Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Life, Loss and Gratitude

I debated for a while whether or not to write about this, but this is a place to record our memories whether they be good or bad (or sad).

This past June, I found out I was pregnant. I was super excited, and couldn't wait to tell the Mr. My sweet "baby" Hadley's almost 3 and I've had baby fever for a while now. I tried to make it a surprise and sneak it into his Father's day card by signing it Gracen, Hadley & Baby, but he of course looks at the receipt from the grocery store ONE DAY BEFORE and saw that I had bought pre-natal vitamins and asked if I had something to tell him!

My first doctor's appt was July 6th, and it was confirmed, we were officially expecting! It was incredibly difficult not to tell anyone, especially since I had really bad morning (all day) sickness. But I wouldn't let the Mr. tell anyone until I told my work which would be around the 12 week mark. This summer was pretty rough because of the nausea. Everyday at work was miserable when people would heat up their lunches, literally everything made me want to puke. It didn't help that the Mr. had class every single night from 6-9 pm, so I was pretty much on my own with the girls at night. Let's just say we watched a lot of movies. Mother of the year :)

My second doctor's appt was August 6th. So with the girls and the Mr. in tow we headed in to hear that sweet sounding hearbeat. We decided to tell the girls on the way there what we were doing and why we were going. The nurse practitioner came in and was having difficulty finding the heart beat. She tried to make light of the situation by saying "maybe the baby's hiding, you didn't have any trouble finding your girls heartbeats, maybe that means this ones a boy!" Of course I had 10 million things going on in my head, and all I said (or maybe just thought, it's pretty blurry at this point) was "don't get my husband's hopes up". We headed down to get a sonogram since we couldn't find the heartbeat with a doppler, and as soon as we started I knew something was wrong. Our fears were confirmed, we had lost the baby.

They didn't really have any answers for us, no reason why, and that's incredibly difficult to hear that "sometimes these things just happen". It's incredibly difficult not to try and go over every single moment of every single day up until that point to see if you were doing something you shouldn't have been. Did I accidentally have a glass of wine before I knew? Did I ever eat sushi? Did I forget and eat deli turkey? Did I play too rough with the girls? It was a lot to handle. After the sonogram was confirmed by a doctor, not just the sonographer, we were brought to yet another room to discuss our options. Of course my actual doctor was on vacation all week, so on top of everything, I was discussing these things with people I've never met.Since I was so far a long, they scheduled me for a D&C on Thursday.

I was on an emotional rollercoaster for the next 2 days. I had no idea how to mourn for my baby that I never got to meet, never even got to hear his/her heartbeat when there was one. It all sort of passed by in a rush because I sort of numbed myself to the outside world and my dear sweet husband pretty much let me sleep all the time because it was the only thing I wanted to do. Our girls didn't really understand what was going on, and pretty much had forgotten that we had told them there was a baby in my belly. Busy 2 and 4 year olds tend to forget things quickly :)

Thursday morning walking into the hospital was pretty painful. The last 2 times I was checked in I got to come home with a sweet and snuggly baby. This time I didn't know what to expect. When I got to my room  I had a wonderful nurse that got my IV started, and kind of explained what was going to happen and when. (It's an incredibly sad procedure, one that I won't go into detail on here) And once again luck was not on my side. Dr. Wright (Rhonda Wright, how ironic is that?) was at another hospital where there was a trauma or something and she didn't know when she'd be arriving for my surgery, that was scheduled to start in 20 minutes. Awesome. It was FUHreezing in the hospital, I had 2 warmed blankets on me and was STILL cold, I was already a hot mess from the emotional toll of what was about to happen and now you're telling me it's going to be delayed for who knows how long, possibly re-scheduled?! This really wasn't my day. Finally she arrived, only about 20 minutes late, and went through everything with me.

They gave me some drugs, and bless them, because I don't remember a single thing after. I don't even remember being wheeled into the OR where they gave me the real anesthesia medicine. The next thing I knew I was waking up without a baby anymore. I felt incredibly empty and just wanted to be home in my own bed. I took a couple days off, and there wasn't really any physical recovery involved, only emotional.

I think the hardest part for me is not even knowing whether it was a boy or a girl. So my sweet baby number 3 has no name, and just remains baby. Despite our loss, which I still think about daily, I try to focus my attention on being grateful for what I have. I have an incredible husband that took care of me at my worst and when I needed it the most. I have 2 amazing daughters that make life worth living. I have a wonderful job that I love to wake up and go to everyday. I have a roof over my head, a bed to sleep in, and food on my table. I don't know when or if we will try again, but my doctor keeps reminding me I have 2 healthy girls, and a healthy pregnancy can happen again. But until we cross that bridge, I just want to cherish the time I do have with Gracen and Hadley (and of course the Mr.).

Monday, August 27, 2012

The Weekend and Leftovers

We had quite a busy weekend, it hardly seems like it should be Monday already. But alas here we are again at the start of another equally busy week, with me starting school again a midst all the other madness going on at our house.

As of Friday, the house I grew up in officially belongs to someone else, and it was my Dad's last night as a KS resident (for now), so we went to Houlihan's to celebrate. I had their cream cheese stuffed chicken (ha I know right more chicken!) And it was fantastic. I mean I don't have any idea how they did it but it was amazeballs.

They were way too busy people watching to be interested in taking photos, so this is the best I got.

On Saturday my sisters and I went to get pedis (ahhmazing - it had been waay too long), and then picked up the girls and headed to the Legends for a free concert and some shopping. Gracen was in desperate need of some fall clothes, and I may or may not have picked up a few goodies for myself :)

I just love her pig tails :)

They definitely enjoyed the concert and running around and dancing. Until the rain came boo.

Sunday morning after Mass I used up the last of my roast chicken! Because seriously what do you do with all the leftovers? I still didn't try the actual roast chicken plain (don't judge me), but after it was "cooked" again just to make sure, I knew I was safe to eat. I was feeling creative, so I came up with my own recipe. Which I NEVER do, I'm a by the books kind of lady, so this was a breakthrough people. So what did I make!? Chicken and biscuits! And it was yum-o. Even my kids ate it without complaining... that's a big deal around these parts. It was kind of a mish mosh of biscuits and gravy, and a chicken pot pie.

Please don't mind the poor photography. And PS it was so delicious, this was all I had left before I remember to even take a pic!

Simple Recipe:
1/3 C butter
1/3 C chopped onion
1/3 C Flour
1 3/4 C Chicken Broth
1/2 C Milk
2 1/2 C shredded chicken (lemon-rosemary chicken, what what!)
1 C frozen peas
1 C frozen carrotts
Biscuits (I just used grand, although someday I want to tackle homemade!)

Melt the butter in saucepan, and add onions stir for a couple mins. Add in the flour and stir together. Slowly add in the chicken broth and milk and as much S&P as you prefer. (I'm not very good at seasoning, so I always tell people to add it themselves once they dish their plate) Let it simmer a few mins till thick and bubbly. Add in the chicken till warmed through. Add in peas and carrotts. Pop your biscuits in the oven, and let the chicken mix simmer whilst they're baking. When they're done just pour over your biscuits! SO GOOD!

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Turns out I'm the chicken

I have a love/hate relationship with cooking (not to be confused with baking, there's a very big difference). There are too many variables for me. I like precision, and am not very good at "winging it" (pun intended). I do enjoy cooking (especially when wine is involved), but I absolutely positively HATE raw meat... especially when the bones are still involved. So sit back and get ready to chuckle at the story of how I roasted my very first whole chicken.

I highly enjoy reading The Pioneer Woman's blog, even though it's not the healthiest foods in the world, it usually is pretty simple to make, and she gives you step by step photo instructions (and she doesn't claim to be a health food blog). So the other day she posted a recipe for roast chicken. I've been going back and forth for probably a couple years on whether or not to tackle roasting a whole chicken myself, but it always came down to my hatred of raw meat on a bone that kept from attempting. And it's pretty easy just to buy a rotisserie chicken straight from the store. But as my kids get older, I've been trying to not necessarily eat healthier (although that's an added bonus), but better. Which I guess go hand in hand anyways so double win. But what I mean by better is making what I can from scratch so I know exactly what's going into what I'm making. So yes it would be a lot easier to buy the rotisserie chicken already cooked, but I've got no clue what kind of things are added to it to preserve it. (If there even are any?) So I set aside all my fears, and went for it.

Doesn't that look delicious?? (this is PW's not mine... much prettier)

The Mr. was gracious enough to pick me out a chicken. So last night I put on my pretty apron (who doesn't like pretty aprons? that's half the fun of cooking...) and got out my chicken. Luckily the Mr. was at class, because I'm pretty sure if he was home he would have sat in the kitchen watching and making fun of me. I placed the chicken in the sink and opened the packaging, gagging the whole time as all the gross salmonella-y   juices went down the drain. I googled whether or not you are supposed to rinse the chicken first or not (because seriously who knows these things!?) and apparently it doesn't matter either way because the bacteria will be killed in the oven. But if I had to touch that thing with my bare hands, you better your booty I washed it. I did however refrain from using antibacterial soap (on the actual chicken). So yay me. After it was rinsed, I put it on a jelly roll pan lined with foil (hello easy clean up!) and patted her (him?) dry. 

The reason I decided to go for it with this recipe was because of it's simplicity. Only a handful of ingredients that I already had (besides the chicken), rosemary, butter, lemons, salt & pepper. Mix the butter with the rosemary, lemon zest and some S&P. After that go to town covering it all over the poor chicken, and that's it. Pop it in the oven and roast. 

Here's where things get interesting. I had a very difficult time covering it with butter. I did not like to touch the chicken. And it tells you to make sure you get the butter under the skin for maximum juicyness and flavor. I attempted that one time, screamed like a little girl, and decided I just couldn't do it. Then it tells you after buttering, to squeeze the lemon juice over it and stuff the lemons in the chicken. Say what? I couldn't even tell which end the 'cavity' was, and I sure as hell wasn't stuffing my hand in anywhere to figure it out. (Don't feel bad starting to chuckle at this point, I am completely aware of how ridiculous this whole story is). So I decided against stuffing it, and just left the lemons on the side of the chicken, same thing right? (Even I'm chuckling as I write this). I was so proud of myself when I shut the oven door, and went on my merry way playing with the girls. As we were playing, it was seriously starting to bother me that I couldn't figure out why there was no room for the lemons. PW said she stuffed THREE lemons in there. This is my first roast chicken and I really didn't want to waste the whole thing by screwing it up. So i turned to handy dandy google, and start looking around for more detailed instructions, especially when it came to stuffing the bird. 

Turns out there's some stuff in there! That you're supposed to remove. SAY WHAT?! That should really be labeled on the package or something... I say stuff, because it still makes me throw up a little in my mouth when I say giblets. Buh. I just said it. Luckily my chicken had only been in there a couple minutes before I realized my mistake and ran to the oven to take it out, and remove the... ahem... stuff. Here's the part where I know the Mr. for sure will be sad he wasn't there to witness it. People, the stuff is DISGUSTING. I seriously was gagging for my life. I had to use forks because as already mentioned there was no way I was putting my hand in there. I can't even describe what they looked like I wouldn't even look at the things. I again was screaming like a little girl, and my own girls thought it was hilarious. Hopefully they don't have a weak stomach like me. It took me a good 10 minutes to make damn sure that I had gotten everything out. Took a few minutes for some deep breathing, and then finally feeling brave stuffed the lemons up there with my forks. Put it back in the oven, and let the magic take place.

A little while later, I had this beaut.

Lemon Rosemary Roast Chicken!

And I still couldn't bring myself to try it. That's my problem with working with raw meat, is I see it all bacteria-y and even when it's completely done and I KNOW I won't get salmonella poisoning, it's all I can think about. Plus I don't eat meat off of bones (except for ribs, and I don't even like to do it but they're just so damn good), even growing up when we would eat fried chicken, my Mom would make me chicken fingers instead. So after the Mr. came home from class he tried it and of course it was "the best chicken he had ever tasted in his whole life!" Right babe? :) Lucky for me, he volunteered to carve it up so we could use the leftovers for soups/salads/sandwiches/chicken and biscuits etc.

So I did it. I made my very first ever roast chicken. I don't think this is going to be a regular appearance at our house, maybe every few months or so, but I feel pretty good conquering my fears of a dead bird. (That sounds so morbid but you get the picture). 

Bon Appetit! 

And PS if I do ever make this again, I would probably use about half the butter PW's recipe called for. Most of it just melted down the side anyways, so if you make this definitely make sure to line the pan with the foil!!

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Mother's Day

This year Mother's Day was very low key. Although that's not very different from every other year, the Mr. is not much of a planner ;)

That week at Gracen's school they had muffins with Mom. My absolute FAVORITE thing to do is get involved with Gracen's school, because it's just about the only time Gracen and I spend alone. Since the girls are so close in age, it's very rare that only one does something. I think it's really important to their independence, so I get pretty excited at the chance to do something with just me and Gracen (or just me and Hadley).

She was really excited for me to get to come to school with her!

On Sunday, we had a lovely breakfast, with flowers and gifts, and went to Church. Aren't lazy Sunday mornings the best? After lunch we took a walk down to the Mission Festival (Carnival?). The girls loved it, minus a meltdown from Gracen. The prices for the rides and everything were pretty expensive, so I think next time we'll just head to World's of Fun. But we definitely had good a time!

I was super pumped for the elephant ride since we missed out on the Dumbo ride at Disney World.

This is where Gracen had her meltdown, there was a lever in there that was supposed to let the kids' control when the helicopter went up and down, and Gracen couldn't make it work and got reallly frustrated (she is her Daddy's daughter ;)

God help us when they do actually start driving. I've got anxiety attacks as it is now!

Ready to ride!

Happy Mother's Day! (3 months ago...)

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Easter (a little late) and a laundry tip!

So I know I'm really behind, but I'm trying to play catch up. So my posts will me a mish mosh of current and a couple month old events. I'm trying to get everything documented this year, but we had a whirlwind of a summer. So now that things are slowing down (kind of) for fall, I'll hopefully keep up a little better and be trying to get in 3 months worth of happenings!

But I digress. My favorite part about Easter is of course finding the girls matching dresses. And this years dresses I actually found last Christmas. If you know nothing about me, you should at the very least know that I'm a planner. I got them at H&M since they finally opened on the plaza, and we're only $12 a piece. That is cheapolo my friends, because dresses aren't even that cheap at Target.

The weekend started off with a birthday celebration for dinner at my Dad's complete with an easter egg hunt and far too much candy.

Blowin out the candle on her birthday cupcake!

Showing off her egg hunt finds

Please excuse her mop of hair on top of her head. I'm well aware she looks like a ragamuffin, but she unfortunately inheirited my hair and it's string and doesn't do much...

They were in no mood for photos - but just look at their matching dresses!

On actual Easter we were back in the Mr.'s home town and also had his godson's baptism that night. Since he's from a very small town, they only had Mass at 7pm at night. Add in a baptism, it was going to be a long night. I made it all of 2 minutes before I took the girls home. And of course as soon as we got back to his parents house we're walking in the front door and Hadley falls on the concrete straight on her face, particularly her teeth. So of course her brand new dress (and mine) ends up covered in blood. I finally got her calmed down, stopped the bleeding and into jammies and still had to deal with our blood covered dresses. I was really sad that they both were ruined, becuase it was the first time wearing them for the both of us. As I was debating whether or not to try and soak them or wash them right away, I remembered hearing somewhere that hydrogen peroxide got blood out if it wasn't too old yet. And guess what? It completely took the blood out. Every single drop. Granted it took me a while to do it, you basically take the hydrogen peroxide bottle and put the dress over the top turn it upside down than right side back up again, and it literally dissapears before your eyes. I was blown away, becuase it seemed so simple, yet in my 27 years had never tried it and had thrown many things away after accidentally getting blood on them. Dresses saved! By a $1 bottle of hyrdogen peroxide!

Hope everyone else had a wonderful Easter... ya know 4 months ago...

Friday, August 17, 2012

4 generations

A couple weekends ago the girls and I headed north with Aunt Nanie and Aunt Jaime to go and visit my Grandma and Aunt. So we packed up Aunt Jaime's car that oh so conveniently had a DVD player in it, and were on our way. My Grandma's house is just about 3 hours away, and we have been making the drive north bound 35 for 25 years, and just about every single time we stop half way in Bethany at McDonald's. (We're not really car people, we need to get out and stretch our legs, even on the 3 hour jaunt straight down 35)
Of course we had to get a photo with Ronald that I'm pretty sure has been there all 25 year's that I've been stopping at this McD's!

We made it to my Grandma's with no major meltdowns just in time for the Olympics, and to cheer the gymnasts onto to Gold! My Grandma still has all the toys that we played with when we were little and visiting, and it's pretty surreal to then witness your own children playing with those same toys. 

The next morning we were up bright and early and headed on to Davenport to my Aunt's house. We were greeted with hugs and lunch, and as soon as the girls saw the pool in my Aunt's yard we knew they couldn't wait much longer. It's been about 10 years since I had been to my Aunt's so it was not only a treat for my girls, but for me and my sisters as well. The weather couldn't have been nicer, and Gracen and Hadley were thoroughly worn out by the pool.
Hadley was quite the daredevil in the pool which was funny because she did NOT like swimming lessons earlier this summer!

I bought the girls arm floaties and rings because there is no shallow end of the pool, so no matter where they were they wouldn't be able to touch. Gracen took a while to warm up to swimming on her own, but by the end of the weekend was going down the waterslide and jumping off the diving board like a champion swimmer that she's destined to be (it does run in the family afterall). I do have a couple of good pics of her on the diving board, but haven't put them on the computer yet, so for now these are just my phone pics :)

The weekend was wonderful. We literally went with the idea of just hanging out in mind. We made a quick stop at my Aunt's school, she's been a teacher for 25ish years, and took a ferry boat ride on the Mississipi River, making a quick stop in IL (4 states in 4 days, I'm tired just thinkin about it!). But other than that we did a lot of eating, card playing and swimming. 

My Aunt was definitely prepared with activities for the girls, armed with coloring books, bubbles and even making our own ice cream in a bag. (it made me feel really old though, i remember doing this in gradeschool!) 
Hadley shakin her ice cream!

Can't forget the vanilla!

On the way home on Sunday, we conveniently found an outlet mall right off the highway and spent a lil time wondering around the Coach outlet. It's a dangerous place my friend. Luckily I was strong and didn't make any purchases (can't say the same for the last time i was in there though..) but Aunt Nanie made a fabulous purchase. Hopefully we'll make this an annual visit, since we really don't get to see them much except for around the Holidays. So thanks Aunt Diane for hosting, now it's your turn to make the trek to KC!