Thursday, June 30, 2011

Keeping Busy

Well, Caroline's little sister and I are now into the third trimester!  We're excited to be this far along, but it's scary.  The closer we get to what's considered "full term," the more scared I am that something horrible could happen.  I have a lot of faith that everything is currently okay and going to be okay with this little girl, but it's just so scary.  Fears have a way of running away with you sometimes.  So, one thing that I've been trying to do is just keep myself busy - not let my mind have too much time to over think everything.

With the 4th of July coming up, I've been thinking a lot of how things used to be.  The 4th used to be a big "to-do" in our family.  My parents live on the lake and we'd have the WHOLE family come over and we'd enjoy the lake and boats and swimming and food...and then, we'd take out the boats to see the town's firework show.  (For those of you who haven't ever seen fireworks from the water, you should, it's awesome!)  This used to be something I looked forward to all year long.  I liked 4th of July better than Christmas!  I mean, you can't swim and boat on Christmas (not where I live anyway)!  Things have changed so much over these last few years though...we've grown up, cousins have their own families and their own plans, some have passed away, some have grown away.  But, it's changed even more for me...last year, I was so hopeful about Caroline being here for her first 4th of July this year.  It was going to be so great!  She's not here though, and therefore, things aren't as I pictured.  I don't want to focus on the negative, because we've got so much promise with Caroline's little sister, but there is certainly some sadness.  So...instead of just being mopey and crappy to be around, I've decided to keep busy in the upcoming days and focus on all the positivity I can.

One way I've been keeping busy is cooking and baking.  My mom asked me if I would bring a desert for our little family's cookout/lake day...and I jumped at the chance!  Something to keep me busy!  So, I made something we call Dreamy Squares.  I thought I'd share the recipe here with you...it's worth making...soooooo good!
Dreamy Squares
*  1.5 c self-rising flour
*  1 c chopped pecans
*  3/4 c melted butter
*  1 8oz pkg softened cream cheese
*  1 c sifted powdered sugar
*  12 oz Cool Whip
*  Fruit of your choice

I started out with these beauties:

There's nothing like some sweet strawberries (probably my favorite fruit)

I washed them, and then washed them, and then washed them again.  And then capped and sliced them.  Then set aside until the recipe was ready for them.

Go ahead and preheat your oven to 325 degrees.

In a medium bowl, mix butter and flour until combined - it's kind of a sandy texture (I wish I'd taken a picture of this part).  Once combined, stir in 1/2 cup of the chopped pecans.  Then press mixture into the bottom of a 9X13 baking dish.  Bake for 12 - 15 minutes.


While crust is baking, mix cream cheese and sifted sugar until smooth.  Then fold in about 1 cup of the Cool Whip.

Spread mixture over warm (NOT HOT) crust

Just so you know, this all goes better if you have someone like this to help you! :)

 Spoon your fruit over the cream cheese layer.

Cover with remaining Cool Whip and sprinkle with remaining pecans.

Refrigerate, and eat up! :)

Then clean up your dog's Cool Whip face...he's a good helper, I told you!

Here's a recipe card for you to print to make this quick, easy, and oh so yummy treat:

(click for bigger card)

Happy 4th of July everyone!!!

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Crafts and Fun

Everyone needs that something to help them pass the time...to keep their minds from driving themselves crazy.  I've found that if I don't keep myself busy enough, I could make myself nuts just letting my mind wander.  So, one of the things that I've done is jump into various craft projects.  I have always enjoyed making things, something my mom started with me when I was really young - THANKS, MOM!  There is just something so fun about creating something.  I really enjoy the "trash-to-treasure" crafts.  You know where you start off with yard waste and a rubber band and come up with a beautiful centerpiece for your dinner party!?  Well, I'm no where near that good, but I have done a few things that I'm pretty proud of.  I thought I'd just take a second to share some of the fun things I've been doing lately.

Please bear in mind that I'm no photographer! :)

hand embroidered monogrammed pillowcases

fabric flower headband

Of course, I bought the dress, but sewed on/embroidered the button flowers to dress it up a little!

Yarn wreath with felt flowers

4th of July yarn wreath for a gift

My 4th of July wreath on my front door!

Primitive embroidery

I made the firecrackers in the center (from toilet paper rolls)

4th of July yarn wreath for Ramsey Family auction

Bunny kitchen towel, hand embroidered

I had a really hard time getting a good picture of this wreath...camera and lighting issues.  This one is made from toilet paper rolls too!

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

8 Months

It's been 8 months since we held our little Caroline.  I've been fortunate enough to be able to push a lot of these thoughts to the back of my mind instead of focusing on them and getting down in the dumps.  This strategy worked fairly well for me...until this week.  This week, my "keep yourself so busy you can't be bothered with grief" strategy has failed!  I don't mean to be overly dramatic, it's not like I've hit rock bottom or anything, but I have had a rough few days.

As we're getting closer to the third trimester (Friday!) with Addalee, I'm reminded of my pregnancy with Caroline.  I'm reminded how much I miss her, how much I want HER...and how much I want her sister to be here safely and healthily.  I'm also a little torn on how to prepare for the arrival of Caroline's little sister.  With Caroline, I bought packs of diapers (can't bring myself to do that this time), I washed and folded all of her things (haven't been able to think of that this time), I worked in her room (don't really need to do much since it's all set up from before)...it's just a strange feeling, a strange place to be, uncomfortable.

I've been keeping a weekly blog of my pregnancy with Addalee (side note: it's private, but if you'd like to follow along, just comment and leave me your email address).  I like to include a weekly size comparison picture, you know the rutabaga or English hot house cucumber comparison.  So, each week, I Google my week and the comparison picture.  This week, I happened to stumble upon another little pregnancy blog.  It was cute and happy and was written much like my blog, like how I write, like how I think.  Then I noticed the dates...with a sick stomach and sweaty hands, I kept looking.  I knew I shouldn't. I  knew I should have stopped.  But that morbid curiosity just drew me in.  This lady's little girl was delivered the day after Caroline.  She is a beautiful little girl, her parents' first child, loved immeasurably.  They have regularly posted pictures of their sweet little girl, Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas, Sunday, Tuesday...you get the idea.  The ones that got me the most were Halloween, and the most recent ones.  Caroline's Daddy is a big kid - one of the things I love about him.  He loves Halloween, and so do I.  We bought this adorable little bat costume for Caroline and were so excited to answer the door to the trick-or-treaters with our little baby bat.  We had plans for Halloween.  She was part of them.  We could SEE her in that costume.  But that wasn't to be.  Then I saw this couple's precious little girl sitting up, widely and toothlessly grinning, on a swimming pool step.  Then it really struck me, Caroline should be grinning, and sitting up and having a real personality and being a real child.  I've held on to the image of her as a teeny tiny baby, and distanced myself from the thoughts of her as an actual BABY.  Part of this was a survival mechanism, I'm sure...but upon realizing what I have been doing, I am crushed.  Crushed because that mechanism is gone now, and crushed because I feel like I may have cheated Caroline somehow.

I don't want to seem all gloom and doom, or like Debbie Downer (bwwaahh bwaahhh), so I need to share that things are actually going well for us.  As I said before, we are this.close to the start of the third trimester, and I'm overjoyed about this.  Addalee is an active girl, who loves to kick her Mommy and even share some private kicks with her Daddy while Mommy is sleeping!  She has her own personality, different from her big sister, and we wouldn't have it any other way.  Addalee also seems to have quite the resemblance to her sister, their ultrasounds are almost identical!  We're praying, and ask that you do too, for a little girl, alive and healthy, to be in our arms in approximately 10 weeks.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Memorial Day Weekend

I need to do better about updating this blog.  I find that I have so much to say, so many thoughts, but I don't get them put into words on here.  I think it's partly because there is so much that I feel like I need to get off my chest that it just overwhelms me.

This last weekend was Memorial Day weekend.  In the past, this weekend has signified the start of summer, and been the first official lake day...a day that I greatly looked forward to.  It has been a day that my family gets together, takes out the boat, spends time and cooks out...simple joys.  That has changed now.  The cemetery where Caroline is buried has their decoration on the Saturday of Memorial Day weekend.  It's a family cemetery and it's only Caroline and her great-grandfather (a WWII veteran) buried there...and we get together, spend the day, and eat a meal...simple joys, with a little sadness. I'm so thankful though to be surrounded by a family (both sides) who love me and us and little Caroline.  Her little grave was decorated with so many flowers, it was very sweet.

I'm finding though, that I really dread all milestone dates.  I wanted to skip Thanksgiving and Christmas last year...I would have been fine to nix Mother's Day altogether, and I was really dreading Memorial Day too.  I dread those days because they're so difficult for me.  I dread them because it takes me multiple days to recover.  I almost feel as though I've been in a fight after, even physically sore.  Who knew grief could be that physically painful!?  But it is, it runs me through the ringer more days than not.

I'm dealing with a whole lot of big emotions - what's new!?  I honestly don't even know how to share them sometimes, and actually right now, I could just cry.  I know that some of this comes with being pregnant again.  Pregnancy all by itself is crazy when it comes to emotions, so pregnancy plus grief...it only stands to reason that it's a roller coaster.  I think that right now, what I'm feeling most is bitterness and jealousy.  I'm so jealous of all the people who have such an easy time having babies!  I'm so bitter that they've all gotten to do it, and I haven't (yet).  I'm not only jealous and bitter for myself, but for my husband, for my parents, for his parents.  They were all crushed through the loss of Caroline too.  In some ways, it would be so much better if I had felt this all by myself, though that would have been painful too.  At least I would know that those I cherish most aren't hurting as badly as I am.

Then there's actual anger.  I've done pretty well with not being angry throughout this experience.  I'm not angry at God.  I've come to a place in my relationship with Him where I feel comforted and been given peace.  I'm angry at people...well-meaning, but hurtful people.  There are people giving me birth advice...like I guess they think that Caroline just "tele-ported" out of my womb.  Yeah, uh....not so much...I labored, I pushed, I gave birth, just like every other mother with a live child.  Also, don't be scared of ___________ - things that can happen during birth.  My answer is that I'm not scared of birth, any of it...my fear is getting a live baby TO birth.  If they need to do a c-section on me, so be it.  I just need to get this baby to her birth living, and then I have complete faith that the doctors will do what is best for us.  I guess I want to tell them that I don't really feel like I need advice on these kinds of things.  I appreciate that they care, but this is maddening for me.  Vent over.

Really, things are going well for us.  Addalee is a healthy and beautiful little girl, who kicks the doppler because she also has a personality!  She's a blessing, and I believe that her big sister is proud of her already.  We sure do miss big sister, and can't wait until our family is all reunited one day!