Wednesday, August 31, 2011

The Day Has Arrived

As much as we have all looked forward to this day...and as much as we have dreaded this has arrived. We packed up DD Tuesday night and headed to her chosen place of higher education. Neither she nor I are shoppers, but somehow we managed to compile quite a collection of dorm necessities. Her room at home looks bare after looking at the growing pile of odds and ends these past few months. But we set out to make a barren dorm room into a little piece of home away from home.

She wanted to fill a frame with pictures of her and her brother through the years and it was really fun to flip through the years of photos. I love that she wanted to do that! She thinks they were really cute little kids and who am I to disagree? :)

Some of her friends who were also headed off to college asked her what colors she chose to coordinate her room. Her quilt kind of set the tone so I guess you could call her style 'scrappy'. It fits. You can't put this kid into a box. She's a little of this and a little of that with a bit of sass (the good kind) and a lot of faith thrown in for good measure. It's the perfect combination.

Just last week we had to send our son back off to Camp Pendleton and as proud as we are of him, it was really hard on his old Mama. He arrived in San Diego before I arrived back home. Pulling over on the side of road to cry my eyes out might have had something to do with that. I was pretty sure I didn't have any tears left, but I was wrong. It's been a rough week for this Mama.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

The Hobo Quilt: 2nd Generation

 Lots of activity at the end of the dirt road this summer, but from the sounds of all of y'alls blogs I'm reading, that seems to be a reoccurring theme. Has life always been this busy? I thought all of this technology was supposed to simplify things. I suppose some of our busy-ness is self-inflicted. In comparison to most of y'all though, life here is pretty quiet. And it's fixin to get even quieter.

Our daughter is packing up to leave for college tomorrow. I'm conflicted. Her Daddy and I are going to miss the heck out of her, but we're over the moon excited about this new adventure she's about to experience. And what Mom would let their kidlet traipse off to college without a quilt? I made one for DS and DD has been hounding me to make one for her for the past 2 years. "When are you going to start on MY college quilt?" "Relax Sprout, you've still got a couple of years."
Well guess what? I made the mistake of blinking and those 'couple of years' vanished. Poof.

There was no question as to which quilt to make her. When I made the Hobo quilt a while ago, it was flung over the back of the couch and it's been there ever since...when it's not snuggled up with one member of the family or another. And it's been snuggled alot. DD wanted it to take to college, but DH claimed it and told her that it was HIS quilt. She already had a quilt I had made her for her bed, but they continued to playfully tease each other about its ownership. DS claimed it as well. DD finally piped up, "Fine. But I want another one JUST like it."

Thus, the 2nd generation Hobo quilt was born.

This is a Carrie Nelson Pattern called "Pick and Choose' from the June 2009 issue of  Better Homes and Gardens American Patchwork and Quilting.  Carrie Nelson is at the top of my list when it comes to quilt designers. If you are addicted to scrap quilts like I am, you need to see what she creates becasue it is all wonderful and Miss.Rosie is her gorgeous retreiver who keeps her in line. I added another row to DD's quilt in order to make it long enough for her dorm bed.

 It ended up being 78"x94". It's the biggest quilt I've made thus far, but it's a fun pattern to piece. So thank you Carrie. Your quilts are truly loved in this family!

I'm hoping it'll keep her warm during those Panhandle winters and that it'll be a little piece of home as she ventures out into the college world while her Mama and Daddy sit at home and attempt to adjust to an empty nest.

Scrappy Yo-Yo Pup

Today is DD's last day at home before she flies the coop. Sad day. Happy day. Emotional day. Gosh we're gonna miss this kid, but we're so excited for her and she's looking forward to the adventures that lie ahead.

The fact that her brother just flew back to Camp Pendleton for more training last week doesn't help matters either. If you happened to be driving between Albuquerque and Roswell last Tuesday morning and passed a truck sitting on the side of the road with a sobbing Mama, that was me. Thankfully, I had my headset and had a good, long visit with my old college roommate once I stopped hyperventilating. Thanks for keeping me company N!

 Letting both kids go at once has been rough, but if I focus on that for more than 2 seconds, I'm going to be a mess and I don't think my keyboard is waterproof. Breathe...breathe...breathe.

I dug out this pattern a while ago:

and DD requested a pup to take along to college so last month we began to make yo-yo's. She went through my stash and chose bright, fun fabrics. DD really has no interest in learning to sew, but I've not given up hope. I too had no interest until we had DS. Never even took home ec in school because Ag and shop were more to my liking. I can only imagine how God was grinning at the time.

One tip, if you commence to making this little fella. We used fishing line to string his little yo-yo appendages. The pattern calls for upholstery thread, but when you live at the end of a dirt road, fishing line is on hand more readily than upholstery thread.

However, DD did enjoy making the yo-yo's and I love the fact that the finished product was a group effort.

Introducing Scrappy:

His little nose is a bit off center, but I figure it adds a bit of character and I hope he'll make DD smile whenever she looks at him.

I'm linking up to Karen's  

post here. Go check out the fun and inspiring projects people share each week.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

He's Home!

He's finally home!
And he's a Marine!

It's been a whirlwind summer and our trip to San Diego was the highlight! I haven't flown in 20 years and to be honest, I was a bit leary. But I was so crazy, excited to see our boy that my nervousness was pushed aside and God gave me peace. Our daughter had never flown so this was a new experience for her as well. She was fine, but it's not her favorite form of travel.

I worked on hexagons in order to keep my mind from wandering.

I would have walked, crawled, swam, biked, pogo-sticked...whatever it took to get to MCRD (Marine Corps Recruit Depot) in San Diego. We arrived on Wednesday, early evening and headed to the Depot at 6 the next morning to watch them practice on the Parade Deck.

The Parade Deck is sacred ground and over 1 million Marines have graduated from this deck. No one walks on it except the recruits, and Marines during drill or graduation.
We were entertained by one of the Drill Instructors who should have been a stand up comedian. I imagine that's a side of him that the recruits never saw.

 Thursday was Family Day and we explored some of the base and stocked up on hats and shirts at the PX until it was time for the MOTO (motivational) Run. They lined up in formation in front of us and ran 2.5 miles. DH was impressed at how they immediately fell into formation after their run and not one Marine was winded.

They then ran off and prepared for drill.

 It was about 1 before we actually got to hug his neck. Whew! THAT was an emotional moment for all of us. I don't know who was holding who up.

The first thing DS wanted to do was eat and we actually lead the way to the Bay View Restaurant on the base. DS didn't quite know what to do with all that food. There was a huge change in our boy, but he was still our boy. Most noticeably was his posture and that fact that he didn't know how to make a choice about much of anything. For 13 weeks he had been told when to do absolutely everything. But he talked...and talked...and talked and DS is not a talker. And we listened and drank it all in. I think we ate, but I could not tell you what the food tasted like because we were so engrossed in his every word. The view was pretty, but I only know that because I snapped this photo. We were too focused on our Marine.

DS gave us a tour of part of the base, but there was places that were off limits to the recruits during training so even he hadn't seen some of it and then there were places that we weren't able to see, but the museum was wonderful.

We met his Drill Instructors who seemed very nice, but DS assured us that 'nice' was not part of their persona during the 13 weeks of training. His Senior Drill INstructor told him he had better go get a haircut before graduation and the barber shop closed at 5. It was 4:55. No matter that he had one 3 days earlier, but when a drill instructor tells you to do something, there is no question that you had better get it done. Thankfully he popped through the door just in the nick of time.

The whole base was impressive and the afternoon went by all to quickly and before we knew it, we had to leave him.

We were back at the base the next morning at 6 for the posting of the colors and graduation was at 10:30. There are no words to describe the graduation, but suffice it to say, it was quite the event.

The speaker told us that we would see changes in our boys, "They will stand up straight, They will eat everything on their plate. They will make their beds. They will wear their their waist... where they belong."

This is where he stayed during Phase I:

All I can say is that we are proud as punch of what he has accomplished! His platoon was even the Honor Platoon!

Here they are receiving their last, and most welcome order from their Senior Drill Instructor. They have waited for this for 13 weeks:

After graduation, the recruits flocked to their gear bags and rushed off the base:

They were all eager to put the Depot in their rearview mirror:

It took him a couple of days to learn to relax again. We didn't fly out until the next day so we explored part of the red lamp district. San Diego is beautiful and the weather...oh my! 60° for a low and 75° for a high. Can you say perfect?! But there are absolutely too many people!

We walked down the charming streets that reminded me of Europe and stopped at The Hard Rock Cafe to eat. Great music and food, but I must be getting old, because it was loud. All of us looked kind of shell shocked.

He had 10 days of leave and then was granted 14 days of recuiter's assistance so he goes in every day and helps his recruiter. They have kept him hopping. He's had to go to Albuquerque (4 hours away), and Las Cruces (4 hours again), and to Artesia (1 hour) numerous times. He leaves between 4:30 and 5:30 and comes home about 10. Long days and although we're not getting to see him much, it's nice having him home at night.

We went to see Grandparents on Saturday and SIL and her husband and one cousin were there as well. It was so nice and cool at their place that we didn't want to leave.
Then we went out to the Shotgun Range on Sunday. It was also DD's birthday. I took cinnamon rolls to the skeet range and they had cards and frog cupcakes for the kids at the Trap Range. One of the trap shooters is a retired Marine so they had lots to talk about and DS said it was really good to be back out there. The kid has not lost his touch either.

I've been spending lots of time in the kitchen making his favorite things although he hasn't been home much these past few days and when he is home, he's sleeping. But, as long as he's here, we're enjoying every minute.

Welcome home Son! Welcome home Marine! We're proud of you Bud!
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