Blog Archive

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

A Week of Firsts

This week has been a week of firsts..some good, some bad and some just here.  My son has been crawling now for about a month.  While he was sick however, he didn't really care to move around a whole lot and lulled me into a false sense of security.  The first first is first blood.  My son has decided not only is crawling fun, but if I stand up I can reach more stuff to pull on my head or put in my mouth.  During his first attempt at standing he missed with one hand hold and plowed his face into the corner of my dining room chair.  He had the tiniest of cuts on his gum which proceeded to bleed like a fountain.  He decided he did not want to show me said cut and promptly sealed his mouth.  The purple bruise coming up on his forehead lead me to believe he had hit solidly and I could see blood.  I had to hold him down to pry his little mouth open so I could assess the damage.  As I prayed we were not going to have our first set of stitches at age 9 months, (my daughter waited until she was 7) I finally got a look at the very small scratch on his gum that was letting the blood spew.  Relief at last, no ER visit, teeth were in place, and the bruise has since faded to unnoticeable. 

Next first, he actually succeeded in pulling himself up to standing.  He now does it on anything that doesn't move when he grabs onto it.  We had a family meeting to put our new safety height at 3 feet.  Nothing dangerous below that altitude allowed at our home.

Our third first for my little man is solid food.  He ate his first cracker/cookie thing.  He loves them and actually chews really well.  He is learning to feed himself small cereal puffs and really wants control of that spoon.  He is so strong.  At least so far we have avoided choking.  It takes an eagle eye since he thinks sticking the food in his mouth is much funner than chewing it and swallowing it.  I had to dig a couple pieces out to avoid a traffic jam in the throat.

I had my first fill in as coach experience for my daughter's soccer game.  The coach, assistant coach, and fill in for the assistant coach were all out of town and we had no coach when we got to the field.  As the players wandered aimlessly and parents gazed around for someone to lead, I stepped up.  We did fine, but parents at these things stink.  I stepped forward so our kids could play, I didn't sign up for this, but volunteered to take on something that no one wanted to do, but no one was short of advice or complaints when they weren't in the drivers seat.  It was ridiculous.  There were some parents who thanked me profusely because their child got to play and I was fair about it and they wouldn't have wanted to be in my spot, but I was amazed at those who thought they should backseat drive.

I also found the courage to leave my baby at home with Daddy so I could go to the gym.  I have been very uneasy about this because I am breast feeding and baby won't take a bottle.  He is finally eating enough solid food and drinking out of a sippy cup so I thought that I could take an hour.  It was hard for me, but very rewarding to have some alone time and get back in the gym. Daddy handled everything perfectly and everyone was safe and happy when I returned home.

That is all the first for this week.  I am sure there will be more coming soon.  I have some great art projects coming up with my daughter and company tomorrow so I will probably pull out a new recipe.  I'll let you know.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Soccer Games!

It is official.  I am a soccer mom.  My daughter is playing soccer for the first time this year.  I fully support any sport programs for young children.  I know that it kept me out of trouble through most of my childhood because I was always busy.  I played little league baseball, softball, basketball, cheer leading, dance, volleyball, and numerous other extra curricular activities.  You will likely notice that soccer is missing from that list.  I think it is the one sport that I honestly know little to nothing about.  That didn't stop me from jumping up and down with my daughter and running all over to get her signed up at the last minute on the last day, just like everything else in my life. 
Now we are learning together how to play.  I couldn't be more proud.  She is really dedicated and picking up the skills quickly.  She is a very loud outgoing girl.  I thought she would be all over soccer, and she is, in an odd timid sort of way.  She attacks everything in her life, except the soccer ball.  We spent the whole first game on Saturday cheering our heads off and yelling at her to take the ball.  It was so great to see the support coming from her dad, me, and grandma and papa who came to watch too.

This undertaking has not, however, come without frustrations.  Her team was very close to not having a coach, or more likely having a coach (me) who didn't know what in the world was going on.  They got a last minute volunteer and they are off.  We got a bit of a late start and we definitely need some practice, but we will get there.  The key to this is going to be organization and we need to work on that a little, but I think it will all come. 
The neatest thing I have observed in this is how dedicated people can be to kids.  I am not talking about their own kids, but all kids, other peoples kids, random kids they don't know.  The wonderful volunteers who coach these teams are amazing.  I watched a larger than average man jump up and down cheering on his little second graders.  I watched him high five every player that came off the field.  I watched him take his whole team down on one knee when one little girl fell and got hurt and then all clap her off the field.  The lessons that are being taught on that team are the important ones.  They are learning sportsmanship, friendship, encouragement, and teamwork.
So I leave you with the reminder when you see these great volunteers helping our future leaders these important skills make sure you say thank you and shake their hand.  It really is a great service they are doing us all. 

Monday, March 15, 2010

Hats Off To Mom's of Chronically Ill Children

The last 6 days have been some of the roughest days of my stay at home career.  As I look back at them now, I hope they remain the roughest because we survived and are all okay, though my nerves might be a little worse for wear.  My son was diagnosed with bronchiolitis, not to be confused with just plain old annoying bronchitis, this is caused by RSV and is an asthma reaction to the virus. According to the documentation from my family doc, children with bronchiolitis have a 30% chance of having asthma later in life.  We will deal with that when we get there if needed.  It also makes children prone to ear infections which he has as well.  He is on antibiotics and was prescribed a nebulizer for 9 days, three days with treatments every 4 hours, three days every six hours, and three days every 8 hours.  We just started to move to every 8 hours.  For those of you who have never had the experience of a nebulizer let me elaborate.

A nebulizer is a small machine that takes liquid medicine mixed with saline and makes it into a mist that can be easily inhaled.  The machine is very loud and requires the user to wear a mask or use a mouth piece.  My little one is to small to keep something in his mouth, unless it doesn't belong there, so we had to go with the mask.
As you can see, it is a very fashion forward purple dinosaur mask, but not enough to make him enjoy the 5-7 minutes it has to be on his face.  The first treatment he cried the whole time and wouldn't wear the mask at all.  I held it as close as I could.  After about the third treatment he is okay with the mask being on, but only if I hold his hands and let him rock back and forth like a mad man.  I will have triceps like you have never seen, good bye flabby arm fat.  This has been our life for the last six days.

I have been a nervous wreck, sat up for hours listening to him breath, and prayed for him to get better.  I have never seen my happy baby boy be so lethargic and just sick. He was pale, slept all the time (except at night).  He looked miserable and no amount of mommy love could make him feel better.  I have never felt so helpless in all my life.  He clung to me every minute of everyday.  Thank God I am a stay at home mom, or I would have been fired.  He needed me more than anything this week. 

Today he is showing signs of life again.  He was into the middle of everything today.  I had to move him away from the WII three times in 5 minutes which is almost up to normal speed.  He is laughing a little and talking a little, but gets tired very quickly.  I am glad we are almost through this and things seem to be returning to normal.

All of this brings me to the name of this post.  I wanted to take a second to just give a great big hug and supportive arm to moms of children who are really sick.  I struggled with a breathing machine for 9 days, but there are moms that have to use that machine every day for years.  There are moms holding their babies' hands as they have surgeries and chemotherapy, and to them go my heartfelt respect.  My heart goes out to any mom who has had to see their little ones be sick, because it sucks for all of us, but it truly goes out to the moms who see it day in and day out and never give up and always smile and still teach their children to be good people.  My sister-in-law has Cystic Fibrosis, CF for short.  My mother in law was one of those mom's who gave treatments and pounded on her daughter everyday for years.  They spent weeks in the hospital three hours away and when things really turned bad watched her fight to breath for about a year before she received a double lung transplant.  The whole time knowing her daughter had a better chance of dying than living, she kept at it.  My hats off to those kinds of moms!

Birthday Surprises!!

My most recent undertaking has actually been the culmination of a months worth of work and even more so procrastination.  My mom turned 50 last Saturday and her boyfriend and I set about to surprise her with a great party.  She has lived in the same small town for almost her entire 50 years so we invited everyone.  My brother came from six hours away and we didn't tell her.  The surprise was great, but my part of the adventure was the projects I did.  Since I live an hour away, I had the freedom to do projects without to much worry about her seeing.  I volunteered to do the cake and a slideshow of old pictures of my mom.

Lets start with the cake.  Don't be fooled, this was not my first cake experience.  I have an 8 year-old daughter and we have done a Barbie cake, a jewelery box, a butterfly...but never with fondant. It was my first adventure with fondant, but after watching "Ace of Cakes" I was thinking how hard can it be.  I found a great recipe with instructions and pictures at

The cake was just a box mix.  It was probably not the best choice, but time constraints with the kids, mainly my son pulling at my pant legs, made it more practical.  I started with a large sheet cake.  It is two box mixes together and then I used a third to make the hill.  I used a Pyrex oven safe measuring cup to bake the hill.  I made the hill out of a chocolate cake, and the sheet was confetti cake.  I used half the chocolate cake for the hill, and poured the rest on top of the confetti.  I took a wooden skewer and swirled it together for a marbled look in the sheet cake.  It turned out delicious and pretty.  My first challenge was finding a board big enough to hold the sheet cake.  I thought my cookie sheet would work, but it was not big enough.  I ended up stealing one of my cabinet doors and covering it with foil, I guess I should get that back from her sometime soon. :)

We easily transferred the cake from the pan to the board because I had generously sprayed the pan down before baking, but then faced the challenge of flipping it back over.  My daughter helped me take the cake on the board and line up the original cake pan upside down and flip it onto the outside bottom of the pan.  Then I was able to slide it onto the board again.  I am sure there was a more efficient way to do this, but it worked.  I rounded the edges so it looked nice and curved like hills.  This was an over the hill cake after all.  I trimmed the top of the hill cake to make it flat and put it in the corner of the sheet cake.  I put a little cream frosting between them to hold it in place.  Thus begins the saga of the stickiness.

The recipe I used called  MM Fondant.; worked wonderfully and actually tasted good too.  Check out the recipe and tips, they were very useful.  Pay close attention to the MM, that is where stickiness comes in since MM stands for marshmallow and you could add another M because they are melted.  I also checked out the comments and found some common issues that people had and was able to troubleshoot as I went.  The only thing that I found super difficult was I needed A LOT of green fondant and I wish I had colored it when it was melted and gooey instead of when it was like kneading clay for 45 minutes.  I considered that my workout for the day, and my arms were sore as proof of the burn.  I did a rough icing of the cake with creamcheese frosting.  I rolled out the fondant after I got it the proper color and layed it gently following Peggy's instructions and keeping my rolling pin close to the cake.  I used cornstarch to keep the fondant from sticking to my board and rolling pin.  I smoothed it down and cut it using a pizza cutter.  It was perfect...and then it tore.  The hill cracked and I had no idea how to fix it. My fondant was covered with frosting on the back, there was no taking it back at this point.  I think I needed to get it rolled thinner, but I was running out of counter space.  Quick thinker that I am,  I rolled out a smaller piece and cut out little grass shapes and stuck them on with cream cheese frosting.  It covered the tears and looked great.  Then I took some of the CC frosting and colored it dark green.  I made more grass and it all blended in.  Catastrophe averted!  Whew!  On to decorating...

I made a nice grey color fondant, cut a path out and draped it down the hill to the edge of the cake.  I took a Rice Krispy treat and cut it to the shape of a headstone and covered it with CC frosting and then with gray fondant.  I took a resealable bag and reinforced it with a piece of clear tape.  I snipped a small tip off and used that to write with pink colored CC frosting.

I had a few little cracks to cover up on the tombstone, but used green CC frosting and it looked like moss.  Overall I pulled it off and really enjoyed it.  My mom loved it.  Happy Birthday!!