Monday, October 26, 2009

Menu Plan for 10-26

Here's what we're planning on eating this week:

Monday Roast beef with potatoes, carrots and parsnips, broccoli

Tuesday: chicken something...

Wednesday: Roast beef burritos, rice and corn (made from leftover roast beef) I'll try to find the link to the original recipe and post it.

Thursday: Pork chops

Friday: Soup, fresh bread

Saturday: Pizza, chips, root beer floats for our "un-Halloween" party.

Sunday: Tacos and all the fixins.

Today we have a crazy day. DH called from work and the hospital is doing a clinic for the H1N1 vaccines. I'm taking the under 5 set and hopefully we won't be too far down the line. Then lunch with my mom and a quick dr's appointment to discuss how to treat my seasonal affect disorder. Somewhere along the line, I'm hoping to finish up my fall post and hopefully a little relaxing.

And of course, I know you want my famous Roast Beef recipe cause it's absolutely delicious.

Susan's Roast Beef

Beef roast of choice (tonight it's a chuck roast b/c dh bought meat. i prefer the lean bottom or top round roasts when they go on sale)
4 parsnips, peeled and roughly chopped
4 carrots, peeled and roughly chopped
4 potatoes, peeled and chopped
1 envelope of Onion soup mix
2 cups beef broth
2 onions quartered
1 sm can of mushrooms

1. Peel and chop all veggies to a uniform size. Layer them in the bottom of a roaster or crock pot.

2. Sprinkle roast generously with the cinnamon. I know this might sound odd, but trust me, the cinnamon is what makes the dish, then place on top of the veggies and sprinkle the Onion soup mix on top of the roast and veggies. This is what my roast looks like after the cinnamon, but before the onion soup. I sprinkle both sides.
3. Pour the broth around the edges of the pan, but not over the meat.

4. Cook in a crock pot for 6-8 hours, or bake for 2-3 hours at 325.

Sunday, October 25, 2009


I think fall is my second favorite season of the year. It comes in slightly behind winter which is my all time favorite. I love the colors in the leaves as they change and the musty smell of them on the ground mixed with the crispness in the air. Especially the crisp, frosty air in the morning. I love the urge I feel to wrap myself in blankets and just not move from the couch with a good book or movie. I love how fall ushers in a season of family togetherness. The memories I have of spending Friday nights at my grandmother's while my dad, uncles and grandparents would play cards starting with the end of football season through the winter. The many happy memories that were made with my cousins, or just being with the grown-ups on those nights. I love the foods of fall. The apple cider that I drink by the gallon, the candy corn that is consumed to an excess. (and it has to be the orange, yellow, white kind. The alternate colors provided for other holidays just doesn't taste as good!) I love the rich spicy pumpkin breads, apple pies and crisps, the smell of apple butter as it simmered on my gram's stove. The casseroles that warm our houses as they cook and their comforting goodness as we enjoy them for dinner.

I enjoy the traditions that have become a part of my married life, such as our annual trip to my in-law's for Flaming Foliage, the second week-end in October. Choosing pumpkins with the kids and the new this year traditions of actually carving a jack-o-lantern and playing in the leaves. This past week, I was blessed to be watching my friend Becky's daughters who are quite a bit older than my 4 kids. It gave me the chance to do something that I hardly ever have the chance to do...rake enough leaves in the front yard for the children to play in. Oh the fun my kids had in the leaves. My only regret is that I forgot to take my camera out and capture the joy they found in such a simple childhood ritual of jumping in the leaves. I enjoy the walks we take with the kids as the opportunity provides. Like the one we took 3 weeks ago with my parents who had come over for a visit.

I love how fall beckons me to snuggle down for the coming winter, but also tempts me out for the last few precious days of sunshine.

Here are our fall pictures:

Click to play this Smilebox scrapbook: Fall 2009
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There is one thing about fall that I do not like in the least since becoming an adult. I don't like Halloween. I know what I just said amounts to sacrilege to some of you, but it's changed so much since I was a child that I don't recognize the holiday. I think I have turned from the holiday bit by bit over the past few years. Starting with a Preschool Story Hour Halloween party several years ago when my children were subjected to a fellow preschooler dressed as an axe murderer. He was asked to remove his mask so that he didn't scare his fellow preschoolers. Unfortunately that seems to be most of what I'm seeing. Also, to keep the "running" to a minimum, we've made our only stop the old folk's home at the hospital. Last year, we were in line with several teenage girls (16-17ish) dressed as ladies of the night. It's not worth stealing my kids innocence to let them have a bit of fun dressing up and getting candy. I'll just buy them the candy if they want it that badly. Another reason, the bigger reason we have decided not to celebrate is because I really can't find any Biblical grounds for celebrating it. Halloween doesn't have any Godly fact, it's a distinctly pagan and Wicca holiday. No need for us to join the celebrate the hold that the Devil has on this world. Please don't think I'm condemning anyone who does celebrate Halloween. This is just our way of doing things. In stead, my children are anxiously counting the days till we go to "Wuild-a-Bear" as Bug calls it. It seemed like the perfect opportunity to do a fun trip to Build-a-Bear with the kids and make a completely different set of memories. I'm looking forward to it too.

Happy Fall everyone.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Today is.....

International Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Day.

"There is no greater tragedy than the loss of a child. Unfortunately, because our babies live only within our wombs or they live outside the womb for a short period of time, an uneducated society often minimizes the importance of their short lives and, in turn, our grief is trivialized."

Clair Baca

I know the pain of having my much anticipated child taken from me much too soon. Sadly, I've experienced it twice over. The ironic thing is...had it not been for Sophie's loss, I would not have lost Mikey either. Here's my story.

On February 26, 2008 I had a routine early pregnancy (8 weeks) sonogram. Everything was "normal" for me. There was a clot around the placenta, but I'd had that with my past 3 pregnancies and the 2 since. It always dissolved so I wasn't the least bit concerned. DH and I were very excited to receive an October 15 due date. Okay...I wasn't excited about being largely pregnant during the hot summer months, but I was excited about the baby. I went about life as usual. DH's birthday was the next day and after taking a surprise treat to him around lunch time, I discovered I was spotting. I figured I had just over done it a bit, and took things easy for the next day. The spotting persisted, so I called my OB and he told me to take things easy. He also wanted to see me for another sonogram the following Monday. Monday came. I was still spotting and the clot had grown. I was put on bed-rest. Of course, DH's stress level has now gone through the roof as we tried to arrange help with our 4 small children ages 4, 3, 2, and 9.5 months. He also felt the need to do all the housework in the evening to his own white glove standard that I to this day have not been able to achieve. To make a long story short, a week and a half later, we lost our baby on March 5. Exactly 10 years after DH had lost his beloved Grandfather.

I was absolutely DEVASTATED to have lost my baby. How could my body betray me in such a manner. I had delivered 4 healthy children from "boring" uncomplicated pregnancies, yet it had happened. I never once believed I would lose the baby when I was spotting. It just couldn't happen. I was going to do everything in my power to keep it from happening, yet it did. I had failed at my primary job of being a good mother and protecting my child. My body had failed me. Worst of all, I felt that no one understood our pain. They kept telling us, and DH echoed it, "At least you have 4 healthy children." or "There must've been something wrong with the baby that God was protecting you from." I didn't care all I wanted was my baby back.

Then things got worse. DH had, from all the stress we'd been through, developed kidney stones, and something else was wrong that no-one could seem to figure out. After countless trips to the local Emergency Room, his doctor,many prescriptions for "infections" that never showed on tests, and multiple CT scans and MRIs, we were continually told "It must be another kidney stone" or even worse "It must be in your head. I can't find anything wrong with you." We ended up going for a second opinion with his old Urologist to do tests for cancer. After him telling DH, that he was cancer free and everything looked good, except for this swollen area of his bowels, which probably was an infection, we were finally headed in the right direction. We left with a prescription for Flagyl, and instructions to follow up with our general practitioner in this direction. After a brief hospital stay on DH's behalf, and a referral to the local gastroenterologist, DH was finally on his way back to good health. The official/final diagnosis...he had no good bacteria in his stomach. It had been killed off by the radiation and multiple prescriptions that well meaning, but misguided doctors had given us. It took him upwards of 6 months to get back to normal. The whole time this was going on, I lived in a paralyzing fear that I was going to lose my husband and be widowed at 26 because the doctors just didn't care to look past what the surface and see the real problem with his health.

How does that tangent tie Sophie's loss to Mikey? Well, I knew that I wanted another baby even though I had just lost one. I needed to feel the preciousness of my own newborn in my arms, to experience the joy of nursing them, smell the wonderful baby smell, and yes, I even wanted to experience labor all over one more time. I was advised by my OB to wait 2 cycles before trying to conceive again. We decided to take into consideration everything that DH had been through and decided that the fall looked like a good time to start trying for another baby. However, we found out in June that after a moment of "temporary insanity", we were indeed pregnant again. I, ever the optimist, knew things were going to be great and we would have our baby this time. Our first sonogram showed what appeared to be a shadow behind the baby. Dr. B theorized that it was a twin that had not fully developed and would be reabsorbed without any problems. Of course, I was willing to accept that explanation. Fast forward to our 14 week visit, another sonogram to check on baby and the "shadow" showed that it was not a shadow, but a growth on the base of Baby Mikey's spine. At this time I'd made it past the first trimester, and shared with the kids we were expecting baby Mikey to join us right around Daddy's birthday. One night I had a dream that I lost the baby. I was terrified and didn't say anything to DH or anyone about it. If I didn't say anything it would not happen. We were scheduled to come back for another sonogram to check on the growth and Mikey's size...he was measuring a week smaller than he should've, a week later. It just happened to be Bug's first day of Kindergarten. What a crazy day it was. As things would have it, I could not find a babysitter to watch the 4 older kids, so I had them in tow. They were excited about seeing baby Mikey. In fact, Bug's first words upon seeing him on the screen were "Awe he's so cute!" and there were a few "Look! It's baby Mikey!". Silence from the doctor...and then he told us there was no heartbeat. I don't know what was harder....finding out we'd lost him after thinking we were "safe", or finding out in front of the kids. It had happened again. I didn't know what to think other than I was done. Obviously, there was something wrong with me that my body would keep betraying me in such a manner, I was not going to have any more children of my own. I was too afraid and didn't trust God to see me through another pregnancy. Not after he'd abandoned me during my last 2. I had a D&C at the end of the week...on Bug's 5th birthday. I cherished those extra 4 days I had with Mikey even though I let myself deny that he was really gone. I knew he was...I could no longer feel his movement, but I still didn't want to let go of my precious boy.

I carried my grief with me like a cloak for several months to myself...never letting anyone know how deep my hurts really went or how close I came to walking away from God. Until I realized that I was only hurting myself, and the kids I did have. They deserved a real mother who would focus on them and the bright futures they did have. But oh how my arms ached to hold my babies. I was blessed with a chance to "hold" Mikey through my friend's son Ish who is a few weeks older than Mikey would've been.

So, in closing I would like to share this video with you, and ask you join me in remembering those who have suffered the terrible loss of their babies and to remember their babies by lighting a candle at 7:00 PM, your local time for one hour in remembrance of these precious little ones who are etched in their parents and our hearts. If you would like more information please visit Thank You.

In Loving Memory of Sophie 3*5*08 and Mikey 8*25*08

Friday, October 9, 2009

Overheard...Conversations with Bear

I have 4 children at home with me today. Two of them are ill and one I kept home from school because her bunk-mate was up with the stomach flu all night. She's the child that needs the most sleep, so I did not want to send Bear to school only to have her tired and grumpy all day.

A bit about Bear. Bear is my second born. She will be 5 on December 17. The exact date I chose for her. At the time I didn't think it was too close to Christmas...If I could do it again, I don't think we would've had her later than Dec 10, but she was a bit tiny at 3 weeks early. Bear is one of my more stubborn children. She probably had the ability to walk around 12 months of age, but just didn't want to for another 2 1/2 months. I think she just didn't want me around when she started since she started walking the day I had the Boy. Bear's big blue eyes convey a sense of sweetness and innocence, which is fairly accurate until she get thwarted and doesn't receive her way. Then look out! She will scrunch up her face in the most unbecoming way and screech a horrid sound. Bear is probably the child that has the most difficulty with change. I still can't figure out if she was always that way, or developed that problem after the Boy's arrival at the tender age of 14 months. I think it's just the way she is since she hasn't out grown the problem. Bear took a full 6 weeks if not 8 to adjust to preschool last year. It was worth it though because of her familiarity with preschool, we had a smooth, flawless transition into Pre-K, this fall. Bear loves her class at school, and is well loved by her classmates. A quick phone call from DH this morning shared of an e-mail from Bear's teacher expressing how much her classmates missed her. Her popularity I think is also evidenced in the 10/5 Menu Plan post.

The Bear quote of the day, which inspired the whole long rambling post about Bear:
"Mommy, when i grow up, I'm gonna be an Auntie and live with Grammy and Papa. Like Auntie Bethy and share a car with Grammy."

Monday, October 5, 2009

Menu Plan Monday~10/5

Here's the game plan for the week. I'm not sure how it will work out. Sunday's a repeat from last week as we've had rain for I don't know...seems like 14 or so days straight and haven't had the opportunity to grill. Hopefully we'll have a sunnier/less rainy week this week.

Monday 5, Tacos/Taco lasagna/ Burritos, rice, veggie, fruit
Tuesday 6, Chicken Wild Rice Soup , bread, salad
Wednesday 7, Stuffed Shells, salad, bread, veggie
Thursday 8, Breaded Hamburgers, mashed Potatoes, carrots
Friday 9, Stromboli, veggie stix, salad
Saturday 10, Spare Ribs, salad, fruit
Sunday 11, Hot Dogs,Lentil & barley soup

I must say,I'm having one of those Mondays. The kind where you feel like you've gotten up on the wrong side of the bed. The plans I had for today have come undone and changed completely. It all started last night after Bible Study. We went up stairs to put the kids to bed and the darned dog got into the garbage. She got locked in her crate for a bit, but I knew I had to let her out so that she wouldn't need to go out in the night. I was a bit leery about letting her out because we have a skunk problem in our neighborhood, and she'd yet to be skunked...well all good things must end. She was out for maybe 15-20 minutes. I was in the opposite end of the house watching TV and I got a whiff of skunk. Sure enough, Freckles had managed to get skunked. So I brought her in and washed her up. Fortunately, I think the skunk was in the driveway and Freckles got skunked through the fence because only her paws and tip of her tail smelled. After a quick wash she smelled fine. Thank You Jesus! Then, as I get done taking care of the dog and lighting candles to dissipate the stench, Bean starts to wail. She'd had an accident. Poor kid. Completely soaked her bed, all the covers and for her sweetness, nothing is worse than having an accident. She just hates it and not having her blankies to comfort her just made it worse. I didn't get to bed till midnight. Not good for the extremely tired pregnant lady, but had to have those blankies clean.

Today, I was supposed to have my Parents as Teachers meeting, but canceled it due to a trip to my Mom's to make cider with my playgroup. No one RSVP for it, so we canceled. But in church yesterday, I was asked to help with a funeral dinner they're putting on for the family. So I guess I'll be on the run all day today. The kiddos get to stay home with Miss Laura, my friend.

Oh, and did I mention that Bear got kissed at school on Friday. I had no idea that Pre-Kindergarten boys were interested in kissing! Apparently, after their restroom break before lunch, she was sitting at her desk and R* came up and kissed her on the lips. She was afraid she would get yelled at by her teacher, so she didn't say anything to her at school. Instead, she waited till she saw DH after school and told him. Fortunately it was a parent who I know and I was able to resolve the whole issue with a phone call to my friend. I was a little disturbed (and jealous as I never received much male attention especially at that age) but now I can look back and laugh. It is kind of cute. Any way, I think that catches you up on all my important happenings, so I'm off to do my housework now. Have a great Monday! Oh, and stop over to Laura has a great Fall Giveaway Carnival this week. I'm sure she'll have some good stuff linked to.