Saturday, April 11, 2015

His eyes

He has Achromatopsia too.  Looking at the photos of the first few weeks, I can see why we only knew for sure when he was 8 weeks old:  He really looks at the camera.  I could never capture a picture of Jean looking at the lens, he would always be squinting and trying to hide his face.  But 10 years ago we did not have a proper camera that could take pictures in lower light settings.  I think we have adapted the whole house, too. People sometimes comment on how dark it is in our house (thanks to the wood paneling that has still not been painted), we do not switch the lights on if we can still see well enough.

He developed nystagmus right around his 8 week follow-up appointment with the pediatrician, and that is when I finally knew.  I cried for a day, and then we carried on.  He will be okay; in fact, it is fascinating to see how different he is from his older brother.  We thought Jean would just sit by me because he could not see much.  If we had JackJack first, we would have thought that he never sits still because he doesn't see much and has to explore!  Achromatopsia is also a bit of a spectrum disorder, so it is possible that he can see more than Jean could at that age.  Jean's best corrected vision is 20/350, the average visual acuity for people with Achromatopsia is 20/200.

I have not taken him to any specialist, yet. We did order tinted glasses from the low vision specialists in Indianapolis, but I don't want to sit in waiting rooms with him the way I did with Jean. It is so much easier this time. I don't have to worry about whether he can see at all, or why he can see so much better at night than during the day, or if this is going to get better or worse, or if this is part of a bigger syndrome with more symptoms etc etc etc.  I can just enjoy my fat, busy little baby boy.

Friday, April 10, 2015

Oh boy.

Note: All of this happened almost 9 months ago, now.  I have not been taking it in my stride, so blogging fell off the to do list almost the moment I got pregnant. Looking back on my blog, I realize that I should keep on writing about these things.  Time passes, and I forget too much if I don't make a point of recording it.

This is Jacques Andre. Born on the afternoon of 24 July 2014, 4:45pm.  10lb 9oz!  Even when I was still carrying him, I thought "this is a strong, big child". I was right.  We call him JackJack.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

If I knit something...

... and I do not share it on the blog, did I really knit it?
I still have to block the vest
I knit another Kid's Vest from the book More Last Minute Knitted Gifts, one of my favorite books.  It is the fourth one of these that I have knit, and I will have to knit two more soon, one for every boy.  Last time I worked their initials on the front of the vest in duplicate stitch, this time I think I will do something different.  Maybe Christian "!" and Martinus "?", or maybe "X" and "Y" (since they are twin boys), or maybe some emoticon, eg. Christian ":" and Martinus ")" Maybe Jean wants something on his vest this time, and then I have even more options to consider... The yarn is a denim blue color, I want to do the duplicate stitch in orange.  Or maybe beige, depending on how brave I feel.  Luckily they can wear them even if I haven't done the duplicate stitch. 

"The Paris Wife" is based on the lives of  Ernest Hemingway and his first wife, Hadley Richardson. I bought it on impulse at Target, because I liked the picture on the cover. Then I read something about "being one's own woman in the 1920s..."on the front cover, and almost didn't read it.  (I'm not much of a feminist. At all.)
Yet, the book surprised me and I could not put it down.  It was a bonus that I knew very little about them and therefore did not know how it was going to end. I can only recommend it.

Joining again with Ginny for her Yarn Along.

Friday, October 4, 2013

The PE Edition

We started tennis lessons today.  The boys were excited: they got new shoes and shorts.  I decided to take Jean with us, as the tennis court is next to a playground and a half mile running track. While the boys were playing tennis, he was playing on the playground, and while Melva played, I started the couch to 5K program with him.  Today we walked briskly for five minutes, and then jogged for 60 seconds, walked for 90, eight times.
He was more excited about running than this.  I am not sure he knew I was taking a picture.
He loved it.  He was not as tired as I was, I am sure he will soon want to run faster than I can, but running is the one sport that he really can do with us.  Just getting out in the fresh air and sunshine is good for him.   Sometimes he struggles to sleep and I think it might be because he avoids the bright sunlight during the day. He still prefers to go outside when it is dusk, just as he did when he was a baby.

Christian is just so adorable, especially in his white shoes.  He vowed to never ever get them dirty.

They got to play with their best friend.

Just before his mini breakdown.
The boys enjoyed their lesson. Martinus got frustrated because he could not bounce the ball with his racket, but the instructor was firm and just ignored him when he started whimpering.  No one gets his name right, today he was Martin, with the short i sound in the last syllable.  I liked it, maybe we should call him that.  At choir a week ago Miss Cathy called him Marcelo, and he responded without any objection.  We called him that for a little while at home too, just for laughs.  You cannot take your name too seriously if you move to America.

They are growing fast.  Christian lost both of his lower incisors a week ago.  He is picking up books to read by himself, and while they cannot read fluently, we are working through McGuffey's Eclectic Readers at a steady pace, and I am sure they will be strong readers by the time we start first grade.  Having had two children who could not read before the age of seven (Jean only started to read chapter books when he was eight) I am grateful.  As I grow older, I realize more and more that we really have nothing that was not given to us. (1 Corinthians 4:7)  I did not pay more attention to them, I did not try to teach them much when they were younger, I waited for them to show an interest and they simply showed an interest sooner than the other two did. It is a wonderful gift.

The weather is starting to cool down, with highs in the low 90's and lows in the low 70's all of this week. Over the weekend a cold front is suppose to hit Central Texas; the maximum forecast for Sunday is 28 degrees Celsius and the minimum will be 11 degrees Celsius! My heart beat a little faster when I read that.  Summer wasn't too bad, but it is time for a change in the seasons.  Fall is my favorite season.  Apparently in every hemisphere.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

How I made a Roman Shade

A while back someone from church asked on Facebook if anyone could help her.  She needed roman shades for her boys' bedroom.

She had the fabric.

I like making roman shades, I had the tools, and I really do not mind helping if I can, so I offered to help.  I turned into a big project.  I used Martha Steward's instructions, in this book.

This is not a tutorial. It is simply pictures I took to remind me how I did it, because it turned out so well.

There were two windows, one was 34 inches wide, the other 58 inches.  I decided to make the 34" wide shade first.  I had no idea how to make a very wide shade.

I cut the fabric 3.5 inches wider than the window measurement.

I  folded over the sides, and pinned them down.

I folded the bottom edge up, too.
Pinned, ironed and set aside.

Then, I cut the black out fabric, and  folded it over 2 and 3/8ths of an inch, at the sides and at the bottom edge.

Ironed, and set aside.

I had to make the little fabric tubes for the dowels.  I cut fabric strips 4 and 3/4 of an inch wide.

I folded them in half, and ironed them.  Folded the open side over, twice, to form a little seam about 1/4 of an inch wide. It looked like this:

I sewed the seam.

I had a tube.

I needed 5 tubes.

I mitered the corners of the print fabric.

I stitched around the print fabric.

I mitered the corners of the black out fabric.

I put the black out fabric on top of the print fabric, wrong sides together, invited a friend over, and hand stitched the black out fabric to the print fabric while we talked.  You could do it in silence, but it is really more fun when you have company.

Finally, done!  The kitten came to inspect.

Later, I pinned the tubes to the black out fabric, and sewed them in place.

Like this.

I got to play with some of the tools I bought after studying Occupational Therapy, convinced that I would need them frequently. (Staple gun, hole punch and pinking shears)

I attached plastic rings to the tubes, and threaded the dowels through the tubes.  Those were the only "cord pulls" I could find, very cheap and plastic, but better than a naked knot.

And likewise, the cord cleat was plastic and cheap - I did not get to install it, my friend did the installing by herself.

Those eyelets were easy to screw into the wood (2x1) by hand.

I did not take a picture of the finished shade, because many things were happening at once.  (I was also sewing a picnic blanket for a wedding present, and a long promised quilt for one of my boys.)  I wish I did take a better picture of the end product, but the problem is, it looked very much like just a piece of fabric from the outside.

Hope you are well, I miss you!

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Vintage knits

Wow, I have not participated in Ginny's yarn along for such a long time. Somehow, this yarn along (and auntie Leila's {phfr}) keep me entertained and fascinated.  Glimpses into lives, sometimes filled with more order and wonder, and sometimes even a bit more chaotic than mine. 

But I feel quite proud of the latest outfit - a charming raglan  pullover, and tiny trousers, both from Vintage Knits for Modern Babies.

The lace detail on the sweater was just enough to make it special.  On the back panel I did it incorrectly - I did not slip both stitches together when the pattern stated sl2, but rather one by one (see below).  Turns out it does make a difference, but only if you know where to look.  I also forgot to make the third buttonhole, but the last one is luckily not that important anyway.

 This is just a little human interest story on the side.  He was carrying a battery for his dune racer when his brother ran into him from behind.  He fell forward, and you can see the line where his face hit the battery, the poor thing.  He screamed blue murder for about 5 minutes, and today he has a beautiful black eye.

I modified the trousers a little, by adding little eyelets and an i cord drawstring instead of sewing elastic tread into the ribbing.  I thought it would look nicer, and I had no idea how to sew in the elastic tread anyway.  I am quite happy with the result, all in all. Considering it took me only about a week to knit.  The outfit went home yesterday, to a friend whose baby is due in August.  (One day, I dream of having an etsy shop - don't we all? Except for those who have one already, I guess!)

I am reading "The Hidden Art of Homemaking", by Edith Schaeffer.
It is hard to describe, but I am learning as I read, agreeing with most of it, but not everything.  It helps that I know someone whose parents met while they were working for L'Abri in Switzerland, who then became missionaries in South Africa.  Visiting with them has always been a special treat, I have often felt they know something I do not, and I think I am starting to understand it a little better now that I am reading this book.

Here is one quote that struck home:

“Interior decoration is not just one's artistic efforts, but it is that which your home (even if it is just a room) is. If you are 'decorating' with clothes draped on every chair, with scratched and broken furniture- it is still your interior decoration! Your home expresses you to other people, and they cannot see or feel your daydreams of what you expect to make in that misty future, when all the circumstances are what you think they must be before you will find it worthwhile to start. You have started, whether you recognize that fact or not! We foolish mortals sometimes live through years not realizing how short life is, and that TODAY is your life.” 
― Edith SchaefferThe Hidden Art of Homemaking

Also this one:

“It seems to me that whether it is recognized or not, there is a terrific frustration which increases in intensity and harmfulness as time goes on, when people are always daydreaming of the kind of place in which they would like to live, yet never making the place where they do live into anything artistically satisfying to them. Always to dream of a cottage by a brook while never doing anything to the stuffy house in the city is to waste creativity in this very basic area, and to hinder future creativity by not allowing it to grow and develop through use." pg 66” 
― Edith SchaefferThe Hidden Art of Homemaking

I highly recommend this book, to be read in small dosages, as inspiration.  I cannot read to much of it at once; she inspires me to put the book down and go do something.