Saturday, August 30, 2008

Sam's Swirl Cookies

Here is the recipe for Swirl Icebox Cookies that I made for The Ronald McDonald House. They were really fun to make and kids love them. They are a little labor intensive, but if you want to impress someone this is a great way to do it.

Swirl Icebox Cookies by Martha Stewart
  • 12 oz. (3 sticks) unsalted butter, room temp.

  • 1 3/4 c. sugar

  • 2 large eggs, plus 1 egg white for brushing

  • 1 tsp. salt

  • 2/3 c. milk

  • 1 tbsp. vanilla extract

  • 5 c. all purpose flour, plus more for dusting

  • 1/4 c. cocoa powder

  • gel-paste food coloring

1. Mix butter and sugar with an electric mixer on medium speed til creamy. Add eggs and salt; mix until well combined. Beat in milk and vanilla. With mixer running, add flour a little at a time til well combined.

2. Divide dough into balls- one for each color. For chocolate dough, add cocoa (1/4 cup is enough to flavor half a batch) ; mix well with electric mixer. For colored dough, add 1/4 tsp. food coloring; mix well. Add more in tiny amounts for darker colors.

3. Wrap each ball of dough in it's own sheet of plastic wrap; pat flat into a rectangle. Refrigerate at least one hour or until ready to use. At this point the dough can be frozen for up to one month.

4. Parchment or waxed paper makes a good work surface. Sprinkle generously with flour, then roll out each piece of dough 1/4 to 1/2 inch thick. Roll out one color at a time. I rolled mine out to an 8x12 rectangle, but you can make them any size you want.

5. Place the rolled out dough on baking sheet and return to the refrigerator to chill while rolling out the other colors. Brush each layer with eggs whites- this will act like glue to keep the layers together. When you layer the colors you want (don't layer too many colors- it'll be hard to roll up and the cookies will be ginormous) roll up carefully and wrap in parchment paper. Return back to the refrigerator for at least 1.5 hours or wrap really well and freeze til ready to use. To help the logs keep their round shape, set each in a cardboard paper-towel roll that you have sliced open lengthwise.

6. When ready to slice cookies, cut 15 inches of dental floss (or double thickness of thread). Let log soften for about 10 minutes (out of fridge). Remove parchment. Wrap floss around log and pull through. Make the slices thin: 1/4 inch or less.

7. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place slices on an ungreased baking sheet (lined with parchment paper). Bake for 12 to 18 minutes (depending on size), until firm but not browned. Let cool on baking sheet for several minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

Makes 4-6 dozen depending on size of logs. ha ha, I said logs :-)

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Like I said, it's labor intensive, but if you break up the process it's not so bad. I made the dough one weekend and froze it til a couple of days before I needed them. I thawed the logs out in the fridge overnight and baked them the next. Honestly the hardest part was cutting the slices with the floss, but it really is necessary to keep the slices neat and clean without the colors "bleeding" into each other.

These can be made with vanilla and chocolate swirls (ie: without the food coloring). The vanilla part isn't that flavorful, but other extracts would be nice too. Like orange, almond or peppermint instead of vanilla. The chocolate dough is quite tasty though :-)

Have fun making these. If you have little ones in the house, get them to help you. Aaron had a blast choosing the color combinations and tasting as we assembled. I think that was his favorite part.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Giving Back

For Sam's birthday we made a donation to Ronald McDonald House. As I've said before, the RMH together with a local grief therapist provided a free support group for families of loss. We attended 2 groups last year that helped us quite a bit so we wanted to give back.

A friend of mine also made a donation in memory of her son, so we went together. She made yummy looking chocolate chip cookies (homemade- I'm so proud of you!) and donated several household items such as laundry detergent, dish soap, coffee etc. Lots of items they'll get tons of use out of.

And I made spiral cookies and donated a gift for a two year old boy. That was my only request- that the toy be given to a well deserving (aren't they all) rambunctious little 2 year old boy. It was something Sam would have loved and I wanted another child to enjoy it as well. Luckily there was a wee one there who they were going to give the toy to- yay! I wish I could have seen him play with it.

I wrapped them in tissue, put 'em in a "Happy Birthday" box, and tied it with a bow.

I also gave a book that reminded me of my Sam :-)

And wrote a little something inside the cover.

This is the toy we chose for a 2 year old boy. It's fabric covered tools in a toolbox. The drill has a cord that vibrates when you pull it.

And this is everything all dressed up and ready to walk out the door.

If you'd like to make a donation, click HERE or contact me to find out how you can help.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Happy Homecoming Day

This day last year we brought home a new baby boy. He's not so little anymore.

When we first got him, he was about 7-8 weeks old. That puts his birthday around the latter part of June, but since he came to us in August, this will be the day we celebrate his furry little life.

August 2007- He weighed 1.22 pounds. He fit snugly in the palm of my hand, but stretched out to about 10-12 inches. He liked baby carrots, green leaf lettuce, apples, and oatmeal. He didn't eat much then, but things have changed just a bit.

August 2008- He weighs just over 2.6 pounds. He still fits in my palm, but he's better supported with two hands. He's about 18 inches long when he's standing on his hind legs. He still loves organic baby carrots, but no longer likes oatmeal. He loves mixed baby greens and sweet potato spears. He doesn't leave anything behind and seeing as his weight has doubled in the last 12 months, it shows.

He still peers over the edge and makes a complete mess of his cage, he has managed to make a 50 pound dog jealous of him, he has learned how to play hide and seek, and has even stepped in for the Easter bunny.

He's brought laughter, many smiles and hairy blouses to this household over the last year. I really feel he was brought to us by two little special boys. So, thank you Sam and Jack for guiding this little one into our lives.

Happy Homecoming Day, August!
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The recipes for Sam's Red Velvet Cupcakes and Oatmeal Raisin Sandwich Cookies are now up! Go bake something and make someone happy :-)

Thursday, August 21, 2008


WARNING: There is a picture below some may find disturbing. Consider yourself warned.

Okay, last Thursday (the 14th) I was out and about with my grandparents. We went to a couple thrift shops (their favorite pastime since being retired) then we went to a late lunch. My grandmother and I split a margarita and we were feeling good.

It was about 3:30 when we started to head home. There was a minor traffic jam and I had to wait at a light through a couple light changes. I just figured rush hour was starting early. We were at a busy intersection when my grandfather noticed something unusual up on the overpass. We looked and tried to discern what it was. Was it a person? What is real? What was it and why were they up there?

I just happened to have my camera with me so I snapped a picture. I don't usually carry my camera with me, so figured why not? I quickly rolled down the window and took the picture while driving off through the intersection.

We got through the intersection and I saw a young man lying on the ground with a face full of blood. People were crowding all around him, clearing the blood from his mouth, and doing chest compressions. He was obviously in an accident. Just past the man, was a motorcycle several feet away from him on the pavement.

I immediately sobered up- not that I was drunk or buzzed off of half a margarita, but it certainly took away my high. I was traumatized by what I saw. I was stunned and silent the rest of the way home. So were my grandparents.

But I couldn't figure out what the "thing" on the overpass was and what it had to do with the man in the road. Did he jump and the person up above was looking down? Were they connected? It just didn't make any sense.

Later that night on the news channel and the next day in the paper, it was revealed that the young man (age 28) ran a red light and hit a truck. The accident proved lethal. On the pavement where he died, are pink paint lines signalling a fatality.

The "thing" on the bridge was real. It was a man, who shortly after the motorcycle accident decided to jump off a bridge to his death. The drop was equivalent to a 10-story drop. He died instantly. This accident is still under investigation by the T.exas R.angers. But I still have this picture and I'm not sure what to do with it. We have contacted TR to see if they want it, but haven't heard back from them. Any suggestions?

This is a picture of his last breathing moments. He was in this position for at least 5 minutes. I wonder what he was thinking. I hope he was at peace with his decision. God rest his soul.

I didn't want to zoom in, I figured the picture spoke for itself. You can barely see his car parked on the highway ahead on the right. As I drive on this section of the overpass on my way home everyday, I can see the orange paint marks on the concrete. The only thing left signalling where he once was.

Two tragedies within minutes of eachother only a few feet apart. Completely unrelated.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Monday, August 18, 2008

All For Sam

Our morning started with staying up til 3 am making cupcakes and cookies for Sam's birthday. I attempted to wake up at 8:49 am for his birth hour, but I was confused in my sleepless stupor and thought it was 8:59, so I woke up about 10 minutes too late. That's what sleep deprivation does to you. Still, I was thinking of him all morning even though I didn't wake up in time.

We got up and went to breakfast at my Mom's house. My mom and aunt called in sick to work and my sister came over with her roommate. My grandmother made breakfast-yum! and we all spent the morning together. It was nice.

At 3, we went to the hospital to see Sam's nurse, Marsha. She helped deliver Sam and even though she wasn't there when Jack was born, she was with us the very next day. She and her husband even attended Jack's funeral. She's such a wonderful lady. We took her oatmeal raisin sandwich cookies (those are her favorite) and a Willow Tree "Remember" figurine.

Later in the evening (when it was cooler) we went to the cemetery to see Sam and Jack. My mom and grandmother joined us there. We brought them purple daisies and a pinwheel. A friend brought them flowers, lots of fun balloons, and a birthday card for Sam (thank you Monica!)

We all wrote messages on balloons and sent them flying high into the clouds. The wind was blowing like crazy and they moved quickly across the sky.

You can barely see the balloons in the last picture, but they're there.

Mr. H played "Happy Birthday" and most of "What A Wonderful World" on his trumpet as we all listened and reflected on his day. He did a great job as we all teared up. Autumn joined in on all of the fun too. All she wanted to do was run around :-)

On the way home, we stopped by Taco Bell for dinner- after all that is what he liked to eat when I was pregnant with him. We capped off dinner with red velvet cupcakes and a wish for the birthday boy.

We love you Sam!

Friday, August 15, 2008

The Ultimate Birthday Gift

Sam would be 728 (+1 for leap year) days today, or simply 2 whole years.

2 years. 24 months. 104 weeks. 729 days. Two years doesn't seem like a lot, but when you think about the amount of tears shed and the immeasurable amount of time I spend missing him, it feels like an eternity. 2 years of my life spent with a void, a hole, a bottomless pit of sadness, grief, anger, confusion, numbness, and just a feeling of emptiness.

A pit that can never be filled by anyone or anything. There will always be a part of my heart that never heals, a hairline fracture, if you will.

I miss you so incredibly much. I think about you often. How you would look. What you'd be doing. I dream of how you would be. But my dreams are just that- dreams. They will never be a reality for you, and for that I am sorry. My heart aches for you in so many ways and I'm sorry you never got that chance to show the world what you could be. Brilliant. I'm sure you'd be beautifully brilliant.

I love you more than I know how to explain. But I feel it with my entirety and I hope you do too.

Happy 2nd Birthday My Sweet Sam!

Love, Momma

Everyone: I need a favor of you. I ask that you please do something unexpectedly kind for somebody else- a stranger, a neighbor, a colleague, a loved one. It doesn't have to cost anything, but a moment of your time. Open the door for someone, let a car in in traffic, pay for the person's coffee behind you in the drive-thru line, allow someone to cut in front of you in the grocery line, send someone a card, a nice email, pick flowers for a neighbor- whatever. It doesn't matter what you do, but please think of Sam as you do it. Then come back here and tell me what you did in celebration of his short life. This is the ultimate birthday gift we could ever ask for for our son.

I'd love to hear about how Sam's life can touch others all over the world.

Thank you.

Thursday, August 14, 2008


Today is my first blogoversary. I definitely thought this feeling would be a lot more exciting (I'm not really sure why?), but really I don't give a shit.

I reread my first entry thinking I had come a long way in a year, but not much has really changed. Sam's 2nd birthday is tomorrow and I am still making arrangements for that as I was last year. I still have to get balloons, make his cupcakes, make cookies for the Ronald McDonald House, and go by the hospital to see his nurse. Trying to keep myself busy, I guess.

One would think/assume that a lot would change in 2 years time since his birth/death date, but it really hasn't. I don't cry as much, but that's about it. I think of them everyday, several times a day. I try to honor them in every which way I can. I want people to know about them. I want them to be just as real as I knew them. I don't ever want to forget them. Once we forget them, then they're nothing. And I can't let that happen. It's my job as their mother to keep their memory alive. If the rest of the world moves on and forgets about their existence, I will still be here...to always remember.

Happy F*cking Blogoversary to me.

Please come back tomorrow for Sam's birthday. I have a huge favor to ask of you all. Thanks for supporting me and offering kind and encouraging words throughout the last year. Truth is, if it weren't for this blog and you, I would be terribly lost and even sadder than I am now. Thank you.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Birth Day

James Travis
August 13, 2006
12:59 pm
Your Mommy and Daddy love and miss you so very much. But I'm sure you can feel that from where you are.

Happy 2nd Birthday Little Man!
Happy 66th Birthday Grandma, I love you!

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Welcome Lily!

This is the BIG secret from yesterday, revealed.

Becky had her beautiful baby girl about 8 weeks early- surprise. All is well with both Mom and Baby Lily.

I just feel that because Becky and I had such similar birth stories- 2 losses at almost the same gestation, we both have IC. We both had a cerclage with the second that failed, we've both been with our husband for the same amount of time, we're roughly the same age, the similarities are quite eerie, but it gives me hope that I can do this too.

Please go check out her beautiful blessing and wish her a sincere congratulations- she deserves it after all she's been through.


Saturday, August 9, 2008

Major Secret

I know something you don't know- and it's BIG (and happy)!

Wanna try to guess what it is?

And no I'm not pregnant.

A Long Week

This week was very long, stressful, emotional and just plain hard to get through. But it is Saturday and that means it's almost over.

Sundays have always been my favorite day of the week. Somehow it just seems your internal clock starts over on that day and it's almost refreshing. It's a new start and an ending of all the shit that happened in the previous week. Today has been very much like my Sunday.

Mr. H reads my blog and that is why I made the decision to vent to him in the last post. I couldn't get across what I was trying to say without an argument ensuing. It was hard for me to air out all my dirty laundry like that because it's such a personal and private matter, but I didn't know what else to do.

I pulled out a tablet of paper and thought I would write him a letter to tell him how I felt, but the words didn't come. I have written about 3 of these letters to him in the last 10 years. It takes a lot for me to get that angry. The kind of anger that makes me not want to look at him, or hear his voice- and this was one of those times. Except my thoughts went into the blogosphere instead of on a lined pad. In some odd way I felt if I wrote it on the paper, he would read it and put it away, almost as if he never saw it. If I typed it and let the rest of the world see it, then maybe, just maybe he would see just how serious I was. How serious I am.

I don't know for sure if he read the last post. I assume he did, but he never mentioned anything about it. And I never asked. Even though I put it all out there, it was still as if it didn't happen- I seemed to have made an impact on everyone who reads this but not to him. He apologized to me, but it wasn't anything specific- just an "I'm sorry". Which I guess is better than nothing, but I want him to know exactly what he's sorry for. I want him to feel it, and I don't know if he does. I don't know if he's sorry for saying what he did, for acting like he did, for feeling like he did, for upsetting me...I don't know. I like specifics and I didn't get that. I don't know if we will talk about what happened. I'd like to, but I don't want to argue about it. And I know because we have differing opinions, it will head in that direction.

Mr. H has been going to a grief therapist since May. This is the same guy who facilitated the support groups in the past at the R.onald Mc.Donald House last year. I finally decided it was time for me to go. I went yesterday and walked out of there feeling like I had a huge weight lifted off of me. I felt lighter. I spilled my guts to him and shed about 3 tears- that's all I allowed myself. And the reason those tears fell was because he asked me if we have ever talked about divorce. He asked me if I have ever thought of leaving Mr. H. He asked if I ever would and it made me incredibly sad to visualize my life without him. That's not a part of the plan, but neither was having our babies die. Things change but I always thought that he and I would be the one constant. And yesterday I was very unsure of even that.

After 80 minutes of talking (or listening) he came to the conclusion that the stress of carrying all that around with me was a huge burden. No shit! He was really surprised or "enlightened" by all the info I threw his way. He can't legally tell me what he and Mr. H talk about and vice versa, but some of the things I mentioned seemed foreign to him. I assumed after going to weekly therapy for 3 months that they would have come up and they weren't. So that says to me that he and Mr. H aren't making much progress or I am a basket case. Maybe both.

Thank you to anyone who sent over an email of concern or encouragement and to those of you who took the time to call or send funny pictures to make me smile. Your kindness really did make a difference to me.

Thursday, August 7, 2008


This may not make much sense to you, as I am writing in anger.

I'm sorry to do this here, but I can't communicate with you. It seems like your opinions and thoughts on this subject are always valid while mine are always dismissed. I need to say what I feel. I need to be heard. And you need to listen and try to understand.

I don't understand. How can you tell me you "get it" or you understand things a little clearer. You "had some light shed" today. On what? The want you have for material things that are "necessities" makes absolutely no sense to me. Me wanting a baby probably doesn't make any sense to you either.

Don't tell me to stop thinking about "it". Don't tell me "if it makes you upset, stop thinking about it". *IT* doesn't make me upset. YOU make me upset. Your poor choice of words, your I don't give a shit attitude, upset me.

YES I do realize I can't have a baby on my own. YES I realize it has/needs to be a mutual decision to have a baby. I am already at the point where I am waiting for you. I have waited for you to make progress. To get to that point where you're ready. Time isn't helping anything. Therapy isn't helping anything. Me shutting up isn't helping anything. Not thinking about it isn't helping anything- and it isn't making it go away either. So don't tell me you're stressed about having this decision weighing on your shoulders. It's ALL on your shoulders. You made that perfectly clear. You wanted to be in control and now you are. Now all of a sudden the weight is too much for you? It's time for you to make the next move.

YES I do realize that material things like yachts, and mansions and toys and tools and jewelry and cars and racing are nice things, but they are not needs. And before you give me that argument of some of these are indeed needs, spare me. You know exactly what I mean. You may say having a baby is not a need, but I feel it is. How can you still want these things, but tell me I can't want a baby? When I tell you to stop wanting your "needs" you can't do that, and won't do that. Why do I have to give up my dream? Why don't you? "Oh, well there's credit cards for the things I want". Yeah, I'm sure that's the solution. If that's is what make you happy...then what's stopping you?

I wait for you every day. I wait for the day when you will finally turn and say, "I'm sorry for making you wait so long, let's make a baby. I'm ready". That's not going to happen. It's like a damsel in distress waiting for her knight in shining armor riding in on his white horse- ain't gonna happen. When you tell me I "set myself up for disappointment", you are essentially saying you are disappointing to me. Because I only believe in you. I wait for you. I have faith in you. And when you don't deliver, I am disappointed. So yeah maybe I do set myself up for disappointment. Maybe I shouldn't expect so much of you. Or maybe I just shouldn't expect anything from you. Maybe I shouldn't wait for you, or have faith in you. Maybe I should just throw my dream out the window and move on.

You are what I want. I want another you. I want a family with you. I want a future with YOU! Don't you get it?

When you find that motherhood switch and you are able to turn it off, please let me know.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

August 5th

Also known as Jack's due date.

I could have a one year old running around here. Well, I don't even know if he would be running, but he would be alive and he would be here, that I do know.

I should be posting pictures of my smiling cake covered baby. And his birthday cake with icing that I so carefully tinted to match the decorations. I would make him a tiger cake, not because I especially love tigers but because it's what my MIL made for Mr. H when he turned one and I wanted make a tradition out of it.

There are no pictures today. Not of cake, not of smiling babies, not of proud parents.


Sunday, August 3, 2008


This is my 200th post-yay!

I've had several posts swirling around in my head, but nothing ever becomes of it. Even now as I sit down to write, I am drawing a blank.

Let's see what I can conjure up.

My grandparents came in today (or yesterday, if you're reading this on Sunday). My grandmother looks great. She doesn't smell of smoke like she did before- she is down to one cigarette a day. But as of the last two days she hasn't smoked a single one. She was so proud of the way she smelled- or didn't smell. She highlighted her hair, so my grandpa says he has a new blond in his life. It makes them both smile :-)

They bought a new car. They haven't bought a new car since 1970- and it was an avocado green, Oldsmobile that they had til 1995! I'm glad to see the "Guac" was gotten rid of. They just bought a new Chevy Impala in a bronze-y tone that they both love. I'm so glad to see they are both doing so well.

My step-dads birthday is next Wednesday, but he had a surprise party this evening. I made him a chocolate praline cake- which was amazing!

We are getting ready to paint our bathrooms. I'm tired of looking at the bland "summertime white" walls. The guest bath (which is the bathroom I use) will be painted "Brown Teepee" which makes me laugh because if it were "brown t.p." that would be gross! And no the colors aren't even similar. The master bath will be painted "Blue Tequila"- a grayed blue green to match our bedding (I couldn't find a color swatch). Everything is taped off, the paint was purchased today, now we just have to prime and paint. Do I have any volunteers?

I bought a robe for myself for my birthday. I was so excited about it and then when it came I let it sit in the box for a couple weeks before I opened it. I don't know why I waited so long, because once I opened it and tried it on, I didn't want to take it off. IT IS FAB-U-LOUS with a capital F! I love it. It's soft and cozy, it's flattering and stays in place. It is the most comfortable robe I've ever had and probably the cheapest. I'm a robe whore- I have about 6 or 7 different robes, but this is the best thus far. In fact, I spent the entire day in it yesterday. Go get one now! I promise you won't regret it.

I've been thinking about Sam's birthday a whole lot. I have some ideas, but nothing is set yet. I am making cookies for his birthday. I made the dough last night and froze it, so I wouldn't have so much to do on that day. They're really cute- stay tuned! Speaking of birthdays, Cooper just had his first birthday last week, and his mom did a wonderful job honoring him.

I can't think of much else...oh, wait. LD's mom has finally "popped". She no longer just looks fat, she looks pregnant, and damn it, she looks semi-cute. But I will NEVER say that aloud, in fact I'll deny it. They're getting ready to set up the nursery as soon as they move all her stuff out of there (it's her home office). They have chosen their fabrics and are going with a "puppy" theme in shades of maize and chambray. They're having their bedding custom made- whatever. Meanwhile I keep making stuff for my imaginary baby and nursery and stashing it away in a drawer. Like I said, whatever. And please no well-meaning comments about how my "day will come".

Mr. H has been going to the therapist and had to make a "pros and cons" list about having a baby. It was interesting. More on this later, as it deserves it's own post.

Good night.