Not my Momma’s Meatloaf + Farm Life

The joys of farming –

So tonight, I get home after a long day…

I changed into some comfy shorts and sandals…

And Hubs gets home to inform me we have cattle to work. Like right now. No time to change.

Don’t you dare judge. Yes, I’m well aware my open-toed feet should never have been where they were…but they were. And it probably won’t be the last…

So off Munchkin and I go to enjoy some quality time on the four-wheeler, helping Hubs get cows up!

Of course, Munchkin got to play while we sorting cows – enjoy it kid… one day you won’t get to play in the dirt while we work haha. Molly and Sadie were right there with us, going between us and the Munchkin making sure everybody was ok. All in all… it was a pretty perfect Spring evening.

Sometimes I get asked – how can you raise beef cattle AND eat them? Um – I love beef. Our job is to provide a safe, reliable, delicious protein for your family…and we aim to please. Our cows are probably better cared for than ourselves – they certainly see their doctor more than I see mine! I guess our logic (and conscience) dictates – If they’re going to be providing our family with what we need – you bet your bottom dollar we’re here to provide them with what they need.

Tonight we had a girl that wasn’t feeling herself, so to the barn she went to await the vet, with her girlfriends.

When you live on a beef farm – you eat a LOT of beef. I come home from the grocery store with chicken and Hubs looks at me like I have 6 heads. Don’t we have a freezer full of beef? Yes, yes we do. But sometimes I crave something different.

Luckily, I’ve been able to tweak on some “staple” beef recipes over the years that satisfy my need to not be boring. Friends – meet my friend, Not Boring Meatloaf.

So over the years, I’ve had to get creative in an attempt to not eat the same thing over, and over, and over. This meatloaf recipe is one such way.

I should probably confess in advance – I’ve never liked meatloaf. A few years ago, I started playing around with a recipe that would satisfy Hub’s love of all things meatloaf and my aversion to normal meatloaf – this is what we landed on…

So let’s get started!

In a bowl add 2 cups of torn up stale bread (pretty sure I used hotdog buns this time) and enough milk to saturate the bread.

Let that soak in, then add an egg, ground beef, chives, parsley, onion, salt, and pepper.

Remove the rings from your hands. Trust me.

Now, get to squishing. Work the ingredients together with your hands until you’ve got it thoroughly combined.

I LOVE this roasting pan. Spray a little cooking spray, fill the bottom with water, yayy easy cleanup AND fat drains away while cooking.

So, dump the loaf onto the sprayed pan…

Form into a loaf…

Throw it in the oven at 400 degrees.

Let’s talk sauce.

Mix ketchup, mustard (I prefer spicy mustard but plain yellow was what I had to work with), and a little liquid smoke. Hubs HATES sweet on meat. He doesn’t like bbq sauce on a meatloaf, or brown sugar in already-sweet ketchup. This sauce is savory with the smoke, the mustard adds a kick, and just a tad sweet and definitely tangy from the ketchup.

Pull the loaf out, sauce that bad boy and return it to the oven. Save the sauce leftovers for dipping the meatloaf when eating.

And when this glorious baby is finished…. Hubs will start slicing and serving before I can even take a picture. Go figure….

Enjoy folks!!

2 C bread torn into pieces

~1/2 C milk (or until bread is saturated)

1 egg

1.5lb hamburger

1 tbs dried chives

1 tbs parsley

1 Tbs dried onion

1 tsp salt

1 tsp pepper

Sauce

1 C ketchup

1 Tbs mustard (spicy)

1 tsp liquid smoke

Mix milk and bread in a medium bowl. Let soak. Add remaining ingredients, mix together. Form loaf on pan, cook at 400 degrees for about 20 minutes. Remove, add sauce, return to the oven for an additional 20 minutes, or until internal meat temperature reaches 165 degrees. Let it rest for a few minutes, then serve with leftover sauce.

Being Thankful… Even in a ShitStorm.

Lord knows we’ve had an awful year. Not one I wish to repeat. But, I’m a firm believer that when life throws you lemons – you make lemonade….and throw in some vodka.

As I reflect on our lives this past year, and the grief that surrounds infertility and pregnancy loss… it’s beyond easy to get bogged down. It’s easy to stay in a pool of grief because we lost two babies, one when I was almost halfway along in the pregnancy. It’s easy to get wrapped up in us having another child vs not, and letting it control our lives. I know how grief can do that, but I refuse to go there. We get one life on Earth…I’m not about to squander it.

So it’s got me thinking about grief.

Everyone grieves. We grieve when loved ones pass at 91, and when loved ones pass before they were ever born. We grieve when relationships don’t work. We grieve over plans not working out. No one is immune from grief. No one.

And that got me thinking about how I choose to handle it.

I’m one person. I’m certainly not an expert. There’s no good book on how to handle grief when you lose a baby. There’s not much out there on grief in general.

But what I can tell you is this…

Everyone gets shoved into the grief pool when something terrible happens. Sometimes it’s immediate, sometimes its days later, weeks later, or months later. Nobody escapes the grief pool. The vast majority of us will have to come up for air eventually. Sometimes it’s within days, sometimes longer. It’s laughter, someone making you smile, or maybe just putting your focus somewhere else, away from your pain, for just a moment. And you’ve got a decision to make: do I go back under, or do I pull myself out. Maybe you’re not ready at first, so you go back under. Maybe you move from the deep end to the shallow. But inevitably, if you go back under you’ll come up for air again (maybe sooner than last time) and the decision happens again. Eventually, you choose to pull yourself out – or maybe you don’t. I hope you do.

I got out of the pool. I’m not immune to grief. I have feelings. I’m not EVER going to forget what happened, and nobody in their right mind would expect me to. It’s simply not possible. But, I choose happiness over sadness, thankfulness over being left wanting. But so many times I see people choose to stay in the pool.

I want to live a life of thankfulness… even in the midst of the shit storm that has been this past year.

So… here’s what got me out:

In moments of grief, reflect on the love that surrounds you. Allow people to comfort you, to make you laugh, and forget the sadness…even if only for a moment. They’re trying to pull you up so you can breath. Let them.

In moments of weakness, when you feel like you can’t stand up, let someone help you. So, so, so many women have gone through this. You are not alone. But, if you don’t allow someone to be there for you (that’s been through a loss or infertility of their own especially) – you’re going to feel alone. Feeling alone is unnecessary. There are too many of us out here for it to be ok for you to suffer in silence.

In your moments of anxiety and worry, control the controllable and forget what you can’t control. I can’t control that my body’s all out of whack right now – it just needs time, and that’s ok. Can’t get the anxiety under control? Talk to someone. There are options – even if it’s just red wine and a good friend.

When things don’t fit into YOUR timeline: get rid of the timeline. Like seriously. The timeline is creating stress and it’s probably making you crazy. If you can’t control it – get rid of it. Lord knows, I thought Muchkin would be playing with a sibling by now. But he’s not and that’s ok. My mom and aunt are seven years apart and are thick as thieves. I never got a sibling…and my life has been good. Timelines are stress-inducing.

When what you prayed for doesn’t happen, when what you’ve wanted more than anything in the world doesn’t happen…. reevaluate. How important is it? Are you losing yourself in an attempt to gain something society tells you you must have? What lengths are you willing to go to? What stress are you willing to put on your spouse? Is it worth it? No? Then find something else that makes you happy. There’s a whole world out there waiting on you. Yes? See below.

And what happens when you decide it is worth it, and you keep praying, and you keep wanting…and it still doesn’t happen. You reevaluate. You decide what you need to be happy if it’s not going to be ________________, and you go do that. You go on trips, you adopt a child, you become the world’s best aunt, you make a career move, you do SOMETHING that changes your focus and makes you happy. Because happiness should not be determined by one thing. You let go. You did everything right, and it didn’t work out. Good. Let yourself feel peace. You change your prayer. Pray not for the thing you wanted, pray for peace and happiness – it’ll seep in.

In our time of grief, I forced myself to think of these things:

I choose to live a life of thankfulness. Not everyone has what I have and I’m grateful: we have family who supports us, loves, us and prays for us. We have friends that will do just about anything to help. I have a great career. We have a warm home. We have food in our bellies. We’re happy.

I choose to see the good in my family, friends, and God. Yeah, we all get annoyed from time to time with our loved ones (God included)…but the reality is – they love us, we love them, and when push comes to shove – we’ve got each others backs.

I put faith in Him, that He may not stop really bad things from happening to really good people – but He will support you in a way nobody else can.

And if you ever question that, ask yourself: how have I witnessed God?

This was my answer: On our worst days – we had family drive in from out of state to bring us food. One of my best friends drove hours to come see me, only for an hour. We received cards, and messages, and love from people we didn’t even know. I had doctors that cared for me. I don’t mean they treated me, which they did…I mean they CARED for me. Like I was their daughter, sister, friend. I had nurses that complimented my eyelashes when I was in the OR and gave me drugs that relaxed me – on the worst day of my life they made it a little better. Our minister sat on our back porch for hours just talking to me and my mom…caring for us. If that’s not God at work, I don’t know what is.

I prayed not for God to change our outcome – but for him to give me peace and strength. He did.

And because of that peace and strength… I’m happy. Legitimately happy.

I talk to our son. Maybe that seems crazy. But to me…he’s in Heaven being bounced around by my grandparents. He’s perfectly fine. And I have a family here on Earth who needs me. A husband, a child, our family, and friends – I’m important to them and they deserve all of me.

One day, if we’re blessed to have another baby on Earth, we’ll gladly welcome him or her to our family – and if that doesn’t happen for us…I’m ok with that too. Like REALLY ok. Not the kind of ok people say and don’t mean.

My value as a woman, and a human, is not dictated by fertility. Your’s shouldn’t be either. My value is determined by what and who I am, because that’s something I can control. If you put your value into something that you can’t control, well…that’s how you lose your happiness. That’s not something I’m willing to part with.

Tomorrow, I’m going to eat way more than I should and enjoy my family. And tomorrow night, I’ll lay in bed next to my husband and for a moment, think what might have been….then smile because I know I’m coming out on the other side stronger and happier – and for that…I AM THANKFUL.

Have a blessed Thanksgiving. May your turkey be delicious, your cranberry sauce be from a can, and the drinks free-flowing….

Love,

Stilettos

Chorizo Corn Chowder

It’s officially November: the start of the holiday season! And cold weather. And germs.

So, today I’m working from home trying like heck to get over this crud I’ve had for more than a week!!

So, I sat in on conference calls, sent emails, thought about food, got hungry, then creative, and here’s where we are: Chorizo Corn Chowder!

Not gonna lie, folks. I sat down and ate that very bowl pictured above in about 7 seconds. So, if you like heat, sweet, and savory – this is for you!

Things to note before we get started:

I LOVE spicy, always have. But not everyone’s like me! So, if your taste buds burn at the thought of spice…cut down on the amount of chorizo in your recipe. And you’ll notice I used dried onions. Ummm, I don’t like onions…like chunks of onion. I also cry like a baby EVERY SINGLE TIME I cut one up. Dried onions fix all my issues: I can’t tell they’re in the recipe and I didn’t ruin my mascara. As for the sweet potatoes you’ll see below? Well, I saw a bunch of recipes with normal potatoes and thought, why not sweet potatoes? Sweet with heat;)

So let’s get to it, folks!

Chorizo Corn Chowder

I browned a pound of loose chorizo. If you live where we live – this might be hard to come by. But you can order link chorizo online and use that if need be. For us, we struggle to use up all our home-grown sausage each year and I convinced Hubs to make 20lbs of chorizo for me last year. Well it’s almost hog killing time and I had a couple of cans to use, hubs isn’t crazy about it and wasn’t home, and soup makes you feel better when you’re sick!

After I got the chorizo going, I diced up two medium sweet potatoes into bite size pieces, leaving the skin on.

I removed the chorizo from my Dutch oven after it was cooked and put it aside in a bowl. I added a can of drained corn and the dried onions to the pot to sauté, then added the sweet potatoes in to soften, cooking about 5 minutes. Meanwhile I put two cans of drained corn in the food processor with a cup of stock and blended until it was roughly chopped and thick.

After I got the veggies softened and cooking, I added thyme to the veggies and the remaining corn out of the food processor. I mixed it all up and added 3 cups of chicken stock, put the top on, and let it simmer for 15 minutes.

Once that was done, the potatoes were almost cooked, I added the chorizo back in, and 3 cups of whole milk and continued to let it simmer for 10 minutes.

And voila!!

Chorizo Corn Chowder was born. It smelled HEAVENLY. The corn and sweet potatoes added sweet, the chorizo heat, and the thyme made it oh, so savory on a November day.

Give it a try folks…. I’m in love.

Love,

Stilettos

Fall favs: Chili and Jalapeño waffles

We’re getting back into the swing of life, and fall is sneaking up on us! Time flies!!

In honor of all the things I love about fall -College football (go HOKIES!!!), leaves turning, all things pumpkin, and pots of soup calling my name:) – I thought I’d share this homey recipe!

First, I was in our little grocery store last night grabbing stuff for this dish when I ran into my sis and a friend. My sis couldn’t believe I would attempt this on a weeknight. Ummmm, this was EASY. Like stupidly easy. And perfect for a fall meal. So, here goes!!

I’ve always loved chili and usually the hotter the better, but admittedly struggle eating other people’s because I am annoyingly picky #dontjudge. I despise chunks, but rest assured this recipe can easily be changed for all my chunky onion/tomato folks.

I also love pretty much anything to do with corn. Corn bread. Corn cakes. Corn pudding. Corn salad…….

Here is the marriage of two beautiful foods: chili and corn bread.

I made a double recipe, so feel free to halve this!

I browned the meat, opting for traditional hamburger and not so traditional loose chorizo sausage – all made from our beef and hogs. Gold mine. Spectacular. But if you don’t have chorizo sitting in your freezer like I do, hamburger is fine:)

I threw in a couple tablespoons of dried minced onion for multiple reasons: flavor is important, I cry every flipping time I chop one up, I hate chunks, dried onion is EASY. (If you prefer good old fashion onion, dice up a medium onion and brown it with your meat.) I added in store bought chili seasoning #weeknightmeal #lazy (two since this is a double recipe), and cans of rinsed corn, kidney beans, and black beans.

Super complicated, right?!

I mentioned I was picky. So….

I may or may not use puréed tomatoes.

SORRY!

Feel free to use whatever version of canned tomato you like. It will still work:)

I always keep beef and chicken stock on hand, and I added about of a cup of broth to thin it down a little. I tasted and decided it needed a teaspoon of sugar. And that was it. Simmer away my friend…

Want it hotter? Go ahead and add whatever you like to for heat. My personal favorite is a chipotle pepper in adobo sauce diced up: smokey, yummy heat. Unfortunately, Munchkin needed to be able to eat this and although he can take a little heat…I didn’t want to over-do. This was warm enough on its own for him:)

Off to waffle wonderland….

I cheated BIG TIME.

Here comes the Martha White cornbread packet. Just the regular sweet one:)

I mixed it up as directed, diced half of a jalapeño pepper (a whole one if you want more heat) and added half a cup of grated cheddar cheese. Into the waffle maker it went and voila!!!! Beautiful jalapeño cornbread waffles.

How to assemble?

Waffle cocked up in the bowl on the side, ladle in the chili, top with freshly grated cheddar, sour cream, and chives.

You’re welcome.

We’re eating it tonight too:)

Love,

Stilettos

Chili Ingredients:

1lb hamburger

1lb chorizo sausage

2Tbs dried onion

Two packets chili mix

28oz puréed tomato

15oz corn

15oz kidney beans

15oz black beans

~1 cup broth (optional)

1 tsp sugar

Directions:

Brown meat, then add onion, corn, and beans. Mix in chili mix. Stir in tomato purée. Add broth to thin if desired. Add sugar to balance acidity of tomato.

Waffle ingredients

1 package Martha White sweet cornbread mix

1 egg

1/2 c milk

1/2 jalapeño pepper finely diced

1/2 c cheddar cheese

Directions:

Mix cornbread mix as directed on package. Add diced jalapeño and cheese. Spray hot waffle iron with cooking spray, then ladle mix into iron. This perfectly made 4 square waffles in my iron.

When the tough get going…

I feel like my family lives by the mantra, “when the going gets tough, the tough get going.” It’s how I’d describe my pa, who lived and farmed for decades with Parkinson’s. It’s how I’d describe my glorious aunt, Jane, who’s battled RA since her 20’s and powered through two knee replacements about fifteen years after she needed them. It’s how I’d describe my nanny, who had two toddlers and was 6w pregnant with my uncle when my grandfather died from an aneurism at age 31. There are others, but these three just exemplify it. The Lord won’t give you more than you can handle, and complaining gets you no where.

When I started this blog, it was to share my love of farming and food. Well, food, farming, and two more “f’s” (family and friends) have gotten us through the last month. At the bottom of this post, there’s a recipe that’s always helped me feel better.

So, here goes…

A couple months ago, I excitedly posted about welcoming our son this coming January and poured my heart out about an earlier miscarriage. I talked about us as humans going out of our way to NOT talk about infertility and miscarriages, and being scared to say the wrong thing when it happens to someone we know. I talked about not being ashamed.

And here we are again…

After a long month of trying to piece our world back together, a leave of absence from work, tons of support from our family and friends, a lot of crying, a social media break, and a bazillion appointments later: now I post about the day our world collapsed.

You see, we buried our baby on September 10th, 2018.

We’ve hurt more than I ever imagined we could. We’ve experienced being on the shit end of the “this happens less than one percent of the time” stick. We’ve prayed more than ever. We’ve had to explain to our precious munchkin why we don’t need that special onesie for see his brother. We’ve had to hide his big brother shirt.

I’m not sure how we’re even still standing.

So what the heck happened?

I went for an appointment all by my miss-independent-self at 16.5w. We laughed about not being able to pick a name, about the fact that my farming husband didn’t come to “normal” appointments, and that I really needed to pee. And then the ultrasound started and I immediately knew something was TERRIBLY wrong. My doctor held my hand as tears slid down my cheek. I walked out of the office and called my husband, unable to speak coherently, as I sobbed in agony in the hospital hallway. All I could get out was, “baby…. gone…. can….”

Hubs didn’t need me to finish. He was on his way.

I sat and waited for a second ultrasound in radiology. Alone. Silently crying, praying. I knew we were past asking for a miracle. I prayed for strength. A sweet lady went and asked for tissues; I wish I could’ve told her thank you.

Angela, who does my doctor’s “big” ultrasounds, took me back. She doesn’t know it, but it made me feel better that it was her and not a stranger that day. It was even more obvious that there was no heartbeat. I said I didn’t want pictures, but then I saw his sweet face and quietly told her I needed to change my mind. She gladly listened, and managed to be professional yet compassionate.

Hubs got to the hospital. We immediately went back upstairs to meet with my spectacular doctor. With tears in his eyes, our doctor explained what he knew we could do (induce and deliver) and what he hoped we had as an option (a surgical procedure called a D&E). We talked with the specialists at Roanoke Memorial in his office and they told us they were able to do the latter procedure – I just had to choose.

So on our worst day… when we were landslided, having no idea this would/could happen….we now had to choose the best option out of the worst options.

I can’t tell someone what to do in this horrendous situation. I only know that after we prayed and talked, we went with the surgical option. And the next day my best friend shared her co-worker’s nightmare (also 16w), who had only been given the first option….then four days of labor later, the doctors agreed to do the surgical option she’d never been offered.

I. Can’t. Imagine. I just can’t.

So, it put me at peace with our decision. We wouldn’t be able to look at our son, but we would be able to bring him home.

(There are some that I know would choose, and have chosen, to deliver…some who will probably not understand how we could make the decision we did. All I can say is, the choice we made was the best we could come up with for our family – and that’s all anyone can do. Neither option was part of our fairytale.)

So, two days later we drove more than two hours to get to the hospital in Lexington, where the doctor who would perform the procedure placed rods in my cervix to force me to dilate. It was excruciating.

The next day, Hubs drove us to the hospital. It should’ve taken less than an hour for the procedure. It took almost three. And I walked out with a flat stomach and a complete feeling of loss.

That’s him.

Our precious, wanted, loved son.

And this is where he’s buried… along the fence, within sight of our bedroom window.

And that night I cried more than I can ever remember.

**************

It’s been a month.

And the tough get going.

It doesn’t mean I don’t still cry at night while Hubs holds me. It means we’re choosing to embrace this path we’re on. It doesn’t mean my body doesn’t literally ache for what should have been. It just means I’m having to take better care of myself. It doesn’t mean we’re ever going to forget. It just means we’re choosing happiness.

So, so, so many people have reached out. We’ve talked with others who have shared similar losses, and it makes us feel less alone. Some have been too scared to reach out. I get that too.

There have been joys, like our quick family getaway to Pigeon Forge.

And there have been lows: going back to work, CAREFULLY choosing which clinics I visited, so I wouldn’t have to explain why I’d been out for a few weeks, then getting asked the “why were you out on medical leave” question at the VERY FIRST place. (I actually don’t mind talking about it with the people who already know, it’s having to start from scratch with a new person that gets to me for whatever reason.) Or having to explain to Munchkin why he can’t see his brother and watching him get angry because he just doesn’t understand.

But during the lows, we’ve continued to feel enormous support. Cards with sweet notes have come at opportune times. My work team sent me an acorn and a pot. Funny at first, but now that it’s growing and the first leaf is about to bloom, it makes me happy.

I can’t allow myself to drown, but I do allow myself to cry. Only when I’m alone:)

My wish for those that have never gone through this is this: I hope you never do. And I hope this helps you understand what it’s like.

My wish for those that have, or will, go through this: that you know you’re not alone, and you use the tough opportunities to build you…not break you.

And when sadness overtakes you…try Nanny Texanna’s pineapple upside down cake. It’s my great-great-grandmother’s recipe, and it makes even the saddest moments a little more joyful.

Love,

Stilettos

Pregnancy loss: Saying all the wrong things when you mean all the right things.

I’ll admit to going a little deep tonight.

But before I do… there’s THIS important detail;)

Munchkin’s getting a peanut…aka we’re adding to the herd with another two-legged baby. Due in January and I’m FINALLY feeling like a human again.

I’m excited, now…finally.

****

I am an only child…the product of a 40+ year marriage, where they’d been married for 11 before I was born. You do the math on why. Sometimes things just don’t happen as quickly as you pray for.

When Hubs and I first got married, I wasn’t certain I even wanted a kid. And even if I did, I figured it would be a struggle. So imagine our surprise two years later when I unexpectedly turn up pregnant. We weren’t trying and I was 6w along before it ever dawned on me. And it might not have if someone hadn’t flipping asked me if I was pregnant…while I was drinking moonshine. True story.

When I took the test I cried. Almost passed out. I was TERRIFIED. (I poured out that drink when I suspected it, just FYI!)

But pretty quickly we were both stoked. It couldn’t have been timed better if we had planned it, and neither of us would change a thing if we could.

There was one hitch.

A couple we love very much had been trying, and now we’re pregnant and they’re not. Why did God bless us before them? How is that fair? I knew they’d be excited for us, but I couldn’t help but be sad for them.

Over the course of my pregnancy and the following year, that same couple had multiple miscarriages. I always tried to bring comfort and would say really stupid, yet well-meaning, crap like, “There was probably something wrong…don’t worry…you’ll be pregnant again before you know it!” And I couldn’t understand why loved ones that had miscarriages would be mad at God. Aren’t they appreciative of all the other blessings in their lives?!… as I sit there holding my perfectly adorable son that we didn’t even try for and I carried to term with absolutely no issue. #insensitivea-hole

See, if you’re not in the miscarriage club…you have NO IDEA how to handle it. But you want to say the right thing, you just don’t know what it is. I mean, you’re not a total a-hole! You mean well, you’re just clueless.

Several months after Munchkin was born, we were in church one Sunday when our minister preached a sermon I’ll never forget.

It was basically titled, “Crap Happens!”, it went something like this, and it was meant for me…

Crap happens to wonderful people. It doesn’t mean God doesn’t see you. People who want a baby so bad they’d do anything, can’t have one. Meanwhile, people who have no business having a baby pop them right out. Parents bury children too often. Terrible things happen to wonderful people.

If you’re a loved one: don’t rationalize it, don’t say God has a plan. God doesn’t plan for babies to be killed in awful accidents, or for couples to go through years of infertility. Sometimes you don’t need to say anything, just BE THERE. Don’t rationalize it, try to justify it, or make light of it. Just be there.

If you’re the one going through a tragic time… God isn’t out to get you, sometimes there’s just no good reason for awful things that happen. Use it as a time to strengthen your relationship with Him and allow Him to help shoulder your burden.

That’s over simplifying it, but…

As I sat there that day, I realized I hadn’t been the person my loved ones deserved. I was so guilty of “God’s got a plan, chin up!” that I wanted to puke. How could I mean well, and be so thoughtless?

If you’ve never had a miscarriage or pregnancry/infant loss, and you’re confronted with a loved one going through it – you’re probably clueless. How do you understand their needs, when you have no idea what it’s like?

You don’t need to know what it’s like. In fact, I pray you never do!

Listen. Be a shoulder to cry on. Make them laugh when they want to cheer up. Tell them about your own experiences, so they know they’re not alone. Above all, quit telling them “God has a plan.” God doesn’t plan on babies dying. What sort of loving God could possibly want that? And no matter what you believe, it’s not helpful to give the “God has a plan” speech.

****

So, we bit the bullet and decided to add to our family. Not gonna lie, I figure one more kid to take care of my butt when I’m old and decrepit is a good plan:) Ya know, offset the burden for Munchkin. And I wasn’t crazy about being an only child as a kid.

We started trying the end of January and got pregnant in February, but I immediately knew something wasn’t right. No matter that I did everything by the book, I joined the miscarriage club in March.

I took it like a champ. I told myself all the things you’re supposed to tell someone, and although I was admittedly disappointed…I was good. Or so I thought.

Not many knew about our miscarriage at first, but because I wasn’t ashamed and I was handling it “so well” I started to talk about it with friends. I didn’t mind opening up, but the sympathy made me uncomfortable. It’s not something I’m use to. It was well meaning, but I’m tough… I didn’t need it, right?

And then in April I got pregnant again. Having no idea I’d get pregnant that quickly, I was shocked when that pee stick lit up like a flipping Christmas tree. But I was anything but excited. How could I be? It’s too early to be excited, I’ll just be disappointed when I lose it again.

And that’s when it hit. Oh, I handled the miscarriage “fine”. But I didn’t handle what followed well at all. And nobody knew it.

I’ve always been pretty private about my deepest feelings. In my family you don’t whine, you suck it up and deal. Which serves me pretty well…usually.

First appointment comes at around 6w and despite offers to go with me, I go alone. Why? Because if s*** goes south I want to be alone to pull myself together. The ultrasound tech is super sweet and congratulatory… I’m less than excited or convinced this one’s going to stick.

Second appointment comes at 9w and Hubs goes with me. Doc is saying how cute it is, don’t I think it’s cute? I’m a rock. I try to smile and laugh. I’m not convinced it’s going to last.

Third appointment, I’m at 12w. I’ve been in the hospital twice with a rogue ear infection. I’m on my seventh antibiotic. What is all this doing to the baby? Have I hurt it? Is it ok?! I bled the week before, and not like I did with Munchkin…this was way worse. So basically I’m a mess, an absolute MESS. But only on the inside.

But….Peanut’s good. Strong heart beat. Genetic tests have come back clear. And suddenly I feel the first twinge of excitement. Finally. I can breath a little. I made it out of the first trimester…which doesn’t completely take you out of the woods, but it does make you feel better.

*******

You see, I handled the miscarriage like a champ. But I’ve suffered the affects with this pregnancy… more than I ever imagined. Not being excited, but feeling like I needed to be, acting like I am, when I’m secretly scared s***less. This chic, who is normally cool as a cucumber, has been a wreck – but a secret wreck.

I’m at almost 14w now. Im feeling good. Im trying not to worry. But being in the miscarriage club has forever changed me.

So, for you loved ones of people that have had miscarriages and infant loss, understand when we’re busting with excitement about subsequent pregnancies. And understand when we’re holding it in because we want to rein in the disappointment if things don’t go well. Respect it. We all grieve differently, handle it differently, and what we need from you is just YOU. Leave the cliche speeches unsaid. No drama. Just love. We just need to know you’ve got our backs. And that you’re praying.

Love,

Stilettos

PS: it’s another boy;)

Recipe for De-Stressing

My full-time gig is in animal health sales. I LOVE my people, but let’s face it – we all have goals we have to meet in our professional lives…and it’s not always easy. The close of each quarter, and even more so the close of the half and year-end (Jun./Dec.), is stressful. Period.

But I finished, did what I needed to do, and topped it off with an on-and-off stress-induced migraine for the last two days. It’ll probably last a few more days… oh the joys.

Friday night I lucked out and didn’t have to cook. Bright and early Saturday morning involved making Hubs (and Munchkin) help me with some work organizing/moving I’d been putting off, followed by cooking, a kid birthday party, and a field party to kick off the 4th of July celebrations (which is why I was cooking earlier). No rest for the weary – except the two hours I was down with the migraine waiting for drugs to kick in (aka we were two hours late to the first festivity).

But, today was a blessing. Slept in. Hubs made Spicy Breakfast Burritos (which I’ll most definitely include on here sometime). Made it to church, ate lunch with family, napped off another migraine this afternoon, and finished the day fishing and playing in the creek.

Now? Hubs and Munchkin are playing in a “fort” in the living room, while I type away…

Cooking is a way for me to let loose. I knew I had to take something on Saturday and this is what I came up with. Pinterest had tons of recipes, and given more time I would certainly have tried – but I didn’t have the time and they didn’t have a recipe to suit me…. so here goes:

Cheater Cheater Blueberry Lemon Cupcakes

1) Lemon/Blueberry is a spectacular match made in heaven.

2) You can never go wrong with a butter cream based icing.

3) I cheated with a box cake mix and nobody believed me. And then canned pie filling…

4) There were no cupcakes this morning.

What did I do? I mixed a lemon cake from a box, exactly as the box said. Then put it into two cupcake pans.

Then I coated 1.5cups of fresh blueberries (after rinsing and checking for stems) with enough flour to cover. FYI this helps keep the berries from sinking to the bottom.

I dropped ~5 berries into each cupcake and baked them in a 350* oven for 15-20 minutes. (Do not ever follow the time suggestion on a box cake mix – it’s always tooooo long and you end up with a dry cake.) Just check on them as they bake, when the center is firm – take them out and place on a cooling rack.

Meanwhile, I needed to make a kick a** icing to top these divine summer cupcakes. Since it was hot, I wasn’t sure I wanted to go with a cream cheese base. But I did see a bunch of recipes that did. Instead I turned to old faithful…butter cream.

I creamed two sticks of softened butter, with half a cup of blueberry pie filling. Yes, I cheated again. I’m sure I could’ve made an extra step and cooked down the remaining blueberries – but I just wasn’t mentally prepared to do that, nor did I have the time.

I splashed in about a tablespoon of lemon juice for a kick, then added powdered sugar one cup at a time until this beauty was created. I ended up using about 30oz of a 36oz bag, but you’ll have to play with that part. My rule is it’s got to be thick enough to easily hold up when it’s time to ice, but soft enough it spreads easily.

I put the icing into an icing bag, with a plain tip, then quickly piped the icing onto the cupcakes with a spiral motion. Voila!!!!

Obviously, I had some extra batter – so I cooked a single layer 6in cake and told Munchkin it was his special giant cupcake;) and that solved two issues: 1) extra batter didn’t go to waste 2) not having to fight a 3yo over why he can’t have a cupcake prior to the event. I am BRILLIANT.

So- I loaded these beauties into my cupcake carrier, and off we went! (P.S. I have no idea where my momma scored this beauty, but it’s GREAT.)

So, they were a hit, but I did have a few left when I was ready to go. However, I am completely unwilling to leave this carrier – so my cupcakes had to come with. We swung by Hubs’ best friends on the way home… the remaining cupcakes didn’t survive and my job was done;)

So, ya need another easy, delicious, perfect summer desert recipe – this is your girl!!

Enjoy!

– Stilletos

Ingredients:

1 box lemon cake mix (with whatever ingredients it calls for), 1.5C fresh blueberries, 1-2Tbs flour, 1 Tbs lemon juice, 1/2C blueberry pie filling, 2 sticks butter, 36oz bag powdered sugar.

Directions:

Make the cake mix as called for on the box. Fill 24 cupcake wrappers 2/3 of the way full.

Mix blueberries with flour, completely coating, then spoon onto the tops of the cupcake batter – about 5 berries per cupcake.

Bake at 350* for 15-20 minutes, or until firm in the center if each cupcake. Place on cooling racks to cool.

Icing: cream butter, blueberry pie filling and lemon juice. Mix in 1 cup of powdered sugar at a time until desired consistency is achieved – I used about 30oz this time. Be prepared for more or less… it’s a bit of a game;)

(Too thick? Add a Tbs of milk until you get it right.)

Fill an icing bag with a plain tip – or a gallon bag with the corner cut off – and pipe in a spiral motion onto the fully cooled cupcakes. ENJOY!