Thursday, November 17, 2011

Cranberry Cheesecake Bars

Ok, so I should not be sitting down to type out this recipe and post it on my blog. Right now, I should be drying my very damp hair and applying my Mary Kay face before I go out in public to retrieve my firstborn at school. However, Bennett is down for a nap again and I just satisfied my sweet tooth with a yummy treat I made the other evening and I must share it with you.

It's out of The Taste of Home Cookbook, called:

 Cranberry Cheesecake Bars.

  • 36 Servings
  • Prep: 15 min. Bake: 30 min. + cooling
  •             
    30 45                Ingredients
    • 2 cups plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour, divided
    • 1 cup quick-cooking oats
    • 3/4 cup packed brown sugar
    • 1/2 cup butter, melted
    • 1 package (8 ounces) reduced-fat cream cheese
    • 1 can (14 ounces) fat-free sweetened condensed milk
    • 4 egg whites
    • 1 teaspoon Spice Islands® pure vanilla extract
    • 1 can (14 ounces) whole-berry cranberry sauce
    • 2 tablespoons cornstarch

    Directions

    • In a large bowl, combine 2 cups flour, oats, brown sugar and butter; mix until crumbly. Press 2-1/2 cups of the crumb mixture into a greased 13-in. x 9-in. baking dish. Bake at 350° for 10 minutes.
    • In a large bowl, beat cream cheese until smooth. Beat in the milk, egg whites, vanilla and remaining flour. Spoon over prepared crust. In a small bowl, combine the cranberry sauce and cornstarch. Spoon over cream cheese mixture.
    • Sprinkle with the remaining crumb mixture. Bake at 350° for 30-35 minutes or until the center is almost set. Cool on a wire rack before cutting. Yield: 3 dozen

    Here is an updated picture of my darling boys.


    Bennett will be 8 weeks old on Saturday. The time is going so fast. I am still struggling with milk production. Or at least, I think I am because he's still having to eat every 2 hours and sometimes sooner than that - when I pump, I can't get an ounce.  Monday, I weighed him and he's 11lbs. 2oz. So, that is good. I'm taking Fenugreek and also drinking Mother's Milk tea. He pees and poops regularly...but sometimes, it's a little exhausting to have to feed him so often. Any advice? I am paranoid about drying up. That happened with Jacob. Nice how I slipped this irrelevant subject from title of post, eh?

    Friday, November 4, 2011

    These are the Days

    I have been consumed the past 6 weeks with my newest little man and soaking in my family. I am sure you understand why I haven't been blogging. However, the blog bug is beginning to awaken again. I don't know what I'd call this "piece" I'm about to share with you. It's not finished, but I want to share it with you, as it sums up my focus, my devotion and my mission...right now. I hope this post finds you well. Remember with me Philippians 4:8 "Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things." I'm praying for a renewed vision of what this scripture means and the power in it to steer and direct our own lives. There is so much more to us than the daily grind.....

    Love, Beth


    These are the days when every moment is a new beginning.

    On a cold November morning, I lay my sleeping baby in his bed. I love the feeling of his tiny head on my shoulder.

    These are the days that I can never get back – so I cherish every kiss, every touch, every giggle, every “I love you.”

    These are the days, when no one can harm my darlings and their innocence is protected and encouraged.

    Oh What love, I now know – and it’s not in the receiving, it’s in the giving, selflessly giving to these little lives, these little hearts, these little dreams. Before loving my little men, I was incomplete.



    As I feel their breath, on my neck, while they sleep, I bask in the knowledge that these are the days I was created to create, their births have sealed my fate. Forever I will be, in awe of the Wonders and Princes they are.

    Friday, September 30, 2011

    A Taste...

    Announcing a "Taste of Bennett Steven"...




    He came almost 4 weeks prior to scheduled c-section, weighing 6lbs. 12oz. and was 20 1/2 inches long. Isn't he beautiful? He is still in NICU growing and developing stronger lungs to process room air oxygen, and waiting for him to develop to nurse. He is exactly his age gestationally - so he's acting his age. Look for more on his birth story to come. For now, know that he is perfect and my favorite thing in the world is to snuggle him skin to skin and watch his darling mouth turn upward as he responds to my voice or giggle or hearing me sing his name. Big brother is still waiting to meet him due to having a nasty cold/cough the past week.

    We are in love, all of us, with each other more than before and so elated to add this little buddy to our line of sons. :D

    Thursday, September 22, 2011

    Know what's not overrated?

    Kind words. Offers of help or asking what one can do to help, instead of helping in the way one desires to help. Hugs. Friends that come alongside - they can be friends I've had most of my life or beautiful humans I've only known a year or LESS. Feeling the fresh little spirit, encased in a body, growing in my body, bump and kick as he quickly runs out of room. Tums, even if only for a few minutes, bring serious relief from heartburn and vurps. Positive attitudes that still recognize the real pain a friend goes through and instead of pointing out the "up" side, just let us know they love us. Snuggles and kisses of my firstborn. Being a mama and doing homework with Boy Wonder and having real discussions on rides to and from school. He's presently distressed at the amount of toilet paper that is messing up neighbors lawns and hanging from our downtown trees, in honor of homecoming week. He thinks it is "mean". His Grandma Mimi will be happy to know that. ;) Going to sleep next to my Love.
    I am blessed and reflecting on the gestures of love and kindness my family and I have received this week when we've passed the anniversary of Levi's death and as we run to the finish line of the arrival of Sweet Pea. There have been many hurdles to jump - and we've done it.
    Thank you God. YOU are not overrated.

    Monday, September 12, 2011

    100 [revised]

    This is my 100th blog post. I've been taking time to go back through and read the 99 previous posts. In just over 9 months, we've had roughly 5200 views. I'm humbled. I don't know who is reading as often as this, unless you become a follower. I also welcome comments. Feel free to let me know you're reading or if you find me offensive or hilarious or boring. ;)
    I read and found interesting the post from last December about my goals for 2011. I have not learned to play guitar or piano this year...but I still have 2 1/2 months. ;) I have not lost 60lbs. but have gained 24 - due to our baby that is coming in the next 5-6 weeks! :) Get pregnant? Check! It has been a stressful pregnancy. I believe all mamas that have suffered a loss of baby will agree - the pregnancy following, is a real challenge to keep, mentally and emotionally positive about. Of course, I've had several, out of the ordinary factors with this pregnancy to keep fear close by. Also "real" life has been affecting my extended family since March in ways I am not free to divulge. But it has made it very trying to not be worried about certain family members and let go and let God. However, we are almost to the end of the pregnancy. I believe, unless God has different plans, we will be finished trying to grow our family. I find that while I always dreamt of having 4-6 children, I am content with my two boys we'll raise and one who's presence I'm always aware of because of how he changed me in such a short time.  God knows my heart always ached for a daughter. I'm prepared to let this go mainly because using phrases like, "suck it up!" or "quit crying like a girl!" just would not be condusive to raising a girl. ;) I see and believe God knows best. You really can talk differently to boys than you can girls.
    I am reflecting and thinking much about my Levi the past week and today. The smells of Autumn, while it is my favorite time of year, are awakening flashbacks. Even the calendar with annual events and Facebook events are bright, flashing reminders of the darkest days of my life, from nearly a year ago. I try not to dwell long here, because I feel like I'm cheating my little, darling, sweet boy growing inside of me [Presently he has a wicked case of hiccups- no doubt enjoying the pork roast and sauerkraut we had for lunch because he's been doing a jig the entire time I've been typing]. However, last week, my doctor gave me "permission" that what I'm feeling is normal and common and to feel it and let it out of my system. I am viewing my time in the hospital for Sweet Pea's birth as a vacation for me. Onto - My Jacob. My firstborn. All of these years we've wanted to give him a sibling, here, on earth. I am soaking up my afternoon and evenings with Jacob. So much is changing and it's all good, but there is a part of me that feels sad that my concentrated time with him is coming to a close. He is LOVING kindergarten! His favorite stories are David & Goliath, Joshua and the walls of Jericho and oddly enough, Adam and Eve. I've actually told him I don't want to read that one for a while because I'm sick of it. ;) Personally, I would have preferred for many reasons, they would not have eaten of the fruit. The reason at the forefront of my mind right now is before they ate of the fruit,they were not ashamed of their nakedness. I wish I could be innocent enough to run around my home naked...not the neighborhood or town or Walmart...just home. Clothing sucks at this stage of the pregnancy.
    On that note, I don't know when I'll write again. I have a one-track mind. I'm in nesting mode and focusing on enjoying these last few weeks of probably our last pregnancy.
    Thank you for reading and following. Give me some time, I know I'll get back in the swing of things. I am amazed at how much creativity is zapped out of me while actually creating a human. ;)

    **Revision/Correction**
    Actually, with Blogger's new interface, I just learned that I'm at 84 published posts and 16 drafts to make a total of 100 posts. So, this is not my official 100th published post. I learn something new every day! :D

    Tuesday, August 30, 2011

    The joys….

    Can I get a “what what” for Ocean Spray sparkling juices please? I need to get diet next time….but these things are delicious! A pregnant lady can only drink so much water.

    With seven weeks to go [when the c-section has been scheduled for], I’ve lost count of the comments about how I’m ready to pop any day now. It cracks me up. My favorites are the faces after I smile and light up my eyes and say, “Nope, 6-7 weeks to go!” Their mouths drop open and pity comes a-pourin’ out. I really don’t mind what people say to me about my growing baby belly. I get a sort of weird sense of pride. In my mind I’m thinking, “Ya…it don’t get much more woman than this – growing a Diers-Hoffman boy.” Laying in bed last night, watching tv, a commercial came on for some type of food, I can’t remember now what it was. Steve says, “You’re pregnant – why don’t you crave stuff like that?” He asks because he wants it in the house for him. I reply with, “ I crave steak.” We laughed. I felt like I should pound on my chest as I said it.

    I’m not going to lie. I’m starting to freak out about how different activities are going to work over the next several weeks. I forgot how difficult it is to roll over in bed. I also didn’t want to be reminded of the numbness that can occur on the inner thighs with any exertion at all. It’s a strange thing when you realize your pelvis is mostly numb and you’re supposed to continue walking but you feel like your torso is disconnected and your legs are walking behind you. Very strange. Thank goodness for tennis shoes. I can’t afford pedicures as often as I need them. My Mizunos provide excellent comfort and support as well as hide my feet, which short of being hairy, look like they belong to Frodo Baggins. Also, thank goodness for a pretty face. No one is noticing how I haven’t shaved my legs in weeks because they’re looking at my belly, my cleavage or my face, which none bother me at all. Winking smile Go ahead and look because this is the body of a proud mama cooking a little human that is going to add so much color and flavor to our lives and many lives which he encounters. I can’t wait to look in his face and call him by name.

    Thursday, August 25, 2011

    A break.

    I have recently, in order to process some things, gone back through and read when this blog started. We have had almost 5,000 page views in 9 months. I think that is astounding. Thank you dear readers. Smile As I read through those first few months of posts, I could feel a definite change as time moved on - like I’ve turned this into more of a journal. The creative writing, while it had a long way to go, has been buried …..somehow. I believe it’s because I’ve been preoccupied with growing our newest member of our family. I can’t apologize for this. I am who I am. I don’t feel like my posts of late, are me. I feel like they are the ramblings of a shallow victim.  Right now, I’m a cocoon of a precious life and I don’t like to dig too deep inside of myself for those real, gritty places to pour out from.  I’m disappointed in myself to not go full hog and share things that are thought provoking and relatable. Therefore, I’m taking a break until I can write about the stuff that matters. For real. The stuff that matters forever. When I write, I desire to dig deeper and stay close to the raw. I feel myself being drawn to nest and settle in for the last leg of this pregnancy. My Boy Wonder started kindergarten this week. Now is a time to realign priorities and making visions come to pass for my family AND rest. Creativity be mine – for me and for my family the next several weeks. I know that while I have not been pouring out song or poem or writing – you are forming a reserve and deep well inside of my son growing strong and beautiful inside. Thank you!

    Tuesday, August 9, 2011

    9 weeks to go

    I have not been practicing to keep it cool and go with the flow. Physically, I’m not doing anything I can’t do because I literally tucker out so fast. I know that compared to many other pregnant mommies I sound like a big baby. WAAAAAAAHAAAHAAAAWAAAA! Smile I am quite uncomfortable the past 4 days and I’m trying to say to myself, “ONLY 9 weeks to go! Open-mouthed smile” instead of “Holy shit – 9 weeks to go. Confused smile"  I was talking to my mom on the phone last night. The thought occurred to me that I have 10 more days until my Boy Wonder starts kindergarten and every day I’ve been beating myself up over the stuff I’d want to have done before baby brother arrives. Guess what I did this morning? I determined to only do stuff with Jacob. My dirty dishes from last night aren’t even done yet today. I will have 6 hours a day to get things done while he is in school in 10 days. SO…..we played Candy Land in bed this morning. He let me nap off and on because I am exhausted. He stayed by me and watched a movie. I’d wake up and he was right there. The one time he had made me a “Fire Exit Strategy” paper. I went and got the Flip camera to record him because I knew I’d want to have that for posterity. He made his own buttered toast this morning. It’s amazing watching  him do these things. I’m feeling guilt because I’m not outside with him in this gorgeous weather. I just need more energy. Tomorrow, I have a doctor appointment. It’s the glucose screening. I imagine the blood work will reveal I have low iron. I was taking iron a while ago, but it was having some strange effects and so I decided, “Well, maybe I won’t need it this time!” It’s not a wonder that the only thing I crave is red meat!

    I do have a standard, in mind, of how I want the house to be by the time Sweet Pea arrives. Why? Because it is how I am built. I’m just giving up the carrying out of this vision and guilt of not getting it done while I  have my Boy Wonder at home. So, I may be calling on a few of you to come help me. If nothing else, it would be fun to have someone to laugh and talk with while I take on these tasks.

    Major relief came yesterday when Hubby and I decided on a name. Ha! No! We are not sharing. It is the surprise we like to make everyone wait for. It does feel good to know we have it mostly decided. I love it. I absolutely love it. I am so excited to see my Jacob and his baby brother and to hold them against me, together, for the first time. There are no words, only glossy eyes.

    Thursday, August 4, 2011

    Minions

    Funny story and insight as to how my hubby and I tick. So, there is an even more hilarious story that happened prior to the one I'm blogging about...but it would be really embarassing to put it in a blog. Not for me, but for hubby. Sometimes, I get diarrhea of the mouth and show little restraint and my hubby is far more private.
    However, I won't disappoint ... he gave me good blogging material last night. We had a lazy evening. This. Never. Happens. It was great. We were watching Restaurant Impossible on the Food Network. Chef Robert Irvine is pretty intense and he knows what he wants and he gets what he wants. It's not just editing - he really does get what he wants from the design team and restaurant owners and staff on each episode. He has great vision. He drives the whole team to accomplish terrific feats with VERY limited time. He's not polite about it and he doesn't coddle anyone. I'm sitting there getting irritated. So, I identify my frustration and ask hubby, "Why can't I get the results he does by making my expectation known and getting the help to see it accomplished?" Steve turns his head to look at me. There it is - the look of complete neutrality. One of Steve's strong suits is he does not get riled, he does not let confrontation - true confrontation EVER happen. Harumph. How annoying for someone that enjoys arguing. Steve says, "Robert Irvine is a well-established, renowned chef." I interrupt, "So? I'm a well-established wife! I have great vision for things in our home and I ask nicely and  have to wait and wait and wait and I just want some things done." Again, with that look. [I should clarify, I'm not really talking about spending money on things in our home...more of needing help moving things and getting them to where I want them and ok..maybe a little bit of spending money.] I say, "Oh, I know what. We need to hire me some employees. Robert Irvine pays those people to carry out his demands and vision." Steve laughs at this, "Ya. How do we explain to applicants what they're applying for?" Then he says, in a high-pitched [what he thinks is my voice], "I'm hiring someone to do my wishes." Of course, I'm laughing like an idiot by this time. AND here comes the example of what he does every time I start to feel agitated about anything - he makes me roar with laughter. "Honey, you don't need employees. You need minions." After sleeping on it, I wake up this morning with this question: How do I breed minions like the fella, from the movie,Despicable Me?
    Thank you for the huge laughs the past 15 hours Steve!

    Wednesday, August 3, 2011

    Answers

    You know, I feel great. Physically, I'm a little haggard from the recent humidity hell and insomnia I've been dealing with. Give me pain over heartache any day. I may bitch and moan about it but when I have my mental and emotional and spiritual levels where they should be - ALL is A-OK. :D
    We are quickly motoring towards the first day of Kindergarten for Jacob. We registered this week and it was a great experience. I had been worrying quite a bit. Jacob is ready for kindergarten intellectually. I was a little worried about emotionally. However, considering that I've had the privilege to stay at home with him except for 21 months of his life, I decided to cut myself and him a break. In the past 2 weeks, Jacob is making great strides to being ready for kindergarten. We are preparing him that it will be scary....at first. Daddy and Mama always want him and won't be able to wait to see him every day when he's finished. Since his birthday party, he has become a seriously rambunctious 5 year old. He's bounding around everywhere getting owies and twisted ankles or wrists and bumps on the head. He attended a few days of VBS at the church, he attended preschool to "throw him in the pond and make him swim". Oh and to learn about Jesus. He loves talking about Jesus. He will play the VBS music and turn it off and start preaching. Hmmmmm...kinda reminds me of someone. My Granma used to be the janitor at her church. While she'd clean the sanctuary, I'd get up in the pulpit and start giving sermons. I was very good - Granma said so. Of course my siblings wanted to punch my lights out..but...what are ya to do with the firstborn? That's right - you suck it up and take it. ;) We are thrilled with the teacher Jacob will have for kindergarten. I've heard ALL the teachers are wonderful in kindergarten, but I was praying for this one because Jacob does require some familiarity. It was one of those experiences that I was fretting but when I kept hearing from gads of locals that all the Kindergarten teachers were great, I decided to trust God to put Jacob right where he needed to be. I really enjoy when my idea of what is best, lines up with God's. School registration was also gratifying because a year ago, I basically knew NO ONE. This year, I knew all kinds of people and met even more. Yay for socialization! I'm gonna gain so many new friends, as my kid does. I am so ready.
    My last post was about grief. It comes and goes in waves. This post, as I sit and write, I feel  a lot of hope. For the readers that are grieving, feel the loss and move on, at it's pace. It really is like a body of water. The wind and the moon, the tilt of the earth keep it moving. I have found when I allow myself to experience it - not drown in it - it always recedes and the sun comes out again and the water is calm. It's temporary and the rising storms are less and less - but cherish the grief too. God gives beauty for ashes, joy for sorrow and hope for mourning. Don't be afraid of it. My friends that imparted encouragement and support...again...I love you.  

    Tuesday, July 26, 2011

    Chasm

    I debate with myself whether to post about this or not. I've weighed it out and it's time to expose the raw fear and grief that is resurfacing in the past week. I guess I feel justified [though I don't know why I put that kind of pressure on myself to feel justified. It's my life, my experience, my blog...I should write what I want to.] because after enduring the loss of a baby, as many have, I am now feeling the loss again as the due date for Sweet Pea is drawing near. I feel alone, because I'm surrounded by new baby excitement and anticipation. I know I am not alone. I think I am blogging about it more than anything to hear from those whom have traveled this path before me. How did you handle it? How did you deal with the weeks leading to a new life you'd get to hold, while triggering the void of the one you didn't? It's not a question of, "Can I love this baby after Levi?" It's not a question at all. It feels like the file has been sealed. I will only be permitted to say, " I have two sons.", while knowing in my heart I have three and that if I go around saying that, I could end up committed. It's such a strange, weird, bizarre dream type of feeling. Where my reality doesn't meet up with everyone else's reality. That's why I feel alone....
    I don't even know if I'm articulating what I feel. I'm trying to keep busy with projects and definitely being grateful. I would never want to sound ungrateful. I also don't want to keep my thoughts hidden on this subject. Too many of us have gone through miscarriage, stillbirth, infant loss and we suffer silently. My body physically can't handle the silent part of that.  Talk it out with me, please. I feel like there is a chasm I have to bridge, in my heart. 

    Thursday, July 21, 2011

    What I needed to read today.

    "What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters, compared to what lies within us."
    ~Ralph Waldo Emerson

    I draw comfort from this today. When past hurts and my present collide, I feel like a battle, with front lines and the works line up to face off. When this happens, I instantly feel smothered, stifled, weak and like a  failure. I have learned that the problem is never with the situation or scenario masked as my opposition. The problem is the opposition within myself. Why? Because I'm stifling the greatness inside, yes, I dared to say greatness - for distractions, "tiny matters" strategically placed to keep me hindered, bridled and trapped. So, this morning, I picked up a book that I sometimes pick up and read tidbits titled, The Artist's Way. Mind you, I have not delved wholeheartedly, into this book because I'm actually afraid of it. I about fell out of my chair when I randomly opened the book to page 7 and read the bulleted points. I'm going to share it with you:

    "Do you tell yourself that if only you took your creative potential seriously, you might:
    • Stop telling yourself, "It's too late."
    • Stop waiting until you make enough money to do something you'd really love.
    • Stop telling yourself, "It's just my ego" whenver you yearn for a more creative life.
    • Stop telling yourself that dreams don't matter, that they are only dreams and that you should be more sensible.
    • Stop fearing that your family and friends would think you crazy.
    • Stop telling yourself that creativity is a luxury and that you should be grateful for what you've got."

    I do not know what to write next, for fear of tremendous vulnerability and putting myself in place of easy judgment. So maybe, instead of writing out of emotion, I'll leave it at that. Now, I have to determine what action to take. God help me not get so wrapped up in the day to day hub-bub of tasks and chores and bury the creativity that presents itself, in these tasks through this weekend. In the meantime, I will set aside time to read this book, each day and follow Julia Cameron's instruction. Sounds like the perfect first step...and simple to incorporate in my day.


    Wednesday, July 20, 2011

    Garage Sale and have you told your kid a fib before?

    In efforts to prevent my family from becoming hoarders, I had another garage sale last weekend. There were a few changes from the HUGE success I had with our moving, "Just a Quarter" yard sale in Monona a  year ago. First off, LOCATION! In Monona, we were on Main Street. I didn't have to advertise. Once we hauled all the crap onto the lawn and the Flea Market look was complete - we were inundated with patrons. Secondly, I had a lot of cds, dishes, old pieces of crappy, cheap furniture that people couldn't wait to gobble up. So, my inventory was more interesting.
    At last weekend's garage sale, I was amazed at the stuff we've accumulated in the past year. I was also going back through some things and saying to myself, "I haven't used this since we moved, I'm getting rid of it." I advertised it as "Just A Quarter" garage sale. I had a vacuum, awesome dinosaur bedding set, spice rack, books, many odds and ends from MIL with the closing of her store, some decent clothes, etc. I gleefully opened my garage door at 4PM to the anticipation of 15 or so older folks. Some had been waiting for 45 minutes! In the first hour I had shed 72 items - bringing my earnings to $18. I thought, "Woohoo! I'm brilliant and doing it again." Then, everything came to a screeching halt. The rest of the garage sale hours, we had maybe 10 customers. :( So, I now have everything boxed up to take to Goodwill. I don't look for a garage sale to be a money maker...just a way to get rid of a truckload of stuff without me having to tote it to Goodwill. From this point on, I will just haul stuff to Goodwill box by box.
    Like I said, I have to prevent our home from looking like an episode of Hoarders. I appreciate sentimental value. I found 4 different items I've kept, my whole life, in hopes for a daughter. One item, I put in the garage sale. Jacob saw it and was appalled. "Mama, this is for our baby!" I said, "Jacob, we are having a boy baby." Jacob snatched up the article of clothing and said, "But this is for our girl baby next. I'm taking it and putting it back in our baby's room." I didn't have the heart to tell  him, "Son, you're 0 for 2 on guessing the gender of our babies and mama is pretty sure she's done after Sweet Pea arrives." Wouldn't have mattered anyway because he was already off to put that little one-piece outfit back in "our baby's room".
    Jacob also saw the Simba stuffed toy, my dad gave me my senior year of high school. Jacob used to play with it, but he hasn't since we moved here, so I put it in the garage sale. In front of 11 senior citizens, in our garage, he started wailing and crying that I can't sell his Simba. In order to pacify him, I gave in. He held that stuffed toy like his new baby brother. He'd announce to the customers, as they'd come to pay me for their finds, "My Simba is NOT for sale!" They'd smile and snicker and give me kind words about how they remember those days with their own children. Then, a grandma came through the line with her granddaughter who looked to be 3 years old. The little girl was carrying another of Jacob's castaway stuffed animals. Keep in mind, my son's room looks like a stuffed animal zoo and dinosaur museum. I didn't dare put anything in the garage sale, which he is and has been attached to.The little girl carried a stuffed animal which always terrified Jacob. I took it out of his room last Winter because he kept shoving it under his bed because it frightened him. I remember having night terrors at Jacob's age and younger that stuffed animals were coming to life and staring at me. Anywho - Jacob saw this little girl carrying the stuffed animal and almost started a scene again, "Hey! That's mi..." I interrupted because I didn't want this thing AND I didn't want the little girl to get upset and for the grandma to feel like she couldn't buy her granddaughter this cool, and amazingly priced stuffed animal. "Jacob, you have two. The other one is in the house.", I lied. Jacob's tongue inside of his wide open trap, stopped moving between his top and bottom teeth. His mouth closed, with a snap. I turned to take the quarter from the grandma. "Where is it Mama?", Jacob asked. The grandma winked at me. I replied with another lie, "I don't know right now Jacob, but it's in there and we'll find it later." The grandma thanked me and they were on their way. Is it shameful to admit that I feel no guilt about lying to my kid? He quickly moved onto other things and he still had Simba. He has not mentioned the "duplicate" stuffed animal and that was 5 days ago. I realize it may not have been the best way to handle it, but for me, in that moment, it was the best way to keep my sanity and prevent a meltdown, and to find the easy way to not give in to him, and to stay on task without looking like a crazed woman for the customers that were lining up.
    So...that was my experiences with the garage sale this year. Overall, it was a flop. However, there are no areas, closets, rooms, in the house that have, what I call, a storm cloud looming over them. I love order. Goodwill is getting some nice things too.

    Tuesday, July 19, 2011

    Ebb and Flow

    So....I've been awake for almost an hour. I was hungry. Here I sit, with a bowl that had been Great Grains Cranberry & Almond cereal. Celebrity chef Curtis Stone approves, who am I to poo poo? ;)
    In one week, my Boy Wonder will be 5 years old. He has changed so much in the past month. Since a month ago, his snuggling has lessened by 90%. "No Mama, I'm too busy." After I give him pouty face, "Ok Mama for 2 seconds." His stiff little body isn't allowing the warmth of my embrace as he's anticipating the fight it will be to get away! His vocabulary has changed to include words like: eucalyptus, frightening, tasmanian devil...there's more but they escape me. He's grown at least 1/2 inch the past month and he's filling-out again. He woke me up this morning by jumping on my bed and announcing that his name now has Steve in it too. I had thought the shift from me to Daddy happened about 2 years ago. It's official, it happened yesterday. How do I know? It's too hot to play outside this week so he played a lot of Wii Resort yesterday. His Mii character is changed to a child-sized Daddy mii complete with a goatee, red hair and glasses. Jacob was good enough to show Grandma how to rock the baby when he spent time with her this past weekend. At least 4 times this past week, he runs up to me, kisses my belly and asks, "Mama, how is our baby doing?" This afternoon, as he graciously snuggled me with only his arm as I laid down for 20 minutes, he said, "We had another baby but he died." I said, "Yes, but Levi is safe and happy with God." "Why did he die?", Jacob asked. I reply, "Because he got sick while living in my tummy." I show him using my fingers about how long 5 inches is, "He was too tiny to get better on his own. He had a lot of growing to do." Then I showed him my guesstimate of 14 inches long, "This is how much Sweet Pea has grown! Isn't he getting so big?" I say with an amped-up voice to instill continued hope and faith for his new baby brother's safety and well-being. Jacob turns to look at me, his eyes sparkly with excitement. Then, he kissed me on the cheek and jumped off the bed. That's all it takes for him. He's so wondrously trusting and worry-free, just the way we're all meant to be.

    Monday, July 11, 2011

    Big Brother

    ....and I don't mean the government. ;) Jacob has been showing such a tremendous interest in my belly and "our baby". I've come to the conclusion there is nothing more edifying and it makes me hungry to see the relationship between my sons. I've already told about a dozen people the story from Friday morning - but I haven't blogged about it. For the first time, in about a week, Jacob chose to snuggle me a while Friday morning. We were taking a break and watching Barney. It was an episode about Halloween. Jacob and I discussed what he wanted to be for Halloween. He is excited to be a cowboy. I told him Baby Brother would be about 2 weeks old then. I asked, "Should we dress him up as a Pumpkin for Halloween?" Jacob laughed and laughed. "No Mom. He will be too little. The older boys costumes will frighten him. You and our baby stay home. Daddy and me will go get candy."

    While we have waited so long for another child and a sibling, on earth, for Jacob - I am finding myself crying easily [wait....that's not different than usual this pregnancy...] about the time with just Jacob and me coming to a close. I've explained to Jacob that our love multiplies and grows for our children. I do not worry about having love for this new son. I am just realizing how blessed I have been to have all this time with my Firstborn. Jacob taking the action to kiss my belly and holler at my tummy, "Baby Brother - you will know my name - Jacob - when you join us!", prompted me to post about this transition and the confidence Jacob is instilling in me that he'll handle this new arrival with elation and joy. Hallelujah! I'm a proud Mama.

    Tuesday, June 28, 2011

    How I'm feeling...

    I went from euphoric last Friday morning to bogged down by Sunday evening. We had a magical day at Adventureland with Jacob. Truly, the best day I've ever had, as our own little family. Jacob is at such a great age to have fun with - because his activities aren't limited to only what is fun to him. Just think, we're starting all over again! LOL 
    For the most part, I feel good. I am waning, in the energy department. Two long, active, albeit great weekends, in a row, is just too much for this preggo woman. I don't like that it takes 3 days to recover on sleep. I am also finding that I cry at the drop of a hat because I'm not sleeping well and I don't want to keep the energy and discipline factor up with Jacob. I'm tired and he knows it. The past 2 days, I feel like the worst mommy in the world. I haven't been outside with him. I've been working on my Mary Kay business and let him watch tv all afternoon yesterday. :( I am trying to get ready for a garage sale, and there are rooms in my house that are a complete disheveled mess as I prepare for it. This weekend, will be furniture rearranging time, as well as, yardwork time. I don't like that everywhere I look is stuff that needs to be done that I can't really do by myself. It drains me. I like order. I am very grateful Jacob is as old as he is during this pregnancy. I can't imagine how much more of a failure I'd feel like with a toddler while I'm pregnant. I admire my many friends who dealt with that scenario while pregnant.
    On an up note - Almond Joy creamer from International Delight is a.....delight! I have 2 cups of coffee each day. Tomorrow, I may wait for them til the afternoon, so I may enjoy an iced coffee with the Almond Joy creamer. This weekend is our Fourth of July festivities in Independence! Looking forward to seeing and interacting with people and celebrating our country's birthday.
    As for me, I told hubby yesterday, I'm now at the point, in this pregnancy that I'm not going to do anything I don't feel like doing. This pertains to things on the calendar that will divert my energy from where it needs to be to get things ready for Sweet Pea's arrival. Cuz once he gets here, Old Man Winter will be breathing on our necks. Hubby told me I've earned it. What a guy, what a guy!

    Friday, June 24, 2011

    Frosting

    I'm awake early this morning. We are leaving for, what I call, mini vacation. :) We do these 2 or 3 times a year and they're so nice. It's the frosting on the cake of life to get away and experience something for the first time through the eyes of our Boy Wonder. Today, it will be an amusement park.  Speaking of frosting, I want to share a new frosting recipe I used for my mother-in-law's retirement party cake. It got rave reviews! I am tickled since I'm not a fan of buttercream and really wanted something lighter for frosting. For me, the kicker to ultimate flavor, is to use Watkins Vanilla, when vanilla is called for. This recipe is great for decorating, piping, borders. It really stood the test of time last weekend. I got this recipe from www.allrecipes.com . Like I said, I use Watkins Vanilla.

    Whipped Cream Frosting
    Ingredients
    • 1 (8 ounce) package reduced-fat cream cheese, softened
    • 1/2 cup white sugar
    • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
    • 1/2 teaspoon almond extract
    • 2 cups heavy cream

    Directions

    1. Combine the cream cheese, sugar, vanilla extract and almond extract in a large mixing bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer. Fit the mixer with the whisk attachment and mix on medium speed until smooth. While the mixture is still whipping, slowly pour in the heavy cream. Stop and scrape the bottom of the bowl a couple of times while you continue whipping until the cream can hold a stiff peak.               

    I hope you have a wonderful, end of June, weekend! Next weekend we celebrate the birthday of our country! :D

    Wednesday, June 22, 2011

    Jabbering....

    Ahhh...the weather is cooling off. I love it. I told my sister-in-law yesterday that I am ready for Fall. Friday morning, we leave for a mini-vacation with excellent friends to Adventureland and to an I-Cubs game. I am so, so happy the temps have cooled off. :D

    We all had an extraordinary weekend celebrating my mother-in-laws retirement. I'm eager to see the large family group picture that was taken. It's a little embarassing how tuckered out I got by Sunday morning. I literally felt hungover, with a headache and sheer exhaustion. I came home earlier so I could recuperate by Monday. Monday, I headed to Iowa City to meet a friend for lunch. We went to Kohls and decided that I needed to buy baby clothes for Sweet Pea. Mind you, I have a whole tote full of clothes, from Jacob, but, Sweet Pea deserves his own brand new clothes. :D It was so much fun looking at them and picturing my bundle of boy in these - my two favorite outfits from Monday's shopping....

    His first Thanksgiving outfit




    Hmmmm....blogger isn't permitting me to add photos. [At long last, 4 hours later, I was able to upload the photos. :D ] That's fine, I'll edit later because I want to tell  you about a Fauxmosa.

    A Fauxmosa is a fake mimosa. ;) I am not an orange juice drinker. However, this pregnancy, orange juice just hits the spot. I don't crave it, I simply enjoy it, WITH diet 7UP. It's 1 part o.j. to 1 part diet 7UP. I usually have it in the evening with my fabulous iron supplement. Try it. Tell me if you like it.

    Jacob just got done hugging my belly. He is going to be a wonderful big brother. I am off to clean and freeze strawberries. Enjoy this Wednesday [Already!], dears!

    Friday, June 17, 2011

    The Rebel Angel Food Cake

    I have to share these pictures of the angel food cake I baked yesterday afternoon. I do not know how this happened, but it is very funny to me. The batter looked just fine to me as I poured it in the pan. In fact, I thought it looked better than usual. At 40 minutes, in the oven, this is what it looked like...

    
    I was amused and laughing, but decided to continue to let it bake until it looked baked through. About 10 minutes later, it looked like this when I removed it from the oven...

    I didn't know what to do with it, except to take a picture and share it on Facebook. Got some laughs from friends about it, turned around to look at the cake again and the hump or volcanic action was receding. It was starting to look "normal". So, I thought, "Get this bugger upside down and ready to cool. It might not be a failure after all!" I didn't know that the cake was going to make me laugh harder yet. As I flipped the cake upside down, I kept watching it. I mean, I did feel like it was some kind of scientific experiment. I could hear Beeker in the background...oh.....that wasn't Beeker, that was the cake passing gas. What? I tipped the pan back to the regular position, as I was hunkered beneath it to see where this sound of air escaping, was coming from. It sounded like an SBD. Sure enough, as I started to tip the cake to the upside-down position, the center of the "volcano" started to open up and air and steam whisper-whistled out. After setting the pan down, rolling on the floor with laughter, I decided the cake needed an autopsy. See exhibit #3....
    The bottom 1/3 of the angel food cake was a gelatin-like layer. It was rubbery and tough. Not exactly the consistency and texture an angel food cake should be. I still do not know what caused this phenomenon. I have made many, many angel food cakes from scratch -but this one takes the cake. :D

    Wednesday, June 15, 2011

    Paper on sheetrock?

    Last night, a lovely friend came to our house and showed me how to remove wallpaper using vinegar and water in a spray bottle. It really wasn't hard, except for how my tummy, didn't like being mushed in the wasted space corner, of our kitchen. See picture.
    Wasted Space Corner
     I tried to stand on my tip toes, but discovered I'd practically be balancing my bump, on the kitchen counter like a pogo ball. Not a good idea. So, I resorted to standing with my left foot on the floor and my right, stubby leg, swung up on the counter. This was comfortable actually. It relieved the pressure of my growing tummy and I was on my left side, which is the only way to lay according to ALL the baby boards after a woman is 20 weeks along. ;)

    Anywho - back to the title of the post - "paper on sheetrock?" [Imagine me tilting my head slightly to the side, eyes wide, one eyebrow raised, with expression of "who knew?"] Well...let me tell you, there IS! I was spraying my little vinegar and water bottle along, basking in the aroma of feet while I scraped away. [Once I ran out of clear vinegar, we resorted to apple cider vinegar. That is when the feet stank took over.] I scraped off, whatever would come up, when I started to see a grayish tan wall. Hmmm? Next picture please.....
    See what I mean? Apparently, this is not good. I have yet to learn what the big deal is, or how to repair it. My only indication something wasn't right, was when Hubby said, "Oh, you're pulling up sheetrock paper.", and his breathing pattern .....changed.

    Other than that, it was the most enjoyable experience I've had with removing wallpaper. I got to catch up with a friend and laugh. Oh - and we had some Bill's pizza - which is always excellent.
    Thank you Peggy for a fabulous evening! 

    Tuesday, June 14, 2011

    Morning prayer

    Thank you for the cool, crisp breeze.
    Thank you for the sway of the trees.
    Thank you for the coffee in my hand and the
    sweet dreams in my little one's head.
    Thank you for the love of good friends-
    the ones I've had for years and the ones I haven't met.
    When I think I'm lost, and I look around -
    it's your splendor that reminds me, "I am not lost. I. Am. Found."
    Maker, with our words, our thoughts, our deeds- may we bring to You - everlasting praise.

    Monday, June 13, 2011

    Nesting

    Good Monday morning! =D I always welcome a weekend and I always welcome Mondays. Sundays are like the primer on a wall to paint a fresh new week. We had a fun, relaxing, quality-time weekend since Hubby had a 3 day weekend. An exciting development for us this week, are the kicks I can now feel on the outside of my tummy. Of course, when Hubby puts his hand to feel, Sweet Pea won't budge. heehee We are now 21 weeks. I have finally picked out colors for his nursery. All I have done is mostly emptied the nursery in preparation for our little nest. There will be major shifts in beds and furniture to prepare for our new little boy. I have been collecting ideas and creativity nuggets from favorite blogs.
    This weekend, I also decided on the general theme I want throughout our home. I think it's set up ideally to feel like a cottage. Our kitchen, once I enlist some help to remove tacky wallpaper border and wallpaper for the backsplash, will be decorated in the navy blue and oatmeal crockery with accents of granny smith apple green. These are the two items I've had setting next to each other on my table for a few days and it brings me pleasure to look at them together. It's a total accident that I love.

    I want to paint my cabinets an off-white color, glaze them for an antique finish and put on new hardware. Alas, I'm in no position to try and tackle the cabinets, on my own and hubby is not digging the idea of [gasp] painting solid wood cabinet doors. I just know it will brighten up our kitchen and update it without the expense of buying new cabinets. You know what else I love? Those blue metal plates/cups/pitchers/pots with the white speckles on them. Who can tell me what the proper name is for them? As a kid, I called them camping dishes. I can envision a hutch full of milk glass dishes. Are there also milk glass dishes in a green color? That's what I keep seeing, in my mind, but I don't even know if it exists.
    Well, dears, I must get on with painting this new week.


    Saturday, June 11, 2011

    Friday

    Ahhhhhh….I love days like yesterday. We spent the day in hubby’s quaint hometown in northeast Iowa. Then we raced home to make Jacob’s t-ball game. We finished the evening with a trip to Fareway, for some excellent cuts of beef. Jacob chose some fine new cowboy boots from a store in Elkader, called the Turkey River Mall. It’s a 3-story building in downtown Elkader, with oodles and gobs of rooms which vendors rent and sell there creations or secondhand items or collections or antiques. One can purchase anything from primitives to dining room sets from the 1950s to kitschy toys or tableware. Jacob was very excited to show off his new boots in Elkader and in Independence[pictured below in Fareway]. We purchased a picture by artist, Billy Jacobs. The print, which I am loving for it’s simplicity and wholesomeness I feel, when I gaze at, is called, Sweet Corn For Sale. I really haven’t been able to quit thinking about the shops in Elkader. I visited an enchanting secondhand store called The Copper Frog. I want to go back today. The Copper Frog is magical. I saw so many things I wished I could buy, if I had places to put them. There were many things I would have purchased if I didn’t have a budget and list of upcoming things I need to buy for.

    I am soon going to need to purchase a new camera. I apologize for the blurry quality of the pictures below, but Jacob is not exactly still-life. Winking smile 

    001002003004

    I hope your weekend is just the way you like it!

    Thursday, June 9, 2011

    Perfect

    Pink’s song….I <3 this song SO much! My brain is inundated with examples of the pressure to be perfect and it’s all a joke. God said it first, we are created in His image and he wants us for relationship. He doesn’t want us because He needs an ego fed to adore and bow down to Him. When I think of the relationships I have, they are less than perfect…..much less…..and yet I value them, cherish them – I appreciate that we can speak openly with each other, be it excitement, sorrow, anger, joy, reflection, etc. We can mess up and be truly sorry and come back together. We are perfect to God – just the way we are. A couple weeks ago, when Steve and I were told by our doctor that Sweet Pea didn’t have 3 blood vessels in his umbilical cord and there was a 50% chance he would be born with a genetic disease – I did not praise my Maker. We knew that no matter what, we would love our son and be excited for his life. However, I said to God through gritted teeth, “If you created Mt. Everest and the seasons and made Eve from dust and a rib of a man, then you frickin’ [edited version] put three blood vessels in his umbilical cord!” I was not kidding. I do not feel guilt for talking to God that way. I’m feeling a little bit of anxiety right now for admitting, on a blog, that I did….but I’m pushing it aside because if we can’t be real with the One that made us and has a purpose for us…..who needs it and I do need Him and want Him.  After the high risk ultrasound, 10 days later, the tech saw 3 vessels right away. It’s more than likely that the vessel was there and the equipment, in our clinic couldn’t see it. The creation of a baby is a miracle…and my doctor told me there was a slim risk that he wouldn’t be able to survive outside the womb, if he had a certain genetic disease, with only a 2 vessel cord. Of course, my doctor told me all of these things when referring me to the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics because of my age[ what the hell? I still think I’m  24.], my own *issues* that I was born with, and the history of losing Levi Matthew. It took me about 4 days to swim through the shock of this fear, that there was something deficient in me, to not be able to produce a healthy baby. AFTER, I lashed out at God, I started to remember the opposite of fear. Faith. No matter what evidence is given and presented and how it’s packaged in reality – it does not have to be the reality. I started to close my eyes and SEE 3 vessels in his umbilical cord, and I had to change my attitude. God has given me an amazing life. I’m not saying I took these actions with gusto and enthusiasm….I had many people lifting my family, myself and our Sweet Pea in prayer. THANK YOU to those who were strong for me when I literally felt depleted. As we were sitting in the ultrasound room, waiting for the doctors to come in to verify the tech’s report, and had uncontrollably sobbed for a couple minutes, as relief flooded my soul. I remembered what I had said to God 10 days before. I shared it with Steve. Then, I smiled through glossy eyes and tear-streaked Mary Kay face, “God likes when I talk to Him like that.” Don’t we feel closer to our loved ones when we are free to be ourselves with them? I felt closer to God. He hadn’t gone anywhere, but I had gotten closer, in his face close. He loves me no matter what. He loves when we talk to Him, no matter the tone or content. He created us for relationship.

    So….when you feel “less than perfect” and like “nothing”, talk to God about it, let Him tell you, “ You are perfect to me.”

    xoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxo

    Thursday, June 2, 2011

    Emerge!

    Here is dictionary.com’s definition of “emerge”:

    –verb (used without object), e·merged, e·merg·ing.

    1. to come forth into view or notice, as from concealment or obscurity: a ghost emerging from the grave; a ship emerging from the fog.

    2. to rise or come forth from or as if from water or other liquid.

    3. to come up or arise, as a question or difficulty.

    This verb has been, at the front of my brain wall, since yesterday afternoon. That’s all I have to say about it for right now.

    Friday, May 20, 2011

    Write, delete, repeat.

    The title of this post is all I've been doing for a week. I want to write. I don't want to gush over pregnancy. I don't want to give great account to the hormonal hell I've been experiencing. I don't want to talk about struggles within. I can't figure out what kind of blog this should be now. I feel like I'm too far past [8 months ago today] losing Levi to continue talking about the flashbacks I get when I feel Sweet Pea move or with Braxton Hicks contractions.
    So, here is what I'm praying for and hoping for and I ask that you join me. Monday is our 18 week ultrasound and anatomy scan. I am expecting to see the placenta shifted upward. I am expecting to see Sweet Pea swimming and moving A LOT. I am expecting the measurements of the anatomy scan to be exactly where they should be. I am expecting and really hoping for joy to return, for a tangible excitement, in my heart. I want the innocence back that I had before Levi died. I feel like someone has super-glued a shroud to my face and I cannot see, really see through death. I have faith that what I cannot see is there and that all is well, and yet this stupid cover is on my face, blocking my vision.

    Saturday, May 7, 2011

    Human

    The day before Mother’s Day. The week started out rough and has forced me, little by little to come to reality. I am not a person that usually basks in  negativity. With that said, I am also realizing these past several months that my analogy of jumping hurdles in a race, is not the way to go about every hard time. I think it is my self-preservation mode. I’ve been edgy this week and had two migraines the past week. Migraines, for me, though I doubt any scientific research would support my theory, are the sign of shoving down emotional toxins and not getting it out. I finally asked myself, “What is wrong? What are you running from?” Answer?

    Mother’s Day.

    At the risk of sounding selfish – I choose to see it as human- Levi Matthew would have been 2 months old by now. Yes, I have my awesome Jacob and yes we are 16 weeks pregnant with our third baby.Yes, I am grateful beyond words. As the week started, I confessed to my husband, “But we have another son and I am lonely for him and he will be overlooked.” Steve says, “Yes, but WE know he’s there.” I replied, “I know. Why isn’t that enough for me?” Well, there it was. My problem to deal with. Steve held me and rested his mouth on the top of my head. It was almost immediately that the pressure was gone. The headache was gone. The loneliness was gone. Energy returned and sunlight started to take over my thoughts. The sting of death isn’t there now, as we recognize tomorrow as Mother’s Day. I didn’t see this pain coming for Mother’s Day. All the other landmarks to get through – were quite obvious to me. Instead of the sting, it’s an ache….and…there…I just felt Sweet Pea flutter, so there is also joy and life! Levi is not forgotten. He just isn’t here. Here, I have the most wonderful 4 year old, and a new life growing inside of me. I have Jacob, Levi and Sweet Pea’s daddy- and we are the nucleus of our cell. Besides, Levi’s mark on my life, is immeasurable. I am not the same woman I was 7 months ago. Oprah said this past week, “Every death is a wake-up call.” I started sobbing as soon as the words were out of her mouth, because it is so true.

    For all mothers, this weekend, I am praying and thinking of you. I am not forgetting you, whether your pain is infertility, loss of baby, loss of child, loss of grown child, a non-existent relationship with your own mother, loss of a grandmother, strained relationships with your children – God will bring us peace and wisdom and strength. He has purposes for us that are so awesome. He said so. [Jeremiah 29:11]

    Tuesday, April 26, 2011

    Fashion

    I have been really struggling with this topic –for 10 years. As a chubby woman, I gave up a long time ago on having my own style. Limited to plus size clothes has made it easy to shop at “Lane Giant” and convince myself that I walk out with outfits that speak to my own flair. In reality, I’m just wearing what every other fat chick has to walk out of the mall wearing. 

    While I am very grateful to be expecting again, watching the scale climb back up where I don’t want to be..has been very frustrating. This baby has caused alterations in my structure that I didn’t know were possible.  It has been depressing to me. Before Sweet Pea’s pregnancy, I was making excellent progress in losing weight and clothes were becoming fun again. I was talking [actually I was whining] to my mom last night about how pants are impossible to find because I’m wide in the hips and very short in the legs. I love to wear dresses. I need to find a dress pattern and make about it in about 16 different colors for the summer. If I could get away with it, I would totally bring the June Cleaver collection back. I love petticoats and belts and pearls and aprons, pill box hats and gloves. In one last attempt this morning, I googled “maternity dresses”. A link caught my eye and I fell for the brilliant marketing of their name. I <3 words. Shabby Apple. Sounds yummy and sexy and clever, doesn’t it? While, I didn’t find anything that will help me, immediately. They do have MY style! SO…when Sweet Pea is a bundle in my arms, this website will be where I will want to shop. It gave me renewed hope and perspective this morning. I told mom last night, I just have to make the decision to be at peace with the work I’ve done, with weight and how it’s being undone by making Sweet Pea.  It’s all worth it. While my two boys, helped me lose weight during pregnancy, that’s not how this one is going and I’m going to be fine with it. In the meantime, check out www.shabbyapple.com . Smile Tell me what you think! Have any of you shopped there before?

    p.s. I painted my toenails for Easter Sunday. We will have our next ultrasound when Sweet Pea is 18 weeks years old, in my womb. I think about Levi often. I am elated for Sweet Pea, and I still miss my son I didn’t meet. My toenails look pretty and it’s so weird how such a think takes me right back to the saddest day and darkest season of my life.

    Thursday, April 21, 2011

    Absence

    Hubby has been gone since Tuesday evening to a conference. I take these times with Jacob to *spoil* him. We eat junk food, drink soda, skip bath time, read lots of stories, watch movies, dance like fools, go shopping, stay up past bedtime, make up funny voices/characters and faces to match. I so enjoy that he and I can snuggle and a simple game of calling each other names of desserts will entertain us for 20 minutes, with giggles and howling. He woke up and crawled in my bed this morning. “I’m still so tired Mama.”, he said. I ALMOST said, “let’s skip preschool today and you and I can start our weekend NOW.” I almost did that. Then, I realized that would be bad for next year and starting kindergarten.

    We are excited for daddy to return home. I am so grateful for the wholeness I feel with my guys. It sounds like Stevo scored me a can of Strawberry Fanta from his conference session yesterday afternoon!  Booyah! Absence doesn’t make my heart grow fonder towards my husband. Absence stares me, in the face, and shows me all the ittiest, bittiest, daily details that I miss that make our relationship, which causes me to thank God. When Steve calls me and tells me that he’s bringing me  home a surprise and then he spills that it’s a can of Strawberry Fanta, well, it just makes me feel giddy that he pays attention to a detail like that. This is where he would joke and say, “how could one not pay attention to that detail…you talk about it every day.” Still, I know men that aren’t that sweet on their wives and I know I am blessed with a playful sort of fellow who will get lots of shuga when he gets home to us. Smile

    Wednesday, April 20, 2011

    Thank you Heather!!!

    Just want to post a shout-out to my friend, Heather. She designed me a new header and I love it.  :) 

    Now, I must let you go. Jacob and I have to drive to the store to get some milk.  Lucky Charms are what's for dinner tonight. Daddy is not home tonight - why cook? :)  Enjoy your Wednesday evening!

    Thursday, April 14, 2011

    Mumbo Jumbo

    My brain is random this morning.  I want to write a post, have no idea what to write about and am just positive that my readers want to read mumbo jumbo. So, here it goes…

    I mostly like to lay these days. No, not eggs, just lay. I am kind of frustrated on several counts.

    1. I have no maid.
    2. Why did this exhaustion and lack of motivation come when first trimester is winding down?
    3. I am 22lbs. lighter than my pregnancy with Levi and I have to go up a pants size larger than with Levi because my pear-shaped figure has totally gone to butternut squash figure.
    4. I find myself wishing for a night out at the old “Bucks” in Cedar Rapids. A night to get my shake on and have burned off every calorie from the week because I danced and sweated so much.

    Here are the things that make me happy and laugh..

    1. The Ellen Show
    2. Hines Ward’s smile
    3. Strawberry Fanta –though I haven’t found any yet for me to buy a case.
    4. When Hubby talks to the baby by treating my belly button as a megaphone to the uterus and Sweet Pea.
    5. Sweet Pea making movement, I can feel once he or she hears Daddy’s voice via his or her surround sound system – this also makes me cry with joy.
    6. Jacob told me that he doesn’t have a credit card.  ???  When did he learn about a credit card? I didn’t learn about one of those til I was 19.

    As you can see, the positives outweigh the frustrations…blah blah blah. LOL that just cracked me up.

    Tuesday, April 12, 2011

    Life–I choose life.

    Yesterday, we had our 12 week appointment, unexpectedly. I’ve had spotting for the past 10 days and yesterday it was more than that. My appointment was originally scheduled for this morning. I debated just waiting because for some strange reason I have this phobia of being a pain in the ass, and asking for help.  After I kicked my own butt, I called the doctor and an hour and a half later was having another ultrasound and exam.

    Sweet Pea is awesome. I have now made a pact with Sweet Pea and our Maker that I’m in this for the duration, that I realize how much fear wants to trap me and bring a different result than the dream. Faith says if I believe, God says, if I ask I shall receive – and so those are tried and tested principles that I choose instead of the scary fear. They were able to determine why I’m having the bleeding – it’s a hemorrhage where the placenta is growing over the cervix. I trust that the hemorrhage will dry up and the placenta will shift upward. None of this causes any alarm for the baby. In fact, I call him or her my dancing, swimming child. What joy it was to see this tiny [2 inch from crown to rump] life swim towards the camera, do a back flip and quicker than the blink of an eye, see his or her feet swimming away from me. It’s almost like Sweet Pea was saying, in a very high voice, “Hi mom!  Look at me!” We love S.P. so much. Look at our baby…

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    As for me, I’ve been asked by doctor to really limit my activity and to rest. Basically, I was given license yesterday, to put me first. I’m going to. I eat well, I drink lots of water and milk. Hubby told me last night that I’m not having a garage sale in two weeks. So, box by box, I’ll just donate it to Goodwill.  Even better, really.

    Sunday, April 10, 2011

    Spring is Sprung!

    Good morning! I have that famous little ditty sang by Gene Kelly, Debbie Reynolds and Donald O’Connor zipping through my head this morning.  We slept with our windows open for the first time this year!  My head is stuffed up and I am lovin’ it!

    I’m just thinking and reflecting this morning on all the visions I have for my family over the course of the next several months.  Visions pertaining to our home, our numbers, our hobbies.  I was doing a lot of research online yesterday for a nursery. Finally, I walked back to what will be the nursery and I had the greatest ideas and that has me excited.  It will be a gender neutral nursery, incase we decide to have another baby. 

    I’m having a garage sale at the end of the month. Can’t wait to shed our new home of stuff we haven’t used or needed, in the past year. I’ve made several trips to Goodwill, since we’ve lived in Indee and it’s liberating. I also can’t wait to be on the hunt for bookcases, items for nursery, and outside toys for my kiddo. I had a hard time waking up this morning. Jacob did not. I listened to him chatter, in his room, for 10 minutes or so before he emerged to snuggle and get a fist full of my hair. I flashed back a brief second to when he would wake up cheerful and chattering and chirping, in his crib. Each syllable made no sense to me, but it was one of the happiest of sounds. This morning, his inflection and rhythm was very much like those mornings in his crib, but I could understand everything. He is such a joy.

    Enjoy this Sunday, dear readers. Embrace your family often. Rest.

    Tuesday, April 5, 2011

    A Dream

    It’s official.  I’ve had my first baby dream, this pregnancy. I dreamt that Jacob and I went furniture shopping, with the most darling baby girl, in her carrier. She was so delicate, so tiny and SO beautiful!  She was smiley at just days old [definitely a dream] and we were in awe of her – all of us. My first two pregnancies, I dreamt about boys – and they were.  =D We have 8 weeks to find out. Palm Sunday we will be in the second trimester.

    Jacob told me this morning he remembered he had a bad dream about me, in a restaurant. I assured him, it was a dream and that I’m safe and well. I told him my dream – to lighten it up a bit. He smacked his hands together and threw his chin up to the ceiling. “Oh man! I wish I had that dream! It’s the coolest ever!”

    I couldn’t agree more.

    Monday, April 4, 2011

    Robots, Popeye’s & Fanta

    The weekend was how a weekend should be.  Friday morning, I spent the morning at preschool with Jacob and his classmates.  It was Robot day.  I sat down to read a story to the kids, while we waited for the teachers to begin the day.  Talk about a captive audience! I was a spotlight hog and all I had to do was make different voices and facial expressions and the children were putty, in my hands.  They swarmed me and I felt so warm and fuzzy.  So did they.  One classmate whispered loudly to Jacob, while I was reading, “Jacob – why is your mom here today?” Jacob turned, an annoyed look on his face and said, “Because she wants to be.”  Good answer son.  What fun it was to see their imaginations working, as they designed their robots. They all called me, Mrs. Diers.  I really loved that because I’ve been married 5 1/2 years and I’ve probably been called Mrs. Diers, 2 or 3 times. 

    Later, was the “fright”….which led to an impromptu date with Hubby.  He will always be my favorite person to spend time with – and Friday evening was exceptional. Saturday, we were lazy until we didn’t want to be anymore. I made good food while Hubby cleaned the garage.  Jacob and Daddy played some t-ball.  Jacob took one of dad’s line drives straight to the forehead.  Our kid was an animal – it didn’t even phase him.  He just wanted to keep playing.  We all snuggled up and watched Up, Saturday evening.  Sunday, I woke up truly rested.  I didn’t realize how I hadn’t been, until I did.  We went to church. I really like how our small congregation is intimate, in their relationship with God.  I found myself challenged, with Pastor’s sermon - with all the tools I have at my disposal and how I haven’t picked one of them up to bring glory to Him or to fulfill my own dreams.  I must do better.  I must sit down at the piano.  I must learn guitar. I found myself saying over and over, in my mind, “I love you,” to God. Taking communion is one of my favorite parts of church.  I can’t even put my finger on why…I just love it.  God is good, my friends and He lives in us.  Following church, we went to Waterloo.  Hubby wanted to make a Menards trip.  We ate at Popeye’s – needed something fast for this prego mama. It was yummy and I did something I don’t normally do….ever.  I took a risk on strawberry Fanta soda, out of the fountain.  Oh. My. Gosh.  It tasted like something from back in the “old” days and was heavenly.  I slammed it and got another.  While at Menards, we got a bird feeder. =D  I have a charming, birdhouse outside my kitchen window.  I’ve been thinking about how lovely it would be to see pretty, colorful birdies out there. 

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    We got some birdseed for songbirds.  Won’t that be a sweet delight to all my senses? 

    Saturday, April 2, 2011

    A Fright

    Yesterday, out of the blue, with very different factors – from Levi, we had a scare of miscarriage.  We were ordered an ultrasound, at the hospital and after dealing with rude, people in the healthcare professional field [not our doctor], we finally got to the ultrasound to have two of the dearest ultrasound techs take our scan.  According to the radiologist and our doctor, Sweet Pea is perfect. They scanned his/her heartbeat 4 times and it ranged from 158 to 178.  We could see Sweet Pea moving around in there.  His or her movements were just like an infant.  =D  The techs were trying to take a “good” shot for us.  They gave us four different shots, each quite similar but with different color backgrounds since they can’t see if it’s a boy or girl yet.  LOL  This was all their idea, they were trying to bring us some comfort, while I was absolutely NOT in denial this time.  We met with our doctor afterwards and she walked in with a huge smile and comforted us that Sweet Pea is perfect and right on target for where he or she should be. 

    After we got through that unexpected appointment, Steve and I walked out of the office, and he held my hand and planted a solid kiss on me.  One of my favorite things about being married is the communication which requires no words.  In one kiss, I felt he was telling me, “I knew Sweet Pea was ok;  I love you so much and I treasure you.”  Then, I realized how famished I was.  Jacob was with our friend.  After I phoned to check on him and tell her that everything was all right, she encouraged us to take our time. Steve wanted to eat out. I pointed to my pajama pants and gross t-shirt.  That’s right, I wasn’t kidding about just where I thought this experience was going. Hubby said, “I’ll go into the mall and get you an outfit. All you have to do is sit here and think of where you want to go eat.”  Almost 30 minutes later, he emerged with a splendid bag from JCPenney’s with charming Spring-colored maternity tops, a pair of dark maternity jeans, a lime green hoodie and a pair of black maternity capri pants.  I was so moved by this whole action – it was so intimate. I decided Red Lobster [cuz it’s one of his favorites].  He reminded us that it’s Lent season. I suggested Lone Star and he said, “Perfect.”  I actually changed in the vehicle on the way to Lone Star from the mall!  It was a rush of adrenaline and not a bit exciting to any spectators.  Hubby and I could only laugh because I was grunting and groaning so much trying to get the jeans on, while I was sitting down.  We enjoyed a nice meal and conversation, which focused mostly around how delightful it was for me, to be with Jacob in preschool that morning.  We also talked at length about Boy Wonder and what a wonder he is. 

    I still wasn’t feeling too well, once we got home, but it was normal pregnancy symptoms.  I wrote on Facebook last night, that I’m in disbelief that we are almost 11 weeks and the yucky symptoms are just now showing up….BUT I am grateful for them. I am extremely fatigued the past 3 days.  I decided last night, I will rest when I need to.  Steve was in total agreement with this.  I need to ignore the pressure and perfectionism, which I conjure  up myself, to keep the house a certain way or to cook major meals every night – at least for a bit. Today, we have zero plans.  It’s going to be a beautiful day outside, so we will be spending some time, in our yard and garage. I plan to make guacamole today and maybe some potato salad and definitely some chocolate ice cream.  =D    

    Sweet Pea 10 weeks

    There’s Sweet Pea! 

    Thursday, March 31, 2011

    Simple

    A new day after a real night of sleep.  Of course, Jacob woke up as Crankosaurus Rex this morning…so…I couldn’t wait until he was on with his day too. 

    Today, I am perusing websites to gain craft ideas and sewing patterns from.  I got Granma’s sewing/tackle box out and am going to sort through to see what is worth keeping and what needs to go or be donated. 

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    I am also quite pleased with a little cutesy I found at Yankee candle store in Des Moines a couple weeks ago….

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    As I walked through the front living room, my eyes rested a moment on this..

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    …just look at them, collecting dust.  Sad smile Well, wine gets better with age, just like me.  Open-mouthed smile