Thursday, July 30, 2009

Birthday Cake for Breakfast

We celebrated Jack's 8th birthday on Monday (July 27th) with a yummy cake made to his specifications along with taking his food allergies into consideration. Jack is allergic to dairy, soy, tree nuts and egg yolks which as you all can imagine makes birthday cake a challenge. When he was little I found a recipe for "Grandma's Terrific Vegan Chocolate Cake" which we have used for many years with great success. He can also have angel food cake but let's face it that just isn't as much fun as the cakes he sees his siblings have each year. This year his request was simple he wanted yellow cake and he wanted blue icing. Simple request really if you aren't challenged by avoiding all the things that can stop him from being able to breath! I searched around and found a serviceable recipe and altered it to fit our needs hoping that it would turn out and not flop or be a brick (a real possibility for a dairy free, soy free, egg free cake!) I was even able to alter a butter cream icing recipe to a safe replica and tinted it blue! All in all the cake looked just like the cakes that everyone else has and tasted really good too!

Yesterday Jack came into my room while I was on the computer and asked if he could have cake for breakfast... I said yes before I fully processed what he asked and then thought well really why not? I mean honestly? We eat doughnuts, poptarts etc for breakfast (well some people do it's not our norm here because typically my crowd doesn't like really sweet stuff) Today once again he asked for birthday cake for breakfast and I said yes.

I did a little fretting yesterday about whether I should have been okay with birthday cake for breakfast and had lots of friends say they thought it was cool. One friend said "no one ever regrets being nice to their children" this particular sentiment was very meaningful coming from this friend because you see her daughter Hannah died when she was 9. I can't imagine loosing a child and how that changes the very essence of a person. Not only did my friend lose her child but a few years before her daughter passed her husband died. She's said many times how glad she was that they had not spent their time together as a family sweating the small stuff... they enjoyed each other, they danced in the rain, they ate cake for breakfast!

This is my aspiration... if God forbid anything happens to anyone in my family I do NOT want to be sorry that I missed seizing the joy of every day life. I do not want to only remember times I said no, I want there to be so many yeses that I can scarcely remember the nos! I want to remember laughing together, hugging, kissing, and yes eating birthday cake for breakfast!

My Jack began his life as a miracle and continues to be a miracle to me every day. It took alot of years to conceive this very wanted child. We did everything to assure his health and well being, we had an amniocentesis , ultrasounds and every test to assure his health. When I began to have complications at 32 weeks we were panicked that we would lose him. After a week in the hospital it was determined that he could not stay inside any longer that the chance that we would both die was high. I developed a complication called HELLP syndrome which is very dangerous to both mother and child. Fortunately the best cure is to deliver the baby.

Jack's birth story was as different from his birth plan as night and day! We had planned a quiet birth in a birthing room with our midwife. We got an induction with all parties fearing for my survival. My midwife was wonderful though and took charge and advocated for me with the fetal maternal medicine specialist who allowed the induction rather than the c section he preferred. I have fast labors so that was our argument to save me the recovery time since Jack would surely spend a lengthy period of time in the NICU at 7 weeks premature.

At 4:20am he arrived.... crying (a good sign meaning his lungs were pretty good!) weighing 4 lbs 8 ounces... big for a 33 weeker! Actually HUGE for a 33 weeker! He managed to breath on his own and had no big issues. He spent 7 days in the NICU (I was only released one day before him since I was still very ill!) which is phenomenal for a baby who is 7 weeks early! He grew quickly and well and despite a few developmental hiccups has done very well!

When I look at him and think about what could have happened... how he could have never grown into this big 8 yr old boy (about the same age as Hannah at her passing) how he could have had a whole host of issues that plague premature babies.. cerebral palsy, lung issues, brain bleeds and all those things that we avoided by the grace of God I am so thankful. So thankful to be his mother and to have him here in the mornings to ask "Hey mom can I have birthday cake for breakfast?"

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Catching up and Graduation Update!

It's been a while since I have written anything... life has been busy with all the graduation stuff, the getting ready for college stuff, summer, lots of birthdays and all that sort of thing! Technically there isn't really an excuse for it because I have been spending plenty of time at the computer just haven't been using it to do anything productive!

Ok here are the updates... we had the graduation for Sarah and everything went wonderfully! We had lots of friends there to help celebrate... I managed to get through without an "ugly" cry and everything worked like it was supposed to ! The day was one we will remember for many many years to come! It was like a warm blanket of love, care and support from all of our friends and family that shared the day with us.

The following weekend Sarah and I were off to her college orientation weekend ... she had a blast and my brain began to melt after two full days of information overload! She's all registered for her classes now and has her room assignment and has emailed her roommate. We are in those last weeks of summer before she heads off for the fall... it's all gone so fast!

We are headed to the beach in another week or so for our last vacation before having to factor in school schedules... it's been a long time since we had to pay attention to any one's calendar other than our own! Lots of changes coming !

So nothing terribly philosophical today just a hey let's catch up and get back on this blogging thing!

Lots of pictures from the graduation so enjoy!!

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Graduation girl!!!!!!!!!

Well it's upon us.... THE graduation looms large and just a few days away! I have spent the last few weeks in tears on and off and let's be real folks... some occasions of just gut wrenching sobbing! My girl is all done with high school... all done with our homeschooling and leaving us to live in a dorm on a college campus! The upside is that she is not far away so I can see her during the week if I want to drive downtown and tempt her with non campus type food (although I toured the cafeteria and it sounded better than what's been coming out of my kitchen lately!! )

We started this whole planning for THE graduation months ago talking about what we wanted and didn't want... we designed invitations and made them, then gathered addresses and sent them out to all of our friends and family hoping that a good group of them could join us. I booked the hall at the church, located a sound system to borrow, a projector to show the slideshow I planned to make and so on. Our family has been so blessed with so many people who are also excited about this big step in our life and have graciously loaned expensive equipment to us and encouraged us in our plans.

The slideshow has proven to be more of an undertaking than I originally appreciated... we have friends that do all sorts of really cool things with this nifty computer feature... I am no Bill Gates but I thought I could muddle through. BOY!! The actual software for building the slideshow wasn't so difficult but once I had my masterpiece all together the actual getting it from the computer onto a DVD that I could play proved to be a really confusing process! We consulted a friend who cleared it up for us but then had difficulty getting our software to behave and play nicely. I downloaded multiple other programs that were supposed to do the same thing and found them to be useless and confusing. FINALLY I found one that worked but hey this free software puts a watermark in the middle of each slide (so my precious girl's baby head was tattooed with the company logo! ) I really didn't want to BUY more software that was only for this one thing so I plodded on. Again I we finally got it onto a DVD and guess what? Music skippage! UGH! So I spent another day fighting with it and I think I can now say FINALLY FINALLY it's on a DVD and the music seems to be behaving! Now I just have to figure out how to hook up the projector and I am in business!

This whole process has been interesting because I have really been surprised at myself .... deep down I am a big ole crybaby! I was okay until I started stringing those baby pictures together leading up to the present day.... then adding all that sappy music that you just have to have for such a thing... the first time through by picture 3 I was sobbing... not just shedding tears, not silent weeping I mean SOBBING! I had to close my door so the kids didn't think someone had died! During the whole making of process I had to watch it over and over to get things just right and each time I was in tears! Hubby finally watched it and immediately complained about how he couldn't be expected to watch this and not cry and how cruel I was to make him do it... I reminded him that I was going for desensitization hoping that I would have seen it enough by the big day that I could make it through without making a mess of myself! Right in the midst of that blubbering fest the mailman had the nerve to show up with the diploma, cap and gown! Luckily the girl was away at the beach so I didn't have to see her in it right away!

Yesterday she did try it on and it was really cute how giddy she was about the whole thing... the dry humor as she tried on the mortarboard ...."gee mom who put one of these on their heads and said 'yeah this is a great hat for graduation' ??" This followed by snorts and guffaws and ultimately for mom at least more tears!

This is one of those "really big things" in life... I am so proud of our girl, she's worked hard, been accepted at a very nice private women's college with a very generous scholarship and she's a great kid to boot. Yep I wish I could just dust off my hands and say "job well done" but oh it's not just my job... too many others to name were involved in arriving in this place. The major player has been the girl herself... she's made the right choice so many times when she didn't have to but wanted to do the right thing. She's taken on growing up with so much grace and poise, she hasn't been afraid to say when she was overwhelmed or unsure, she's always trusted us to give her the freedom and guidance she needed and we have trusted her to take that freedom and use it well.

So here's to my girl, Sarah Elizabeth , our graduation girl! (Junie B. Jones would be proud!)