Monday, October 29, 2012

A Childs Death, What it’s like…the UGLY and how to help

Well I think this will be the last post for this blog, I’m ready to wrap it up.  But I wanted to share this before I do. 
I have been wanting to write this post for sometime now, I just wasn’t ready to try and tackle it, but now I’m going to try.  First I have to say that everyone’s experience with losing a child is different, but a lot of the feelings are the same and I want to try and tell you about it and then give you some ideas on how you might be able to help someone, if you ever need to.
As I was reading over my blog posts after Xander died I realized that I basically only wrote the easy stuff.  I wrote things I wanted to remind myself that I believe,feel and know.  I didn’t write about the really, real stuff so now I’m going to try, but it’s hard.  I want you to know that this is the UGLY side of it all.  I have written the other the hope and faith side (sorry all of those are on my family blog) but this is also part of it and I want people to know.
I keep going back and forth on whether I’m ready to share this first part, but I think it’s important to realize that when someone’s child dies, that they then have to physically deal with that not just emotionally.   Never mind, I tried to write about it and I just can’t do it.  Just know that it’s hard to see (and I mean literally) your child not living anymore.  Then to have to deal with it, those memories are hard. 
First I want to clear up some misconceptions, I have 6 children (now 7!!), just because Xander died it doesn’t mean he is not worth counting among our other children.  If your mom died you wouldn’t say you didn’t have a mom anymore.  It’s so weird that people do this but they do and it’s highly irritating.  Also just because Xander was a baby when he died doesn’t make his loss any easier, I’m not sure why people think this either.  I just have fewer memories of him and that sometimes really ticks me off, but it’s never easy to lose a child, I don’t care how old they are.   It is also NOT easier to know your child is going to die, there is no preparing for it.  There is NO preparation that you could make, to make yourself “ready” for the pain of it.  It’s just makes the pain start sooner, it’s not better or worse to know or not to know, it’s just different.
When your baby dies after delivery, you still have to deal with all the post pardum stuff, but without the best part.  It’s seriously is one of the worst things imaginable, recovering from having a baby without being able to have your baby.  I had a c – section so at first I couldn’t even cry, or sob like I wanted too, because of my incision.  Then your milk comes in and there is no relief and after nursing a lot of kids it took my milk forever to go away.  It’s like your body is betraying you.  Then going to your post partum checkups is torturous.  When I went to my one in Seattle at first a nurse came in with my chart, and on it on a little purple sticky note, it said fetal demise.  I seriously lost it when I saw that, you would think they would have figured out to remove that kind of thing before entering a room. 
The first month-- was pure and utter torture, there is no escaping the crushing, suffocating pain. Even sleep was my enemy, I couldn’t sleep very well and then I didn’t want to because when I did I would have these horrid nightmares, only when I woke up  my nightmares were real.  I would dream about doctors handing me dead babies and saying “I’m sorry there is nothing we can do.”  over and over again.  There were others too, but that one was the worst.  I hate those words so much…”there’s nothing we can do”  they still haunt me.  It hurt so bad, sometimes I wanted to bang my face against a brick wall, I wanted my body to hurt as much as my heart did.  I liked pain, I wanted to hurt physically because I hurt so bad emotionally.  Sometimes I wanted to die, because there was no relief and because I knew that was the only way I could see him.   I felt out of balance, lost, overwhelmed and angry, so, so angry.  It’s hard to understand why your child had to die.  No, answer seems good enough.  It’s like you’re lost, you do stuff, take care of people, but you’re not really there.  You feel like you’re walking around on a different planet than everyone else.  I HATED it when people would ask me how I was. Every time I would think “HOW THE @#%$ DO YOU THINK I’M DOING, PRETTY @#&%^ BAD!!!!”  I wanted to rage and storm at the world. I wanted to scream and scream and sometimes I did.  You very quickly come to the realization that you will NEVER be the same again.  You will never totally be okay again…forever.  
It was exactly 4 weeks and 6 days when my heart finally died.  It crumbled under the strain, I couldn’t take it anymore, so one day I told God that I couldn’t stand it and I didn’t care what he did but I needed it to be different. I woke up the next morning feeling totally apathetic to the world, I was 100 % numb.  It didn’t last long and I don’t know that it was necessarily better it was just different and I was grateful.  The next 6 months were very much a roller coaster ride of emotional lows and downs.  Struggling and struggling with it.  You lean on your faith and what you believe but it still hurts, I know I’ll be with Xander again, but it’s horrible that I can’t be with him now.
It’s hard to get use to the feeling that someone is missing.  You know sometimes when you’re gathering your family together and you look around and it feels like someone is missing.  Well for me it always feels that way, there is no escaping it because someone is missing, and I hate it.  I want people to know someone is missing, whenever we are together and meet new people, I want to scream at them “but this isn’t everyone..this isn’t everyone.”
Then there is the guilt, I’m not sure if all parents feel guilty but I’m guessing a large part of them do, because you are their parent and it’s your job to protect them. 
I prayed for a miracle that never happened, that’s hard, especially when you believe in the power of prayer.  I know God could have healed Xander but he didn’t…he didn’t.  And I knew that he wasn’t going to. (but that’s a whole different blog post) You feel like you must be some horrible person, to have to endure this kind of pain.
Then the real miracle happens.  Overtime the pain isn’t so suffocating and you start to cry a little less, and then you feel guilty about it.  How could you ever feel better, you feel like a jerk.  Sometimes I don’t want to feel better.  But it happens, thanks to the grace and love of God and His Son you start to heal, a little at first and then just enough that you can start to pretend.  Pretend that you’re really there, and pretend that you care.  I haven’t progressed much past the pretending yet.  There is a lot of stuff I just don’t care about anymore and I doubt I ever will again.
Don’t expect me to ever be happy about him dying.  It’s not going to happen.  I find happiness in the fact that I know I’ll be with him again, but that’s were it ends. I can and will be sad about him dying forever and that’s okay. 
I didn’t like being around other people for a long time.  I wanted zero expectations on me and on my time.
Grief is so unpredictable, you never know when it’s going to smack you in the face and leave you broken once again.  I’m still new to this path, and there will always be part of me that is sad, until I hold him again.  And as his mom I wouldn’t have it any other way, it’s my grief to carry and I do it willingly for him.
I also wanted to give you some ideas of things to do that are very helpful. 

Remember for them it's going to get worse before it gets better. At first people are reaching out and showering love on you but soon everyone goes back to their normal lives and your life is still in utter pain; you can't return back to your normal life because it's gone. So slowly things become worse, as it starts to really become real, that this death really did happen and there is nothing (for now) that's going to change that.

Be nice to people.  You just never know what someone might be dealing with.   I had this experience 3 weeks after Xander passed away.
I was at a store with two of my little ones, trying to get some grocery shopping done.  When once again I was crumbling, so I pulled my cart  out of the way and was trying to pull myself together.  My 3 year old was in the basket of the cart and she started to whimper very quietly, not anything serious.  There was an older lady next to me looking at movies, I was pretty oblivious to everything right then just trying not to go into fetal position screaming my face off right there in the middle of the grocery store.  The older lady says to me “your daughter is crying” (which she was NOT doing)  I sort of looked over at her but mostly I ignored her comment.  Then when I finally decide that I could move on without falling apart I hear the lady say “probably because she has you for a mother.”  So obviously that wasn’t very nice or helpful to hear right then.  SO BE KIND, BE FORGIVING, BE PATIENT to everyone some people are dealing with a lot.

Next be there.  If you’re the best friend, mom, sister whatever your job is going to be a long one, at least the first year if not longer.  I’m going to use real names of people that helped me because I want them to know what a HUGE difference they made to me and are part of the reason I’m not in a padded cell right now.  First my friend Susan literally called me every day from the time I found out that Xander was sick until well, a long time after he was gone.  This wasn’t always easy you see, because Susan was pregnant too, and due only 3 weeks before I was.  Sometimes her instinct was to stay away because she knew it would be hard for me to see her.  And it was, BUT she asked me what I wanted her to do, we had a real conversation about it, she didn’t just disappear because it was too hard to deal with.  In the end I needed her more than I needed not to see her.  I always thought of those calls as my –make sure Jaime doesn’t want to jump off a cliff today, calls.  My friend Keely did the same thing calling almost everyday and just supporting me.  The conversations weren’t always long, and sometimes they were just about ordinary life, but I needed them.  Both of these awesome ladies helped me, so, so much. 

Find someone for them to talk to that has also lost a child
 This is where my friend Ashlee comes in.  Ashlee lost her son almost exactly a year before we lost our son.  Having her tell me that it would get better, that eventually the good days would out number the bad was so important.  I clung to those words like a lifeline.  It was hard to believe, but I trusted her.  I really only wanted to get comfort from someone who knew.  It’s hard not to think that-- no one else could possibly understand what it feels like to lose a child.  Other people’s comfort didn’t mean as much to me.  But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t offer it, you NEED to, but just know that it’s really, really helpful to have someone there that understands exactly what you are going through, it just helps. 

Listen if they trust you enough that they start talking to you about their child, it’s because in that moment they NEED to talk about it, so listen!  If I trust you and you talk to me long enough I promise I will probably talk about him.  It’s hard not too, it consumes my life.  Example. One time I was talking to someone I considered my friend about Xander, I just needed a release in that moment and I happened to be talking to her and she interrupts me and says “well I don’t want to remind you” or “make you think of unpleasant memories” something like that.  Let me tell you that, that is so ridiculous in so many ways.  First to think that I wasn’t thinking about him already is just dumb.  You do nothing but think about it, for a long, long, long time.  It’s like you are being smashed by this mountain, and someone comes along and says “well, I didn’t want to remind you that you are being smashed by a mountain.” Like you could forget.  Plus talking about him is not unpleasant, I love him and all my memories of him are very precious to me, not hurtful.  Just listen, it’s easy and just so you know it’s okay to ask questions.  Don’t worry, if I ever didn’t want to answer a question or talk about it, I would just tell people that.  Trust me you’re not going to force them to do something that they don’t want to do.

Reach out this is more for friends and extended family.  Call, they probably won’t answer but that’s okay leave a message.  E-mail, send a card or flowers, text, FB them, do something.  Not doing anything is never the right answer.  Don’t pretend like it didn’t happen because it did.  All you have to say is that you’re sorry. That’s it and it’s easy.  You can also give relief.   Do laundry, bring dinner, take the other kids for a while.  I had a friend that would send me funny stories that she wrote.  Think and pray about it you’ll know what to do, just do something. I can’t even begin to name all these people, but you know who you are.

Remember, write on your calendar the 1 month date (and other dates) and send an I’m thinking of you message. I always love it when people remember him.

Don’t forget about DAD.  
Men and women grieve differently, but that doesn’t mean that the dad isn’t hurting just as much as the mom.  He will need just as much love and support as the mom does.  So please don’t forget him, it’s hard to see your husband hurting and know that because of my own grief that people often overlook his.

Allow them to Serve 
Obviously they won’t be able to do this at first, but let them do things that serve others.  I started with my own children, instead of lying in bed all day and crying my face off like I wanted too, I made myself get up and serve my family.  If they are ever going to find themselves again they need to lose themselves in service to others.  I know to some people this will sound counter intuitive and you would want to tell them to take care of themselves first.  But really they need to do both.  So if they volunteer to do something, let them.

 for them, they are going to need it for a long, long time.

 Be patient, remember you are going to be able to move on a lot sooner than they will.  They won’t ever totally be over it so don’t expect that of them. 

Don’t talk about them, talk to them
!  They’ll never know you care, if you don’t tell them.  Don’t just ask their best friend or mom how they’re doing ask them. 
I know there is probably other stuff, so when I think of it I will add it.  This will probably grow and change as I move down the path.  I hope this gives someone some ideas and let’s someone else know that they are not alone in their grief and pain.  Feel free to share it however you feel like you should.  And if anyone else thinks of something that really helped them through this process, please leave a comment.



Thursday, June 21, 2012

Monster Cake 2012



This cake was so easy to make and it was just perfect for the 6 year old cutie pie I made it for that I thought that I would share it with you. 

I actually found this @ Bakerella.  But it had cake pops for the eyes and I wasn’t in the mood to make cake pops. So I just covered large marshmallows with icing and added black licorice drops for the middle of the eyes and the mouth.

This is 3 round cakes that I cut in half to make 6 layers.


I tinted some icing an amazing shade of blue.  First I just iced the outside of the cake with a knife to cover up all the cake.  Then I used a decorating tip to add the hair all over the cake. 008

It actually came together really quickly I was so surprised.


Wednesday, June 13, 2012

I’m not crazy, I’m just a little Unwell

I took a picture of something I made the other day.  My husband very casually asked me, “So are you blogging again?” …maybe but don’t hold your breath. : )

Monday, April 16, 2012

A Child’s Death is Never Expected, Even When it is

A had to endure the stupidest conversation ever the other day.  This lady told me I was lucky, that I had it easier in some ways because we knew that Xander was sick, and that it should make it (his death) easier for me because it was “expected”.  Let me tell you some of the things I expected as Xander’s mother.  First I expected to be pregnant for 40 weeks, to once again gain a lot more weight then I ever wanted to, to be tired and achy. I expected to get to May and have only one pair of pants to wear until the middle of June.   I expected June to come very slowly, for it sometimes to feel like it would never get here.   I expected to daydream about him, wonder what he would look like, or be like, & when he would arrive.  I expected one day in June to go to the hospital and have our third son, and our sixth child.  I expected to experience the pain of labor literally overcome by the joy of birth.  I expected to have him placed on my chest as I relished in the miracle of him, to wipe clean his face as I gazed into his eyes for the first time.  I expected to hold him to my breast, to nurse him to create that bond that only is between a mother and her baby. I expected to bring him home. I expected to introduce him to his brothers and sisters.  I expected late nights, with little sleep. I expected to hold him very late at night when everyone else in the house was asleep, hold him in my arms in that quiet moment and just be, me and him.   I expected two more years of diapers. I expected to watch mesmerized by all of his firsts, first roll over, first crawl, first sit-up, first food, first walk, first word.  It never gets old by the way, just because I have done it five times before him.  I expected to hold him when he fell and hurt his knee, to wipe away his tears.  I expected birthday cakes and parties.  I expected to cry as I dropped him off for his fist day of kindergarten. I expected to be proud when he scored his first goal, or read his first book.  I expected to teach him to be a good person, to love others, to treat people with respect. I expected to watch him grow from a baby, to a little boy, to a boy, to a teen, to a man.  I expected to watch him get baptized, do Boy Scouts, have his first crush, first love, heartbreak, go on a mission.  I expected one day to watch him get married and have his own family.  I expected to be his mom.

Xander feet

I really truly know, I’m still his mom. But my arms ache from the want of holding him, and it makes no difference that it was “expected”.  The only thing that makes it easier is the knowledge that Christ truly did overcome the grave and that one day my arms will ache no more. 

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Happy Easter

Easter has always meant a lot to me.  This year I must say, it means a little bit more.  Love & miss you Xander boy.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Xander Cole

Xander was born on Tuesday March 20th @ 7:11 p.m. via emergency c-section.  He was with us for about 20 minutes, before he passed.  What a special little guy we are so privileged to have.

Xander feet

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Almost Italian Easter Bread


Another recipe I found and tried from Pinterest.  I know it’s a little early for Easter, but hopefully I’ll be in a hospital on Easter, and I really wanted to make these for the kids. You can find the recipe right here.  I followed the recipe exactly, but the reason I wanted to show them to you is because I did do something a little different.  You are suppose to put real dyed eggs in the middle of the bread and bake them, but I didn’t want to do that, so the kids and I made fake eggs out of the dough and dyed them with egg wash that was mixed with some food coloring. It worked so well!

What I did first was to make a double batch of the dough.  Which I would actually recommend NOT DOING unless you are bringing these things somewhere.  I ended up with 18 HUGE Easter Breads.  They were seriously the size of my kids heads. If you have a small family just make one batch, I think we could get by with 1 1/2 batches. Just remember to leave a little dough behind to make the dough eggs that go in the middle.  Then I followed the directions for the Easter Breads.  This was a perfect project for the kids, they all LOVED making the bread into snakes and winding them together to make the finished bread. Then instead of letting the breads rise and adding a dyed Easter egg we took an egg and made the egg wash, and added food coloring to it, then we made little balls of dough that we rolled in the egg wash and then in sugar (sugar in the raw).  Then we put them in the middle of the bread and let them rise together.  After they were done rising we added the plain egg wash to the rest of the Easter Bread.

Eggwash for the fake (dough) Easter Eggs.


I also used a little icing on top, mostly to get the icing out of my refrigerator. 


The kids loved eating them, as much as they loved making them.  It was a lot of fun.


Thursday, March 1, 2012

The Plan!


So yesterday we spent another LONG day @ the U of W, MICC.  There are some seriously long waits to talk to a doctor at that place.  I started off the day by dropping 3 different kids off @ 3 different people’s homes around 11:20 a.m. (the older girls were at school and rode the bus to friends homes afterwards)  then I headed to Bellingham to pick Cameron up from work and head down to Seattle. Our first appointment was in radiology @ 2:00 p.m.  We were a little early but check in anyway, and they got to us right away, before 2:00 even.  The ultrasound was pretty fast it only took about 10-15 min.  It showed that the hydrops hasn’t gotten any better Sad smile , but it also hasn’t gotten any worse Smile.   He is still growing at an appropriate rate without the edema he is the normal size for a 24 week old baby, and his heart beat is still a normal 135 bpm.   So we get out of radiology really quickly and our next appointment isn’t until 3:30 pm.  We take a little walk around the hospital until 3:00 and then go check in at MICC.  Then we wait, for 2 hours and at 5:00 are are finally taking into an exam room.  The nurse checks my blood pressure and all that stuff, and some hospital apology person comes in and apologizes profusely and gives us free parking for our long wait.  After she leaves a social worker comes and talks to us for about 15 min.  That was really, really hard, but good.  We have a better understanding of what to expect, what we can ask for, and what kind of things we need to be thinking about if he is stillborn, or if it looks like is life will be brief.  Man, that was a hard conversation to have, but I know it’s something we might be dealing with, and I feel better knowing, than not knowing.   So finally the doctor comes in and around 5:40 p.m. and we come up with a plan that makes me feel like we are giving this baby his best chance at life.   First she explains to us about what a healthy babies prognosis would be starting with birth at 24 weeks (about 21% survival).  Then she works her way up to about 28 weeks, where the prognosis is much, much better, and she says they pretty much don’t expect to lose a baby who is born at 28 weeks in 2012. But now add on top of that, that our baby is not a healthy baby and that he is hydropic, and hydropic babies can be hard to intubate because of all the swelling.  So she then asks us what we want to do, and I have no idea what she means, so I ask “what are we deciding?” Then she explains that she doesn’t know what kind of a sick baby he is and she can make better choices about his care if she can monitor him for an extended period of time, and she needs to know from us when we want that monitoring to begin.  After discussing it a bit more we decide between 27 and 28 weeks.   So on March 24th, I’ll go down to Seattle and he’ll be monitored for 12 –18 hours and I will get the first dose of a medication that will help his lungs.  After that is over and she can see how he is acting over an extended period of time, we will make some more choices.  From spending that moment on in the hospital in Seattle with him being constantly monitored, to me physically moving to Seattle and coming in 3 times a week for extended monitoring, until it gets to a point where delivery is his best option.  There is also a procedure she can try that removes some of the fluid around his lungs, but that is really risky and not something we are going to try yet, but maybe if he gets older.  Now we really, really need him to make it to 27 weeks 4 days, roughly 3 weeks and 2 days away.  It doesn’t sound like a long time, but with a baby who is as sick as our baby is,  it is a long time and it will feel like a year I’m sure.  We realize that our little guy has some HUGE obstacles still to overcome, and even if he does make it to birth, he will still have a hard, hard fight ahead of him, but birth is a good thing and it does increase his survival rate (depending on how many weeks he is at delivery).  Right now he has about a 10 –20 % percent chance of survival, but if he can make it to birth and past the first 24 hours his survival rate goes up to 50 –60 %.   And I feel like if he is being monitored very closely then he will have the best chance at a live birth.   So we are praying he can make it to birth, and that, that birth can happen sometime after 30 weeks.  This is kind of the simplified version of everything, there are so many other things that I could go into but don’t really want too.  So what are we going to do if I have to spend the last weeks of my pregnancy in the hospital or living in Seattle?  I have no idea, we are trying to come up with a plan for the other kiddos.  Cam’s parents just left on their second mission (Ukraine) and my mom can’t come until May.  I’m sure we’ll work it out somehow but it gives me a head/heart ache just thinking about it.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Our Beautiful Baby Boy


I wasn’t sure if I was going to share this, on this blog, especially since I haven’t once mentioned I was pregnant.  But whenever I have been reading a blog and then all of a sudden they just disappear I always wonder what happened.  If life threw them a little curve ball, or maybe they just got too busy.  Well life did throw us a little curve ball on February 3rd.  

I was looking forward to last Friday for weeks.   It was my birthday after all and my husband had the day off, but mostly I was looking forward to seeing our baby for the first time.  I had scheduled my 20 week ultrasound on my birthday and was excited to put the worry I had, had all pregnancy about the baby not being okay behind me. I was worried about the health of the baby due to having surgery around week 9-10.  Unfortunately that day wasn’t what I dreamed it would be.  There wasn’t any happy news.  We have had enough kids and enough ultrasounds to realize that things were not like they normally are.  The ultrasound lady was really quiet, she kept leaving the room and would be gone for a long time.  She kept measuring the chest, and head over and over, putting arrows pointing at different spots especially on the head.  We had asked not to find out the sex of the baby but with her concern over getting all the pictures she needed for the doctor she showed us his boy parts at least 3 times.  Now I’m not a radiologist or anything but I can recognize a penis when I see one, and I thought that, that was really weird that we asked her to keep it secret and she didn’t seem to be paying attention to what she was showing us.  I really got worried when I saw his abdomen, even to my untrained eye I could tell things didn’t look right.  I of course didn’t know what it was, and I was still in a state of denial, or maybe hoping I was just wrong and being paranoid.  After the scan was over we met the doctor in an office, and was told that things didn’t look good for our baby.  That he had pleural effusions.  (He never told us the name of our baby’s condition) That he had fluid in his abdomen and in his skin, and that we needed to go to Seattle to get some more information and tests done. He then told us some of the things that could cause his problems but not much else.  Of course we were distraught and we didn’t even know what that would mean for our baby or really what we were even dealing with.  I mostly just cried, and cried and cried and that is pretty much how I spent the weekend.  Monday morning the U of W called and had gotten us appointments for Wednesday.  We had appointments with a genetic counselor, ultrasound and a consult with a perinatologist.  On Tuesday I finally got up the courage to Google our baby’s symptoms, I just needed to know what we were dealing with.  I found what I was looking for, what our baby has is called Non-Immune Hydrops Fetalis. All that means is that the baby has fluid in his body in more than one place.  (I wouldn’t recommend googling it, it’s pretty depressing )   It was good and bad thing to find out.  I learned that the prognosis for a baby that has hydrops is poor.  That more often than not it leads to stillbirth.  That of course was horrid, and quite frankly still is, it’s hard to know that, that is the likely outcome.  Especially as we look at him on ultrasound.  He looks so normal, and is so active, his heart beat is strong and healthy.  I also found out that there are a lot of things that cause this problem and what is causing it has a big impact on whether or not they can treat the baby.  I won’t go into all of that because there is a lot and really it will only matter to us what our baby has.  The two main ones that they are currently looking at are Chromosomal problems and Viruses.  We are hoping for a virus, and know it sounds strange but they can do more for our son if a virus is causing the problem.  So on Wednesday, we went to all our appointments and really didn’t find anything out that we didn’t already know.  We did get confirmation that our baby is suffering from Non-Immune Hydrops Fetalis, and he has a lot of fluid in his abdomen, lungs and skin.  But finding out what is causing it will take time, and there is still a chance that they will never figure it out.  They didn’t have an amino scheduled for us that day, but luckily we talked them into doing one before we left that night.  Without the amnio it’s harder to figure out what’s going on.  We were lucky to get it done too, because by then it was around 6:00 pm and there weren’t a lot of people still at work.  Part of the fluid they took will go for what they call a fish test, it’s a quick test that screens for the more common chromosomal problems, down syndrome, trisomy 18, trisomy 13,  & Turners syndrome (which we already know our baby doesn’t have because he is a boy) So that’s were we stand today.  Knowing our baby is fighting for his life, and there isn’t much we can do but pray and put his and our lives in the hands of our Heavenly Father.  It’s going to be a long road, but we’re on it and hopefully are headed toward some kind of answers as soon as possible.   People tell you to take it one day at a time, but right now it’s so raw, that I try and live moment to moment.  Some moments are better than others, and doing things like talking about it, or blogging about it will usually make for lots and lots of crying later.  We have great friends here that have done so much for us, watching kids, bringing dinner and so many other things I can’t even begin to list them all.  Plus of course our wonderful friends & families who aren’t here near us but offer very kind and comforting words.  I just keep telling myself to remember the scripture from

Psalm 46 “Be still and know that I am God”.  Also the song “Be Still My Soul”  is a great comfort to me, though I usually end up in a blubbering heap. 

1. Be still, my soul; the Lord is on thy side;
Bear patiently the cross of grief or pain;
Leave to thy God to order and provide;
In every change He faithful will remain.
Be still, my soul; thy best, thy heavenly, Friend
Through thorny ways leads to a joyful end.


Update * we got our quick test back and they were all normal!  That of course doesn’t rule out a lot of other chromosomal problems, but a least it’s something positive.

As for the blog as you can imagine, I don’t exactly feel up to it right now.  I have been sewing a lot, I call it sewing therapy.  It actually helps me get through some hard parts of the day.  Because I’m a good enough sewer that the kids can actually wear the stuff I produce, but I’m not that good that I don’t actually have to think about it a little and having something else to think about really helps.  

- Jaime

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Chocolate Peanut Butter Cookies


These are some of my favorite cookies.  The chocolate cookie combined with the peanut butter chips, is a great combo. I have also just used chocolate chips and they are great like that too, or chocolate and white chips mixed. So yummy, I hope you like them too.

Chocolate Peanut Butter cookies


  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • 3/4 cup white sugar
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2 - 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour*
  • 2/3 cup cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 a bag of semi-sweet or milk chocolate chips
  • 1 bag of peanut butter chips


Cream together the butter, white & brown sugar, eggs and vanilla.  Then add the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt mix well.  Then mix in your chips.  Drop onto a greased cookie sheet and bake at 350 degrees for 9-11 min.


p.s you’ll want to have large class of ice cold milk standing by.


*a little side note on flour.  Because of where I live I ALWAYS have to add more flour to any cookies recipe I use.  If you don’t have that problem go with 2 cups of flour. 

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

“Stop making bread, you’re making me fat!”


Yesterday, I wanted to try another new bread recipe to go with our Italian dinner, I was planning.  So I popped on over to Pinterest to see what I could find.  And I came across this lovely bread here.  But as you can see that recipe is not in English, and I really, really didn’t want to go to all the trouble to translate it.  But it does have lovely pictures, and I realized that what I liked about the bread was more about the technique and how it looked than it was about the taste.  Any dough that is stiff enough to work with will work just fine.  I actually used the French Bread dough recipe that I tried the other day, because I wanted mine to be savory and not sweet.  If I was going to make it into a sweet/cinnamon bread I would use my sweet roll recipe, (cut the recipe in half and use a bit more flour until the dough, cleans the sides of the bowl).

 After your dough has risen and is ready to shape, roll it out flat, like cinnamon rolls.  Then add whatever filling you want.  I used butter, Italian seasoning, garlic powder and grated parmesan cheese. 035

Then roll it up just like a cinnamon roll.


Then you cut it completely in half lengthwise.


Then you take the two halves and twist them together


Then join the two ends to make a circle. Then I brushed it with an egg wash.  Let it rise again for about 15-20 min.


Then I baked it according to the French Bread directions.  If you’re using your own recipe then it took about 30 min half of the time at 400 degrees and the other half of the time at 350. But if I was making my sweet bread recipe I would probably start with 30 min @ 350 and then go from there.




It was super fun, to make and super tasty too.


Oh, and the title of the post is a direct quote from my husband.  He also said that this was the best bread he has eaten… this week. 

Button, button, Who in the heck sews with buttons??

So I know you don’t know this, because I haven’t posted any of them, but I have been in a sewing mood lately and yesterday I finished my 4th dress. Currently I’m working on non-matching/matching dresses for all my girls to wear to my 2nd daughters baptism coming up in March!  The first one is finished a turned out great.  BUT that is not what I wanted to share with you today (I’ll share those when all 3 of them are finished).  SEW I decided to try and make a dress that required buttons for my 3 year old.  I found some really cute corduroy that I wanted to use and as I was looking through the patterns I found a pattern that’s style, I thought matched corduroy really well.  So I got it.  LATER when I actually got around to reading the directions I realized it had BUTTONS as fasteners, like real live buttons, not fake decoration type buttons.  Needless to say I was a little nervous, but I like a challenge so I decided to try the button instead of doing what my brain was screaming at me to do, (you know like cheat and use snaps or Velcro or something).  The top of the dress came together flawlessly, then it came time to actually sew on the buttons.  Well I’ll forgo the sad story of me spending 3 hours looking for, while tearing apart my entire house something I thought I needed, to then borrowing it from a friend, to finding out I had what I needed along. Sorry this is all getting really long.  In short I read the directions and made beautiful practice button holes!  I was ecstatic, then when I went to do it on the actual dress, well let just say that, they work great and it could have been worse.  All in all I’m glad I tried it and I would definitely try it again.  Lessons learned: Reading directions, really helps.  Trying something new is always an adventure!!  So here is the finished product, I can never get that great of pictures of dresses sorry. 


Oh there is suppose to be a band at the bottom of the dress in a contrasting color, I left that off for now because, the buttons I had didn’t match any of the colors of fabric, I had and it looked really funny, so I thought I would add a ruffle of the same fabric on the bottom instead, or look for some green material to match the current buttons or look for some buttons that match the fabric I do have.  But for now she loves it and wears it all the time!

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

French Bread

You know me, I LOVE a good yeast bread recipe.  Well I found this on Pinterest the other day and knew I kneaded (hee hee)  to try it. It turned out wonderful and it was super fast especially for a yeast bread, it takes roughly 90 min. You can print the recipe right here it’s called Fabulous French Bread and boy howdy it is fabulous! And of course I can’t wait to play around with it and add some herbs and other fun flavors.  I served it with creamy broccoli soup and it was perfect dunked right in the soup or with butter and a bit of strawberry freezer jam, YUMMY!   Hope you make it and enjoy it soon!



Friday, January 27, 2012

Carrot Cake

It was my husbands 35th birthday last weekend, and he is a carrot cake lover. So most years I make him a carrot cake for his birthday.  Here is the recipe that I use, inspired by my mother-in-laws recipe. 065


2 cups of flour

2 tsp. of soda

2 tsp. cinnamon

1 tsp. salt

1 cup white sugar

1 cup brown sugar

4 eggs

1 cup of oil

3 cups of grated carrots

2 tsp. vanilla


In a large mixing bowl, ( I use me Kitchen Aid) cream together the sugars, eggs and oil.  Then sift and add the four, soda, cinnamon, and salt. Mix well, once it is combined add your carrots and vanilla. Mix again and bake at 350 for 35- 45 min.  For a bunt pan bake 350 for 45-55 min.  Let cool and frost with cream cheese frosting.

We like this recipe for the frosting.

2 cups of powdered sugar

8 oz. cream cheese softened

1/4 cup of butter

2 tsp. of vanilla.



Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Rosemary Olive Oil Artisan Bread

Remember at Christmas when I made the Bacon, Onion, Artichoke Bread?  Well way back then I had wanted to try a Rosemary Olive Oil version.  This weekend while my in-laws were visiting I decided to give it a go, and all that I can say is WOW!! I have been day dreaming about it every since.  It was so great, I liked it even better than the Bacon Onion Artichoke one.  Seriously it’s so easy and yummy you should try it, like now.

Rosemary Olive Oil Artisan Bread


    1 1/2 cups of warm water

    1 TBS of yeast

    1 1/2 Tsp. of salt

    3 1/4 cups of flour

    1 – 1 1/2 tsp. of Rosemary

    1 – 2 TBS of Olive Oil


    Add water, yeast and salt to a large mixing bowl.  Then add the remaining ingredients.  Mix, the dough will be really wet.  Let rise for about 2 hours. Place a baking stone in your oven with a shallow pan underneath of it. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees.  Punch down your dough and add just enough flour to your hands and dough to form a nice tight ball.  Shape your dough into 2 round loaves. Place your loaves on parchment paper on a side less cookie sheet.  Allow your loaves to rise for 30 minutes.  When they have risen 30 minutes cut slits in the top of your loaves. (An X works great.) Slide the loaves including the parchment paper onto the heated baking stone.  Then add a cup of water to the pan underneath the baking stone.  Bake your loaves for 30-35 minutes.   Remove from the oven and let cool completely.



Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Pinterest Flops

So like everyone else on the planet, I like to play around on Pinterest now and again.  I also like to try some of the things I see.  Most of the time they turn out great however here are a couple of things we didn’t care for.

Premade biscuits in the waffle iron.  The flavor was really off, and we didn’t care for the texture either, they’re really dense.


Crock Pot Orange Chicken.  It wasn’t horrible just not good enough for me to EVER want to make it again.


I know that not everything I try will turn out great but I never would have tried this two things without Pinterest (hence why it’s so awesome). Plus it saves my poor favorites bar from getting so stuffed full of links. My next Pinterest recipe that I plan on trying is Mexican Stuff Shells I can’t wait!!  Hope you all have a great week.