Sunday, October 31, 2010

Happy Halloween

I think because I've been busy lately and maybe a little over-sugared I have nothing really intelligent to say except, we put on our costumes, we ate too much, then we made it to a few peoples houses and finally we had a tantrum and went to sleep. All in all it was a good day.

More Cupcakes.

I really need to stop because I am going to gain a lot of weight if I don't stop with the baking. But all the same, I made Halloween cupcakes the other night instead of cookies. These where somewhat generic cupcakes, vanilla with orange and black sprinkles and chocolate frosting. But of course there is nothing generic about simple good eating.

I have now perfected black frosting too. I used a chocolate base and then always use the gel food coloring (I get mine at Micheals). The 'BOO' is done in white tic-tacs. I now need to perfect how to get black frosting out of clothes.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Not seeing my background?

Just a little bit of housekeeping. If you are not seeing my background or can't leave a comment, just open my blog in a different internet program (i.e. google chrome, internet explorer). Most of the problem is a firefox issue. I know that I could fix this, but I just haven't wanted to waste the time to figure it out. So until I do, check me out on a different program.


Laundry, feeding, cleaning repeat.

Life can be really monotonous. I mean lets admit it. There is a lot of repeat. Add motherhood in and it moves up to really monotonous. I love the phrase, "Life is so daily.". And that is exactly the type of weekend I was having. A weekend, of trying to get things done while it seemed that Kate was literally trying to get things undone at the same speed.

Laundry alone now seems like a never ending battle. Do one load, then there is a spill, a messy lunch, a leaky diaper, a long run (that is my own addition) and we've got another load. The kitchen is another hamster wheel activity. Empty the dishwasher, fill the dishwasher, wipe the counter, make a lunch, wipe the counter again. I actually was almost in tears today because I couldn't get everything to go back into the refrigerator.

I was then cleaning Kate's room. Actually trying to wipe down things with a cleaning product, not just move the piles of things. At one point I turned around and she had just emptied the entire dresser drawer I had just put away. I was busy putting the clothes back in the drawer and she was busy emptying a drawer in the closet full of crib sheets. I gave her a book, and picked up the sheets. Then somehow in less than half a minute, while I was turned around to empty the diaper pail, she had somehow got her foot stuck under the dresser. This involved screaming, me frantically spitting on her foot (to loosen it up), and peeling her foot out. It wasn't even 11 am yet.

I don't know if it is because of a lack of sleep, a lack of alone time, or because at this age your child can barely even say thank you (I am still waiting for mom). Whatever the reason, it does really add up on you. I think for both stay at home moms and working moms, there just isn't enough time in the day. I roll my eyes at myself, because I didn't have enough time before I had a child. What was I thinking?

Finally the day is done, for that point the weekend is done. Baby in bed, wine in hand, feet up. And I start reading some of the blogs that I keep up on. And I come across the blog update I linked below:

Here, I read a fellow preemie mom's post on losing her precious baby girl today. A little baby born at 33 weeks (some 2 months later than Kate), but she had a long hard time in the NICU. And then unexpectedly she lost her battle. I just feel beyond shocked. I also feel a bit ashamed.

I know I am only human. But, gosh why do I let the little things drag me down. Why can't I remember everyday, that I am blessed with all that I have even it includes 20 loads of laundry in a week. Why did I let a a crowded refrigerator nearly bring me to tears when there are others that are experience more suffering and pain than I could ever imagine in the same day and maybe even at the same moment?

And this is where I sit thinking tonight. Thinking of a family who lost their little girl today. A family that will never have the same exhausted frustration of picking up after a busy toddler all day. And instead of whining about all that I have to do, and all that I will still have to do next week, I will take a minute and try to remember a beautiful little girl, and a mother whose life will never be the same without her. And how truly blessed I am to have this monotonous life.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Infant and Pregnancy lost Awareness Day.

October 15th is Infant and Pregnancy lost Awareness day. Before I had a daughter, I hardly thought about what happened in a NICU, a ICU or a children's hospitals. I didn't know about miscarriages, still births and infants that died before their first birthdays. I didn't know how much love my heart could have for my own daughter. I also never realized the compassion and empathy I could have for other parents as they struggled with loss and trauma.

One of the experiences I had when I was staying at the Ronald MacDonald House while Kate was at the NICU was listening to the screaming cries of a mother who had her baby unexpectedly die. I can still remember feeling scared and dumbstruck, that I was watching this painful experience unfold in front of me. I wanted to run away. I wanted to not have this experience in my memory. I feel ashamed that I even thought about myself, when somebody else was in so much personal pain.

Since then, I have had the chance to talk to other families who have lost their babies. I handle the situations better now. I have empathy, and understanding. I am not afraid of their emotions, but instead want to act as a sponge to take some of their horrible pain away. I realize that we can not hide from pain, but instead have to experience it.

Tonight, I will pause and remember those that are not with us but whose spirit will never be forgotten.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Sunday at the Pumpkin Farm.

We had a stormy, gray and in general gross couple of days around here. Then on Sunday afternoon the sun came out, a baby woke up from a nap and a family headed out in a Subaru to the pumpkin patch. We went out to a local farm that has animals, two playgrounds (including a 12 foot high mound of dirt called the 'mole hill'), and much enjoyed coffee and ice cream stand (a Carmel apple sundae).

Our littlest adventurer was a bit serious for the outing but, a good time was still had by all. Funny thing she seemed to enjoy the shuttle bus ride across the street the best. Leave it to a toddler, forget all the great nature and adventure... enjoy the bus ride. I am just happy the sun came out on a day off instead of monday.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Pumpkin Cupcakes with Maple frosting... need I say more!

Okay, recently I was reading an article on how to get more followers to your blog. It had some good points, like always try to use proper spelling, try not to offend your readers, and make your post interesting. Of course those are all things that I try to do (unfortunately, proper spelling and English are not always easy for a science major). Then it said to try to only stick to one consistent topic. It is not a good thing to jump all around from one topic to another topic.

I guess I agree. Unfortantly I can not do this. I would admit that I mostly talk about motherhood and my micro preemie. I will try not to talk about icebergs and then gross motor development. But, the reality is that I am diverse. My daughter and motherhood does dominate my life, but I do have other interest. And thus, I have to make a post about the amazing cup cakes I made this week:

Pumpkin Cupcakes with maple frosting

1 cup all purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
2 extra large eggs (room temperature)
1 cup canned pumpkin puree (8 ounces)
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup light brown sugar, lightly packed
1/2 cup vegatable oil

Maple frosting recipes follows
2- 1.4 ounce bars Heath bars chopped

Preheat oven to 350. Spray 10 to 12 muffin liners.

Medium bowl sift together flour, baking soda and powder, salt, cinnamon, ginger, and nutmeg. In a larger bowl, whisk together the eggs, pumpkin puree, granulated sugar, brown sugar and vegetable oil. Add the four mixture and stir until combined.

Divide the batter among the muffin liners and bake for 20-25 minutes, until toothpick comes out clean. Spread with maple frosting and sprinkle with chopped toffee bits.

Maple frosting:

6 ounces cream cheese at room temperature
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/4 teaspoon Maple flavor (real is great, if you are cheap like me... imitation flavor)
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 cups sifted confectioners sugar

Cream the cream cheese and butter on low speed, stir in maple flavoring and vanilla then slowly ad the confectioners sugar and mix until smooth.

There is something so wonderful about a cupcake. A perfect little cake, made just for one. I also love to bake because you put ingredients just right in a bowl, and then you have perfection in an hour later. A lot of baking you can do in parts so that if you are busy you can finish them later, such as baking the cup cakes and then do the frosting the next day.

These were beautiful cupcakes but, unfortunately we ate them too fast for photographs. Enjoy Autumn!

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Welcome to Holland!

We have made it so far. We can do so much. Life is much easier than it was a year ago. Last week we went to the high risk infant developmental assessment. This involved a long drive in the early morning, and then a series of standardized test to determine how Kate was doing. The entire thing is long, nerve wracking, and frustrating. Holding a one year old in your lap for almost an hour hoping that they will preform tasks put in front of them without speaking to them or encouraging them is challenging. And it is very disappointing when they don't do the task, and you know they can.

I was so happy when she turned one, knowing that we had made it to an important step. At the same time, I remember thinking that she was much closer to her adjusted age in behavior and size. Oh, well we'd get there. Now we've passed the year adjusted mark. We are still growing, and we are doing more things. We are still behind, even according to the experts. Oh, well we will get there someday.

All the same there is a taste in my mouth as I swallow down the "we will catch up someday" statement. It is a a taste of guilt, frustration, sadness and emotion I can't even describe. I sometimes try to tell others about this. Typically I am told that I am over-reacting, or simply they say nothing. Followed by statements like she is doing just fine, she will catch up and don't worry about it. One of Kate's nurses gave me this poem when I was in the NICU. It makes even more sense to me now then it did then. Trying to adjust to Holland can really be hard.

Welcome to Holland

When you're going to have a baby, it's like planning a fabulous vacation trip - to Italy. You buy a bunch of guide books and make your wonderful plans. The Coliseum. The Michelangelo David. The gondolas in Venice. You may learn some handy phrases in Italian. It's all very exciting.

After months of eager anticipation, the day finally arrives. You pack your bags and off you go. Several hours later, the plane lands. The stewardess comes in and says, "Welcome to Holland."
"Holland?!?" you say. "What do you mean Holland?? I signed up for Italy! I'm supposed to be in Italy. All my life I've dreamed of going to Italy."

But there's been a change in the flight plan. They've landed in Holland and there you must stay. The important thing is that they haven't taken you to a horrible, disgusting, filthy place, full of pestilence, famine and disease. It's just a different place.

So you must go out and buy new guide books. And you must learn a whole new language. And you will meet a whole new group of people you would never have met.
It's just a different place. It's slower-paced than Italy, less flashy than Italy. But after you've been there for a while and you catch your breath, you look around.... and you begin to notice that Holland has windmills....and Holland has tulips. Holland even has Rembrandts.

But everyone you know is busy coming and going from Italy... and they're all bragging about what a wonderful time they had there. And for the rest of your life, you will say "Yes, that's where I was supposed to go. That's what I had planned."

And the pain of that will never, ever, ever, ever go away... because the loss of that dream is a very very significant loss.
But... if you spend your life mourning the fact that you didn't get to Italy, you may never be free to enjoy the very special, the very lovely things ... about Holland.

Emily Perl Kingsley 1987

Monday, October 4, 2010

Adjusted Monthly Photo Movie.

Okay, its not a thrilling movie. One of these little flicks that only parents really would like. And I wasn't even creative with the music. I used the song before, and I love it so I used it again. All the same, we've finally made it to a year adjusted (Sept. 17th). From here on out, we are still catching up and we still have two ages so not much has changed but I am proud all the same.