Friday, May 30, 2008


This weekend my husband and I are celebrating our twelfth anniversary. We are going away by ourselves! Whoo Hoo! AND we are going to be without internet. *gasp

I will be back here on Monday. Have a wonderful weekend.

Food Friday

Remember when I mentioned that I had the best ever red velvet cake recipe? Have you been waiting with bated breath? You are in luck! Today I bring you red velvet cake, um, well, there's a catch. My son doesn't do well with the red food coloring, so I bring you...Velvet cake (sans red). But it's easy to convert back, just add red food coloring.

Here we go.

You will need...
1 1/2 C Sugar, 2 eggs, 1/2 C shortening, 2 C flour, 1 T cocoa, 1 t salt, 2 oz. red food coloring (or water), 1 t soda, 1 T vinegar, 1 C buttermilk, and 1 t vanilla.

First cream together the sugar and shortening. Then add your red color if you want a RED velvet cake. Otherwise add 2 oz. of water (or blue coloring or green coloring or whatever flips your skirt). Blend.

Because I had nothing else in my kitchen that would measure in ounces, I had to use this...

Now add your eggs, one at a time. Then add the buttermilk. And mix.

Now it's time for the dry ingredients. If you noticed in the first photo that I accidentally pulled out my canning salt, oops. Here is what I really used.

Sift together flour, cocoa, salt, and sugar. This is how I sift, but if you have a real sifter, all the better.

Beat, and then beat some more. I have a KitchenAid mixer, so I just turn it on and let it go for awhile (usually about 4-5 minutes). Add the vanilla.

Now for the science experiment part. What fun!
In a small bowl (or cup, whatever) dissolve the soda in the vinegar. Stir (do not beat) it into the batter.

Bake at 350 degrees for 25-30 minutes (or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean). Or make cupcakes. Just keep an eye on them because they won't need to bake as long. Start the icing (recipe below).

Yum. Now here is where I really miss that red food color. While the finished product tasted just as good. It wasn't as beautiful.

Now for the icing. You will need 1 C milk, 1/4 C flour, 1/4 t salt, 1 C shortening, 2 t vanilla, 1 bag of powdered sugar (I usually go with the 2 lb bag, but don't put quite all of it in).

In a sauce pan mix the flour and salt, add the milk gently and slowly while whisking. cook on med heat until it thickens. Cool.

After it cools, add shortening, sugar and vanilla. Beat until light and fluffy. I generally add the shortening and beat, then add the sugar a bit at a time until it reaches the texture and flavor I'm looking for. With this batch I realized that I was out of regular shortening, so I went with the butter flavor. It worked really well and the color was more complimentary to the lighter brown of the cupcakes.

I pulled out my old cake decorating stuff and played with it a bit. I'm in no way professional (as you can see), but it was fun. And, though you can't tell from the photos, the icing is a really pretty pale, pale yellow.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

On The Mend

Ug, I've had the flu-ishness for the last few days. I'm up and around, but just barely. I'm a mom, so I don't have the luxury of lounging in bed until I feel 100%. But, my dear husband did indeed take a sick day to care for our son while I was in a flu induced coma able to get some much needed rest (he says I tend toward the dramatic, I'm just not sure where he gets ideas so preposterous).

It's been so long since I had a real fever that I had forgotten how unfun it is. But, I'm on the mend. And that means good things for you, my dear readers. Tomorrow, I bring you my family recipe for Red Velvet Cake! See you back here.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

I'm Down With That

"Back When"

Don't you remember
The fizz in a pepper
Peanuts in a bottle
At ten, two and four
A fried bologna sandwich
With mayo and tomato
Sittin' round the table
Don't happen much anymore

We got too complicated
It's all way over-rated
I like the old and out-dated
Way of life

Back when a hoe was a hoe
Coke was a coke
And crack's what you were doing
When you were cracking jokes
Back when a screw was a screw
The wind was all that blew
And when you said I'm down with that
Well it meant you had the flu
I miss back when
I miss back when
I miss back when

I love my records
Black, shiny vinyl
Clicks and pops
And white noise
Man they sounded fine
I had my favorite stations
The ones that played them all
Country, soul and rock-and-roll
What happened to those times?

I'm readin' Street Slang For Dummies
Cause they put pop in my country
I want more for my money
The way it was back then

Back when a hoe was a hoe
Coke was a coke
And crack's what you were doing
When you were cracking jokes
Back when a screw was a screw
The wind was all that blew
And when you said I'm down with that
Well it meant you had the flu
I miss back when
I miss back when
I miss back when

Give me a flat top for strumming
I want the whole world to be humming
Just keep it coming
The way it was back then

Back when a hoe was a hoe
Coke was a coke
And crack's what you were doing
When you were cracking jokes
Back when a screw was a screw
The wind was all that blew
And when you said I'm down with that
Well it meant you had the flu
I miss back when
I miss back when
I miss back when

Tuesday, May 27, 2008


We actually had a pretty good weekend. I can say that now because we are at the end of it. It was full of grieving, but also full of enjoying our family.

I'm starting to become intimately familiar with the steps of grieving. Ug.

Friday was difficult, but not as bad as Saturday. By Saturday the shock had worn off and the pain began in earnest. Sunday morning was tough at church. Too many new babies. But Sunday afternoon we dropped our son off with my mom and my husband and I headed out together. It was good to get away for a few hours.

Yesterday a nice thing happened. We had a day that was better than the day before. The evenings are still tough, but the days are getting better. And, today I feel better than I did yesterday.

I'm looking for my bootstraps and ready to move on. I think I will always miss the idea of this particular baby and I'm sure that when the due date at the end of June rolls around I will grieve again. Not that it doesn't still hurt, because it does. And it will hurt for awhile. But, I'm ready to let go. Or at least begin the process of letting go.

I still believe that God is merciful. That He is in control. That we will have a baby girl, someday. I eagerly await that day and hope that it is sooner rather than later. But, it is important to me that if I'm going to follow God in the good times, I follow Him in the tough times as well.

Saturday, May 24, 2008


To me, the worst part of having sore muscles is the days following the initial soreness. When the pain goes deeper and starts to just ache. When everything you do uses those muscles and you are constantly reminded of the pain. Every time you turn, bend, lift or just think of moving.

That is what I feel like.

I'm noticing that the pain from yesterday is starting to just ache. My heart is the sore muscle. Every time I do anything I'm reminded of the baby that won't be ours. At least yesterday I had shock to cushion the pain.

The weather is beautiful, sunny and warm after a week of rain. I'm going to try to get out and enjoy the day and slowly work the soreness out of my heart.

We have had a wonderful community of people, both online and off, to support and comfort us. It has been a blessing. I'm slowly learning how to grieve within a community. To allow others to offer support and to allow myself to be supported. Really, it's not something that I wanted to have to learn. But sometimes life teaches us things that are good to know even if they are painful to learn. Thank you to everyone who has offered words of comfort, encouraged, supported, and hurt with us. You are wonderful.

Friday, May 23, 2008


Well, we got another call today. You know "the call" we got a while ago? We got another call, but this time it was one that no prospective adoptive parent wants.

The birth mother has decided to keep the baby. Our birth mom is no longer ours. The baby that I was planning on is no longer coming.

Not only that, but I was in the process of painting the nursery when we got the call. I just want to say, "That sucks".

For almost 2 weeks we were going to be parents. Now, we are back to waiting. I have a feeling that the 27th of June is going to be a hard day for us. I have that due date written in on my calendar. In. red. ink.

But, we will grieve and we will move on. That is the nature of adoption.

If God's grace is sufficient for me in the good times, then it will be sufficient for me in the difficult times too. I still believe that He is in control and that there is a plan. And usually when I look back I see that everything is good. It just doesn't always feel good when I am in the midst of it. But that is what faith is for. Right?

Thursday, May 22, 2008


My horse shipped out yesterday. It was sad, but not as bad as I thought it would be, or could have been.

The more I think about this transition the more the word "mercy" comes to my mind.

With a new baby coming next month (hopefully), I will not have the time to give to a horse. So, he will be happier in a field to run in with other horses. It is more merciful for him.

But mostly I think of the mercy of God. His timing is impeccable. He brought me to a place where I am ready to move on in my life to new adventures. I truly believe that I will come back around to horses, but for now I will get to spend time with my kids before they decide that I'm uncool.

As I watched the truck and trailer leave with my horse, I thought about my family and the adoption that is in the works. How merciful it is for me to have such a blessing to focus on during this time.

This is a major transition for me and I can't begin to describe the relief that I feel being able to focus on an adoption. My biggest fear was that I would sell my horse only to not be able to adopt for another two or more years.

God's mercy is like a cool rain shower on a hot day. Calming, Centering, Refreshing.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Our Birth Mom

During the process of adoption, there is a time when all the paperwork is done and you are just waiting. While we were in that stage of the process I spent quite a bit of time talking with other adoptive parents, often times chatting on line with them or lurking on adoption forums.

I noticed a trend among families that were involved in an open adoption (either matched and waiting or that already had their child). There was this amazing protectiveness of "their birth mom". Honestly I didn't understand it.

It wasn't a protectiveness in the "stay away from our birth mom, she's ours" way, but more of a "she's family now" kind of way.

We were never in a situation with Brian's parents that could foster that type of relationship.

Now that we are matched, I'm starting to feel protective of her. Like we have a new family member. We have a birth mom.

I'm surprised by the protectiveness that I feel for her, the sadness I feel for her situation and the desire to see her succeed in life. I'm surprised, not because I don't normally feel that way for people in a tough spot in life, but because of the fact that her decisions have such an impact on us. I thought maybe I would emotionally struggle with that.

I am pleased with this reaction in myself. Sometimes you just never know how you will feel or react until you are placed in a situation.

Monday, May 19, 2008

Slip n' Slide

This weekend we got some warm weather. So we went in search of a fun way to keep cool. This is what we found...

First, Brian just wanted to run through it like a sprinkler.

Then he got the sliding idea.

Saturday, May 17, 2008

# 2

We are getting ready for baby number 2.

I am going through all the new parent emotions along with all the adoptive parent emotions. Which means that I vacillate between "hold my breath hoping that this adoption goes smoothly" and "Holy Cow, what are we doing?! We aren't ready for a baby! Can I really give up that much sleep?"

But, I figure all the stress is causing me to loose sleep just to get me ready for the upcoming sleepless nights with an infant.

So through this I've gone back and looked at some of Brian's baby pictures. They give me a sense of calm knowing that I made it through one, I can make it through another.

I decided I needed to share a few of my favorites. Because, how cute is this!

Friday, May 16, 2008

My Boy

Over the last week or so our lives have been pretty crazy. My husband, who works for a humanitarian organization, has had his hands full keeping the web site running during the most recent disaster relief campaign (Myanmar and China) and I have been running around getting adoption paperwork and phone calls done.

Getting lost in the shuffle has been my wonderful (if sometimes challenging) son. So I've tried to carve out some time for him to have mommy and me time. Here are a few minutes of our day...

Thursday, May 15, 2008

The Call

Did you see the photo yesterday? Yes, we got The Call! Well, sort of.

Life is never really black and white. Adoption is the same way. We are waiting to talk with the birth mom to confirm. But, that might not happen. The adoption could still happen even if we don't talk with her. Are we matched? I don't know. But I do know that everything is happening as if we are matched.

Confusing? Yes.

I am an emotional wreck. An excited, emotional wreck. In my hand is the sonogram report. Where it says no abnormalities, normal weight, normal growth. That's my baby. I think. Is she mine? No, not really, not yet. But, maybe she will be.

Adoption has it's own ups and downs. I am painting a nursery, picking a name, shopping for diapers, onesies, and bottles all for this baby. Or another one.

Our plan is to bring home a baby girl in June. Our lives are organized around bringing a baby home in June. Our hearts are given to this baby due in June.

But, how many adoptions don't go as planned? Hundreds, probably thousands. Will this one fall into that statistic? Or will we be another statistic, one of the group that actually brought home a baby?

I won't know until we have the signed papers in our hands. But we continue to believe that God has His best in store for us. And we are hoping that this is it.

Update: We are "officially" matched. That pretty much just means that the birth mom has chosen us and we have chosen her. There is nothing legal about it and she has the right to keep the baby and parent up to the point of termination of parental rights, which happens sometime after the baby is born (depends on each state law and I'm not sure what the laws are that will govern this adoption - our attorney will fill us in on that part).

Tuesday, May 13, 2008


Last weekend we went to Flaming Geyser State Park for a little Mother's Day hike. Though the "flaming geyser" is nothing to write home about. Not so much a geyser as a natural candle. But interesting none the less.

Here are a few photos from the trip. I've been wanting to take a some shots of running water, so I got a chance to practice with it a bit. But most of all, I love the colors and the vegetation of the Pacific Northwest.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Holding The Bridge

Once upon a time, in a fair and beautiful land there was a young knight, Sir Brian. One day he went for a walk out in the wilderness with his trusty sword. He brought his sword because you just never know when you will cross paths with a dragon that is in need of slaying.

As he was walking, um, running, er, adventuring, and he came upon a bridge. A nice serene bridge. One that possibly could have a troll under it, but after checking the good knight found only a few slugs.

As he came closer he spied something. Could it be? Yes, it is the evil black knight? And he is trying to cross the bridge into the fair and beautiful land.

There must be none of that! He must be fought. He must be pushed back from the land of the good.

Sir Brian fought valiantly. He fought bravely. He fought courageously. And pushed the Black Knight back. There were times that it was a close fight, but Sir Brian was the better fighter and in the end the hours of training against his mother's tulips really payed off. He was able to push the Black Knight further and further from the fair and beautiful land.

Yes! The bridge is safe. The foe has been defeated. The land is safe once again.

And just for good measure, "take that, and stay out!"

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Friday, May 9, 2008

Mother's Day

Mother's Day brings mixed emotions for me this year. Years ago when we were trying to have kids and going through infertility treatments Mother's Day was one of the most painful days of the year. Since we are church goers, I tried one year to attend church on Mother's Day only to have to leave in tears half way through the service. I learned my lesson and didn't attend church on Mother's Day or Father's Day after that.

Then our son came along. Mother's day became much easier and was truly a celebration in our household.

Now we are once again on the adoption journey. But this year is different. I am a mom and I love remembering how much I love being a mom. Plus, being celebrated and pampered isn't so bad either. But, I am also waiting for that next little one to join our family. I do feel an empty space where there should be a child.

So this year is bitter sweet.

I have noticed lately in the blog community several women going through grieving because of recent miscarriages. I makes me think of all those who will have sadness and pain this weekend when everyone else celebrates Mother's Day.

There are few holidays that can bring such a wide spectrum of emotions. It's a good time for me to remember how it felt to have empty arms. Especially on the days that my son is tough to parent. I want to remember the longing that I had to be a mom and how special he is to me.

While I will always have days that I think "What have I done?" I have a different perspective on motherhood because of the years before Brian. This year, because of process we are in with another adoption, those emotions are easier to remember. I hope I am reminded every year on Mother's Day how blessed I am to have my son to hold, play and paint with, and wake me up at o'dark thirty to snuggle and who still wants to snuggle me even when I wake up grumpy.

So this year I will have a happy Mother's Day just because I have the joy of being a mother.

Adoption Day!

A Mom Because of Her

The joy I feel today is somehow mixed with pain,
A title once hers, now offered up for me to gain.
You see, I became a mother in a not so usual way,
At the loving hands of someone else, I celebrate today.

I am now called Mother, because she made it so;
She sacrificed her role with love, and let her baby go.
Now cards and flowers are mine, and happy wishes too;
Will you remember her as well, or will you have no clue?

She too is still a mother, even on this special day
Though no longer in her arms does her baby lay,
But forever in her heart remains a love so strong and pure
And as I enjoy this day, I remember: I'm a mom because of her.

~Susan Reardon 2004