Learn More About Me

Saturday, December 27, 2014


This has been a year of great change for us.

I blogged 11 (this is 12) times in 2014. For perspective, I posted 500 blog posts in 2010. They were mostly crap, but look at all the time I had. I mean, I'm typing this as I'm cooking Christmas dinner. Seriously. See? (Okay, the turkey is in the oven and I have a small window of time here.)

I can't say that I disliked 2014, but this really does feel like the longest year I've ever lived.

Isaiah turned one, and then it really got interesting. We started foster care, gained a child, quadrupled our responsibilities, drama, and anxiety. We went all summer crazy busy and barely having time to breathe. The only time to relax was after the boys went to bed, and even then it was hard to unwind.

And then in early December, we said goodbye to our foster care placement. We went back to a one child home, and that has been as hard of an adjustment as it was to go to two.

It has been so amazing to watch Isaiah grow and develop over the past year, and I'm trying to get used to only being mom to one baby boy again. But my heart still hurts. Foster care is not easy, and I'm not sure I'd ever do it again (I'm sure I would), but I lost a lot of myself in it. Not only was foster care itself difficult, but being that I was related to everyone involved, it was that much harder. Because, family is fun, you know? (Sarcasm font).

And when it comes down to actual blogging, I don't feel like I have much to say anymore. I talked about adoption forever, and now adoption isn't really a thing for us. Yes, Isaiah is adopted, but what else is there to say? He's our son and we don't see him as "adopted", we see him as our son.

I talked about infertility forever, and I'm over that. I really don't care if I never talk about infertility ever again. It's a weird place to be when you're an infertile mom. Like, yes, I have a child. No, I cannot get pregnant. I'm not upset about infertility anymore, and I'm not going through any treatment for it, so there isn't anything additional for me to write about it. I'd like to say we're a success story, because I feel like it, I mean, we're parents.

I posted recipes for a while, but lets be real, I'm blogging while I'm cooking right now. I could probably write a killer post once about multitasking, but who has the time?

So I don't want to say "Hey, I quit", but I feel like I'm close. I'm keeping my blog up, and I'm always on social media, but I can't say I'll post consistently (hahaha) or even inconsistently any more. Blogging isn't the outlet it used to be for me. I started blogging exactly 7 years ago when we got engaged at the end of 2007. So it was a good run, but like everything else, I've changed. A lot.

So you can find me all over the internets, but probably not here. My contact info is all current in the "contact me" tab, and if you comment it will come to my email, but if you want to talk to me, your best bet is to contact me directly. I've met the most amazing people through blogging, and that is the only reason why I'm not fully quitting.

I hope you all have an amazing end to 2014 and a wonderful 2015.

Friday, October 10, 2014

Party of Three

It has been six months since I first told you about our family dynamic changing to one of a foster family. As often comes with fostering a child, our time has come to a close.

I have to be honest — when we were struggling through infertility, and then the adoption process, I thought to myself, “Surely, there is nothing more stressful.” And I was proven wrong. The last six months have been the most tumultuous months of my life…I would venture to also include this statement for Josh and Isaiah. Our world has been turned upside down, and even though we’re seeming to end up right back where we started, I know that our world will never be the same.

We’ve known for a few weeks now that our foster son (I hate calling him that, but for his privacy, and state law, I have to in public forums) is going to move out of our home. We’re waiting now for the official documentation before he moves, but it is coming. Since we found out, we’ve been pretty accepting of it. Really, what choice do we have? We knew this was a possibility going into it, and we really want to be so happy for him in his new situation, but the selfish part of us feels like part of our hearts is going out there without us. And it’s so painful because he’s just a baby.

I thought I was maneuvering through this fairly painlessly until I was out shopping with my mom, and we found Christmas stockings on sale. I don’t like buying decor of any kind because I don’t like having “things.” But these stockings were beautiful, and we don’t have any, so I decided to get them. I quickly made the decision that I would only buy three because he wouldn’t be with us for Christmas, so we made our purchases and left.

Then later, after the boys were in bed and I was enjoying the quiet of the house, the enormity of his leaving hit me. He doesn’t have one of our stockings. He won’t be here for Christmas.

He isn’t my child.

He is leaving.

And no matter how difficult this has all been, I love him as if he were my child. I hope that I’ve provided him with all I could have in the past six months, and I hope my love is something that he somehow knows will always be with him.

Because when he leaves, he’s taking part of me with him.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Deep Dish Cast Iron Cookie & Homemade Vanilla Ice Cream

I was asked during a job interview once what my greatest accomplishment in life was (I was 23, come on man). At the time I didn't have an answer, so I gave a sarcastic one. But if I were asked now, I would probably say this cookie.

As soon as I saw this recipe on Pinterest, I knew I had to make it.  

Deep Dish Cast Iron Cookie - Some changes made to original recipe.

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 3/4 cup butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 3/4 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 large egg, room temperature
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 10 oz. semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • Preheat oven to 350°F
  • Prepare pan. I used a 10", but you could use any size as long as it has high sides. You will have to adjust the cook time accordingly. If your pan isn't well seasoned, add a thin layer of butter. I oiled mine a few hours before I made this with olive oil and it didn't stick.
  • Combine flour, baking soda and salt in a medium bowl.
  • In a large mixing bowl, beat the softened butter with both sugars on medium-high speed for about 2 minutes, or until light and fluffy. Scrape the side of the mixing bowl if needed.
  • Add the egg and vanilla extract. Mix on medium speed for about one minute.
  • Add dry ingredients and mix on low until just mixed together.
  • Add chocolate chips and fold them into the dough by hand, scraping the bottom and side of the bowl to make sure all the ingredients are mixed.
  • Spread the batter into your pan, and bake at 350 degrees F for 30-40 minutes or until the edges of your giant cookie are golden-brown.
  • Don't burn yourself getting this out of the pan and into your mouth too quickly.

 I started making my own ice cream a few weeks ago. We got an ice cream maker as a wedding gift, but I never used it because it seemed like such a hassle. So here we are, five years later, and I haven't stopped using it since I made the first batch. I've only made vanilla, but I've made it so many times that I already have the recipe completely memorized. To be fair, it's only five ingredients.

Homemade Vanilla Ice Cream - Via Pinterest 

  • 2c heavy whipping cream
  • 1c 4% milk
  • 3/4c sugar
  • 1T vanilla extract
  • pinch of salt
  • Mix all ingredients with a whisk until sugar is dissolved.
  • Follow ice cream maker instructions. There is no cooling or heating required of the batter.

Friday, May 30, 2014

Foster Parent Week

I had no idea there was such a week, but this week apparently is it. I would imagine that most foster parents overlook it because life is so hectic.

For example, this is my calendar. Anything red, gray, or purple is foster care related. Green is related to the four of us.

So you can see, we're busy. By the time the boys go to bed at night, it's all I can do to get the cork out of the bottle and drag myself outside to sit until the mosquitoes start to bite, and it's time to go to bed and do it all over again. The 836 emails in my inbox, and stacks of papers will just have to wait.

For this reason, we're not licensed yet. We went into this as a relative care situation, meaning that our foster child is related to one of us. Because of that, we were able to take him without being licensed in foster care, but we have the option to do so to receive financial assistance and to accept other children (in the future).

Getting licensed requires us to go through the same process we had to before we were approved to adopt Isaiah and then some. There would be three Saturday orientation classes plus the home inspection, background investigations, and psych testing. And I'm just not sure where to put all of that on the calendar. So our already tight budget, is gasping for air. Not only is there a financial aspect to this, but the interpersonal aspect is what is threatening to take me under.

But this isn't a post about my life (yes, it is); it's a post about all foster parents.

Having experienced this for just over two months now, I can tell you this: When Isaiah was born and I quit my job to stay home, I thought that was the hardest job I ever had. Then he left the newborn stage and then that was the hardest job ever, and I was so tired. Around a year I started to feel a little more confident in my abilities, but I was still so tired. Now, I don't even try. I know for certain that I don't have my stuff together, I know that the Honey Nut Cheerios are the reason we have ants, and I know that my teeth are turning purple from the wine, but I can't even care. I don't even try to count the ounces of milk they drink per day and I'm not sure either one ate a vegetable yesterday. I'm not even sure I ate a vegetable yesterday.

What I'm trying to say is, if you know a foster parent, let them know that this is their week to be appreciated, because I would bet they don't even know. And give them a hug and a bottle of wine because they earned it.

Friday, May 9, 2014

Mom to Two

We went out with some friends for our birthdays in early February this year. Around 10pm I was fading fast, and that became the topic of conversation. I was so tired because I had a nearly one year old, and I had been tired for a whole year.

Then shortly after that conversation, I became responsible for two. I quickly realized that I didn't know what tired was.

These two are close in age, just 2.5 months apart, and lucky for me, started mirroring each other and seeing who could scream louder. Of course, it doesn't stop there. The crying became louder, the unhappiness became unhappier, and the hunger somehow became a near-death experience every single time. One day I had one sweet little baby, and the next I was elbow deep in two toddlers.

I had a long conversation with my friend Mettie, mom to twins, about the struggle of trying to be everything to everyone. She gave me some really great advice, and I knew that I needed to be better about taking care of myself.

Here is how I cope:

1. I made myself start exercising again. I started with a Couch to 5k app on my phone, and then started to realize how much I missed lifting weights. I finally (after a year) made getting in to the gym a priority to myself once again, and realized that I hadn't lost as much strength as I feared.

2. I made myself start reading again. I love to read, but that suffered when my responsibilities doubled. I picked out a few books from the library and took the boys with me to pick them up. They love getting to see the fish, and we all love getting out of the house.

3. I made time for visiting with friends. I have a block of time during the week where I drop one child off for a visit with family, and the other stays with my husband, and I meet up with friends for coffee. I cannot tell you how this has made me feel like myself again. Occasionally, I'll run an errand during this time, but I'm pretty good about reserving it just for me.

4. I have grandmas on standby. My mom and my mother in law are great at helping me when I need a break. One night a week after the boys are in bed, one is usually available to let me go get done what I need to do, or just go do something I want to do.

5. Wine Friday. And sometimes Saturday, and Sunday.

These might sound selfish, and you know what, they are. I've found though that I need to be a little selfish to be the type of mom I want to be, and to keep my sanity.

Do you have any additional tips to help handle two at once? (I know, I know, ask my mom.)

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Backyard Chickens: The Basics

This is part one of a series I'm putting together about raising your own chickens.

From what I'm reading, getting chickens is the cool thing to do now. With the eat local movements and growing your own food, chickens are really the perfect way to get on board. You can eat their eggs, they can eat your scraps, and well, if you're not too tenderhearted, you can eat them.

Before you decide to go to the feed store and pick up half a dozen, here are a few things to consider.

1. Check your local ordinances and home owner's association bylaws. Chickens aren't allowed everywhere and it would be a huge bummer to get into it and then find yourself in a bind.

2. Start small and decide what you want. We have egg layers and meat birds, but started out with just egg layers. One word to the wise though -- if you're going to have meat birds, don't name them. It's probably a good idea to not name any, but with names like "Hennifer Lopez" who can resist?

3. Figure out where you will keep them. If you're getting chicks, you'll need somewhere to keep them until they're old enough to go into a coop. Chicks poop a lot, and it smells. While they're in the brooder(a crib for a chick), you'll need a heating element, chick food, and a waterer. Then, when they outgrow the brooder, they'll need a place outside with shelter. The nice thing is that it doesn't have to be a store bought coop. If you (or someone you know) is pretty handy, you can build a simple coop yourself. If you're not, farm stores, Sam's Club, and Amazon all sell coops. You'll need to keep in mind that there are predators outside that you don't see during the day. We've had an issue with opossums, but they're not the only critters that like to have a winner winner, chicken dinner.

4. Your time. Chickens take less time to care for than a puppy, but there is still time to consider. You'll have to feed and water them every day, and collect eggs. If you're like me, you'll also spend time just watching them because they're pretty cool to observe. My husband has spent quite a bit of time building runs (outdoor pen) and things for the chickens, so it isn't just a set it and forget it kind of thing.

5. Decide if you want a rooster. Contrary to popular belief, you don't have to have a rooster. However, if you want to hatch your own chicks from eggs, you do. If you have all hens, you'll still get eggs from them and they'll still be delicious. The only way a chick can come from an egg is if you have a rooster and fertilized eggs. I know that sounds super common sense, but I've been asked so many times if I've ever cracked open an egg and found a chick. If you collect eggs every day, this will not happen to you. Roosters are helpful in protecting the hens from predators. They are noisy though, and can get...well...cocky. They watch me when the hens all have their backs turned to get water. A downside though is that they can be a little aggressive with the hens when they fertilize their eggs. That is a conversation for another time, but they aren't very gentle then.

An ISA Brown hen and ten week old Buff Orpington (yellow) and Rhode Island Red pullets.

6. The breed of chicken(s) you want. Check what is good in your area, and for the purpose you want and go from there. We live in Indiana and have Rhode Island Reds, Buff Orpingtons, ISA Browns, Welsummers, and Cornish Plymouth Rock Crosses. All of our chickens lay large to extra large brown eggs, but the Welsummers will lay chocolate colored eggs when they start laying. You can expect about an egg a day per chicken once they start. Keep in mind that hens are usually six months or older before they start to lay (our first ones were closer to 9 months) so this isn't a quick replacement for putting eggs on your shopping list. A female chicken who has not started to lay eggs yet is called a pullet. Some breeds lay bluish/green eggs which are pretty, and I'd imagine kids would get a kick out of green eggs.

7. Keep in mind that they are birds, and some do die. It is just kind of one of those things that sometimes happens. We had 10 Welsummer chicks and 8 died, but we haven't lost any of our Buff Orpingtons. If you order online (yes, live birds can be shipped to you) the hatchery will often refund you if there is an issue with your batch. Make sure to check into that before you order though.

8. Ask yourself if you're only doing it because they look cool on Instagram. Don't do it if that's your reason. I know, that sounds silly, but people do it, and it's bad. But if you're interested in seeing some, look up #backyardchickens.

So, anyone still interested?

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Our Ever Changing Family

Shortly after we adopted Isaiah, word got out that we're good people who love kids, and we were approached by other birth moms who wanted to secure a safe and loving home to place their child in. We decided early on that we would never say no to a baby who needed a home, so we told the birth moms that we were interested. Ultimately they all decided to not place their child with us, and instead made the decision to parent.

Lately, we've gotten a lot of questions about when Isaiah will get to be a big brother. The answer is always the same. We aren't pursuing another adoption right now, but our file is always current, and we will welcome any child who needs us. So in keeping with our word, we recently accepted a foster care placement of an infant boy.

You know how I love to share photos of Isaiah, so I hope you can understand this. I won't be sharing photos of the newest member of our family. While he's in our home, he is our family, but the fact remains that legally he isn't, so I won't be posting about him specifically.

This does not mean that he means any less to us than Isaiah. This means that we're protecting him, and respecting him and the court system by not discussing his case outside of the legal system. While he is in our home, he will be treated the same as Isaiah.We aren't treating his case as anything other than what it is. He is welcome in our home as long as he is placed here, no matter the length of time.

Fostering isn't something we were planning to do, or actively pursuing. We have discussed it previously as something we might do in the future, but hadn't had a plan or even an idea of when we would. When we were made aware of the situation, we knew we had to do something. My brothers came to my parents originally through the foster care system, so we knew what to expect, and had a general idea of what we would encounter.

It isn't easy, it isn't always fun, but it is always worth it.

So that's where we are now. We're currently a family of four, and he is a very happy little boy.

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Simply One

Before my baby was even a few months old, I was overwhelmed by the amount of attention the first birthday gets. When we have birthdays, family comes to our house, I cook, and we eat. We keep things simple because we're not party people. So I knew there wouldn't be invitations, decorations, and guests watching us open baby gifts. We did have fun at Isaiah's first birthday though! Our families came over, I cooked, we ate. Isaiah wasn't in a great mood, but we went with it.

I gave him his own cupcake, which he took one bite of.

I used the only decorating trick I know for the cake for everyone else. And he opened gifts and played with balloons.

By the end we were all exhausted and went to bed early. Entertaining is not a joke, and I can't imagine how tired I would have been if we had invited more people. Having it this way kept the cost down from the comfort of our living room.

So far his favorite gift is this motorcycle his aunt got him.

Since his actual birthday landed on Wednesday this year, we opted to celebrate Saturday, and have pizza on his actual birthday.

We had a late lunch at his party which consisted of:
  • Hawaiian Ham Sliders
  • Sweet & Sour Meatballs
  • Mixed Fruit
  • Sweet Potato Fries
  • Cake
Ham Sliders:
12 Hawaiian rolls
Sliced Cheese
1t yellow mustard
1t poppy seeds
1t Worcestershire sauce
1t minced onion
1/2 stick butter

Mix the last five ingredients in a bowl - this goes on top of the bun. Split Hawaiian rolls, add a slice of cheese and piece of ham. Close bun. Repeat until all rolls are filled. Brush mixture on top of all the rolls. Bake at 350°F for 10 minutes or until cheese is melted.

Sweet and Sour Meatballs: 
Frozen meatballs
1 bottle Sweet Baby Ray's BBQ
1/2 jar grape jelly

Mix all together in a slow cooker on high for 3-4 hours or low 7-8.

Mixed Fruit:
Mix Grapes, Cantaloupe, Strawberries, Blackberries

Sweet Potato Fries:
I found these in the freezer section of the grocery store. I followed the instructions on the bag and added cinnamon and brown sugar when they came out of the oven.

Monday, March 3, 2014

One Year Old

Well, we made it. What a crazy/amazing year it has been.

Before Isaiah was born we weren't sure we'd even get the chance to adopt him, and here we are a year later with a full blown, almost walking, almost talking one year old.

Eating: He is eating solids like a pro and he is down to 12oz of formula per day. I'll keep him on that until it runs out. He loves yogurt, apple sauce, and anything in a pouch. Pizza is hands down his favorite though.

Sleeping: Sleeping is, and has always been a blessing with Isaiah. He sleeps solidly at night, and has learned to calm himself without his pacifier. Naps are hit or miss, but I think we're getting to where he only needs one. Some days he takes two, some days it's one. We just go with the flow on naps.

New this month: Walking. He walks when he wants to, and crawls when he needs to get somewhere faster. He has also switched from only saying "dada" to only saying "mama." Dada's feelings are a little sore.

Likes/dislikes: He dislikes having his nose wiped, but other than that, he's pretty easy to please. We're going through a "mommy" phase where he wants to see me all the time. We had been pretty good up until now with that, so we'll just let it ride out.

As parents: We're in awe that it has been a year since the whirlwind of his birth. The anxiety isn't gone, because when I think about all that happened I still feel panicky in my stomach. We're enjoying the ride and all of his new developments so much. We love having meals with him and playing on the floor. He is a dream to parent, and we are still overjoyed that we have the opportunity to be his parents.

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

It Goes On

In three words I can summarize everything I have learned about life: it goes on. -Robert Frost

February 25, 2013

February 25, 2014

Yep. That.

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Eleven Month Update

It's already that time again.

Eating is going well. He loves turkey and rotisserie chicken. We're testing the waters with regular lactose dairy products. I'm not noticing anything different, so fingers crossed, we might be fine with regular stuff. He is doing better about pacing himself with finger foods, but shoved too many yogurt bites in the other day and choked and then threw up. It was gross and my brother went and hid.

Night sleep is a dream, but naps aren't. I've accepted that he just might not be a good nap taker, and will always be rather inconsistent. Life goes on.

New This Month:
Standing unassisted. He is walking around furniture and getting into everything with his ten foot long arms. I babyproofed as much as I could, and so far we're getting along fine. His hair grew a lot this month, and he has started to growl. Yes, growl. He also likes to open mouth kiss the dog, so there is that. They're besties.

He loves the dog so much. I noticed his independent side when my brothers were staying with us for a week. He loves them so much, but he just wanted to play alone. I noticed the look because I was feeling the same way. He had a good time with them though. He likes playing in his room and will crawl back there by himself.

As parents:
It has been nice to get back into post-holiday life. Things have settled down a bit and we've been going over the past year a lot. It's amazing how a year ago we weren't parents, and weren't sure if it was all going to work out or not. It's incredible how much has changed and how much we love it. Other than that it has been pretty quiet around these parts and we like it.

Friday, January 10, 2014

Things You Did

I've seen a lot of videos posted lately about pregnancy and motherhood. I watch them, and I cry with them even though I didn't experience pregnancy.

So to my son, I say:

You didn't give me stretch marks. You didn't grow in my belly for nine months.

Mom and Dad will never pull out our baby photos and try to decide who you look more like. We will probably always get second glances at the grocery store.

I'll never make a heartwarming video about how wonderful my pregnancy was and make millions of moms cry.

You didn't kick me or hear my voice from the womb.

In fact, you didn't even know me until you emerged into this big world. You never heard me talk to you. You never heard my heartbeat from the inside.

But you know what you did?

You won my heart. Instantly.

You reminded  me that love makes a family.

You made me excited about life again.

You gave me hope.

The road to motherhood wasn't easy. It was very complicated. Life is complicated. But know this, baby, every complicated and quirky little piece of our life led us to each other. I may not have been meant to be pregnant, but there is no mistaking that I was meant to be a mom. Your mom.

And you did that. You made me a mom.


Related Posts with Thumbnails