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Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Welcome Home Claire Bear - and - Halloween at High Cliff State Park

I am so pleased to be able to announce that our preemie granddaughter Claire is thriving! After 6 days being on CPAP machines to help with her immature lungs, and a feeding tube, they were finally removed and she was able to breathe on her own, and nurse as well.

Lookee at this little Claire Bear bundled up to go home! 

She was released on Monday, one week after being born. She is home and healthy and thriving. Thank you everyone for your kind words, thoughts and prayers for her surprise early birth.

She had a check-up today at the pediatrician and has gained two and a half more ounces and has grown half an inch. What a wonderful new addition to the Choate family!!!


Well she was basking in the care of the hospital NICU, her two older siblings were able to join us at High Cliff State Park.

For the last 4 years we have enjoyed our Halloween celebration at High Cliff. This year was going to be wonderful because we would have six of our seven grandchildren visiting us at the park. It is also my birthday (actually on Halloween itself) so it is a great time to celebrate everything together at once.

This event at High Cliff usually takes place the weekend before Halloween. This way the campground bathrooms are still open, water and dump station are still operational, and everyone is able to enjoy the holiday at home the following weekend. We reserved our camp site, as well as one across the road from us for our son and daughter-in-law with their children for their Salem camping trailer.

The entire Campground gets into decorating and handing out treats on Saturday. The headcount at the main gate was approximately 6,200 people coming through the park. This year I really stocked up on candy so we did not run out!

Here are some of the campsites and their crazy decorations!

and our October Camp Hosts, 
Rosie and Luke
who go all out....
 this is just a small part of their decorations on the host site

It was delightful fun and we had a great time. Our grandtots and our great nephews got all dressed up for the candy and festivities....

Great-nephew Matt took care of handing out the candy from our site

 Thousands of people descended on the campgrounds!  Crowds floated by and we watched all the delightful and creative costumes as they passed our site.  Someone was making balloon animals and swords and toys for the kids. It was like a three ring circus, but it was 6 roads long!  112 campsites full of festive fall fun.

After the trick or treating was all done, we put those kids to bed and they all zonked out toot sweet.  All of that fresh air, walking and playing wore them plum out. They did not get to eat too much candy, so the sugar high was kept to a minimum.  Then we adults sat out around the campfire till well after midnight. 

The BEST part of camping with grandtots is when they all pile into our bed in the morning for a snuggle fest! The dogs hop right in and take part too.  Good thing we have a king sized bed in our motorhome. 

Our tradition is to give them little boxes of cereal to tide them over
until we cook a bigger breakfast once all the other adults wake up.
Notice how early it is, still kinda dark out yet....
(I remember Gram Kafehl getting those boxes for us as kids)

Then my oldest grandson Jameson made me 
a very special birthday cheesecake to celebrate
my birthday! What a great chef!!!

 The younger kids gave me a spa day including a foot massage, a back massage, and brushed and styled my hair for the day. What a lucky Grandma I am!  The kids were busy playing on the long stone wall that runs along the southern edge of the campground, leftover from the farming days in this area.  This is my FAVORITE pic of the weekend....  taken by my daughterinlaw Heather.

We got in time to visit, cuddle grandkids and 
have a nice visit with everyone together. 
(except Erin and Waylen with baby Claire at the hospital) 

The weather was unusually delightful and warm and sunny and on Sunday it actually reached 71 degrees for a high. Imagine that! I remember some Halloween's where it was snowing and we had to wear snow suits under our costumes to stay warm.

Steve and I lazed around the park after everyone left and we took our time packing up. It might very well be our last day of camping until maybe a mid winter vacation somewhere to the South. Sometime this week Steve will winterize the water lines in our motorhome.  Today he also blew out and winterized all the water lines in the park too!

Friday, October 21, 2016

Welcome to Our World Little Claire Bear!

Oh my goodness what a whirlwind this last week has been! What started out as a normal weekend, sure took a crazy turn!

I had a friends quilting guild come tour my house on Friday. They explored my weaving looms, spinning wheels, sewing room and antique sockknitting machine.  I will write more about that later.

Then Sunday we had a little baby shower for our 8-month pregnant daughter Erin and gave her some gifts for the upcoming baby.... who was not due yet for four more weeks.

Little did we know that that night she would have a serious complication and be rushed to an emergency C-section surgery!

Erin had suffered a placental abruption which meant that she was bleeding profusely and both her and the baby were in a precarious situation. To top it off, the baby was in breech position and could not be delivered normally.

Within two hours of arriving at the hospital, our darling 7th grandchild, Claire Lillian was born!

I am pleased to say that she is doing well in the NICU. Her breathing has had some difficulty because of her immature lungs, so they hooked her up to a CPAP machine to help with regulating the in-and-out motion of her breathing. She is not on oxygen, but using regular room air to breathe. She is just getting some help with the lung muscles.

Mommy and Daddy made it through the whole ordeal with flying colors and are happy to have brought this new child into our world.  What a surprise when they thought she was coming a whole month later.
She is already wrapped around Daddys little finger.....

 A few hours later I was able to go into the NICU and see her and touch her. But because of all of the hoses and tools and monitors she was not allowed to be picked up yet on the first day.

We showered her with as much love and tenderness and support that we could give. Our hearts were aching with worry, but she was getting the very best care in the NICU.

From tearing myself away from the baby, now my Grandmother Role came into play. I went up to their home to care for their other two children and their two sassy little dogs. I held down the fort and did all I could to help their family hold up during this big unexpected change.

Here is a video clip of the kids being told WHY grandma picked them up from daycare and school....  and where were mommy and daddy?

Two days later we were finally able to hold the baby in the NICU. I cannot tell you how my heart soared to hold this wee one in my arms. Although she was born at only 6 pounds 3 ounces, she didn't feel delicate or dainty in my arms. She felt like a good baby of a healthy size and I'm sure she will gain in strength and vigor as she continues to get such good care.

I even got her eyes to open and she looked at me for the first time!~  Ahhhh love at first sight, I tell ya!

As of last night they removed her stomach tube and she is now just on a nasal cannula that pumps regular room air into her lungs to help regulate her breathing. Her little lungs either work too fast or too slow at this time, being 4 weeks immature.

Erin is going to be discharged from the hospital today. Of course, neither parent wishes to go home yet while their baby is still in the hospital. Wonderful Aurora hospital in Green Bay has a 5th floor which works like a hotel. Parents and family of patients in the hospital can rent rooms upstairs at a reduced rate, but it operates just like a hotel. Now they are only one elevator ride ride away from their baby and they can remain close.

In the meantime I took their sassy little dogs back to my house and the kids are going to spend the night in the hotel room on the fifth floor with their parents. The kids can not yet see their baby sister because they must be 13 to enter the NICU.  But being close is important enough. I am glad the hospital offers this service. Now they do not have to drive back and forth 40 miles each way to their home.

Biscuit and Ewok are getting along with our dogs well. They have been here before and know the routine.  I know they are getting homesick, but at least Erin and Waylen do not have to worry about letting them out and feed them at home.

The dogs enjoyed a popcorn treat during the Packer Game last night on tv.  
Yayyyy Packers won! 

Tomorrow morning our daughter-in-law Heather will be going up to the hospital and nabbing the kids to bring them down to us at High Cliff State Park.

This weekend is a big huge event at the park, with over 5,000 visitors that come through. They are short staffed, so Steve will be working the weekend.  We will decorate up our campsite and get ready for the many thousands of trick or treaters that walk through the campground. They block the roads off to vehicle traffic so it's a safe environment for people to walk up and down all six roads of the campground.  I stocked up on $100 worth of candy, more than last year, when we ran out during the last hour.

Now Big Sister Chelsea and and Big Brother Clayton can celebrate this event with us. Steve already drove the motorhome to the campground this morning and I have to get my butt in gear, load up these four dogs, and head on out to the campground. The rest of our family is coming this evening and we are going to enjoy our weekend. But all of our thoughts and prayers are on the sweet little girl up in the NICU getting the best care possible

Welcome to our family little Claire, you will be from now on known as our Claire Bear.....

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Found a Local Quilting Guild

What is a guild?

  1. a medieval association of craftsmen or merchants, often having considerable power.
    • an association of people for mutual aid or the pursuit of a common goal.
      "the copper craftsmen have formed a guild"
      a group of species that have similar requirements and play a similar role within a community.


Since moving to Chilton, I have found a spinning guild out in Valders, a weaving guild over in Menasha and a knitting club at the local library.  But I have not found a quilting guild in the area.  Usually guilds are listed in websites about quilting, directories of quilt shops or even on Quiltsy website. I was not seeing any in our local area that were listed anywhere. 

My friend Herb from the Calumet County Historical Society mentioned he knew a woman who was *heavily into quilting stuff* and gave me her name.  So I gave a call to Julie and we chatted for a while.  Besides a little informal group that meets at The Sewing Basket in Plymouth WI, she said there was another informal group that meets once a month at the library in Kiel, WI. That is only 11 miles away.  YAY!!!!

Yes, she invited me to attend. 

About sixteen ladies gathered to chat, share information, arrange outings to various shops and mostly to *Show N Tell*.   Yup, just like kindergarten, these gals brought their current items to show... and inspire the others. 

As we went around the room, introducing ourselves and showing what we were currently working on, or what we had just finished.  Some were lamenting about errors or problems, others were asking for ideas on borders or how to do some fancy stitching on the item to quilt it through the top, middle batting, and backing--- (called a sandwich)  and some just wanted feedback on their work. 

Here are some of the gals and some of their projects~

One by one, each showed their current projects

Some of the items were seasonal, 
like these maple leaves on a table runner

I really liked how these leaves turned out with a taller
center point on the leaf shape.  She even made matching hot pads.

I might try making some of these from batik fabrics

This adorable row of pumpkin head scarecrows were a hoot! 

Some of the gals are ahead of the game,
working on Christmas presents
and even stockings already! 

One of the gals heads up a group that does
patriotic themed quilts called
Quilts of Valor
to give to vets at various nursing homes.

This runner is a great idea

Of course, baby quilts are a common thing to make,
but this one was totally unusual!
The animal sections were made with fake fur and appliqued on. 

Just about everyone had something to share, 
talk about, and ask for suggestions. 
The variety of quilts were amazing at how detailed they were
as well as how colors were combined into a finished product.

This pic is blurry, but one lady even made a jacket
from her quilted sections of fabric.  Amazing! 

I brought along two quilts of my own....  

This first one is made for the newest grandchild on the way. Baby Choate will be here in a few more weeks. Oldest daughter Erin and Waylen asked for a quilt with bright colors, not really either girlish or boyish, but more neutral themed.  

This is called *Orange Peel* where the petal shapes are cut out first and sewed with some fusible interfacing on the back and turned and ironed onto each block.  Then I stitched over the whole petal to secure it down to the white block.  Once I assembled the white blocks into a quilt, then I put it on my frame and sewed the swirly loops called Pointed Paisley... and added a bright zig zag backing.

It came out even better than I expected! 

The quilt I am currently working on is all pieced on my 103 year old Singer Treadle sewing machine.  Yes, the treadle is built into the base of the old oak parlor cabinet, not on a traditional harp frame like most treadles. It closes all up and looks like a regular piece of furniture. I love it! 

While using a treadle, I can really get into my quilting and enjoy it without the whirrrrr of electric parts.  It is so rhythmic and mesmerizing to go tickety-tickety-tickety for hours as I sew. 

This newest quilt will be for our motorhome on the king sized bed.
Here is 1/3 of it completed that I hung on the line to photograph.
This is section I brought to the quilting guild to share. 

It is by far the easiest quilt I have done so far... it is only created out of two blocks
(call log cabin) and it is all in how you arrange them that makes the pattern.
Here it is stretched out on the queen guest room bed and kinda laid out wider
onto my ironing board that is lowered to the height of the bed. 

I hope today to load it up on my Handi Quilter Frame and set in my domestic
Janome sewing machine to quilt the sandwich together. 

It is a cool frame that allows me to use my home type domestic machine.
The prepared quilt top, batting and backing are loaded onto the front beams... 
 I sew back and forth as the completed quilt is rolled onto the back beam.

My friend Connie belongs to a quilting guild over in Oshkosh, WI. It is about 60 miles away for me to get there for meetings so I am not a regular member there. I did join them a few weeks ago for the workshop with Mary Fons of the Fons and Porter Love of Quilting tv show  (I wrote about it in this blog  My Workshop with Mary Fons)

That guild is going to take a road trip
to MY house on Friday to see all my fiber toys,

Her guild wants to see my looms,
spinning wheels,
sockknitting machine
and of course,
 my Handi Quilter Frame setup.

So I better get my butt in gear and load that quilt on it today
so it is ready to demonstrate on Friday!