Thursday, November 29, 2012

A Happy Thanksgiving With Some Sadness Mixed In

We did have a good Thanksgiving. We spent time with both of our families. I loved being with my nieces and nephews. Seeing their smiles and hearing them playing. I even got to go fishing with my brother, Dad, niece McKenzie and a friend of my brother's. It was a nice afternoon spent on the lake enjoying being together. I enjoyed helping my mom make Thanksgiving and snacking as we went. It was a nice few days spent with family enjoying each other. I love my large family and the crazy that goes with it. We helped my parents move a little closer to my siblings. Moving is always an adventure with my family and this time was no different. We had a very busy few days going here and there, seeing friends and family and I enjoyed it. We have some of the greatest friends and family. 

Thanksgiving was a little bittersweet. I've been told by my friends who have gone before me on this path that the first milestones are the hardest. I fully expected it to be true and it has been. As with the other milestones we have passed Thanksgiving wasn't much different. It seems the time leading up to a milestone is harder than the actual milestone. I've been doing my best this month to be thankful. It always helps me with my grief to be thankful. I've even continued to be thankful for my baby boy. He is one of our biggest blessings and greatest miracles and I'm glad he is mine. However, being thankful for him doesn't take away the sting that he isn't with us. I couldn't help but think how cute he would have looked in a thanksgiving outfit and how our family would have been passing him around oohing and ahhing over him. Some tears fell on a few different occasions and I just let them fall. I needed to feel it. I've learned that my journey is easier if I allow myself to feel the sadness when it comes instead of suppressing it. One of the times that it hit me the hardest was when I was Black Friday shopping with my mom and sister. A time I least expected it. Walking through the store and seeing tiny Christmas outfits and toys for infants. I had to walk away with tears in my eyes.

I'm sure that as Christmas approaches it will be similar. Days and moments that are wonderful and those that are sad. I will continue to thank God for my family, my son, my amazing husband, and for His love. 

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

1 year- Since One of the Happiest Days of My Life

It has been 1 year to the day that I found out I was pregnant with Grant. I suspected before that day but on the morning of November 21, 2011 I had a positive pregnancy test. I went to the doctor and they confirmed that yep, I was indeed pregnant. Jonathan and I were so so so excited. So excited we had a really hard time keeping it to ourselves. It had been 3 long years of waiting for that positive test. I am so thankful for that day. It was literally one of the happiest days of my life.

I never imagined that as I approached the 1 year date of finding out we were expecting I would be grieving the child that I only had for a little while. I am so very glad that I got to carry him for that short time though. I'm glad that I got to hold him, bathe him, dress him, sing to him and take pictures of his sweet face. If I could go back to 1 year ago I wouldn't change a single thing. He is one of my greatest blessings.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012


MMMMM food. I have had an adventurous spirit lately when it comes to cooking. I have been making things that I haven't made before. Mostly in my Crock-pot. I love my Crock-pot. Definitely need to find more recipes for that bad boy.

First I made beef stew in the crock-pot. I made it on a cold fall night and it was delicious. I based my recipe off of this one Beef Stew.  I made a few changes because I didn't have everything listed and I didn't want to go back to the store (my phone with the list online wouldn't work while at the store so I had to wing it). Here are the changes I made. I put the beef stew meat in the crock pot frozen. I just poured the flour mixture in (no stirring to coat) and I didn't use a bay leaf or celery. I also used baby carrots (about 1/2 a small bag) instead of slicing whole carrots. I added a little more beef broth than the recipe calls for (maybe 2 cups total). We had some fresh yeast rolls to go with it and yum, it was good. Sorry, I forgot to take a picture, I was busy eating the deliciousness :)

Last night I made Homemade Beef Stroganoff. I got the recipe from my friend Hillary here Easy Homemade Beef Stroganoff. It was also super delicious. I didn't alter her recipe at all and once again threw the beef stew meat in the crock pot frozen. Since it was just the 2 of us there are plenty of leftovers that are now in the freezer waiting for us to return from our holiday travels. Here is a picture of the finished product on top of some egg noodles. Sorry about the quality of the photo. I took it with my phone and didn't pay attention if it was focused, oops.

Last night I also made my chocolate chip cookies. I basically follow the Nestle recipe. However, I do things a little differently. Here is my version of their recipe.

2 sticks butter                                    3/4 cup brown sugar (packed)
3/4 cup white sugar                           2 1/4 cup flour
1 tsp baking soda                              1 tsp salt
1 tsp vanilla                                      2 eggs
2 cups semi sweet chocolate chips

Instructions: Preheat oven to 375 degrees. In a large glass bowl place the 2 sticks of butter in the microwave and microwave on high for about 1 min 30 seconds. You want the butter to be almost completely melted. Then add brown sugar, sugar, salt, baking soda and vanilla and stir with a wooden spoon to combine. Then add 2 eggs and stir to combine. Next add the flour and stir until it is all incorporated. Then add the chocolate chips and stir. I then use a tea spoon (like you would eat with) to scoop the dough out and place on a cookie sheet. Bake in the oven for 7-9 minutes until top is just beginning to be golden. Remove from oven and let cool on sheet for 1-2 minutes. Transfer to counter on paper towels to cool completely.
Now I am ready for all of the Thanksgiving fare over the next few days!

Monday, November 12, 2012

Holidays Are Approaching

This time of year is my favorite. I absolutely LOVE Christmas! I love what it stands for. My savior's birth. I love seeing kids get excited and the joy on their faces. I love Christmas music, lights, trees, and even Santa. I would decorate for Christmas as early as October if my hubby would allow it. However, he thinks we should celebrate Thanksgiving before starting to celebrate the Christmas season. Something about not forgetting what we are thankful for. I say "why can't we be thankful for Christmas?" :) Thinking about the holidays this year has brought some serious twinges of pain for me. I am still excited to buy lights to hang on the house and to pick out a Christmas tree to decorate. I can't wait to get out our nativity scene. However, I'm also a little sad. There will be no stocking for Grant. I won't get to pick out a "my first Christmas" outfit. We do have two ornaments for Grant. One was sent to us by a friend with his birth stats on it and the other is a sweet angel that my sister bought for us with Grant's name on it. They will both hang proudly on the tree. My little sister took our Christmas card pictures last week, another bittersweet moment. We were able to incorporate Grant into some of the photos but oh how I missed picking out his outfit and dealing with a squirming baby. I really miss that sweet boy. 

Here are some photo previews. I'll post our Christmas card after it is in the mail.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Micro-Preemie/Preemie Gown and Sleeper Tutorial

This tutorial is mainly for bereavement purposes. I don't think these would work well in the NICU because they wouldn't allow for all of the wires, IV's, etc. I'm sure they could be modified for that purpose but my purpose was so that these sweet babies who die too soon would have something to wear. No parent should have to be sad because their baby is too small for clothes and therefore will go naked.

We will start with the Gown tutorial first. Some of the steps for the gown and sleeper are the same. If you want the pattern please see this website Teeny Tears. They will be uploaded there in the near future. A soft knit fabric works best for the gown, hat and sleeper.
Gown Instructions
1. Cut out 1 front piece, 2 back pieces and 2 sleeves from your fabric.

2. With right sides together sew center back seam up to wear the facing begins.

3. With right sides together sew sleeves to front and back pieces at the four shoulder seams.

4. Hem or add ribbing to the neck line. (I recommend adding ribbing because they are so tiny, making hemming difficult. You can make your own out of the same fabric by cutting a 1 1/2 inch wide strip of fabric. Fold each side in 1/4 inch and then fold in half. Place neck edge into the fold of the strip and topstitch down.) Fold the facings in while hemming or ribbing.

5. Hem sleeves.

6. With right sides together sew underarm/side seams. Clip at pivot. On one side leave a small 1/2 inch opening in the side seam about 1 1/2 inches from the bottom of the gown. (This is where the ribbon will go later)
Example of opening left for the ribbon.

Sew side seams where pins are.
7. Fold facings under and apply velcro closures. You could use snaps or buttons also but velcro seems to work well.
Note: When applying velcro make sure the "rough" side of the velcro is facing out away from the body. These babies have skin that is very fragile and we don't want anything "scratchy" touching them.

I use a wide zig zag stitch to attach the velcro.
8. Sew a 1 inch bottom hem. Thread the ribbon through using a safety pin and tie to gather the bottom of the gown.

Sorry the pictures are sideways. I couldn't get them to rotate.
Sleeper Instructions
1. Cut out 2 back pieces, 2 front pieces and 2 sleeves.

2. Sew center back and center front crotch with right sides together. Leave opening open (where facings start).
For center back sew from neck line and stop where the upslope stops.
For center front all you sew is where the curve is in the crotch area.
3. Sew sleeves to the front and back pieces at 4 shoulder seams with right sides together. 

4. Hem or add ribbing to the neck. (see the note above about ribbing) Fold the front facings in as you are hemming or adding ribbing.

5. Hem sleeves. 

6. With right sides together sew underarm, side seam, inseam, side seam and underarm. Clip at curves. Turn right side out. While sewing these seams fold up the back of the foot at the fold to line to create the heel. Pin in place and sew side seams to secure. 

7. Apply velcro closure to the facings. You could use buttons or snaps also but the velcro seems to work well. See Note above for tip on applying velcro.

Added Disclaimer: The patterns that will be posted on the Teeny Tears websites I designed by looking at and then altering common sleeper/gown patterns. The facing on most of the patterns I could find is perfect for a full size baby but when you make them smaller and smaller it became almost non-existent, therefore I made it larger on my patterns. I tried to make the opening large enough that dressing these tiny little ones would be feasible but that the clothes would still look like traditional baby clothes. The gown is probably easier to put on a tiny baby and could even be altered to where the facing extends to the bottom of the gown on the back with velcro closures all the way down (instead of a seam part way down with opening only half way) so that there is no pulling it over their legs or head. I purposefully placed the gown closure in the back to allow it to look more like traditional baby clothing.