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Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Hannah Hope

I am so thrilled today to get to introduce y'all to the newest addition to our family - Hannah Hope Aguilar! She was born at home on (her due date!!) January 3rd at 3:09 p.m. It has taken me 2 weeks to update my blog because four children + a newborn does not equal ample blogging or sewing time! Today I want to share with you Hannah's birth story as well as a quilt and a quilt story.

Let's start with the quilt story. Two years ago, in January and June of 2016, after four healthy pregnancies, I miscarried my fifth and sixth pregnancies, both at around 13 weeks into the pregnancy. I was devastated. The second loss was even harder physically and emotionally because it was more drawn out. The miscarriage took about 5 months to complete due to being a partial molar pregnancy and included many hospital stays and a bout with sepsis.

To help cope with all the emotions and questions and misunderstanding of the pain, I made a baby quilt. I felt kind of silly at the time making a baby quilt, but it was almost therapy in itself. Quilting is my hobby that allows me to simmer, think, pray, and work through whatever is going on in that season of my life. It keeps my hands busy while my heart pours through it all. I loved the smaller size of this quilt because it allowed me to take it everywhere with me to do the quilting by hand.

Here is Tabitha, holding the quilt for photos in 2016. 

I used this really fun Alexander Henry book print for the back of the quilt.

When I finished the quilt, I took photos of it with my kids, but I never shared the quilt or its story. I told myself I was done having children, despite the desire I still had deep down. I focused on my family and looked to Jesus for his plan for my life. I went back to the church I knew God had placed me in, which was quite a breath of fresh air and a pivotal part in my journey. I gave the quilt to my kids to play with. The quilt of course has gotten lots of play time. Here are just a few photos that I found on my phone from just the last few months. 

Fast-forward to 2017, and much to my surprise, in May, I found out we were expecting again. I had not even taken a pregnancy test, but the OB caught it on my bloodwork. I had to get bloodwork once a month from the partial molar pregnancy the year before, and this was supposed to be my final bloodwork. I received a call late one evening from the OB, who was so excited to tell me the news. I think I was shaking from the shock! I can't even begin to describe the anxiety and emotions I felt. I did not want to tell anyone or even believe it myself. After the first trimester was over and the pregnancy was going along well, I switched to the care of my midwife, Robin Destafano. I just loved the support she had given me through Aaron's pregnancy and birth and was glad to go through another healthy pregnancy with her support. She came to my home for my prenatal appointments, which is amazing. Going to a doctor's office and waiting with four children in the waiting room is quite stressful, and hiring a babysitter for each appointment can be quite expensive. 

Now for the birth story... just scroll to the end if this is not your cup of tea. Hannah was born on a Wednesday, but her birth story really starts the Saturday before. I woke up Saturday morning with an insane amount of energy, and all I could think about was cleaning. This is very unusual because if I have extra energy, I use it to sew or go to the gym. From Saturday to Monday, I cleaned like a crazy woman. If I wasn't cleaning, I was cooking. By Tuesday, every piece of laundry was finished, every floor was mopped, every closet cleaned, and even my sewing room was completely organized! So, Tuesday, I headed to the gym and got a pretty decent work out in for being 39 weeks and 6 days, and then, by Tuesday evening, I just started feeling that pre-labor yuck. No contractions, just emotional, crampy and discouraged. 

I woke up at 2:30 am on Wednesday with contractions that I knew were labor contractions, but they did not hurt, were between 10 and 15 minutes apart, and only lasted about 30 seconds. Dario immediately called the midwife because I have woken up with contractions like this in past pregnancies and had a baby in my arms an hour later! The midwife arrived shortly thereafter to check on me and slept on my couch until morning. I was able to sleep between a lot of the contractions and was pretty rested in the morning. When everyone was awake, the midwife checked me and decided to go home and get a shower and breakfast. I think she said I was barely dilated to a 5 and baby was still pretty high. That morning I tried to go about my day as normal as possible, just waiting for these contractions to turn into something hard. After lunch, I called the midwife and told her to go ahead and come over. The contractions were still 10 minutes apart and pretty short, but I wanted her to come give me some herbs or do something to help this labor pick up. The midwife arrived at 2:30 pm. The babysitter arrived at the same time to stay with the children downstairs. About 10 minutes prior to this, the contractions finally started to feel more intense so I was so glad to see them both. For the next about 30 minutes, I had those hard, transition contractions that make you wonder why so many people have children. Dario and the midwife both did a great job of supporting me with counter pressure on my back, which is where I feel the pain of most contractions. Then, a few minutes after 3 pm, the midwife told me to start pushing with contractions "to take the edge off." About 5 minutes later, sweet little Hannah was born! She was a healthy sized baby, weighing in at 8 lbs and 8 ounces, and she was 20.75 inches long. She took a few extra pushes to get out because her shoulders needed help rotating. Surprisingly, I did not need any stitches, and so far, my recovery has gone very well.

Here are a few photos from after the birth. Hannah's head was a little bruised from her quick exit, but she pinked up very quickly. The kids were so excited to come meet her when Dario announced her arrival. 


Now, I have this heart quilt to give to my sweet Hannah. I can tell her the story of hope. Deep down, God knew my heart's desire. Romans 5:5 says that "...hope will not lead to disappointment. For we know how dearly God loves us, because he has given us the Holy Spirit to fill our hearts with his love." I felt God show his love toward me through Hannah. I was not looking for another baby, but she came. She came when I had given up.

She has already changed so much in just two weeks. We adore her, and she has brought so much joy to our family! I can't wait to watch her grow and see the beautiful woman she becomes. 


Sunday, December 31, 2017

Family Photo Time!!

December was family photo time for the Aguilars! I previously dreaded family photo time because my children did not get the concept that they needed to cooperate. In previous years, the photos turned out fine, but my face always showed my frustrations with trying to get the kids to stand still! This year I knew it would be different because my sweet friend Aimee was doing the photography and my kids just adore her. Their behavior was not exactly perfect for the shoot, but they actually tried!! I was even able to laugh in some of the photos from their silliness! 


New Years Eve is a great day to spend reflecting on the year. I use the day to review the year with the whole family and make goals for the upcoming year. For example, on New Years Eve 2014, Abby told me her favorite experience was Aaron being born and that her goals for the year were to go on a water slide and to stop falling on her knees! I usually find a free printable and the whole family sits together and each person works on their own worksheet with the smaller people getting help from Mom and Dad. I have used forms that I found online from Modern Parents Messy Kids and from 30 Handmade Days in previous years. 

This year Abby told me that her favorite activity was to ride her bike and that next year she wants to get better at bowling. She told me that her favorite books to read were American Girl Doll books. I told her to wear her favorite dress for photos and was so excited that she picked a mommy made dress! I made this dress about a year ago using the Boheme Sky pattern from Striped Swallows. Despite all the wear and play it has gotten this brushed poly fabric from Sly Fox Fabrics has held up wonderfully and is so soft! It is getting a little short, but I made some shorts using the Bonny Leggings pattern from Made for Mermaids in the same fabric to keep her modest. The Bonny Leggings pattern is free if you use a code found in the pinned post of the M4M facebook group

Tabitha told me that her goal for the year was to get better at ballet and at loving her family. She also told me her favorite food was tomato soup! This came as a surprise to me so I will need to do better about making it more often next year. Her favorite dress came as a gift from Dario's Aunt Cecilia, who purchased it at Janie and Jack. She just loves this dress! 

I am so enjoying this age with the girls! Despite how different in personality they are, they do so much together! They love to play Barbie's, ride bikes, and have fun watching the same tv shows and movies. I am so enjoying watching their friendship grow, and I pray God continues to help them get a long!

Next up, my sweet sons!! My babies are becoming little boys. Luke's goal for 2018 is to learn to ride his bike without training wheels and to get better at tennis. Aaron told me he wants to learn to paint and that his favorite food was donuts. 

We love to take family walks together. On our walks, the boys love to throw sticks and rocks, hit the trees, climb and chase everything, and do all the fun parts of being a boy. They are also still so incredibly sweet. Luke loves to give everyone hugs and kisses and is incredibly kind to all his siblings. If I use a harsh tone with Aaron, he immediately asks me "Are you mad at me?" He also loves to smile when Aimee is taking his photo. I don't know how she does it!

Aaron is still light enough to throw up in the air and is super fun for all his siblings to play with. He is a pretty fast runner and loves to wrestle

And now, onto the happy couple. In June, we celebrated 11 years of marriage. This year we have taken more time to go on dates (thanks to our awesome babysitter Shekinah!!) and continue to grow in our friendship and love for each other. I am so grateful for the loving and kind husband he is to me and love watching how he fathers the children. 

Finally, we are excited all very excited about the new addition we will have VERY SOON! As I write this post, I am 39 weeks and 4 days pregnant with a baby girl. We still go back and forth on her name, but hopefully, when we meet her, we will just know!

In these photos, I am wearing my Greenstyle Scarlet Swing Dress that I made before pregnancy and blogged about here. The bump makes it a tad short, but I love how well this style transitions to maternity wear without any adjustments.

Of course, my goals for the year include lots of sewing, blogging, and homeschooling. I also want to do better about documenting my favorite recipes in my cookbook. More importantly, I would love to balance all of this with a newborn while staying spiritually, emotionally, and physically healthy!

The whole family agreed in our 2017 year in review that our favorite memory was our family vacation to Florida in February. Here is to a happy and healthy 2018!!

Thank you for reading my blog! You may follow me on Instagram or receive updates by liking my page on Facebook.

Photo Credit: My wonderful friend, Aimee Wilson

Monday, December 11, 2017

Winter Wear Designs Twin Peaks Cardigan Patch Pocket Tutorial

I recently got the opportunity to test the Twin Peaks Cardigan by Winter Wear Designs. I initially was drawn to the cardigan because I loved the design of the back yoke. The first cardigan that I made had the "Twin Peaks" back yoke and was made at thigh length. I used the optional inseam pockets because everything is better with pockets. I was so excited to make myself something so cozy that works during the end of pregnancy and when I am no longer pregnant.

I used a rib knit from my stash that I probably found in the Dallas Fabric District. It was super stretchy horizontally (100%+) and had a small amount of vertical stretch (barely 25%). This back yoke took some patience, but I love the way the stripes look on the back yoke. My tip for getting good points on the yoke is to use the same sewing technique as when you sew a V-neck.

Next, I made a hip length cardigan with the regular back yoke out of sweater knit from Sincerely Rylee. I love that Suzanne included a plain yoke version with a lining so that I could use some of my more unstable sweater knits and not have to fuss with the points of the peaks if I wanted a quicker project. The particular sweater knit had a very loose weave and was super stretchy in both directions. 

The hip length cardigan does not have optional pockets included in the pattern because an inseam pocket would hang past the hem. I still wanted pockets because I think it is so comforting to shove your hands in a warm pocket when wearing a cardigan; so, I added a patch pocket to this one. I think they turned out great! 

Patch Pocket Tutorial

(1) When cutting out all your pattern pieces, take the pattern piece for the front of the cardigan and make your pocket pattern piece by cutting the bottom of the pattern at 8.5 inches above the bottom of this piece. You will want to cut two pockets that are mirror images. 
(2) Hem the top of the pocket by 3/4 of an inch. I used my twin needle, but you can also use a stretch stitch on your sewing machine or your coverstitch.
(3) Match the pocket piece with where it will ultimately go. Then, flip the pocket to the back of the front panel so that the right side of the pocket faces the wrong side of that front panel. Sew or serge the bottoms together. Your seam allowance should be the same as the hem allowance. Flip the pocket back to the right side of the cardigan and press. Now, you should have right side of cardigan facing the wrong side (or inside) of your pocket. 
(4) Pin (or use wonder clips or stay stitch) your pocket sides to the front so that it does not flop around during the rest of construction. 
(5) Follow the rest of the instructions in the pattern to construct your cardigan. Notice that you will only need to hem the back of the cardigan during the hemming instructions and will want to catch the side seam in your hemming if any of it is showing on the right side of the finished cardigan.

You can grab a copy of the Twin Peaks cardigan pattern here.

Thank you for reading my blog, and I hope I have inspired you! You may follow me on Instagram or receive updates by liking my page on Facebook.

Photo Credit: My wonderful friend, Aimee Wilson

Disclosures: This post may contain affiliate links, which means I receive a small compensation when you purchase via my link. There is no cost to you. Any and all opinions expressed are my own.

Saturday, December 2, 2017

Sofilantjes Regina Tunic Pattern Review

My second oldest daughter, Tabitha, just turned 7 last month. She has always been into dresses, purses, hairbows, and all things girly. Thank God we live in a milder climate because she refused to wear any type of pants for so long. It was a constant battle when we did have our colder days. She thought that even leggings did not go with her beautiful dresses! Well, about 6 months ago, she started riding her bike without training wheels. She has since been riding her bike every day, and she quickly learned how nice it is to wear jeans or leggings. It took one fall in a dress, and she was sold on the idea of wearing pants!

I was so excited when I was chosen to test the newest pattern by Sofilantjes, the Regina Dress and Tunic. I made the tunic version with a pleated skirt and 3/4 length sleeves. The sleeve length is perfect for our mild winters, and the adorable tunic length gives my dress loving girl a top that works perfect for wearing pants but has the dressy feel that she loves. 

"Pockets!!" She squealed with delight when she found out the tunic had pockets. I made her a size 7 and graded in the chest area for her more lean frame. The pattern came together very easy and had superb instructions. The bodice is the same for the front and back, and the sleeves are cut on the fold. 

This tunic is made out of double brushed polyester from Syncerely Rylee. It is such a soft print and has a great weight to it. 

The next Regina Tunic that I made for Tabitha was in a cotton lycra that came from my friend Aimee's stash. Isn't she an awesome friend!?! I just adore this fabric! I was able to get each tunic out of less than a yard of fabric.

Tabitha has been wearing both tunics as soon as they come out of the laundry and begging me to wash them again! The pattern comes in sizes 12 months to 14 years so I can see myself making many tunics and dresses for all my girls in the coming years. Thanks Anne Jacobs for all your hard work on this pattern!

You can grab a copy of the Regina pattern in English here. It is on sale now through Monday, December 4th, at 4:55 p.m. CST (23:55 CET). The pattern is also available in French and Dutch.

Thank you for reading my blog, and I hope I have inspired you! You may follow me on Instagram or receive updates by liking my page on Facebook.

Photo Credit: My wonderful friend, Aimee Wilson

Disclosures: This post may contain affiliate links, which means I receive a small compensation when you purchase via my link. There is no cost to you. Any and all opinions expressed are my own.