she could feed the baby. A good mom has probably stopped at the grocery and gotten real food. A good mom would finish mopping the floor first thing. A good mom might finally make the middle child's bed who randomly threw up undigested grapes & red farmstand juice earlier in the week, and take the towels out that she's been sleeping on. A good mom might fold the small load (from grape vomit night) of laundry on the couch....and the load in the basket....and the load in the dryer....and move the towels over TO the dryer :) A good mom would have already been to the Y, had snack time,& would be making lunch. A great mom would remember Spider-Man was at Monkey's tree house today & we had planned on going. Whoops, he leaves in 5 minutes. A great mom might get coupons together & hit up the grocery with all 3.
But today, I'm going to be a bad mom. The floor is gross. My kids are sitting in a laundry basket with toys watching Hop, & sliding all over the floor ( the clean part!). I've already been spit up on, and it missed the burp cloth, dripped down her sleeper, my leg,& onto the couch. She's got talent. I warmed up the coffee pot from yesterday, we barely have enough milk for ONE CUP OF COFFEE ( there is some in the freezer if I get desperate. JOKING!!!), and I am going to finish my dress!

But first I'm having to take breaks to eat Lucy's picnic food & put the baby down for a nap...
I will post the dress picture later & some of the other girls' dresses. You know, the girls who got to post theirs on Facebook at midnight because theirs was done ;) It might be awhile as the kids have moved upstairs to the bonus/playroom & that requires a lot of cleanup help. Oh, and our computer crashed & I'm not sure about how to load pictures on here from IPad or IPhone.

In all this craziness and my long to-do lists , I'm so thankful for these three mess-makers & my other half. I'm so thankful to hear playing voices, Lucy's voice might be LOUD, but I am forever grateful she has one! I'm amazed at how my children love me again and again after I lose my temper with them. I'm so thankful for grace & mercy after a long night.

“My Grace is sufficient for you, for MY power is made perfect in weakness” 2 Cor 12:9