Monday, September 22, 2014

The Grief That Worsens

Shit's about to get real, my friends.

I've been thinking about this a lot lately, and am taking to my blog to "talk it out" a bit more.

As a side note, I'm so behind with blogging. This is what happened before with my failed blogger attempt - I get behind, and it becomes overwhelming, and I just stop trying to catch up...just stop altogether. I don't want that to happen.

Anyways... as I've discussed on this blog, I miscarried in May. It still pains me to type that. And as I said early on, it feels like a bad dream.

When it first happened, I was surprised with how well I handled it. It was a painful (to say the least) blow, but I felt hopeful. And why wouldn't I? The doctor gave us no reason to assume that there is anything wrong. Miscarriages (sadly) are quite common, so I figured we'd get past it and be pregnant again fast.

That was 4 1/2 months ago.

Now I've been through a decent amount of grief and loss in my life. I lost two grandpas, two grandmas, a very close family friend, my sister, and a few other close family members before I was in junior high. Since then, I've lost others, and walked with friends as they've lost close family and friends. In other grieving experiences, it gets better. Of course the loss is always never goes away...but time heals and you learn to live again and move forward.

Miscarriage is different. At least for me. Like other grieving experiences, some of it gets better. The trauma, shock, and pain of the loss lessens. But in many ways, it gets worse.

Each month that passes is another month that I'm not pregnant. Each month that passes brings more insecurity and fears (What if something's wrong? What if I can't get pregnant again?). Each month brings more announcements of other pregnancies. Of babies that would have been born after mine. Each month brings me closer to my would-have-been due date...such a dreaded day now. How can it be just a few months away?

By now I would have been in my 3rd trimester. We'd know if it was a boy or a girl. We'd be feeling kicks. Linnea, I'm sure, would be brimming with pride about being a big sister. The nursery would be near completion. All our friends and family would know, and strangers would know too because the bump would be obvious.

But instead... no baby. Fears. Uncertainity. Smiles through the pain when people who don't know ask about future kids. Private tears when I find out that someone else is pregnant and it's not me. Insecurities about any pains, oddities, symptoms that might mean something. Months that cycle obsessively from "waiting waiting "I not pregnant again?! FUCK!" waiting game).

I read a quote on a related blog that has really stuck with me... "Hope is hard." Amen. When the months pass, and there's less and less to put your hope on it is hard. Damn near impossible sometimes.

So what do you do?

Well, if you're take baby steps forward (pun not intended...). You try to put things in perspective. You let yourself be happy for your friends who have babies in their bellies. You work on being thankful. You say (a lot) of prayers. And you get through it. Day by day.

If you are a believer, please say a little prayer for me. Most days are okay, but there have been some rough ones.

Hope is hard.

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

14 in 2014 - #10 (Recipes 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, and 16)

It was a busy summer of new recipes! I last posted a recipe update near the beginning of the summer, and now I've adding 9 recipes to the list! Woo hoo! I have no doubt I will hit (and exceed) my goal of 20 new recipes in the year. Although there have been a few easier recipes, I've had a good number of substantial ones too. I'm happy with my progress. Each recipe I do makes it a little easier. I continue to learn new things, and get more comfortable in the kitchen.

Without further ado, here are the recipes I've tried since the last recipe post.

8. Egg and Brie Strata
I made this recipe for WOWZA cabin weekend, and it's one of my favorite recipes taste-wise that I've done this year. I found it in our favorite cookbook (that I also referenced in my previous post), Cooking Light Comfort Food. You can find the recipe here. It was a bit putzy to put together, but it was nice because I could prep before hand, and then just pop it in the oven.

It was really, really tasty - I'll keep this one around!

9. Greek Orzo Salad
I got this recipe from Andrea at the MN Blogger's Favorite Things party. As her favorite thing, Andrea gave away the recipe, along with a box of orzo and a fun salad dressing bottle that has recipes for various dressings with the measurements built in (does that make sense?...I'm not sure how to explain it.

Anyways, I made this for a Faith Group picnic. In hindsight, I realized that I got the measurements of the dressing a bit off because I made 1 1/2 times the recipe. So the flavors were just a bit off, but it was still really good. It was a really nice alternative to the "typical" pasta salad. (Note: I left out the olives, because I don't like them.)

You can find the recipe on Andrea's blog here.

10. Enchilada Stuffed Shells
I made these one night when Jeromy suggested either enchiladas or a pasta bake. I searched both on Pinterest, and low and behold there was a recipe that was BOTH. I think if you asked Jeromy, he'd say this has been his favorite recipe I've done this year.

I had a bit of a mishap and added way more cheese than it called for...but there are worse things, am I right?

The recipe (found on Eat Cake for Dinner here) was pretty easy, and with pretty basic ingredients (both important credentials for recipes I like to do). And it tasted of those recipes that almost tasted better when reheated! We'll definitely do this one again.

11. Blueberry Lemon Bread
If you are a regular reader, it'll make sense to you that I have a couple blueberry recipes in here. If you'll remember, we went blueberry picking as part of my Summer Bucket List.

We had a lot of blueberries, and we were not going to make it through them just eating them plain. So I searched out good recipes and found this one. I didn't do the glaze, but followed the rest of the recipe (though didn't use nuts).

The bread (though almost more of a cake!) was really good. I had several breakfasts consisting of a small slice, topped with yogurt and some fresh blueberries. Yum. Very summery.

12. Blueberry Breakfast Bake
We didn't make it through all of our blueberries with the above, so I needed to find another good recipe to use some up.

I searched Pinterest again, and found this one. Admittedly, I made it a little less healthy, as I didn't use whole grain bread (used more of a French bread), and I used regular cow's milk instead of almond milk.

The recipe was good...not fantastic, but one I might try again. It's nice to have a tasty breakfast casserole that makes for easy, hot breakfasts during the week.

13. Caprese Pasta Bake
Pasta bakes are something Jeromy makes quite regularly. It's generally the same "equation" with just slight variations.

To mix things up a bit, I tried this recipe from a college friend's blog. This bake did things differently than Jeromy does - instead of cooking the pasta first, you cook it in the oven.

We both agreed that we liked the flavor - the fresh basil and mozzarella was yummy. However, we didn't like the consistency of the whole wheat pasta, and felt like it was more hassle than it was worth to bake the pasta. It didn't quite cook right, and it took way longer than if you just cook the pasta, and then bake it after that.

I would make it again, but with regular pasta, and cooking the pasta first, and then baking.

14. S'more Muddy Buddies
As I've said before, Jeromy and I both love s'more flavored stuff. Marshmallows, graham crackers, AND chocolate?! Perfection.

When out running some other errands I decided to mix up this recipe as a treat for Jeromy to bring to work. It was a little dumb that this recipe, the easiest one in the bunch probably, gave me a bit of trouble. The chocolate seized (I didn't even realize this was something chocolate did until Jeromy told me), so it didn't coat the cereal as well as it should have.

So when all was said and done, there were a bit more clumps than there should have been, but what I tasted of it still tasted good. In hindsight I should have saved a little bowl for myself. Jeromy took it to work to share, and I never saw it again. I guess I'll just have to make it again!

15. Mexican Street Corn Salad
I saw this recipe on a blog I follow, and was really intrigued. Fresh sweet corn is pretty much the best ever. The ingredients sounded like a really good mix, and it was just a bit different than everything we've tried.

While I didn't use fresh sweet corn, I was able to use frozen sweet corn that Jeromy saved from last summer. The recipe was quick and easy. Jeromy was a little unsure of it at first (I have no idea why, since it seemed right up his alley), but I immediately liked it. It was really yummy on our tacos, as a chip dip, or just plain. As Jeromy sampled it more he liked it more and more - and since has requested that I make it again. I'll keep this one on "the list."

16. Crescent Roll Egg Bake
This was another recipe I found randomly on Pinterest. I've had it pinned for a bit, and finally decided to try it out. It was originally found here on Bran Appetit.

This was another recipe that fulfilled the criteria of simple ingredients and easy to put together. Egg bakes, like pasta bakes, are something that Jeromy makes quite regularly. However, we haven't done one with a crescent roll bottom.

The flavor was good, and it was a nice to have something a bit different than what we usually do. We'll keep this one around I think.

So there you go! Only 4 more recipes to hit my goal of 20 new recipes for the year!

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

An Interview with a Three-Year-Old

I'm super behind on my posts...especially in regards to my new three-year-old! I'm working on a few more posts...and update...a recap on her party, etc., but thought I'd start here. I did a little interview with Linnea. I hope to ask these same questions each year around her birthday to see how things change.

The perfectionist in me got a little frustrated that some of her answers weren't quite what I would think is the "true" answer, but I went with what she said, and I think overall it's a very accurate peek at our sweet little girl. Here we go...

1. How old are you? Three!! (pronounced "fweeee!")
2. What is your favorite color? Pink! No! Purple! (I think purple is the more accurate answer.)
3. What is your favorite toy? My Thomas Train. (Then I got the cutest little expansion on that answer...) Well, I don't have a Thomas Train. Just a biiig Percy train and a red one I can use too. (Totally accurate. She doesn't actually have a Thomas train. The ones she has are Percy and whatever train is red.)
4. What is your favorite food? Grilled Cheese and Mac and Cheese (Girlfriend loves her cheese...)
5. What is your favorite snack/treat? I like chocolate! (That's my girl) And ummm...graham crackers and Cheerios.
6. What is your favorite TV show? Super Why
7. What is your favorite movie? Frozen!
8. What is your favorite animal? (Lots of thinking on this one...) Bullseye!! (The name of the pony she rode at the Renaissance Festival this past weekend.) 
9. Who is your favorite friend to play with? Raia (A neighbor friend) 
10. What's your favorite thing to do outside? Play sidewalk chalk
11. What is your favorite thing to drink? Milk and water (True story. She doesn't drink anything other than white milk and water. She really doesn't care for juice.)
12. What do you like to take to bed with you at night? Teddy. And blankie. And Murphy.
13. What is your favorite song? Let it Go. Jesus Loves Me.
14. What makes you happy? Wearing my Anna dress. (This makes me laugh. She got an Anna dress - from Frozen - for her birthday a couple weeks ago and it's been a daily thing for her to request, plead, wear it.)
15. What makes you sad? (Got very serious) "For you to saying no to wearing my Anna dress"
16. What is one thing you love about mama? Playing with my Anna dress (I think she misunderstood it to me one thing she loves to do with me.) Kissing you!! (I'll take that!!)
17. What is one thing you love about daddy? Eating crackers. Doing puzzles. (Again, I think perhaps she misunderstood the question. This also made me smile because it's what they were doing that afternoon. It tells me she loves doing everything she does with her daddy!) 
18. What do you want to be when you grow up? Anna! And a "fighterfighter" (firefighter). And play the bells (at church). 

Linnea is so much fun, and there's no telling what will come out of her mouth next! It was so fun to do this interview, and I look forward to hearing what she says in coming years (although at the same time I don't want the time to go too fast!).