Monday, December 31, 2012


What a month it has been.  Hubby has been traveling 25 of the last 31 days.  For the first 15 of those days with him gone, we all got the stomach flu and Little Lady had it for two whole weeks.  Then we all went to Florida for a residency interview with Hubby for 4 days.  Then we came home, emptied the summer clothes from the suitcase, filled it right back up with winter clothes and drove to Chicago for a week, spending  Christmas with my family.  Hubby also had to take his boards while we were there.  He took them on the 26th and 27th, which was rough, to say the least.  We came home from Chicago, unpacked, took the tree down, threw all the dirty clothes from Florida and Chicago in the basement and had a sleep over with the cousins.  And now here we are. (And breathe....)

Hubby took Little Man to the Science Museum to see Tornado Alley in the Omni Theatre, Little Lady is napping, the last load of laundry is in the wash and I finally have time to sit down and write.  Ahhhh.  I've been dreaming of this quiet time.  Just me, the keyboard and a steaming cup of tea.

I feel like there is a logjam in my brain right now.  The thoughts are all piled up and running into one another and I haven't had the time to think, let alone process the ideas and feelings swirling around up there.   So here I sit, wanting desperately to get words on the page, ideas formed, sentences flowing.  But it.just.won't.come.  There is too much. 

Florida.  I'll start there.

Hubby had an interview in Florida the week before Christmas.  We decided it would make a great family trip.  So for Christmas, instead of buying each other a bunch of stuff we don't need cluttering up our already overflowing house, we bought plane tickets.  And spent a night on the beach.  And went out for Sushi.

We saw old friends, met new babies, revisited some favorite places.  It was a wonderfully bittersweet getaway.  So many memories of my Jameson flooded my heart and mind.  He was my Florida baby.  He loved the heat and the beach.  I truly felt his presence while we were there, almost as if he orchestrated the most perfect day possible for us.  He and Jesus make a good team up there, throwing down blessings left and right for us.

It was a magical day.

We brought home a bag full of shells.  Yesterday I finally got around to rinsing them and putting them in a vase.  As I washed each shell under the water, I smiled as I realized all of my favorite shells are the broken ones.

There is beauty in the brokenness.  So much is broken in life and it is so easy to see the imperfections and want to start over.  To have everything shiny and new again.  To not see life through the filters pain brings.  But there is so much beauty there, too.

On days like today, I have to fight to see the beauty in it.  When I remember that two years ago at this very second, I was at my son's funeral luncheon, it is hard to see anything beautiful about this broken life and broken heart.  But there is beauty mixed in, even there.  

I would give almost anything to have my son back.  To have the happily ever after, shiny life.  But I cannot deny that this road has made me more beautiful in my brokenness.  This world has beat against me and washed over me and worn me down.  And I have cracks straight through my heart and they split open so often.  And it hurts so much it brings me to my knees.  And there is where the beauty begins.  Right there on my knees.  Where grace and mercy and love reign.

Ahh, I have so much more to say!  The logjam is no more.  But the girl is awake.  Stay tuned, I'll be back soon.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Sweats and Sweets

The coffeemaker overflowed this morning.  I knew it would because I over-ground the beans.  But I put them in the machine anyway.  A few minutes later, I had a big mess on my hands and now every sip is crunchy.  Mmmm.  
I don’t do well when Hubby is out of town.  He was gone when we all had the stomach flu party and came home just long enough to add to the fun, get his shirts washed and ironed, and then head back out into the great wide world of residency interviews.  It’s been eight days now since we’ve been under the same roof and I’m so glad he gets home tonight.  
Not only because we all miss him like crazy, but also because I kinda fall apart when he’s gone.  It’s true.  I’ve worn sweats around the clock.  I haven’t cooked anything but pancakes and nachos since he left.   And on Saturday we had McDonalds.   One night last week, I even had S’mores for dinner.  Sunday went a little better because I bought bagels and made Christmas cookies.
But tonight, he comes home!  And now, if you’ll excuse me, I need to plan some meals and go grocery shopping. 

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Squeaky Clean

If Mothering were anything like Boy Scouts, I would have earned a few badges this past week.

Yesterday was the first day in eight days that I was not puked on or pooped on.  We had our annual bout with the stomach flu and I'm *hoping* we are DONE for the winter now.  Lord, just please let us get through December!

As I sanitized the toys last night and washed the floors, I took inventory on what needed to still be cleaned.  And as I looked around, I thought, "There is nothing left that is dirty."  Seriously.  Everything that could go in the washing machine went in this week.  Every rug, towel, blanket, toy...  The rest of the toys took a spin in the dishwasher or were hand-washed with Clorox.  I even cleaned the carpets with the carpet cleaner.  Every.single.surface in my house was scrubbed with antibacterial cleanser, including the couch.  If it couldn't be washed, it was Lysol-ed.   My house is clean.  Squeaky.

In case you think I'm insane with the cleaning, think about this again...EIGHT DAYS of the stomach flu. 

So I was finished cleaning.  It felt really good.  I smiled as I let the dogs back into the house and walked into the kitchen to make myself a cup of tea.  I was just about to sit on the couch and relax for a moment when Little Man called out to me that the dog had muddy paws!  No mud outside, so I was thinking he's a crazy kid who just likes mopping -and thank you, Rubbermaid, for making a fun mop! But sure enough, big, dark paw prints all over the floor.  Only it isn't mud, it's blood.  Poor doggy broke a nail up really high and it was gushing quarter-sized drops of blood all over the clean floors, rugs, carpets...  Sigh. 

Little Man gladly grabbed the mop and cleaned the floors while I bandaged the foot.  I have the best kid.  He was crawling around the carpet with a washcloth looking for blood to scrub out.  He is awesome.  And my dog is doing just fine now. 

Today is a good day.  No cleaning to do.  Leftovers for dinner.  And I get to go back to work tonight.  Cabin fever set in a few days ago...  It feels good to know my house is clean and there isn't anything I have to do. 

Well, Ahem...

I suppose, if I really wanted to go crazy, I could fold the laundry...

I was looking at this mountain of laundry while washing yet another load of pukey clothes earlier this week and thinking about the most drool-worthy laundry set up I've ever heard of: a family closet with a washer and dryer in the same room.  And then it dawned on me that since we no longer had any clothes left in our dressers, we kind of had a family closet with the washer and the dryer right in the same room.   And who said nothing good comes from the flu???

Monday, November 26, 2012

It Makes a Difference to This One

We have snow on the ground. Thanksgiving night it snowed, as if to usher in the Christmas Season in the most festive way possible.  We have a tree in our living room just begging for lights and ornaments.  There is Christmas music on the radio 24/7.  And I have found the BEST station ever.  I've been listening to Christmas music since Friday every.waking.moment. and they haven't played that awful Shoes song once!  107.9 is the place to be, Twin Cities people. 

I thought I was done with my Christmas shopping, but I still have to get something for the bus driver.  But otherwise, I was done last Tuesday.  Friday I spent the day working and earning money instead of spending it.  And then I turned around a spent every last penny on my favorite gift for myself: I donated to Reece's Rainbow!  This Sweet Rainbow, to be precise. 

Reece's Rainbow is having it's Angel Tree 2012 Fundraiser right now!  This is their biggest fundraiser of the year and their goal is to get at least $1000 for each and every child on their website.  And hopefully more children will not only get funds in their adoption piggy banks, but also find families.  Please click here to see the kids, read the stories, donate a few bucks and maybe consider adopting a beautiful child!  It is super fast and easy to donate and if you give $35 or more, you get a sweet ornament for your tree with your child's photo.  I just got mine Saturday and can't wait to get it on the tree tonight. 

A few weeks ago, I read this article.  And my heart just broke for all of these beautiful children.  Please take the time to read this article and see why I am so passionate about this organization.  This truly is a must-read.

Afterwards, I sat on my couch in my warm and comfy home with fuzzy slippers on my feet, a cup of coffee in my hand and dinner cooking on the stove and I thought, What kind of person am I, if I can know about these children and what they are living and not do something?  Not do everything in my power to help?  And then I thought of Matthew 25:40.  “The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’"  And I thought to myself, whatever I'm NOT doing for the least of these, I'm NOT doing for You, Lord.  

We are not in a position to adopt a child right now.  And we don't have a lot of money to give away.  But I can give a little.  And I can pray a lot.  And I can share this message with others.  And maybe you are reading this and you can adopt a beautiful child.  Maybe you have money to donate.  Or maybe, like me, you can offer up prayers for these kids and share their story.  

Everybody can do something.  And it makes a difference to this one.  

Friday, November 16, 2012

Learnng To Play Again

When Little Man and Jameson we little, I was an awesome mom.  Not perfect by any means, but I spent a lot of time and energy planning meals, activities, playdates and games to keep my boys learning new things and having loads of fun in the process.  I let Little Man use an entire bottle of glue on one piece of paper and only put one bean on it if that was what he wanted.  I let them play in dirt and water and paint with pudding.  We made rocket ships out of cardboard and spent hours flying them around.  And I played with them on their terms, not mine, with real joy.

When Jameson got sick, the play stopped.  I was never home and when I was, we would snuggle and read a book and go to sleep because everyone was too tired.  For four months, Little Man not only lost his best friend and brother, but he lost me, too.  I was gone; even when I was home, I was a skeleton of a person, filled with fear over what what happening with J, guilt over not spending time with Little Man, sheer exhaustion from the overwhelming anxiety of it all and inability to sleep.  I was a mess.

When Jameson died, I think in some ways, it was a relief for Little Man, because at least Mom and Dad were home again.  But it was so different.  The grief.  The silence.  The dynamic had changed completely.  I feel like my playfulness died with Jameson and I didn't know how to "be" with just Little Man.  For months, he played alone while I sat on the couch and watched him, trying to just make it through the hours without crying, without shutting down, without completely falling apart.  I could fake it for a few minutes here and there, but it wasn't the same and we both knew it.

I was a crappy, crappy mom.   Poor Little Man went from having an awesome mom and the world's best brother, to being a lonely, only child with a shell of a mom.  I'm getting better, but it still isn't like it used to be.  I don't know how to play like we used to.  It seems foreign to me.  I don't even feel like I'm the same person and it sucks.  I wish I could just be that happy, awesome mom again.  But I'm not.  I love my son so much and I have such awful guilt over not being able to just get on the floor and play with him with ease and joy like I used to.  And this is hard and scary to write this out and share with you.

I'm working hard to be a good mom, but so often when we do play now, it is totally on my terms.  And I want him to look forward to playing with his mama.  So this weekend, I'm completely going outside of my comfort zone and doing something that I'm not looking forward to at all.  Something that I never saw myself doing.

I'm learning how to play Pokemon trading cards. And I'm praying for a joyful spirit, too. 

Baby steps... 

If any of you are seasoned Pokemon moms, please give me some hints here.  I'm totally confused so far. 

Monday, November 12, 2012

I Have Arrived

Last week was a good food week.  A really, really good food week.  We had an acorn squash and pesto pasta one night with fresh Italian bread.  We had eggs florentine. Totally a breakfast food, but now that I'm working afternoons, we end up eating eggs a lot for dinner.  So quick and yummy.  And how is this not good enough for dinner???

We had crockpot pork tenderloin with tomatoes and green chiles,  hand-pulled and made into tacos with homemade guacamole and Tillamook cheddar. 

And then we had pizza.  Pizza.  PIZZA.  We made three pies and had some of our favorite people over to break the bread together.  We did a traditional red sauce pizza with freshly roasted bell peppers, sausage, and mushrooms.  We also had a hot wing pizza: homemade hot wing sauce, celery, onions, chicken breast, and blue cheese.  And then we tried a new one: curried pumpkin pizza.  The sauce was a pumpkin puree with curry and other spices and we topped it with broccoli, spinach, and mushrooms.  And of course, all the pies have mozz on top.

Yum.    And to wash it all down, Hubby has a Rye IPA and Black IPA on tap right now, too.  It was better than going out for dinner.  Way better...even before we got to dessert.

Ahem.  Dessert deserves a moment of silence before we delve in.

Creme Brulee.  It got really quiet in the kitchen as we all ate dessert.  The only sounds were some moans and the clinking of spoons as everyone scraped the ramekins clean.  It was bowl-licking good.

All I could think as I ate that creme brulee is that I.Have.Arrived.  Not sure why this pushed me over the edge; it really isn't even that difficult to make.   But this, in my mind, is a feat.  And I now feel I've officially lived up to my domestic goddess title.  I'm maybe as proud of this as that deboned bird from last Thanksgiving.  That was a lot of work...

Sigh.  And now it is gone, my pants are a little tighter, and the sink is FULL to the brim with 2 day old pots and pans waiting to be shiny and clean again.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

We're Odd

The dishwasher is fixed, Hubby is no longer working a million hours a week, the political ads are almost other words, all is right in the universe today.  We've been busy.  And we aren't slowing down anytime soon.  But it has been good crazy.  I don't have anything particularly exciting to write about today.  Saturday I made cheesecake and chocolate orange curd cakes for a baby shower.  Didn't take any pictures, but they were good.

Last night Little Man had some homework for math.  They are learning all about odd and even numbers.  When Hubby came home I was telling him about the homework.  Little Man had to count the number of people in his house and then say if the number is even or odd.  I told Hubby that Little Man wrote that we have seven people in our house.  Mom, Dad, Farkus, Flick, Little Man, Little Lady, and Jameson.  And before we can feel the heart strings pulling too much, Little Man chimes in loudly, "Yeah, we're odd."  He doesn't even know yet how funny he is. 

My mother-in-law lent me some ramekins and I'm going to try making creme brulee for the first time.  Hubby is letting me use his soldering blow torch for them.  I've been craving creme brulee since I was pregnant.  It has been a long time coming, so I better not screw it up!  I'll let you know how it goes!

Happy Election Tuesday!  Go Vote! 

Monday, October 29, 2012


When we were in the hospital, we always has a basket of candy in Jameson's room.  Nurse Candy, I called it -although, I think the doctors indulged just as much.  It was Hubby's idea, from way back when J was first born and had an unexpected three-week NICU stay.  That boy liked to give us grey hairs from day one.  But that is a story for another day.  Hubby just started buying bags of chocolates to keep at Jameson's bedside to thank the nurses and staff for all they do.  It was a good strategy; I think J got loved on a lot at night when we couldn't be there. When he was first admitted at Children's we got candy as soon as we could think straight.  And for four months, we kept the PICU staff well-stocked with sweets.  We even brought two bags of candy to labor and delivery when Little Lady was born.  Candy is chocolate gratitude.

I can't buy a bag of candy now without thinking about my Jameson and being transported right back in that PICU room with the beeping machines and harsh lights and sterile smells.  Halloween is *awesome.*  

Two years ago in October, we had our first Care Conference when all J's docs met with us around a big table and said things no parent should ever hear.  They talked about filling out a DNR.  They asked us really hard questions, like "are we prolonging his life or prolonging his death?"  They told us they were running out of options on ways to keep him alive. We talked about risky treatment options and were told out of town family should come soon, just in case. 

It was one of the worst days of my life.

There we were, trying to process all of this information, trying to figure out how to see hope, trying to just stay afloat and breathe, all while carving pumpkins and playing in the leaves with Little Man, getting Halloween costumes for both of the boys...

I can't look at a costume without thinking about dressing Jameson up as a sleepy dinosaur.  I went to six different stores before I found a dino costume that would work with the edema and the chest tubes and the picc lines and the vent.  I spent a fortune on it.  He wore it for an hour or so.  We told him how cute he was.  We took loads of pictures with J and Little Man both dressed up.  All the nurses came in and "oohed" and "ahhed" over how adorable he was.  He was seriously the cutest dinosaur ever.  Ever.

October is hard.

September was hard, too, with the wholly unexpected diagnosis of a terminal disease, Jameson's birthday, ECMO.  November is also hard.  November is radiation.  All that traveling through the tunnels, all the angst over whether anything was working and the fear that he may not get better.  December wins, though.

But October is hard.

I have three pumpkins sitting on my front porch waiting to be carved.  One for each of my kids. Little Man picked them all out and he has plans for how each one will look when we light them on Halloween.  I love making things magical and happy for Little Man.  I love giving him traditions and memories.  But buying the candy and picking out just the right costume and carving the pumpkins is so heart-wrenching, too.  It gets a little harder to breathe again.  A little harder to be. 

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Domestic Goddess

Last night at the dinner table I made a terrible mistake.  We were all sitting there eating our bacon, avocado, and poached egg sandwiches.  It was quiet, which is always the best compliment a cook can get.  Little Man had chipotle mayonnaise running down his chin, the plate were catching the yolk drizzling out from the bread, Little Lady was happily shoving bits of avocado into her mouth.  It was a good dinner.  I was pleased.  I looked up at Hubs, smiled and said, "I love being a Domestic Goddess."  Why, of all the things in the world that could come out of my mouth, would I chose to say that?  I couldn't have just smiled and taken another bite.  Or said I'm so glad you all like dinner.  Or something else.  But, no, I had to say it.

And wouldn't you know it, the Universe just had to hold me to my word and one of the more terrible things that has ever happened happened.

My dishwasher broke.

I'm going to give you all a minute to let that sink in.  The horror of it all.  The dinner dishes.  The pots.  The cereal bowls.  The baby bottles.  I have to wash them  Gasp.

Between the laundry and ironing and dishes, I earned my title last night.  I saved the dishes for last.  And I stood at that sink, trying once again to figure out just what lesson I'm supposed to learn from getting raisin fingers.  I thanked God for the clean water and soap.  For the sponge.  For the food.  For the plates and silverware.  For the bottles with 18 million little pieces all needing scrubbing.  For the baby who drinks from them. 

When I was done, I made a bowl of ice cream as my reward.  I sat down on the couch at midnight to enjoy my ice cream and all I could think was that I now had another dish and spoon to wash.  So not worth it.  Tonight I'll just go for whipped cream right from the can.

Monday, October 1, 2012

Cheese and All

Okay, so here is my MOPS testimony from almost two years ago, cheese and all, as requested by many friends.

Up until Jameson, my life has been fairly unremarkable.  I don’t feel like I have much to share before J.  I grew up in a Christian home, spent high school going to church 2-3 times a week.  I met my Prince Charming in college and we married soon after, hoping to live happily ever after.  I was indeed living a fairy-tale.  I found my handsome prince; we had one perfect and amazing son, two incredible dogs, and plans for much more.  
Sure we moved a lot during the Navy years.  Like 9 times in 7 years.  Of course, it made it hard for me to have a career.  Understandably, it was a lot of upheaval. Yes, my faith ebbed and flowed.   No, we didn’t go to church all of the time…we still don’t make it much more than once or twice a month.  But the relationship has always been there and I know God is always there for me.  I trust His words and His promises.  And He has been faithful, providing not just enough, but always a bounty of blessings.    Yes, we have had difficult times in our lives, but for the most part, I have felt that life has been handed to me on a silver platter and I have been living out a modern day fairy tale.  
And then Jameson was born.   And it was like I was seeing the world for the first time.  Through new eyes, through a heart and soul that stretched in ways I didn’t think were humanly possible.  Could love really go this deep?  Be this strong?  I already knew a mother’s unconditional love, but this was even more.  How is it possible that I was so blind before?  How did I not know it could be this good?  That blessings like this could exist?  Down syndrome is beautiful.  My son was a gift.  And life would always be better for knowing him, seeing him, loving him.  
And then we changed paths- we left a secure and good income for the unknown: medical school.  We moved across the country, traded in a home we loved for family and a dream.  And God was still with us.  We didn’t need income, God would provide -God and student loans. J  And it was grand- living on a budget in half the space and with half the stuff…we didn’t miss it because we were happy.  We had each other, we had our faith, and we still had plenty of dreams to go on.  And God always provided.  Not just what was needed, but He always gave us surplus.  We were blessed.  
And then J got sick.  He wasn’t supposed to get sick.  That didn’t fit into the plan.  He was supposed to start his Target modeling career, go to preschool, and become a big brother.  And those were just the fall goals. But instead, we went in for hernia repair on Aug 31st and life changed.  Jameson didn’t come home.  There were complications with his lungs and he was admitted that afternoon.  Instead of coming home and eating pudding and watching TV, he got a chest tube and Burger King fries from a hospital bed.  And that would be the last food he would ever eat on this earth. 
We spent four months in the hospital watching our son fight.  Four months watching our son suffer.  Four months watching our son die.  
And I don’t know how we did it.  I don’t know how we survived.  This is my testimony and I can’t tell you how it happened- I can’t even explain how God saved us.  I can’t give you words to describe how we managed to stay focused and positive as we watched one son slowly slip away while the other watched and wondered, lost in confusion and sadness.  I don’t know where the strength came from to desperately hold his hand day after day, and helplessly watch procedure after procedure, and hopelessly listen to specialist after specialist tell us there is nothing more they can do for our son.   All I can tell you is that I trusted God.  I believed in His truths.  And I expected Him to live up to His words.  To save our Jameson.  To save us.  
And then Jameson died.  It was Christmas day when I first said good bye, knowing it would be true.  It was Christmas day when we couldn’t ignore it anymore.  Christmas day.  A day of birth.  A day of celebration.  A day of miracles.  And this Christmas day, the miracle is that we are unselfish.  That we see where our son is, where he is going and we let him go.  We let him go home.  We say goodbye and give him to Christ.  God gave him to us and we, with weak and broken hearts, we give him back.  And it hurts and we don’t understand.  But we do it anyway.  
Mostly, because we don’t have a choice, but also because we trust.  We trust a God who has always provided.  A God who has given us not just enough, but always surplus.  A God who loves us.  A God who loves Jameson.   And it works.  God saves Jameson.  Jameson is now home and he will never again know pain, suffering, hurt.  Our son is waiting for us, waiting to share the glories of salvation with us!  It wasn’t what I wanted.  It was never in my master plan to lose my son and then three months later to lose another beloved, yet unknown baby.  But it is okay.  It is okay because I still trust God. 
I cling to Him like a toddler to a mother’s leg.  God has to drag me around heaven on daily basis.  It is the only way I can get by, clinging to God as I do.  But it is so much more than just getting by.  Even after all of this- even after losing two babes, it is alright.  And that is a miracle, my friends.  It is an absolute miracle.  Because I am not just getting by; God has redeemed my broken heart.  He heals me on a daily, hourly, and sometimes minutely basis.  He HEALS me!  Because I ask Him to.  Because I believe He will.  Because I trust His words.  
My testimony is only important because I have been saved.  I have walked through hell on this earth and I have survived with His grace.  My words matter today because God has redeemed me –and instead of seeing a broken woman, falling to pieces, you see a saved woman, made strong through Christ’s love.  I am okay because His salvation means this separation is temporary, this loss is only short term, this good-bye is not permanent.   And our family reunion will be so sweet someday!   I will receive the most amazing tour of heaven from my own children.  
I am unremarkable.  But my God, He is not.  Helen Steiner Rice once wrote that “Faith is a force that is greater than knowledge or power or skill, and the darkest defeat turns to triumph if we trust in God’s wisdom and will.” Only God can redeem the worst nightmare possible, only God can turn pain into praise.  Only God can turn a shattered life into a powerful testimony.  And that is the only reason I stand before you today.  Because our God is enough.  He is enough. 
 As a little girl, I totally bought into the Disney dream.  I wanted to be the Princess and live out the happily ever after.  And I still want that.  I am still a little girl, hoping and dreaming for a happily ever after.  And with God, I still believe it can happen.  It just may take a little time, and it won’t all be on this earth; but we are, after all, the Bride of Christ.  I am the Bride of Christ.  And while I may have found my prince charming and have a little slice of heaven now, there is still so much more to look forward to, still so much to hope on.  Because “Someday THE Prince will come, someday we'll meet again, and away to his castle we'll go, to be happy forever I know. Some day when spring is here, we'll find our love anew, and the birds will sing, and wedding bells will ring, some day when my dreams come true.” –Snow White

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Peg's Meatloaf

I thought I would give you all a little present on this gorgeous and happy, albeit tired Wednesday.  What I have for you is a recipe.  And not just any recipe.  This is a recipe for the meatloaf of all meatloaves.  It is my mom's recipe and, let me tell you, Peg knows how to make a loaf! 

So Happy Wednesday and enjoy your loaves this week. 

Peg's Meatloaf

2 lbs ground meat(any combo works: beef, pork, turkey, chicken)
1 pkg frozen spinach thawed and drained
1 pkg dry onion soup mix
1/2 cup mayo or miracle whip
2 eggs
1/2 cup oatmeal
1 pkg shredded cheese

Mix it all together, except the cheese.   Pat it out like a rectangular pizza on foil.   
Sprinkle the cheese on top and pat it in a bit.  Now using your foil to help you along, roll your loaf.  Make sure you peel back the foil so it doesn't get stuck in the loaf.  Put the rolled loaf in a baking dish or roaster.

I like to make it a wonder dish wonder and add veggies to the sides with a little water in the bottom of the pan.  Salt and pepper the veggies to taste. Last night we had a turkey loaf with rutabaga, carrots and Brussels sprouts all in the same pan.  

Cover with foil.  Bake at 350 for 1.5 hours.  (I do 375 because I almost always make my loaves bigger and never squeeze the spinach well enough.)

Enjoy your new favorite dinner.  Unless you are a vegetarian. 

Friday, September 21, 2012

Never Enough

Last night I sat in a little chair and talked with Little Man's teacher across a little table at his beginning of the year conference.   We talked about his personality, how well he's adjusting to first grade, and how he's doing.  I walked into the school tired and drained, but feeling really good about the fact that I had brushed my teeth and the yoga pants I was wearing actually fit me.  About half way though the short meeting, I was trying really hard not to cry.

She said one little harmless line and it almost broke this camel's back.  Little Man has to get pulled out of class daily for extra reading support.  Really, it isn't a big deal.  I know my boy is smart and I know he'll get it in his time.  But everything inside me started screaming that I have failed as a mother yet again.  I am not good enough.

I'm completely drained this week, emotionally and physically.  And everywhere I look I just keep seeing how I'm never enough.  I see the crumbs and coffee stains on the counters.  The laundry piled up, unfolded. The dishes overflowing in the sink.  I'm never a good enough housekeeper.   The baby wakes up with a poopy diaper that has clearly been there for a while.  As I bathe her and slather her with cream, all I can think about is how I should have checked her pants during that third middle of the night feeding.  I'm never enough as a mother.  Hubby scrambles to find an unwrinkled dress shirt for work because I didn't get that ironing done yet.  I'm not enough as a wife, either.

I feel like a big, fat failure.  And I'm so tired.  And I'm missing my Jameson. And all I want to do is run away from everything.

About a month after I had the miscarriage, I gave my testimony at a MOPS coffeehouse event.  I sobbed through the whole thing; I can't imagine anyone heard what I was saying.  Which is a good thing, because it ended on a super cheesy note.  Maybe someday I'll post it here...maybe with the cheese removed.  I do have a point in bringing this up.  In my testimony, I talk about losing Jameson and losing the baby and how God has healed me and made me whole again.  And it's true.  God's healing does work.  But there is a trick to it.  I'm learning that he doesn't actually "cure" us on this earth.  When we go to heaven, that is when we will be cured and made perfect.  Here, on this earth, we need God's healing all the time.  It's as if we are spiritual diabetics and God is our insulin.  One dose will only work for so long and then we need more.  And then we need more.

I'm not going to tie this together eloquently today.  But you can see where this is going.   I hope.  (I'm not a good enough writer either!!!)  All this I'm-not-enough-business is absolutely true.  I am not enough.  And I seem to forget that so often.  But God is enough.  And I don't need to be enough; I just need Him.

Psalm 103:1-5 "Praise the Lord, O my soul, all my inmost being, praise his holy name. Praise the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits Who forgives all your sins and heals all your diseases, who redeems your life from the pit and crowns you with love and compassion, who satisfies your desires with good things so that your youth is renewed like the eagle's."

Saturday, September 15, 2012


Happy Birthday Jameson.

We wish you were here and five and covered in chocolate and frosting.  I'm sure heaven is better, but I still wish you were here.  We love you and miss you terribly. 

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

What's For Dinner

It has taken some time, but I finally am starting to cook and bake again and it feels great.  I think getting Little Man back to school and being in a routine has helped immensely.  And I definitely had some great inspiration from going out during our staycation.  

Last night, we had eggplant ragout with homemade bread sticks.  I also made a loaf of whole wheat bread for lunches and banana bran muffins for breakfast since the oven was already on.  It got a little toasty in here last night.

Friday night I came home from working out to this:

Hubby cooked me salmon with roasted sweet potatoes, portabello mushrooms and spinach salad.  He is amazing.

Saturday night we had pizza.  Our latest and greatest invention was a pie with homemade pesto sauce, fresh spinach leaves, roasted beets and goat cheese.  I could have eaten the whole dang pie myself.  But then I wouldn't have had room for the macaroons my cousin made.  And they were sooooo good!

I was all set to tell you about this awesome chicken dish we had last week, too.  But I can't remember what was in it.  I think it was a white wine sauce with loads of fresh veggies from the farmer's market.  Spinach and peppers, onions, mushrooms.  Hard to go wrong with loads of fresh veggies.

Little Lady and I will head to the farmer's market again this morning and make another large batch of pesto today.  Hopefully we'll then have enough to make it through winter.  She's a good helper at the market and in the kitchen!

Today is September 11th and I feel a little weird writing about food.  I remember the shock, confusion and fear of that day, followed by the immense sadness.  It was 11 years ago.  All I can think about is how time makes it harder when you lose someone and I feel so badly for the people left behind, mourning their loved ones.  May God bring them peace today.

We have a birthday coming up this week.  I'm feeling weird and sad about that, too.  Last year on J's birthday we were in Portland.  We ate Voodoo doughnuts and I went to the Grotto and sobbed at the feet of Mary holding Jesus.  Two years ago we had cake in an ICU waiting room, terrified for our boy.  Three years ago, we had ice cream sundaes at home and watch J open a million gifts from the resale shop.

He was two when he had his last "real" birthday.  And Saturday he should be turning five.  I don't know if we'll make a cake or have ice cream, cry or sing, but I do know that our heavy and broken hearts will be celebrating our Jameson and wondering what five is like in heaven. 

Friday, August 31, 2012

Crappy Anniversaries

Two years ago I tucked my boys into their beds for the last time.  I heard them goofing around and laughing together for the last time.  I don't remember the night much.  I don't know if I stopped to cherish their playful before-bed-banter or if I was just tired and annoyed that they were staying up much too late when we had to all get up so early in the morning.  I'm sure I was preoccupied with packing up the diaper bag with changes of clothing for J, snacks and toys to entertain Little Man during J's routine hernia repair surgery, and getting directions off the computer on which route to take and where to park at the hospital.

Tomorrow morning I'll remember how two years ago was the last time I ever heard my sweet boy laugh.  It was two weeks before his third birthday.  He loved Toy Story and he loved dinosaurs and on an impulse two days earlier I had bought him a T-Rex flashlight.  I hid it from Daddy so he wouldn't get mad over the frivolous purchase.  We brought it to the hospital and I can still see him in the hospital gown, running in circles opening and closing Rex's mouth and laughing.  He was so happy.  So vibrant.

And then the nurses took him back for his hernia repair.  And I waited.  And waited.  And the surgeon came in and told me they had some problems with the intubation and was I sure he wasn't sick?  And then he had to stay for observation because his oxygen wouldn't come up.  So we waited.  And waited some more, watching cartoons in a recovery room.  I didn't have a signal on my phone and the phone in the room was only for local calls so I couldn't call Hubs from the room.  I used the lobby phone and left him a message to come.  And then a new doctor came in and said he needed chest x-rays.  He had pleural effusions and one lung was almost completely collapsed.  My sister-in-law picked up Little Man and I started to really freak out about what was happening and panicking that Hubby wasn't here to help me understand and make the right decisions.  He arrived just before we went to the PICU for the first of many chest tubes.

Tomorrow is the two year anniversary of all hell breaking loose in our lives.  Tonight marks the two year anniversary of the last time we all slept under the same roof.  And the next four months hold nightmarish anniversary after nightmarish anniversary that I'd rather not remember, except that it was precious time with my precious boy. 

The scars are cracking and bleeding a little more tonight.  We all miss him so much.  We talk about him and remember him and smile and laugh and it is good and terrible all together.  And the clock keeps taking us farther and farther away from him.  It's getting harder and harder to picture how it would be if he were still here.  Harder and harder to picture my family all as one.  And my heart breaks and bleeds a little more.  There is no such thing as moving on, but we do have to keep moving.  It's just that instead of J moving with us, there is a hole along for the ride.  A big, empty space where sunshine used to reign. 

Thursday, July 26, 2012


Cooking in a new kitchen is always a bit of an adventure.  Some things are better, some are worse.  I'm really missing my huge kitchen with storage galore up north.  But I am a master at fitting things into small spaces.  I'm also surprised by how much I miss my gas range.  The whole time we were up there, I silently cursed it for being so difficult to clean and thought about how much I hoped for glass top stove again.  And now I have a glass top and all I can think of is how great it was to be able to shake a pot on the gas.  The grass is always greener somewhere else, isn't it?

One of the biggest cooking adventures of the summer is learning how to use my grill.  I'm not a great griller; typically grilling to me means marinading some meat or putting together Lucys and then handing off the raw tray to Hubs.  A short time later, dinner is magically done and we eat.

Last summer we had a million chicken legs in the freezer that I bought on sale and needed to use up before we moved.  Hubs was working late so I threw them in BBQ sauce and put them on the grill.  How hard can it be?  Okay people, I didn't even know how to read my grill's temperature settings.  Or I am just really, really dumb.  Because I threw those legs slathered in sweet BBQ sauce on the flaming grill on HIGH.  Soon the grill wasn't the only thing flaming.  Those legs ignited quickly.  I gasped, not unlike the crazy old guy does in Back To The Future when the model starts on fire.  Then I turned the grill too low and a half hour later when I took them off, they were charred and chewy on the outside and raw on the inside.  Not quite what I had in mind for dinner that night.  I think we ended up eating pinto beans out of a can.

On top of my inability to grill, I also wanted to add veggies to the challenge.  We don't eat a lot of meat and we love to eat veggies.  Particularly roasted veggies.  But as I've already said, it is waaayyyy too hot to use the oven.  So, this summer, my big kitchen adventure is to make tasty vegetable-heavy meals on the grill.  I'm doing alright.  So far we've had grilled eggplant parmesan, stuffed bell peppers, and loads of beets and sweet potatoes.  Yum!  Hubby has also grilled up a number of sausages and burgers and lucys.  And this weekend we are going to try pizza on the grill.  I'm excited.  Feel free to share any of your great veggie grilling ideas! 

This grilling adventure is fun.  And do you know the absolute best part about grilling?  The clean up!  No pots or pans.  Not a lot of prep bowls.  Usually just a cutting board and a tray.  Which is great because my dishwasher is here is only a half dishwasher.  We can usually fit in Little Lady's bottles and the dinner plates and  Doing dishes is my LEAST favorite household chore.  Okay, maybe folding laundry is worse, but I really despise doing dishes.  And every night I find myself standing at the sink looking out at the chain link fence and the garage siding and thinking about what God wants me to learn by doing all these dishes.  This is a refining process for me and I hope I get out of it what I'm supposed to.

I made these for breakfast last weekend.  Pinterest is so much fun!

They are black forest pancakes.  Chocolate pancakes, covered in a fresh cherry sauce and whipping cream.  Surprisingly, my chocoholics both decided they don't like chocolate pancakes; Little Man refused to eat them, but he did eat the cherries and whipped cream.  I thought they we great and I'm usually the one who doesn't eat chocolate.  Or at least I was before Little Lady was born.  Now I can't seem to get enough; she's made me a "real" woman, I guess. 

Alright, off to make some raspberry lemonade and strawberry cupcakes with Little Man.  Tonight is Ladies Night with my sister-in-laws and mother-in-law.  We are having dessert and drinks at my place and then heading out for a crazy night of BINGO.  I can't wait.  Have a great weekend, friends! 

Saturday, July 21, 2012


It seems every box and bag I open has some memory of my boy in it.  Some memories make me smile, some make me cry.  All of them make me miss him so much and my heart just hurts a little more this month.  For the past year we have lived in a furnished vacation home and I feel like I'm unpacking some of my grief with the boxes that have been stored away since we left a year ago. 

And we have so much stuff we will never use again; it drives me batty.  Because everything contains memories, or, at the very least, significance.  We needed it because we had Jameson.   And now we don't.  And the ever-practical-and-always-moving gypsy in me can't handle keeping things around that we don't need.  And my heart just can't take looking at the stack of third birthday presents that were never opened and played with.  Every cell of my being longs to trade the stuff for the boy.  Oh God, how I want him back.  But I can't make that trade.  I can't have him back.  It just totally blows.  I don't even know how else to write it.  There are not words in this world that are powerful enough to describe my sadness and longing.

I'm not overly sentimental with his stuff.  There are some things that I will keep forever.  His blankey.  His Spiderman sneakers that he wore to the hospital and should have worn home that crappy August afternoon before all hell broke loose.  His Irish Prince T-shirt.  A few toys that make me smile because they made him smile.  But stuff in general doesn't do it for me.  Other than pictures, I think I could walk away from everything I own with a shrug and an oh well.  Because I've already lost something that really matters.  And let me tell you, stuff doesn't really matter.  It doesn't.

So, I've got all this stuff that I don't need and somebody else probably does.  I'm trying to maximize the feel-good return on the donations and bless people with special needs as much as possible.  The books and Down Syndrome stuff is all going to a brand new GiGi's Playhouse in the Twin Cities.  And maybe some toys will go to them, too.  The birthday gifts that still have tags will go to the hospital for other sick kiddos.  Some of the used stuff will go to a garage sale benefit for a friend's sweet girl.  My Jameson will give lots of smiles to other kids.

Sigh.  I'm sitting on the floor trying to process all of this and so much more and I've got the most smiley, happy girl rolling around next to me, squealing and tooting up a storm.  Hahaha.  She is Grace and a balm for my broken heart.  Right now she's chewing on the T-Rex Jameson had with him in his hospital bed.  Sometimes her little fingers wrap around the tail the same way his did and it is hard to breathe.  I imagine it makes him smile down on us.  My happiness and sadness are all intertwined in these moments.

Ah, and now it is time to dry my eyes and feed little mouths.  Happy Saturday.   

Tuesday, July 10, 2012


Whew!  My head is still spinning, but I wanted to say hi and let you know I haven't forgotten about this blog here.  The past few weeks have been such a whirlwind!  We really enjoyed every last ounce of the lake.  Swimming, fishing, walking the dirt road, sunrises and sunsets...  It was such a lovely last week.

We moved back to the Cities just over a week ago.  Little Lady cried when we hit the suburban sprawl.  I was right there with her on that one.  We are missing the serenity of living in the country, but we'll survive.  Our new house is probably a third the size of the lake house and we have probably two-thirds more stuff.  Clearly we did this the wrong way.  I need to have another garage sale.

This past Sunday Little Lady and her cousin were baptized.  My parents came and up and stayed in a hotel so the kids could swim in a pool.  It was super fun.  My brother came up, too, and he brought me a tres leche cake.  I'm having it for breakfast as I type.  Right now, I'm spending all my free time unpacking way too many boxes and looking for a job. 

Happy Tuesday! 

Monday, June 11, 2012

Super Fun Week

Holy Cannoli, have we been having fun!  The weather has been unbelievably awesome, people are visiting,  and we are carpe dieming the crap out of it.  Just had to share some of the fun with you!

The weather is a little cooler today; it is great for cleaning up, relaxing, and trying to run off some of those blueberry caramel rolls.  Happy Monday!

Monday, June 4, 2012

Soaking It Up

We have one month left up here in paradise.  One month left to enjoy the lake for all it's worth.  Then we move back to a teeny house on a postage stamp lot in The Cities for eleven months.  Then Hubby graduates and who knows where we go, but that is a story for another day.
The story today is how we only have one month left at the lake.  Little Man is now done with school, Little Lady is awake much more, Hubs is maxing out his vacation days and I am soaking it all in as much as I can.  So instead of doing a lot of blogging and computer time, I'm doing a lot of fishing with Little Man, snuggling on the deck with Little Lady, and listening to the loons call goodnight in the hot tub with Hubs. 

We'll be crying for sure when we leave, but until then...

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Getting Away

Yesterday Hubs took Little Lady and handed me a paddle after dinner.  I smiled at him in thanks for this gift, grabbed my fishing rod and tackle box and pushed off the sandy beach.  As I settled in on the life-jacket covered cooler functioning as a seat, I smiled again.  With every stroke of the paddle, I fell more in love with the lake, the setting sun, the peace of being out on the water.
It was a fine night, with almost no breeze.  The water was calm and clear.  The sky was a beautiful shade of gold as the sun slowly set before me.  As I silently threw my line out I could her Hubs groaning about the spit up landing on his neck and I smiled again.  I watched the ducks fly overhead, quacking almost as loudly as Little Man calling my name over and over again from the dock.  Still so close to home, yet a whole world away.
These short little get-aways are so needed, so treasured.  Time to be alone with my own thoughts.  Time with nothing to do.  No chins to wipe, dinners to cook, laundry to fold.  No emails to check, bills to pay, garbage to take out.  Just me and a paddle and the hope of a tug on the line.  
I only stayed out for 20 minutes or so before I completely knotted the line and went to trade the tangled mess for the pukey baby.  She smiles more, so it was a good trade.  It feels good to get away and better to come back.  
"Climb the mountains and get their good tidings.  Nature's peace will flow into you as sunshine flows into trees.  The winds will blow their own freshness into you, and the storms their energy, while cares will drop off like autumn leaves."  ~John Muir

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Stolen Invincibility

I used to babysit for a family when I was in high school.  Their two year old boy was ridiculously cute and mischievous. After doing something naughty, he would stand in the middle of the room with his eyes closed, grinning and giggling to himself, thinking he was invisible and unable to be caught.  It usually worked out well for him because he was so gosh-darn-adorable I could never stop smiling long enough to reprimand him. 
In some ways, life was a little like that before Jameson got sick.  As parents, we were standing in the middle of the world with our eyes closed, thinking we were invincible.  We are not worriers by nature and the what-ifs and tragedy of the world weren’t something we spent an overwhelming amount of time thinking about.  Ignorance was bliss, you might say.  Not that we turned blindly away from tragedy or felt immune to it, but, honestly, how many people really think something bad will happen to their kids?  Sure, it happens.  To regular people.  Every day.  But deep down, you don’t really think it will happen to you.  You hear of a horrific accident or catastrophic illness taking someone else’s baby and you hold yours a little tighter that night.  You think about how lucky and grateful you are that it isn’t you and then you go on with your life.  We all do it.  Because while we logically know something could happen, we really don’t think it will. 
But I can’t feel that way anymore.  We have been robbed of more than just our child.  Our invincibility has been stolen from us.   And it can be so maddening, this knowledge I would rather not have.  My eyes are no longer closed and I look out and see.  I see what is really out there.   And when Little Man is up the driveway, out of my sight and doesn’t answer me when I call him I can almost see the abduction that really isn’t taking place.  When Little Lady gets a nasty cough, I can’t help but think about every fatal illness that begins with a cough.  Because we are not invincible like most people are.  Bad things have happened to us.  Our kids really can die.  
I’m not a worrier and having these thoughts pisses me off.  I suppose in some ways –if I want to be a freaking Pollyanna over here- I can come up with a few positives about this. Like how now I’m super vigilant so maybe it will save my kids from something bad…isn’t that an awesome thought?  Sigh.  Or how I’m no longer afraid of people living through tragedy.  That scary death stigma that hangs over survivors isn’t scary to me; how can you be afraid of yourself?  Or how we have this reminder of just how fleeting everything is and the perspective it gives.  It frees us up to Carpe Diem so much more.  *Yay*  
I wish I could just be standing in the middle of the room with my eyes closed, grinning and giggling and thinking about how lucky we are.  And we are lucky.  We have two seemingly healthy kids, a strong marriage, and a bright future ahead.  But do you see it even there?  How many of you would say your kids are seemingly healthy?  Ahh, ignorance was bliss. 

Monday, May 14, 2012

Tick Day

This weekend was the fishing opener in Minnesota.  And it was a perfect weekend to be outside.  The temperature was just right, the sun was shining, the birds were singing, the flowers were blooming…it was idyllic to say the least.  Hubs had grand plans to get up and out on the water early to catch some walleye.  But he got up too early and then fell back asleep, not getting out on the water til 6:30.  He didn’t even get a single bite, although I’m sure he enjoyed just being out on quiet water, listening to the loons trill their good mornings.  When Little Man got up, they both went out and didn’t catch any fish. I made carrot cake pancakes to soothe the demoralized fishermen when they came back in.  I mentioned that I was surprised there were no boats on the water today, during the opener.  He replied that the boats were all out where the fishing is good, which is not in our bay.  And it would take all day to get to the good spots in the canoe.  Frustration levels were running high, so we decided to go for a family hike. 

There is a really cool tract of land up here call the Joyce Estate.  We tried to hike it once last fall, but it was the awful weekend I had what seemed to be early labor; after walking a quarter mile, we had to abandon the idea and instead sit on the couch with feet up all weekend, praying Little Miss would stay put.
David Joyce was a lumber baron from Chicago who bought a 4500 acre property on Trout Lake in 1917.  He built himself quite a vacation home.  There were a number of cabins, an entire caretaker’s farm, numerous buildings, tennis courts, a nine-hole golf course and a sea plane hangar.   He spent every summer of his life at his own personal resort and his daughter continued the tradition until her death in 1972; she donated the land to the state in keeping with her lifelong quest to improve the quality of life for people of the Great Lakes.  It is now a nice park with trails and a few campsites.  A number of the buildings are still standing, but the golf course is now a forest.  I think the trail we took may have been the driveway at one point, but I don’t know for sure.  It was a seven mile roundtrip hike.  We stopped at lakes along the way to throw a line out and see if we could catch anything.  Hubs caught a submerged tree on his third cast; after spending a ridiculous amount of time trying to free the lure, he finally settled on snapping the line so we could get on with the hike.  When he yanked the pole up, instead of the line snapping, the pole itself snapped in two and the top half flew out into the lake.  Good start to the fishing opener. 
We hiked.  There were so many beautiful butterflies, birds, budding trees; it was a lovely hike.  Little Man had fun kicking the tall grasses, whacking trees with sticks, jumping over fallen branches.  After about three miles, we reached an empty campsite on the banks of Trout Lake.  I told him he could take off his socks and shoes and wade if he wanted; the next thing I know, he is crying and screaming at the top of his lungs.  “Tick, tick, tick!!!”  And there began the great tick search which lasted the rest of the day.  They were in our hair, crawling inside our shirts, pants, hats…everywhere.  When we got back to the car we stripped down as much as possible and checked everywhere and still found four creepy crawlers during the drive home.  When all was said and done, the conservative estimate is 30+ ticks were removed from our bodies.  Ick.  We were so glad we didn’t bring the dogs! 
Tick Day.  It was a great day and nobody will end up with lymes, so in the end, it just makes fun memories.  Hubby was teasing that the day before Mother’s Day will be known as Tick Day in our house.  I like it; it means we got out and enjoyed nature.  And comic relief is always a good thing during the bittersweet holidays.  
Mother’s Day turned out really nice.  Hubs brought his A game.  He got up at four with Little Lady, made homemade apricot raspberry bread, and woke me at 8:30 with a cup of espresso and the invitation to come to the kitchen for bread, bacon and eggs.  It was a good start to a day filled with nice little things that added up to make a great day.  We went to church, heard a good sermon and enjoyed cake and coffee in the fellowship hall.  I actually squeezed into a pair of pre-pregnancy pants!  After church we had a nice lunch and Hubby did all the dishes while I fished off the dock with Little Man.  I caught a fish, too! Later, Hubs caught a nice Northern and filleted it for dinner.  I made potato salad, baked asparagus and mushrooms, and pike fillets with a homemade herb breading.  They were crispy and delicious with no Y bones!  My man can fillet a fish.
I thought about Jameson and my Angel Baby a lot.  It is hard to celebrate Mother’s Day when half of your kids are in heaven; but yesterday wasn’t a sad day for me.  I focused on the gifts Little Man and Little Lady are, the gift of having grand memories of my sweet Jameson, and the eternal gifts J and my Angel Baby will be.  I thought about getting our first full family picture in 100 years or so when we are all in Heaven together.  This is a good century, but that one, that one will be amazing.  Until then, I’m going to do my best to seize the days, seeking out all the nice little things that add up to make a great life. 

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Let Them Eat Cake

I made cake.  On a perfectly normal Wednesday.  For no good reason.

See, we had all of these eggs that were about to expire.  Eggs and oranges nobody was eating.  I try so hard not to throw away food, so I had to come up with something. So I thought I could make some orange curd.  And then I started thinking of what we would eat with the curd.  And I thought chocolate cake sounded pretty delicious.

I'd been thinking about it for a day or two, thinking I could hold off until Mother's Day weekend for such a special cake.  And then I realized that this weekend isn't Mother's Day and I can't wait ten more days for this cake.  So I made a Chocolate Orange Curd Cake on a Wednesday for no good reason.

Dinner needed to be easy since the cake took most of the day to make and babies can't be neglected for cooking all day long.  It was so easy and good.

Roasted Cod and Peas.  Super Easy.  Like preheating the oven took longer than making the dinner easy.  And really good, too.  That is my kind of meal!

And then there was cake.

I'm super proud of this cake.  Doesn't it look good?

Usually when I make a layer it cake it ends up looking like the Leaning Tower of Pisa, or an up-side-down bowl with too much filling in the middle, or it is naked on the sides because I run out of frosting.

But this cake, this is perfect. 

I read a tutorial on assembling layer cakes.  Two, actually.  And I made extra frosting and extra curd just in case.  We are going to have cranberry muffins with the leftover curd tomorrow for breakfast.

I had cake for breakfast this morning.  I'm not going to lie; it was really, really good. 

Monday, April 30, 2012


I remember standing there the day we found out.  I remember the doctor saying it.  The way she hesitated and I knew it wasn’t because it was hard to pronounce.  She hesitated because it was bad.  And I remember looking at her and she tried so hard to maintain eye contact, so hard to look me in the eye when she answered my questions.  No there is no cure.  Hopefully we should have 3-5 years left.  And I remember trying so hard to not fall over for the second time in J’s life when a doctor has all but knocked me off my feet.  Three years?  That is what we hope for?  I couldn’t wrap my brain around it, this “good news” of 3-5 years.  I remember Hubs wrapping his arms around me as I looked over Jameson and saying how gladly he’d take three more years.  He knew so much more, understood so much more.  It wasn’t a good thing to be the doc-in-training at that moment.  And I just couldn’t see how that could be a gift, to have three more years.  I could only see the death sentence.
It was all a blur, the days and weeks and months of fighting and praying and hoping and dying.  We all died that day, not just him.  And I obsessed over these three years we were going to have left.  I thought about the trips to Disney and the mountains.  The beach and Italy.  I started making the list of everything we would want and need to share with him before it was over.  The billions of pictures we would take.  The video camera we would need to buy.  I thought about how impossible it would be to say “no” ever again.  How I would end up letting him have ice cream for dinner and never have a bedtime.  Because isn’t that what you do when your child is dying?  Can there ever be discipline or normalcy ever again? 
I thought about how we explain the new rules of life to Little man.  You have to follow rules because you will live to 90, but your brother, he will only make it to six, you see, so he gets a free pass.  And then I thought how much Little Man would need that free pass, too.  How do you tell your 4 yr old that when he is 7, his best friend and brother is going to die?  So make sure you are nice to him.  Make sure you play with him.  Make sure you cherish him.  You think it, but you’d never really say it.  Because there really isn’t any way to say that.  I had these thoughts for days.  Oh how awful it was that we might only have three years left. 
How do you live like that?  How do you live every day knowing that your child’s time is running out?  
I can’t even answer that question because I never got to find out.  Jameson’s fight for his life never lessened; he never got to wake up from the heavy sedation and drug-induced comas.  He never got to live out any of those 3-5 years we were supposed to have left.  We held our breath for four months, hoping at first for a cure, then for treatment that would at least give us some time, then for a miracle that would at least let us bring him home, even if only for a day or two.  It is amazing how fast a person can be broken.  How, in less than four months, can you go from thinking 3-5 years sucks to hoping you can just get your child home so he doesn’t have to die in a hospital?  
If only I could just go back and take that gift.  We would still have two years.  Two more years; what a gift that would be.