Memories... Like Mom Made!

Memories... Like Mom Made!
Out of dark moments, flowers grow.

Friday, November 25, 2011

Giving Thanks...

Though ideally I would have posted this yesterday, I still want to make a point to reflect on all of the amazing people and wonderful things I am thankful for.



More than anything, I am thankful for my family:


From my handsome, courageous husband who is currently defending our country

To my happy go lucky, fun loving little boy,

To my darling angel who is always watching over me,



To my sweet little Cupcake who is steadily growing within me.

And I am so SO thankful to be pregnant. To be 22 weeks and 1 day pregnant with a wonderfully active baby who I can't wait to hug and kiss and shower with love and affection.

My extended family deserves a mention as well. My mother, father, sister, brother, in-laws, and my grandparents... Especially my grandparents... All of them have done their best to encourage me and cheer me on when I have my little hormonal break downs...

Oh and let me mention my mother again... This woman has been a saint. She has put up with all of my doctor appointments (sometimes TWO in one week!!!), run my son to and from school every week, taken me out to do birthday and Christmas shopping and willingly pushed me in my wheelchair without complaint... She has let me cry and break down, chatter on and on with excitement, and allowed me to indulge in all of my crazy cravings without making too much of a fuss...

Mom: I love you so much. I am so very thankful that God gave me such a loving and supportive mother. Thank you for teaching me what kind of mother to strive to be... and sometimes reminding me what kind of mother NOT to be... (HA!!!!). All this quality time with you has been so precious to me. I don't know what I would do without you.

I am thankful for wonderful food. Great friends. Great online shopping sales. And peppermint...

Lots and lots of peppermint...

Peppermint ice cream, cool mint oreos, peppermint mocha coffee creamer, York peppermint patties, peppermint stick sugar cookies... I could go on forever... Oh I have been craving peppermint like you wouldn't believe...

Maybe it is because little girls are so sweet like peppermint...

Maybe that is why I have been craving chocolate and peppermint and sweet things constantly...

Because that is another thing I am thankful for:

The fact that God is blessing us with another GIRL!

Yes that's right... My sweet little cupcake is indeed, a GIRL!!

And I couldn't be happier.

She is constantly flipping around and kicking me just like her big sister. It is a wonderful feeling and I am so grateful for it!

So that about sums it up... I have a lot to be thankful for... And I am extra thankful to have lovely, kind hearted readers to share that thanks with... I am very thankful for each and every one of you. :)

Happy Thanksgiving :)

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Rainbow Baby: Weeks 14-20

Hello, Blog world!

I apologize for my sudden and unexplained absence. I assure you, I am alive and well... but boy oh boy do I have a lot to tell you.

Let's see where I left off: I had just had surgery and was about to have my follow up appointment. At that follow up appointment I intended to talk to my doctor about potentially moving 2000 miles to a home where I would have more help with Landon and therefore be better able to follow my bed rest orders.

I asked my doctor how he felt about this, and he was all for it... With a catch: if I was going to move, I had to do it within a week. Waiting any longer would be dangerous for me and the baby because as the baby grows, more pressure is being placed on the cervix, which is exactly what we are trying to prevent.

So I went home, called my family, booked a flight and within a week I was waking up in Missouri to beautiful crisp fall mornings full of all the gorgeous colors associated with Midwestern falls.

Being home has had it's ups and downs for sure. The number one thing I love about being home is that my son is getting precious time with his extended family. He is developing an amazing relationship with his grandparents and great grandparents and he has been benefiting from that relationship in so many ways. He is learning how to better express his wants and needs to other people, he is learning how to be courteous and think of others' feelings, and he is learning our family's ways and traditions that have been so important to me all of my life. It has been a beautiful experience.

Is it stressful suddenly being back home and helpless? You betchya... but it is what I have to do to protect my growing baby, so that is what I am going to do!

Ok so now on to the pregnancy stats...

Weight: 174
Waist (at belly button): growing rapidly... don't have a tape measure at the moment
Hips: ^ same
Bust: ^ same
Total Weight Gain: 1 pound so far
Baby’s Heart Rate: Been staying at around 155-165, though occasionally it reads at about 145. All perfectly normal and healthy. :)
Number of times I get up in the night to pee: Oddly enough... some nights I get up 2 or 3 times, other nights it feels like a million... and then on a rare beautiful night/morning, I wake up to pee for the first time and look at the clock and it is 5:30...Then I smile and fix myself a bowl of cereal knowing full well that I won't be able to get back to sleep... ;)


Thoughts about growth: AMAZING! I have had many ultra sounds throughout this pregnancy and all have made it clear that this baby is HUGE. Cupcake is growing rapidly and is officially measuring 12 days ahead of my due date. This is an amazing thing for us, since he/she will most likely be early: those extra 12 days will benefit baby SO much! It is possible that I was mistaken when we conceived Cupcake.. though I charted my days and am pretty sure I know exactly when Cupcake was conceived.... Oh did I mention that I had the anatomy scan already and that I know the gender of Cupcake?... Well I do. And you will very soon. But I am making a special post for that. So patience my pets... patience.


How I am feeling emotionally: Helpless and in control simultaneously. Yup. It's a crazy paradox of feelings. Here's the deal: I feel like I have absolutely no control over my own life right now. I can't do anything that I "should" be able to do. I am supposed to lay around all day taking it easy and letting other people do things for me. That is VERY very hard. But I do the best I can. And then I have those days where I am on my feet way too many times getting things for myself or for Landon and I break down crying because I know that I am over doing it and I get scared that I am endangering Cupcake... And the in control part? This is the part I am proud of. I have been seeing an amazing team of doctors who have been working hand in hand with me to make decisions about how my pregnancy should go. After careful deliberation and research we decided that I will be on progesterone shots to try and prevent early labor, and I have been having frequent cervical checks to make sure Cupcake is okay and that my cervix is performing its job. I have also been very on top of questions and any type of inconsistency that concerns me. I have not bit my tongue once with this pregnancy, like I did with Leila's pregnancy. I speak my mind no matter how ridiculous, and I am so proud of myself for it. I feel like I am doing absolutely every thing I can to give this baby the absolute best opportunity for a healthy life. I get to meet the NICU doctors that will be taking care of Cupcake if he/she arrives prior to 34 weeks (which is very very likely) and tour the NICU next week. I have a list of questions a mile long. I can't tell you how wonderful it is to feel prepared in a situation that often times is absolutely impossible to prepare for. Yes there are still a lot of scary realities and uncertainties if Cupcake is as early as the doctors think he/she may be, HOWEVER, by doing constant research on up to date micro preemie treatments and meeting Cupcakes doctors, etc, it makes me feel like it won't be as scary as it was before.


How I am feeling physically: Exhausted. I did not get that "second wind" that people associate with the 2nd trimester. I wake up tired, and go to bed plain exhausted. I have had days where I am so tired I can't even lift my head up. I am not getting good sleep, and my muscles are sore and weak from constant bed rest.

Fetal movement: Lots and lots and lots of it. This baby is an ACTIVE little Cupcake. Constant kicking and flipping and jumping around. Right now Cupcake is kicking in rhythm with my typing... (okay so not really THAT rapid... but you get the idea). And Cupcake LOVES music. Any time I play music Cupcake dances like you wouldn't believe. I can't help but smile. This is such an amazing feeling.

Cravings: Not as much as I was before... It's more random and triggered by suggestion. The other night we went to McAllister's and suddenly I was craving a french dip sandwich covered in au jus... mmmm. (There was a picture on the menu... enough said). I see a commercial or hear a favorite menu item or restaurant name and suddenly that's what I crave... Oh and cereal with milk. Been craving that a lot. But honestly nothing as random or specific as I was in the beginning

What makes me want to hurl: Not as much!!!!!! Before it was like, every other thing... Now it is pretty much still hot lettuce (like on a warm sandwich... EWWWW) Other than that, nothing really bothers me. It's been almost a month since I threw up from being nauseous. My morning sickness is basically gone. This is the first time I have ever been without morning sickness in a pregnancy. It's incredible.
Oh wait. I just remembered, I threw up on the way to my anatomy scan on the 26th of October. That was horrible. But that was the last time. ;) Progress is progress!

Activity: Not much. Seriously. Just laying around. Getting up to pee. Occasionally I get to "go" somewhere, but I use a wheel chair and do not do any walking. Believe it or not, doing "nothing" is exhausting!

Doctor's appointments: I go once a week for my shot and they check the baby's heart and weigh me and ask how I am doing, and then every other week I have an ultra sound and a full appointment. I am now officially in the care of my specialist and have met a few of the OBs who may be delivering the baby.

Boy or Girl:.... Wouldn't you like to know?... Ha! ;)



Sunday, September 25, 2011

Rainbow Baby: Week 13/14


13 Weeks Pregnant:

Weight: 170 pounds
Waist (at belly button): 35.5”
Hips: 43”
Bust: 38”
Total Weight Gain: -3 pounds so far
Baby’s Heart Rate: Found it with my doppler last night and it was 155 and SO perfect!
Number of times I get up in the night to pee: 2-3…

Thoughts about growth: I expect to start rapidly gaining because my activity is now down to zero as per doctor’s orders. I literally can only get up to pee and shower. It’s the most exhausting thing in the world, which I find completely ironic since all I can do is lie around and do nothing… But more about that later…

How I am feeling emotionally: I have been emotionally exhausted this past week. It seems like every day something else happens that taxes my emotions, but I am just handling everything one step at a time and trying to stay as calm and relaxed as possible.

How I am feeling physically: I notice that I have “contractions” when I get too worked up or stressed out, so calmness is definitely key. I talked to the doctor about these possible contractions and he assured me that they are probably just more or less my muscles stretching and tightening, and not actual contractions… I am not too worried yet because they aren’t regular like they were with Leila, but more or less I am just paying close attention to my body responses so that I don’t miss any important signs.

Cravings: Fried pickles. Jalapeno poppers. York Peppermint patties and pineapple juice… At the same time… Chocolate anything… Pumpkin anything…

Things that make me green: Still ground beef and red meat… And now, lettuce. Ugh. The thought of lettuce. I actually CRAVED a burger and then when I tried to eat it, it had lettuce on it… and I barfed. Yuck… I still like spinach but not as much as I did in the beginning… It’s mainly the light green/white iceberg type lettuce that makes me sick. And the smell... Oh yuck the smell. On the upside, I haven't ACTUALLY been getting as sick as I did with my other pregnancies. This is so foreign to me! I don't know if it's just a small lull in this pregnancy and then the sickness will pick back up, or if I am going to have a somewhat "normal" pregnancy and not be sick any more! I am excited to see what's in store for this pregnancy.

Activity: I am officially on bed rest. I had my surgery on Tuesday and my cervix was in worse shape than the doctor had thought. The doctor said that in all of his years of doing cerclages (which is at least 25 ish), that I have one of the worst he has seen… Originally he had said I would just need to be on light modified bed rest with limited activity, but after the surgery he decided that I need to be on complete bed rest for at least a week, only getting up to pee and shower. And then starting in a week or two, I can just begin to move around. Even then he wants me to keep it very minimal and no bending or lifting. This will have to continue until at least after the holidays. So three months of bed rest, and then we will see where I am at. As much as I hate to admit it, the doctor seemed like he didn’t expect me to make it as far as he had expected before. We are still aiming for at least 28 weeks, though of course I would be thrilled to go longer. My biggest goal is 36 weeks, because anything past that is very unlikely. My realistic goal is 32 weeks, though I pray every day that this baby can stay put until 36.

Doctors Appointments: My surgery was Tuesday, as I mentioned above, and before that I had an appointment on Friday. I got to see the baby on Friday and I have to say, he or she is absolutely gorgeous. I couldn’t take my eyes off of the screen. Everything was right where it is supposed to be and looked perfect. I have another appointment next Thursday where they will check on the baby and make sure the stitches are taking well and that there aren’t any complications. So far I haven’t had any bleeding since the stitches were set so I think I am good to go.

Boy or Girl: Still leaning toward girl but occasionally I think boy… so I am going to be honest: I haven’t a clue!!! I was so sure with Landon and Leila, maybe this baby just wants to be a surprise! I think my birthday present to myself may be to find out early. I will be 15-16 weeks on my birthday, so the tech should be able to tell... but my doctor said they won't do an anatomy scan until 20 weeks, even though I have frequent ultrasounds!

Miscellaneous: Right now my sister is here taking care of me and Landon and I will be honest: I don't know what I would do without her! She is a life saver, literally. I had prepared about 15 casseroles before she came so that she wouldn't have to cook a lot, so I am going to be posting those recipes as well as some suggestions for where to find recipes to fill your freezer with meals! I have to be honest, it has been a blessing to know that dinner is taken care of!

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Rainbow Baby: Week 12


12 Weeks Pregnant

Weight: 170 pounds
Waist (at belly button): 35.5”
Hips: 43”
Bust: 38”
Total Weight Gain: -3 pounds so far
Baby’s Heart Rate: Stays around the 160s
Baby is measuring 6 days ahead, so though according to my due date I am still 12 weeks, according to the baby's growth, I am 13 weeks tomorrow!
Number of times I get up in the night to pee: I had been staying pretty steady at 1-2, but last night I got up 4 times to pee, and downed an entire bottle of water each time…

Thoughts about growth: My belly is already starting to round out a bit. And my belly is already hard. It’s a wonderful feeling. I love rubbing my belly and knowing that my little Cupcake is probably squirming away from my touch, or doing flips in excitement. I am not surprised that my weight is starting to balance out:  I couldn’t eat at all for a while and now I finally can. And I have been eating a lot of carbs and sweets – comfort foods. So really, it’s no surprise I am starting to gain. Although, I have also been really sick the past couple of days, so I will find out for sure at my appointment tomorrow how much I weigh. Since I don’t have a scale, I just have to go by what I weighed at my last appointment… Which is semi accurate since I have an appointment almost every week!

How I am feeling emotionally: Doing better in the emotions department, though I still do weep a bit at random things. I have noticed that I am very easily let down these days. When something doesn’t work out as planned, I get a lot more upset than I normally would! I have also been very nostalgic lately. I look at pictures of Landon as a baby and I start sobbing!

How I am feeling physically: Still exhausted. I am doing better though. I have been taking naps each day when my son naps and it helps me get a second wind.

Cravings: Still craving lots of odd things. Spicy and sweet… And fruit. LOTS of fruit. And orange juice.

Things that make me green: Ground beef. Browning ground beef. Smelling browned ground beef. Red meat in general. Ugh…

Activity: Still trying to balance raising an active healthy toddler with limited activity to keep this baby safe. I am going to be on bed rest starting at 16 weeks. So I am really nervous about how that is going to go. Downright terrified, actually. I don’t know how to balance giving him the healthy activity he needs, while still laying horizontal to take the pressure off of my cervix. And I KNOW it’s going to be necessary, because I already feel the way I felt with Leila before I had her: like a bowling ball is pressing down on my cervix… I am nervous that the cerclage won’t work, so really our best bet is bed rest combined with the cerclage. If that means I have to be a bump on a log, I really don’t care what anyone else thinks, or how miserable and long my pregnancy is. If it’s for the health of my baby, then NOTHING is too much. Some people don’t get it, but then again, those are usually the people that have had healthy pregnancies and never faced a real threat like cervical incompetence or preterm labor. But all that matters is that I understand what I have to do, as a mother, to ensure my baby’s safety. I will not be that mom that doesn’t listen to the doctor’s orders and then loses my baby and goes “oh. Maybe I should have taken bed rest more seriously…” I will absolutely do everything in my power to keep this baby safe. No matter how hard that may be! I think I foresee a LOT of movies and Netflix in our future.

Doctor’s Appointments: I have one tomorrow, and had one last week. The doctor checked out the baby and did an ultrasound. Baby looks beautiful! So healthy and swimming around like he/she should be!
My surgery is coming up on the 20th. I am nervous about it, but I know it’s the best shot we have at getting to the third trimester in this pregnancy. I am to at least make it to 32 weeks, but I would be thrilled to go further… Like 36 weeks!

Boy or Girl: Feeling a lot like I did with Leila now. So I am thinking girl. But I will find out soon enough, so I am just going to be surprised when I hear the news! I do still have this adorable vision of two little boys wearing matching outfits in my head… I would have a blast with that! And Landon would love a little brother!

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Hello September!

Welcome to September everyone. It is hard to believe that this year is already winding down. Didn't we just celebrate New Year's?

I am pretty sure we did... Like yesterday... but alas, this year has been flying and when I try to sit back and think of all that has happened: all the good and the bad, it makes my head spin!

Here we are, September! Let's make the most of it!

So I have been slacking on tutorials and recipes lately.

I have a confession:

I lost my SD card so I haven't been able to take pictures of anything new... so I haven't been posting much.

I promise to correct this VERY soon....

I also promise to share more recipes with you. And I have a few awesome projects up my sleeve.

And of course, more pregnancy updates.

September is going to be quite a month for me... I have surgery coming up two weeks from today to place a cerclage in my cervix. This is supposed to help me carry my pregnancy further should my cervix try to open up again like it did with Leila.

And then after that I will be on the dreaded bed rest. So I will be sharing LOTS of posts with you guys. I promise to do the absolute best that I can!

I hope you are excited and looking forward to the next few months. I know I am!

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Rainbow Baby: 9 weeks


Thursday I was officially 9 weeks pregnant, though according to the ultrasounds I was 9 weeks on Tuesday.

Here are the updates:

Weight: 166 pounds
Waist (at belly button): 34.5”
Hips: 43”
Bust: 38”
Total Weight Gain: -7 pounds so far
Baby’s Heart Rate: Stays around the 160s
Number of times I get up in the night to pee: about 1-2

Thoughts about growth: I can’t believe I am ALREADY SHOWING! Seriously! I already have a little belly pooch! I didn’t show with Landon until about 6-7 months (though I would push my stomach out all the time because I wanted to look pregnant SO badly!). And with Leila I did not get too big before I had her…. I would say I started showing around 4 months with Leila… I am 9 weeks. NINE weeks…. And I have already had significant growth in the belly area, and my bust and hips are feeling the growth too. I am really not too worried about weight gain though, since I have already lost 7 pounds. I know the inches are going to shift and change and my body is going to do its thing, I am just surprised that it is already happening!!!!

How I am feeling emotionally: Still a big bag of tears. I cry at EVERYTHING. I cried at a commercial the other day… It wasn’t even sad. It was that Target commercial with the adorable teacher and the hamsters… Yeah. I cried at THAT. I have no clue why. I guess I miss my kids and my class at the CDC… but who knows… I cried because I wanted sushi and left the commissary without buying it, then I cried because I was crying over something stupid… I cried because my son peed in the potty and I was so proud of him, but then I felt so bad because Donovan isn’t here to witness him be such a big boy. I cried into my dinner because I wanted to eat it so badly and couldn’t. Then when I finally was able to take a bite, I cried because it was cold. I cried because I was afraid my mom was getting irritated with me calling all the time and crying to her (though she is VERY sweet about my 5+ calls a day. Hi, Mom!!! Thanks!). I cried because sad things happened to people I don’t know back home (but I always cry when things like that happen… I can’t watch the news without bawling…). The irritability has toned down a LOT and the weepy emotions have turned WAY up.

Today marks 7 months since Leila passed away. Normally I would spend the whole day in my PJs, sobbing and stuffing my face… But I am starting to do better with all of the grieving related stuff. I miss her so much, but I kind of feel like she is with me. I just have to remind myself that this baby is growing inside of me for a reason. If Leila had been healthy and full term we probably wouldn’t have this baby now. So I need to just take it one day at a time and remember that God has a plan.

I did have a particularly rough day a couple of days ago though. I was watching Four Weddings and Say Yes to the Dress, which always make me cry, and it hit me: I will never get to do those things with Leila. I will never get to help her pick out her dress and fix her veil and wipe her tears as she gets ready to give half her heart and the rest of her life to one man… I never even thought about those things before. I thought about all of the baby and child related events I would miss, but I never thought about her adult life… It breaks my heart, but I just keep reminding myself that she is still with me through it all.

How I am feeling physically: Exhausted. I am beyond exhausted. I am sick as a dog and can’t keep anything down. For the past 24 hours I haven’t been able to eat anything and keep it down. I have even been throwing up water. I have a chicken pot pie in the oven and I hope I am able to eat it! I get to the point where I am so exhausted and weak from throwing up that I can barely lift my head up. But even with all of this, I am not upset about it. It’s kind of comforting to have these symptoms. It means my baby is growing and thriving. I welcome each and every symptom that gets me one step closer to meeting my Rainbow Baby.

Cravings: I crave EVERYTHING. One minute it’s chocolate cake with rich decadent frosting by the spoonful, the next it’s figs filled with caramel or goat cheese, asiago stuff olives deep fried to a golden brown, jalapeno poppers and buffalo wings… I had an overwhelming craving for dates the other day and called my Nana for her famous date bar recipe… I can’t wait to make them and eat the whole pan! The only problem is, with all of these cravings, actually EATING is the hard part…

Activity: As per doctor’s orders I have stopped my daily walks with Landon. I really miss our walks and the fun that we have on them, but the doctor just feels that too much unnecessary activity isn’t worth it in my position. And I am not about to ignore any warnings he throws my way. I am still pretty active throughout the day though. It’s unavoidable with a hyperactive toddler. I still do normal things like go grocery shopping and running errands, and that obviously involves walking, so I am not exactly laying on the couch waving my hand around for a servant to do everything for me. And every day, at least once, Landon and I push the coffee table out of the middle of the floor and dance like crazy to some loud music. It’s our favorite part of the day! With Donovan deployed, I am forced to be pretty self-sufficient: taking care of Landon and the house and my business while still keeping the baby’s health in mind… So yeah, activity is as low as it can be while still living normally. I do realize that I am going to have to be on strict bed rest after the surgery, so I am going to start preparing for that soon: making casseroles to freeze and trying to get ahead on orders for my business…

Doctor’s Appointments: My most recent one went very well. I got to meet my new doctor: the one that will be performing my surgery. I really like him and his views a lot. He seems to feel the same way I do about this pregnancy and the upcoming surgery. I will be seeing him again next week and from then we will be scheduling my surgery. The biggest goal of the next appointment is to make sure that all of the old blood has absorbed or passed. I had some more bleeding recently so hopefully all of it has passed. If it doesn’t pass on its own, I won’t be able to have the surgery. I haven’t really considered that as a possibility yet. After what we went through with Leila, I can’t accept the idea of continuing this pregnancy without the cerclage. Hopefully everything proceeds without incident. I know I will be much more calm after the surgery.
Oh! Another update: I have the same thyroid issue I had with Landon. My thyroid isn’t producing enough so I have to be on medication to help it produce enough for me and the baby. It’s pretty common so it’s not that big of a concern. I just have to go in every now and then for them to monitor my levels and make sure I have a high enough dosage of the medicine. Other than that, I am not taking any medication. Just my thyroid medication and the prenatal. I don’t do nausea medication because it never helped before, so I just don’t see the point in taking an extra pill if it’s not necessary to the baby’s health. I can handle the nausea, even though it sucks.

Boy or Girl: Last week I was convinced it was a boy. Absolutely convinced. My pregnancy this time has reminded me a lot of Landon’s. But then all of a sudden I started having girl feelings… And last night I had this really weird feeling wash over me and something in my head was screaming “It’s a girl!”… So who knows? I have a feeling, either way, I will be completely surprised! I am just so excited to meet this little person growing inside of me.



There is the bump photo. And YES, Landon is trying to stick my charger in his ear.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Rainbow Baby: 8 Weeks

Thursday our little Cupcake turn 8 weeks old (in utero).

I figure now is a good time to start weekly updates!

I have been keeping personal weekly updates since week 4, inspired by another mommy blogger here. This is the first one that I am sharing with all of you, so this is the one I made at week 4, about a week after we found out I was pregnant.

Four weeks Pregnant (7.21.11)

Weight: 173 pounds. This is really scary to me. After I had Leila in January I dropped down to 153 pounds. By the middle of February I was about 145ish. Then when I finally started eating normally again, it backfired on me and I shot up to this weight: 173… Oh man… Let’s hope it doesn’t get too much higher. My goal is to only gain about 10 pounds with this pregnancy. A lot of people say “OH BUT YOU ARE SUPPOSED TO GAIN!” and my reply is “I lost 20 pounds with Landon and only gained ten of it back before delivering, and even more with Leila. I am lucky if I GAIN anything.”
Waist (at belly button): 33"
Hips/butt (fullest part): 42" (yeah, I got curves... What can I say)
Bust (fullest part): 37"
Total weight gain: Zero
Average number of times I get up to pee per night: 1
Baby’s heart rate: Unknown at this point
HcG count: 250+ish… could it be twins? Only time will tell!


How I am feeling emotionally: I have been very emotional. I cry at the drop of a hat. I watched the end of “WALL-E” with Landon today and instantly started bawling. Then I read Landon a book and started crying at the first sentence. Granted, the book was about deployment and my husband is gearing up to deploy soon, but still. Super emotional. I have also noticed that I have very little tolerance or patience. Usually I have endless patience with Landon, but lately I just haven’t had the energy to deal with things that I know will start fights (ie: “No, you may NOT have that cookie!” or “Yes, it’s bed time right NOW!”). So I have been kind of just avoiding the arguments that I know are just going to snowball until I give in anyway. Might as well just give him the dang cookie and tell him it’s the only one right from the start, rather than let it snowball until he is red in the face and screaming and I am huddled in the corner clutching the box of cookies and crying…. Oh and it doesn’t hurt that “cookies” in my house are Ritz crackers ;). Funny they things you can convince your kids when they are young.
And to be honest, there is an entire deeper level of emotions working on me… I am excited and happy, but I am also TERRIFIED! We wanted this pregnancy and this baby, and we feel so blessed to have it: our rainbow baby. Our rainbow after the storm, our silver lining. We are so happy, but so scared. There isn’t anything to say that we won’t go through the exact same we went through with Leila. I am supposed to be having a cerclage this time, but then again, I was supposed to have one last time. What if they refuse again? Then what? I am so scared, but I am trying to stay positive for our precious baby.
And the scariest emotion I am wrestling? Guilt. I feel guilty. I feel like I am “replacing” Leila. I know that no baby could ever take her place or erase her from my memory, but I still feel guilty. A lot of people don’t understand why we chose to conceive so soon. And I don’t expect them to until they have been in our shoes, and I wouldn’t wish what we have been through on anyone. But it’s pretty simple to explain: we wanted her. We were ready for her. We loved her so much and when she died, she left a little hole in our hearts. That hole will never be filled, but we still have so much love to give. And we still want a baby. And we still want Landon to be a big brother. And boy oh boy does he want a baby brother or sister.

How I am feeling physically: With Landon I felt the best I had felt in my life at this point in my pregnancy, even though we later found out my body was battling cancer while I was pregnant. I still felt amazing. I had (surprisingly) loads of energy and was always in an amazingly upbeat mood. But through all of that, I was vomiting like, every minute. It wasn’t “morning sickness”, it was “every minute sickness”. Everything made me sick. Even hearing the words “peanut butter” made me vomit. With Leila I was super sick as well. But it was even worse than Landon! So far with this one, I haven’t really had much trouble. Which actually WORRIES me rather than making me feel good. With Landon and Leila I always felt relieved when I would be throwing up… Almost like my intense sickness was reassurance that my baby was thriving. Is it weird that I long to be sick? It doesn’t hurt that I lost weight with both of my pregnancies because of my sickness.
Besides the lack of morning sickness, I feel pretty good for the most part. But I am having the random sharp abdominal pain that I had with Leila. If it doesn’t stop soon I am going to get checked out…. You know, because I am paranoid like that.

Cravings: I haven’t had a huge appetite, but I have been wanting things that are lighter and more “healthy”. Spinach, brie cheese with berries (don’t worry, it’s pasteurized, so totally safe!),

Aversions: Luckily so far nothing is making me nauseous. I am doing okay so far with food… that’s a big deal for me!

Activity: Taking it pretty easy. I am not taking any chances with this baby. At all. I am not officially on bed rest yet, and I probably won’t be on official bed rest until about 12 weeks or so. The school of thought is basically before 12 weeks, if you are going to miscarry there isn’t a lot that will stop it. It’s a scary thought. So hopefully we can make it through to that point, have the surgery, and then I will be on modified, or even strict, bed rest.

Doctor appointments: Had my “first” appointment where they checked my HcG levels, but didn’t meet with the doctor yet. That is coming up soon.

Boy? Or girl?: You know… I have no feelings. I have no guesses. I am just so blessed and happy to be pregnant, I will take whatever God sees fit to give us… I will make a really crazy prediction and say… both.. I mean, I can’t go wrong right? Boy or girl, I still win. So I am going to say “one of each”. On a side note, my son keep telling me that I have “nine blue babies” OR he will say I am having “two girl babies”… So I guess I should write Landon down for a guess of “9 boys, or 2 girls”.

Names: We had a boy name picked out for Leila (just in case) that we would love to use if we have a boy. It honors my brother and Donovan’s mom’s family. For the girl’s name, we want to honor Leila by keeping her middle name (possibly), and using a name that has “Lei” in it. I like Lorelei.



Okay. Update between the day this was written and now. A month has passed, and a lot has happened. There is a bit of TMI, so if you don't want to read this stuff, skip it.

My hcg levels sky rocketed for the next week. The doctor was even convinced I was having twins. A week from the day I wrote this 4 week update, my husband deployed. I had experienced a small amount of spotting the night before and didn't think much of it. A little spotting is normal, though still scary. The next day, about two or so hours after my husband deployed, I was standing in my kitchen chatting with a friend when I had a sensation equivalent to peeing my pants. All of a sudden I had liquid running down my legs and sticking to my leggings. I ran to the bathroom and found bright red blood. When I sat down, it gushed out. (Sorry for the over share, but I want to be sure to share all these details for people who may have a similar experience). I was terrified so I rushed to the hospital, leaving my friend behind with our kids.

They ran my levels and did an ultrasound and confirmed that the little cupcake was hanging on. I just didn't understand how I could still be pregnant after all of that blood. My doctor had a couple theories: it could be the edge of the placenta bleeding. It could have been implantation bleeding. It could have been the loss of one of the babies had I been having twins. It could have been a blood clot.

The biggest thing to keep in mind though, was that we had a strong baby holding on. That was all that mattered.

Over the next few days I continued to bleed, so my doctor had me come back a couple times to have my levels drawn again and monitor the baby.

The baby was still hanging on.

Another week went by and we got to see the heartbeat! The beautiful, gorgeous, STRONG heartbeat! 160bpm. This baby is definitely showing us he or she is here to stay. I was so relieved I wanted to cry. Which wasn't hard to believe because I have been crying at everything lately!

Another week passed and I had an appointment with my new specialist. He is wonderful. He is determined to help us have this baby safely. He performed an ultrasound and said that I still have a lot of blood in the uterus that needs to come out. He said that it did appear that there was another gestational sac that needed to pass, though he couldn't be too sure. As heartbreaking as that news is, I am still focused on the strong baby. Still focused on the fact that we have a healthy baby that is thriving.

That very night I woke up in the middle of the night to more bleeding. As much as the first time. It was terrifying, but I knew that it had to happen in order for this baby to be safe. All the bad/old blood needs to pass in order for me to have my surgery. The surgery that will keep this baby safely inside my uterus until *hopefully* 36 weeks!

Oh and a big change that happened VERY soon after I wrote my 4 week update: SICKNESS! I am nauseous at EVERYTHING! I can barely look at the kitchen without throwing up! I crave super comforting food like mashed potatoes and fried chicken and corn. Oh and chicken and dumplings. Gee whiz I crave chicken and dumplings!!! And SWEETS! Lots and lots of sweets!

So that's the update up to this point. I will post the more recent weight and measurement stats and all the emotional/yucky food stuff later.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

2 Years: A different milestone

With all the sadness in my life lately, it's nice to have a happy milestone to celebrate every once in a while.

And today is a very happy day.

It was on this day, 2 years ago, that I received the word from my doctor that changed my outlook on life forever:

"Remission."

After struggling for almost a year with the concept of having cancer, and then with all the different prognoses and treatment options, my head was spinning. My husband and I had been to the edge and back: scared, shocked, angry, terrified, hopeful. We didn't know what to think. But we kept coming back to hopeful.

So many things had made my journey a lot easier than it would or could have been.

Number one: my doctor discovered it before it fully became cancer. Unfortunately, because I was pregnant with Landon at the time, nothing could be done until after I had Landon. From the point when they discovered the abnormalities (June of 2008), to the first biopsy after I had Landon (January 2009), it had progressed into full blown cancer. Still stage 1, but at the rate it had grown and changed, the doctors recommended me for a complete radical hysterectomy.

Right. Away.

I was terrified. I was shocked. I went through all the emotions we had experienced when they first told me they discovered "precancerous" cells in June. I didn't understand how it could have progressed so quickly. I just couldn't wrap my head around it. They explained that the type of cancer I had was very aggressive and once it began to spread, would spread very rapidly. They said their treatment had to be aggressive as well, or I may not be able to beat it.

That's a lot to take in when you are 22 and with a newborn.

Add on to that a move across country that was scheduled to take place 3 days later, and I was in full panic.

My doctors immediately arranged a referral to one of the best oncologists in California at the soonest available date.

We moved across the country, got as settled as we could, and I met with my doctor. He was a wonderful oncologist who really knew what he was doing. He was very big about advocating for his patients and their situations regardless of the recommendations made for them by other doctors or the AMA.

The first time he met me he said "You don't want a hysterectomy, do you?" And immediately I started crying "No, no please no!" I explained that we wanted a big family and my son was only 2 months old. This couldn't be the end.

He told me he had an idea. He warned that it may not work, and even if it seemed to work, I may also need radiation or chemo to keep the cancer from coming back. But he was willing to take the risk if I was. My husband and I immediately said we were on board, and my surgery was scheduled for two weeks later.

The surgery went pretty well, though there was a small hiccup in the surgery that required a longer hospital stay... But all in all, I survived and I felt very hopeful.

I returned to my doctor every couple of weeks for a check up and examination. Four months after my surgery was the soonest they could check to see if the cancer was gone, so in mid August I made the long drive down for my check up. They took tissue samples and did the routine exam I was used to, and sent me on my way.

My doctor reassured me that he would call as soon as they knew anything.

August 18th I received word from my doctor.

"We got it." He said, "You are officially in remission."

I remember my hands shaking when I finally received the official letter in the mail with my test results... I remember feeling relieved and like a weight had been lifted from my shoulders.

I remember feeling like I was suddenly getting a second chance. Everything was going to be different. I was never going to take another day for granted.

It's now been two years. Two years since I was officially in remission. There have been a lot of ups and downs in these two years, especially lately, but I am still so thankful to be alive.

So thankful to get to watch my son grow and change every day. So thankful for all the thousands of kisses I have gotten from my husband since that day. So thankful for every beautiful moment.

Because my story could have ended a long time ago.

But it didn't.

My story continues.

On and on.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Rainbow Baby

I read this quote today and thought I would share it with you:

"Rainbow Babies" is the understanding that the beauty of a rainbow does not negate the ravages of the storm. When a rainbow appears, it doesn't mean the storm never happened or that the family is not still dealing with its aftermath. What it means is that something beautiful and full of light has appeared in the midst of the darkness and clouds. Storm clouds may still hover but the rainbow provides a counterbalance of color, energy and hope.


A rainbow baby is a blessing given to a family after losing a baby in any way. It's the promise of hope and new life, second chances and a new beginning.

A family who has conceived after losing a child will never forget that child, but rather, will appreciate their children even more because they understand the deep pain of loss.

I read a poem today that touched me deeply.

The Dragonfly


Once, in a little pond, in the muddy water under the lily pads,
there lived a little water beetle in a community of water
beetles. They lived a simple and comfortable life in the pond
with few disturbances and interruptions.

Once in a while, sadness would come to the community when one of
their fellow beetles would climb the stem of a lily pad and
would never be seen again. They knew when this happened; their
friend was dead, gone forever.

Then, one day, one little water beetle felt an irresistible urge
to climb up that stem. However, he was determined that he would
not leave forever. He would come back and tell his friends what
he had found at the top.

When he reached the top and climbed out of the water onto the
surface of the lily pad, he was so tired, and the sun felt so
warm, that he decided he must take a nap. As he slept, his body
changed and when he woke up, he had turned into a beautiful
blue-tailed dragonfly with broad wings and a slender body
designed for flying.

So, fly he did! And, as he soared he saw the beauty of a whole
new world and a far superior way of life to what he had never
known existed.

Then he remembered his beetle friends and how they were thinking
by now he was dead. He wanted to go back to tell them, and
explain to them that he was now more alive than he had ever been
before. His life had been fulfilled rather than ended.

But, his new body would not go down into the water. He could
not get back to tell his friends the good news. Then he
understood that their time would come, when they, too, would
know what he now knew. So, he raised his wings and flew off
into his joyous new life!


~Author Unknown~


I found this fascinating. For one, I never knew that dragonflies were ever anything but dragonflies. Maybe that sounds silly, but I don't tend to question how insects reach their adulthood, unless if it's something I studied in grade school science, or just common knowledge. But it turns out, Dragonflies start life as larvae, which is normal, but their larvae are water dwelling insects known as nymphs. Then they undergo metamorphosis and become the adult Dragonfly.

Science aside, this poem speaks to me so clearly. Leila is that curious water nymph that crawled up the Lily stem to check things out on the other side - Heaven. But as she was making her way there (her struggle on Earth), she got weary and had to rest her eyes, and then God took her home to be with Him. When she awoke she was beautiful and had her angel wings and was healthy and perfect.

And she wanted to tell us that everything is okay. To come back and reassure us that she isn't gone for ever, that we need only wait until our journey takes us to her, but alas, angels aren't meant to live on Earth.

So we have to wait until it's our turn to climb the Lily's stem and be taken home to her.

And our beautiful rainbow baby? He or she is the reminder that Leila will never be far from us. Every laugh, every smile, every coo, every cry, every milestone: Leila will be right there. Watching us and waiting for the day, whenever that may be, that we will join her in Heaven.

To anyone who has ever lost a baby, and is expecting again: I hope this quote, and this poem, have offered you some comfort. I know they rang true with me.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Our Silver Lining.

The past few months since Leila passed away have been filled with a vast array of emotions.

At first, I just felt the intense pain of grief. I wasn't sure it would ever pass. I couldn't grasp the vast immensity of the reality I was in... I felt like I was spiraling deeper and deeper into this black hole of grief. And on a few dark days, I really didn't think I would get out.

But then I started to enjoy the little things again. I enjoyed my time with Landon: playing, learning, exploring. It was hard to put aside my grief for just anyone or anything, but for him - it seemed easy. I was able to process the grief as I marveled at the little being in front of me: with his innocent and loving view on the world, his free and open heart, and his intense love for his parents. He made healing seem easy.

Though in reality it was far from it.

I still struggled. I had some days that were just filled with anger. I was so angry at what had happened to us. To me. To her.

By March I had taken a turn downhill and could barely leave the house without crying. I just couldn't process everything going on. I was trying to heal, but dealing with all of these new raw emotions that I had never encountered before.

After going home for a vacation I regrouped a little and felt stronger. I felt like I could make it. I was going to be okay.

Then came May. May was a very hard month for me. No one really understood, but May was probably the worst month since that first one. I was due in May. I was supposed to be having my baby girl and enjoying my job as a new mommy: lack of sleep and dirty diapers included.

May ended and guess what?

I survived! June came and suddenly I felt in control again. I started spending more time with friends and going on dates with my husband. I was starting to feel happy again.

Then, on July 15, 2011, the day before Leila's six month birthday...

We found out something incredible.

We are expecting.

That's right.

Landon, and our sweet baby angel, Leila, are going to have a new baby sibling.

I was afraid when I would find out I was pregnant that I would feel like I was betraying Leila. In a way, I kind of did feel that way. But all of a sudden I had this sense of calm wash over as I stared at the faint line on the 4th (yes 4th) pregnancy test I took.

This was what was supposed to happen.

This was God's plan.

This is our baby.

And no baby will ever replace Leila. Ever.

But she is with me. And in a way, I felt like she was giving me her blessing.



The next day we sent dozens of balloons up to her. All around the country balloons were being released in her memory.

And I felt like she was smiling down on us.

She is going to be with me throughout this pregnancy. Whispering in my ear when I am stressed and terrified. Listening to me sing to my sweet unborn baby. Guiding me. And loving us.

The pain of losing Leila is still there. The tears are still falling, more softly now, as I write about the journey ahead.

I will be honest: I am terrified. Absolutely terrified for this baby. Every hiccup, every sign of distress is going to scare me more than it would a person with healthy pregnancies. It's unavoidable.

I am doing my best to stay calm and positive, but any mother who has had a miscarriage, and any mother who has had a micro premie baby knows my fears. It's easy to look on the outside in and try and logic and reason the fear away: but it will always be there.

All I can do is try to work through it as calmly as I can, arm myself with knowledge and facts, and do the absolute best job of carrying this baby that I possibly can.

So you may be asking: "If you found out almost a month ago, why wait this long to announce that you are pregnant?"

Well the answer is simple, and beautiful, and I am delighted to share it:

Today I got to hear the most beautiful sound I have heard in months.

I got to hear our baby's heartbeat.



The little whoosh whoosh whoosh on the monitor made my heart soar.

My baby is healthy. My baby is safe. My baby is alive.

After everything we've been through, we are finally starting to see the light at the end of the tunnel.

The silver lining on the dark thundercloud.

And this baby is going to know love like no other baby has ever known love.

I have been keeping a daily journal to the baby. To chronicle my feelings and emotions as I deal with the next several months as a "single parent". My husband is deployed currently and won't be back until around the baby's due date. It is likely that he will not be here for the birth, but we are preparing ourselves for that. After everything we've been through, I think we can handle it.

So that's my big news. That's OUR big news. And we are so happy.

I hope you enjoy this new incredible journey we are on. Thank you for all the continued support.

Virginia, Donovan, and Landon

Thursday, August 4, 2011

100 Followers Giveaway Contest...

All right everyone! I finally hit 100 followers. Thank you all so much.

So here is the deal: I am going to have a little contest.

I will be adding some items to it as time goes on, some of my favorite things, some of my crafts, and some jewelry.

If we hit 50 entries, I will add even more stuff to the giveaway! I will start assembling items and post a picture so you know what you are eligible to win.

So here is how you enter:

Leave a comment with your name and email.

Follow my blog (1 entry)
Like my business page on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/Decked.Out.By.Virginia (2 entries)
Leave a comment about my blog- something you like, something I can improve, what you want to see more of, write anything you want! (1 entry)
If you have tried a recipe(s) or craft from my blog, let me know what it was and how it turned out! If you haven't tried one but plan on it, let me know what you want to try! (1 entry)

Make sure you let me know that you've done the first two so I can count the entries.

That's a total of 5 possible entries!!

Good luck!

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

99 Followers.

Can this really be true? Could we have really crept THIS close to 100 followers and I didn't even notice?

Does this mean it's time for a giveaway?

Sure! Why not!!!

Once we hit 100 followers (which is like, so close!), I will start a post for a giveaway. So keep your eyes peeled...

And tell your friends to follow my blog! I promise I have a lot of greatness planned!

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Starting to Heal... One day at a time

So today was a difficult day.

But for once, on the 28th of a month, the horrible event that happened six months ago wasn't tearing me apart all day. Today was an awful day for reasons I will share later, but as I trudged my way through this day, I felt this presence.

Leila was with me.

Leila was wrapping her sweet angel wings around me and telling me that she is here.

And though I wish with all my heart that I could hold her, kiss her, rock her:

I am comforted just knowing she is with me. Always.

I am starting to heal. I can feel that a little more each day. I miss her every day, but my thoughts aren't consumed with the grief and guilt that I once felt.

Some days are hard for different reasons, like today. But I have come to find this peace and understanding.

I have accepted that she just wasn't meant to be with us on Earth. God has bigger plans for her, and I will see her again one day.

So though today was a horribly, awful, difficult day: I survived.

As I have managed to do every day since we said goodbye.

And I will continue to do so every single day until we say hello again.



I love you sweet baby angel.

-Mommy

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Easy Cream Cheese Coffeecake




When I was younger we never had real breakfasts during the week. If it was Monday through Friday, we ate cereal.

But, if it was Saturday or Sunday, the chances were pretty good that we were going to have chocolate chip pancakes, biscuits + hashbrowns + eggs + bacon, french toast, or some other awesome "real" breakfast.

A very rare treat, but one of my absolute favorite breakfasts, my mom would make this amazing, delicate, flaky, tasty coffee cake, with jam oozing out of either end.

It was heavenly.

When I was older and went to college, I would come home once a month and my Nana would ask me what I wanted for breakfast: this was usually what I requested!

It wasn't until I got married and was living in Florida when I asked for the recipe myself.

I was shocked!

It DIDN'T take hours to prepare! It was quick, and easy...

And unbelievably impressive!

Whenever my husband's sailor buddies would stay over on the weekends (we always seemed to have a house full of single sailors, and they all called me Mom!), I would bake up a few of these coffee cakes. As soon as I said "breakfast is ready!" they would swarm the counter and moments later the entire coffee cake would be gone.

Then I would sit back and smile ass the compliments poured in.


Easy Cream Cheese Coffeecake

Dough:
4 TBS butter
2 C. Biscuit mix (Hungry Jack buttermilk mix is good, or Bisquick, or even Jiffy)
3 oz cream cheese
1/3 C. milk

Filling:
1/3 C. Jam (strawberry, plum, cherry, apricot, raspberry, orange marmalade: whatever your family likes!!!)

Glaze:
1 C. powdered sugar
1-2 TBS. milk or orange juice
1/2 - 1 tsp. vanilla or grated orange rind
Nuts or coconut (optional.. I never add this part, but my mom added it in the original recipe, so I am sure it's good)



First you are going to cut the butter and cream cheese into the biscuit mix until the consistency of corn meal... It may take a little bit of elbow grease, but you will get it there. I use my trusty pastry cutter and it goes pretty quickly.



Once it is all crumbly, stir in the milk. Knead on a flour surface until well mixed and smooth.

Roll out on floured parchment paper until it makes a rectangle about 12" by 8"...



Spread the jam down the center of the dough.



Starting on either end of the jam, cut strips at one inch intervals from the filling to the edge of the dough.



Cross the strips over the filling, overlapping from side to side as you go.



When all the strips are folded over, transfer the parchment paper to a cookie sheet.



Bake at 425 degrees for 12-15 minutes until golden brown.



Do not burn: in my picture I accidentally left it in too long and it got a little dark. Watch closely after 10 minutes: this delicate dough goes from "golden" to "burnt" very quickly.



In a small bowl or measuring cup, add the vanilla to the powdered sugar.



Slowly stir in the orange juice or milk until a nice consistency.



Drizzle over the coffee cake.



Cut and serve warm.

Is delicious when paired with a tasty coffee. My favorite is Chocolate Orange coffee... Seriously amazing... I am going to miss coffee for a while, but more on that later.

Enjoy your coffee cake!

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Rosette Bracelet: "The Rosie" Tutorial



So when I first started this blog, it was primarily with the idea of sharing recipes. Only recently have I really branched out in to my one true love: creating...

Okay okay, my husband and kids DEFINITELY come before creating... but as far as hobbies go: making things is TOPS.

When I have been itching for something to make/do, I usually plug in my hot glue gun, grab some scraps and whatever randomness I can find laying around, and have at it.

Like this pretty little thing.

Isn't it lovely?

I have never been a big bracelet wearing gal, but lately, I have been seeing gorgeous bracelets and bangles everywhere!

So I decided to make myself a bunch.

And I will share all the juicy details with you.

Starting with today's bracelet:

The Rosie

Start with:

a plain, thick (at least 1"), bangle
a long strip of fabric, about 1" wide by 20" or so (I tore mine so it was nice and frayed)
another strip of fabric, about 1 1/2 - 2" wide by 30 inches
a hot glue gun




Make sure your bracelet is clean and doesn't have any yucky junk on it... You know, because it would be weird to walk around with a beautiful thing on your arm that had a booger hidden under the fabric or something. Not that yours would... I am just saying... I have a toddler okay...


If you want your fabric to be extra frayed, rub the edges with your fingers and pull off some of the long threads.


Then, put a dot of glue on the inside of the bangle and press the end of you fabric to it. (I had a picture of this step but it turned out way too dark because I am the genius that decided to do crafts and take pictures AT NIGHT!... Sorry!)



Start wrapping around and around the bangle, securing with glue every other wrap or so.

I chose to glue mine ONLY on the inside, in case it would create an ugly bump and ruin the integrity of my cute bracelet.



When you make it back to where you started, snip off the excess fabric, leaving about an inch past the front top of your starting point.

Then fold the tail of the piece over and glue on the inside of the bracelet, on top of your starting point so that all of the original bangle is completely covered, and your loose ends are on the inside of the bangle (the part that will touch your wrist).



Try it on... Just to admire how beautiful it is already...

Now with your other piece of fabric (I chose a gorgeous coordinating teal to make the pattern in my base fabric really pop), make a rosette. There are a million ways to make rosettes: rolled, twisted, folded, whatever.

For this one, I chose to fold my fabric in half and iron it, then fold the edges in again and lightly press. Then I made a knot at one end and started gluing and twisting, gluing and twisting.

I didn't take pictures because I only have two hands, and I would prefer to not get burnt by my glue gun while trying to take a picture and glue...

If you still need rosette making help: google it. There are a million awesome tutorials out there!




So after you finish your rosette, find an attractive place for it on your bangle and glue it right on there.



Let it dry thoroughly, and then slide on your hot new bangle and wear with EVERYTHING!



So I guess I should tell you WHY I made this bangle...

Are you ready to be amazed?

I made this bangle to match a pair of SHOES I am making.

Making, as in: yet another project I haven't yet completed.

But don't fret my pets, I will have it done and posted soon!



Isn't she a cutie? I named her "The Rosie". I love naming my jewelry. It gives me even more fuel for not being able to throw out any of my ridiculously large jewelry stash.

Have a crafty weekend!

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Cookie Dough Brownies



So a little while back I had this craving for an amazing dessert.

The only problem was: I wasn't sure what that dessert was. In fact, I wasn't even sure if it existed.

All I knew was that I wanted something delicious and unusual...

Preferably loaded down with chocolate.

So I went to the kitchen and looked in the pantry and started thinking.

I came up with a few options: I could make chocolate chip cookies, or I could make brownies, or I could make cupcakes.

Orrrrrr

I could make brownies with chocolate chip cookies INSIDE of the brownie.

Ding ding ding!

We have a winner.

So I made a batch of chocolate chip cookies: your favorite recipe will do the trick. Or you can buy the premade dough. It's whatever works for you.



I lined a baking sheet with waxed paper and dropped the cookie dough by rounded spoonfuls all over the sheet. You don't have to space them out too far because you won't be baking them.

Pop them in the freezer for an hour, or until nice and solid.

Next, make your brownie batter.

You can use a boxed mix. That's what I did this time. I have this great sauce pan brownie recipe of my Nana's, but I didn't feel like waiting any longer for this dessert. I wanted immediate gratification, and though the from scratch way wouldn't have taken too much longer, this felt faster.

So I cheated.



So follow the directions on the box and pour your brownie batter into a greased pan.

OH! Preheat your oven to the temp on the brownie box.

Okay so now you take your cookie dough blobs out of the freezer.




Press the blobs down into the batter. You can do it in a grid, or just wherever you think there should be a cookie.

I chose to do a grid in the manner of how I would cut the brownies. That way each brownie would have it's own little cookie inside of it.



If you have leftover cookie blobs, you can either put them on another baking sheet and bake them, or you can put them in a cupcake pan and make little cupcake cookies. If I had had extra brownie batter I would have poured a little of that in each cup too, but I didn't. So I just made cupcake shaped cookies.

Then bake for about 25-30 minutes, checking every few minutes after 20 minutes, just to make sure they don't burn.



Take them out and marvel at the exciting dessert you created.



Ok, ok, now you can cut into it and eat it... That first bite looks so awesome, huh?

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Smiling Through The Tears :)



Yesterday our sweet Leila would have been 6 months old. If she were alive and healthy, I can only dream of the things she would be capable of.

But I am trying to refrain from dwelling on the impossible.

Instead, I spent yesterday doting on my precious son, Landon.

Everything about him makes me smile:


His shaggy blonde hair with the gorgeous natural high lights that I just wish I could capture in a bottle and use for myself...





His stunning blue eyes that have the ability to melt my heart no matter how stressed or upset I may be...

His chubby little fingers that he waves around and points at things with, sometimes even pointing right at me and saying "No, no mama!"...


His round little cheeks and squinty eyes, and the way his smile lights up his whole face...



The way his personality sparkles in anything and everything he does...



The way he has no fear of running bare foot down an abandoned dirt road, yet he won't even walk on the sidewalk if he sees a bug in his path...



The way he can be so blissfully happy just chomping away on some watermelon, not a care in the world...

and how even if that watermelon falls on the ground and is covered with dirt, he quickly picks it right back up to continue eating (as mom comes running over and says "waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaait!!!!")...








I am so blessed.