Sunday, August 8, 2010

Empty Nesting

So this year has been something of a challenge for me, the woman who has been a mom for more years than I wasn't a mom - Beautiful Daughter #1 turned 28 last Saturday.  Beautiful Daughter #1 and her husband and my precious grand-baby live in Utah.  Handsome Son lives in Orlando.  And Beautiful Daughter #2 left in January for college in Idaho.  Honestly, along about mid-winter, I was feeling pretty lost.

But then last Sunday, as I was teaching my Sunday School lesson, we were talking about how the Lord cared for Elijah by having the ravens feed him, and then commanding the widow of Zaraphath to feed him while he was in hiding from King Ahab and Jezebel.  The point was that the Lord loves each one of us individually, knows us by name, and is prepared to help us in the ways we need it most.  Which brought to mind Elder Bednar's talk when he was first called as an Apostle and mentioned that the hymn right before his talk was his favorite, "Did You Think to Pray" and how it comforted him and let him know the Lord was looking out for him and cared about him. He called the phenomenon "The Tender Mercies of the Lord."  As I was reflecting on this subject it struck me what an extraordinary year this has been.  I too have been blessed by the tender mercies of the Lord.  Far from being the lonely year I expected, I have had wonderful opportunities to enjoy my children this year in new ways.

Handsome Son came home for Easter.  It was General Conference weekend, so we didn't have a big Easter dinner.  It was just the 3 of us, but I enjoyed watching conference with him.   And, it allowed me to give him his (finally finished) Christmas gift.  Yes, it's wrinkled, but hey - he's a guy!

Then, in the middle of April, Beautiful Daughter #2 came home for her semester break.  We stayed up late and watched movies, got a pedi, did a little excursion to Destin shopping and talked and talked and talked.  Then at the end of that week, Handsome Son and Beautiful Daughter #1 and her family came home, and we were all together for a weekend.  We went to the beach and took some pictures - ironically the day the oil spill occurred.   Unfortunately, Dear Son-In-Law was the photographer (didn't he do a magnificent job?!) and so wasn't in the photo. 

Beautiful Daughter #1 and Baby Abby got to stay for almost 3 weeks.  We did some girl bonding, some shopping, and some creating while they were here.  Manda made 3 quilt tops, and some other projects.  She introduced me to new things, like charm squares and jelly rolls and honey buns and quilting blogs.  We shopped for fabric at the drug store (which will be the subject of another post someday.)  But mostly I got to hold beautiful baby Abby.

Then, sometime in May, after Wonderful Husband drove Beautiful Daughter #2's car to Idaho and visited Beautiful Daughter #1's family, he came up with a wonderful idea!  We would all go to Yellowstone for July 4th weekend.  Unfortunately, Handsome Son couldn't make it, but the rest of us had such a grand time. 

Then, in mid-July, I got to go visit HS in Orlando.  He took me on a mother-son date to this great Irish restaurant in Downtown Disney, complete with Irish singers and traditional Irish dancers.  And the food was wonderful!  Unfortunately, I am not the photographer DS-I-L is, so we'll just have to use this photo off the Downtown Disney website

We went shopping at one of the outlet malls along I-4, and I took this photo to make the girls drool.  We didn't buy much, but we had a great time.  On the downside, boy was it HOT!

We went back to his apartment for a nap, then to dinner and a movie.  A wonderful, relaxing weekend.

And most recently, Beautiful Daughter #2 came home for her semester break again.  She wanted to make a quilt, and not one to ignore requests from my girls to share my favorite things, we headed off our favorite fabric store (the one that thinks it's a drug store) and looked for some Sandi Henderson fabric to match this oh-so-festive party banner she and her sister made...

Instead, we fell in love with this quilt made from Michael Miller's Lanterns Blooms and Poppy collections:

So we bought the fabric and headed home.  Ari and I cut out the squares, she arranged them on the floor (where else) and she stitched the quilt top that afternoon.

But then the dilemma.  How to make the beautiful tree.  I had to go back to the store and take this photo (should have taken it when I was there the first time.)

Turned out the tree wasn't so bad, but how to do the leaves?  You can't see it in the photo, but they are 3-dimensional.  Very cute, but I had to ponder on that for days.  Fortunately (or perhaps unfortunately, when you consider my stress level), the clock was ticking, and I didn't have very many days.  In fact, it was Saturday morning and the flight was to leave at 6:30 pm.

I finally drew a leaf on a piece of paper, cut it out, and started stitching.  There were a few false starts, but finally, I had something I could use.  At left is a photo of the quilt top, before leaves, borders and quilting.

 I didn't ever take a photo of the finished quilt.  I thought it turned out pretty well, though.  Ari seems happy with it.  As it happens, we had a thunderstorm blow through just about the time the flight was to leave, so after waiting an hour and a half in the airport, she realized there was no way she could make her connecting flight and she came home.  Good thing.  I finished the quilt while she was at the airport.  Saved me mailing it to her.  And having the extra few hours let me finish the pillow shams, too.  Maybe one day soon she'll send me a photo of the finished product.  Meanwhile, suffice it to say that my kids challenge my skills.

Ironically, as I was surfing the net the evening she left, I found this photo and the downloadable instructions on the Michael Miller Fabrics website.  There is a pattern and instructions for the leaf.

And, as luck would have it, Handsome Son will be home this weekend.

Empty nesting isn't so bad after all.  Wonder what project HS will have for me?

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