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A Brony Birthday Party

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My little sister (that’s her with the black ponytail) threw a My Little Pony birthday party for her boyfriend last week.  That’s right, he’s a Brony.  A brother who likes My Little Pony.  I love that he’s secure enough in his masculinity not to have any shame about it!  He was so excited about the party and while she was taking millions of pictures of him posing with ponies, he declared it to be the best birthday party of his life.

Although I’ve sworn off decorated cakes (multiple times), she talked me into making the cake for his party.  (What convinced me was her offering a really strange amount of money – not like $20 or $30, but $32.73.  It was so weird and funny I had to say yes! lol)  It was a super-simple cake and I thought I’d share how to make one if you ever have need of a rainbow or MLP cake.

You only need a round single layer of cake.  If you make it in a 10″ pan, a cake mix will fit in it and the finished cake will serve up to 16 people, although it will be pretty difficult to serve.  I made mine in an 8″ pan and baked the rest of the batter into cupcakes, so this cake only served 8 but with the cupcakes it would have served 20.  You will also need red, orange, yellow, green, blue, purple, and sky blue frosting for the rainbow.  Pack the frosting into disposable pastry bags, preferably fitted with couplers, though you can just slice the tip off the bag to pipe the frosting directly onto the cake out of the bag if you don’t own a lot of couplers or don’t want to buy them. If you are going to make this into a My Little Pony cake, you will also need extra green for the grass (I used a lighter green than in the rainbow). You’ll need some flower sprinkles (I used these) and a grass tip (Wilton #233, and ignore all the other tips – I didn’t end up using them).  If you want to make a pond, you’ll need some clear piping gel and sky blue gel coloring (available at Walmart by the cake decorating supplies in the arts & crafts section).

Slice your cake in half and squeeze/spread frosting onto one side. I made too much red so that’s the color I chose to use.

Sandwich the halves together.

Place the cake cut-side down to your platter or cake board.

Squeeze frosting onto the cake, starting at the middle with the red (I had to build it up a little to make it higher since it dipped down), making stripes in this order: red, orange, yellow, green, blue, and purple.  I just squeezed it out from my coupler without a tip and I thought this made the perfect width of frosting for each stripe.

Repeat down the other side and fill in the bottom of both sides with sky blue frosting to make it look like you’re looking through to the sky underneath the rainbow.

If you’re going to make a MLP cake, figure out where you’re going to put the ponies, then pipe a blue border to outline where your pond(s) will be.  Using your (clean) finger, spread a thin layer of blue frosting over the platter or cake board so that the silver (or other color of the board) doesn’t show through the piping gel.  Tint enough piping gel to fill the pond(s) with sky blue gel color and spread into the pond, creating some ripple effects with your spoon.

Pipe grass onto the rest of the platter and when you run out of light green, use up the rest of your darker green, then panic and use up your yellow.  Then realize there is no other color left that is suitable for grass so be really strange and spread some orange over the rest of the platter, hoping it won’t look too weird if you write a birthday message across it.  Sprinkle your flower sprinkles all over the grass.

Realize the orange is just wrong, and scrape it all off, rejoicing that you found some extra blue you had set aside in a bowl.  Use it to pipe a border for another lake and repeat the steps to create a second lake.  Rejoice that you saved a little bit of white frosting and tint it green to go around the lake, then steal some of the flower sprinkles to put on the new grass.  Much better.

To serve, cut it in half down the middle, then cut each half in half, angling toward the center.  Essentially, you are cutting it the way you would if it was right-side up, but from the side instead of the top.  Cut each thick slice in half and use a spatula or cake server to draw out one of the bottom pieces (most likely two pieces will come out and you’ll have to pull the top piece off onto another plate.  Once the first piece is out, serving the others is pretty easy as they just start falling onto your spatula.

TASTE THE RAINBOW!

Whoa. It’s like a rainbow…IN MAH MOUTH.

 

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Dear Joshua

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Dear Joshua,

Today you are 18 weeks, 3 days old. You have changed so much in your short life already, I can’t believe it.  You’ve more than doubled your birth weight and grown over 6 inches. You’ve gone from crying through diaper changes, to grunting and snorting through them (oh I miss those snorts!), to smiling through them (which is a pretty good trade-off, even if you don’t do the snorts any more).  My still baby has turned into a wriggling delight, making diaper changes challenging, and bedtime hilarious.  You push up and back with your heels while I change your diaper, then curl your knees upward toward your chest and bite your hands, making a little “ach” sound. As soon as I get the diaper back in place under your bottom, you push backward again and repeat the process.  When I put you to bed for the night, you do the same curling inward thing, pulling your hands up inside the swaddle toward your mouth, even though your swaddle prevents you reaching it.  Then you give me your biggest smile and start wriggling and kicking inside your swaddle.  I have to leave you to kick yourself to sleep, because as long as I stand over you, you are kicking and wriggling and smiling.  I always want to laugh, but I resist to avoid rousing you any more than you already are, so that you can fall asleep as quickly as you always do.

“What’s with all the flashing lights?” With Grandpa Miller

Though for naps, you aren’t nearly as cheerful or obliging.  You almost always cry when it’s time for a nap, and while I’ve become pretty good at soothing you, it’s still nerve-frazzling and heartbreaking to hear that cry for any length of time.  I sometimes have to give up on getting you to take your naps, especially the afternoon naps, and let you skip them, but always pay for it later.  On those days, you are so tired by bedtime that you have a complete meltdown and soothing you takes a long time and I have to pull out all the tricks I’ve learned that help to calm you down. What works better than anything else is holding you sideways, your chest to my chest, and bouncing you up and down while rocking side to side or front to back, and then popping a pacifier in your mouth as soon as you settle enough to take it. The pacifier isn’t always needed, but can help if you’re extra inconsolable.  You do this cute thing with your mouth every time when you finally settle down. Your eyes drift closed, slowly open, close again, and you pucker your lips and stick your tongue behind them, stick it out a little bit, and then boom.  You’re out.

In the last couple weeks you’ve changed more quickly & dramatically than at any other time.  You are suddenly so much more interested in the world around you, and in the toys I present you with, reaching for them, hitting them, shaking them, biting and sucking on them.  I accidentally deleted the video of you first showing interest in a toy, but thankfully uploaded it to Facebook first, so you can watch yourself playing with the giraffe toy from Grandma Miller that hangs over your changing table here (click “HD” at the bottom of the video to show a more clear version).

Your talking Tow Mater toy from Grandma Miller kept you happy with tummy time a lot longer than Mama ever could:

And here you are enjoying your ball rattle from Great Aunt Dorothy for the first time:

Even better, you’ve finally started to roll over, and I got my first giggles out of you this week!  We visited your Daddy’s family and Grandma Miller got the best giggles out of you by far!  She made you giggle, which  made us giggle, which made you giggle, and it just went on and on.  I was too caught up in the joy of it to think about taking a video, but hopefully I’ll catch that soon.  I want to capture the sound of your giggle before your voice changes again.  Already your cry is so much deeper than a couple months ago, when everyone used to think you were a cat meowing when you cried.

Carson holds his baby cousin while Auntie Joan eagerly awaits her turn (again). :)

Great Aunt Lois gets a turn. You’re still not used to Mom’s new camera! (My old one finally bit the dust after taking many videos of you :) )

Thanks to you, I haven’t written a Thankful Thursday in months.  Because they would all be about you and since I talk about you more than anything else now, I’m afraid my blog would be just way too redundant to gush about our little blessing every Thursday.  Maybe some day I will move beyond my gratitude for you and remember there are other things to be thankful for, but for now I don’t need or want to.  I’m sure you know by now how much we wanted you and how much we love you, and you’re probably sick of hearing it, but it will always be true.  Last week you were dazzling us with your usual morning cheer (you are crazy happy in the mornings, and it makes us a little less grumpy to be faced with such such huge smiles when we’re just wanting a little more sleep), and I told your Dad that we’re so lucky.  He said, “I know.  I knew that when we found out he had a brain on the sonogram.”  You know Dad. :)  Hopefully by the time you read this our standards for what impresses us will have grown a little, and you have been inspired by our expectations to do more than just exist.  Which is all we really require of you right now.  Your mere existence is heaven.

Love, Mom

A budding musician?

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Joshua may not be able to play the guitar or form words well enough to sing yet (not that he doesn’t try though, and it’s too cute!), but I think he’s doing pretty good with his musician impressions. I think he waits until he’s in the right outfit to break them out, too.

Here are the videos from the past month. I’ve been trying to keep them shorter so they’re easier to watch.

If you don’t like hearing babies cry, you might want to skip the first 45 seconds of this one, but the ending is so cute you have to see it. :)

We had a coupon

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I kind of hate coupons.  Coupons lead me buy things I normally wouldn’t buy, so although it seems like I’m saving money, I’m really just spending money I wouldn’t have spent if I didn’t have the coupon.  In the case of a photo coupon I printed out for Portrait Innovations, which was the opposite situation in that I did want to buy pictures and it was a very good deal, I was led to buy so many pictures, I have no idea what I’m going to do with them all and now we are broke.  But unlike when I use a coupon to buy a huge bag of chocolate, this was so worth it. :)  Enjoy the cause of our poverty.

Joshua’s been working on his Elvis lip since he was just a few weeks old.  He also just started to sing with us at church (and I kid you not, his coos were on key), so we may have a future “King” on our hands. ;)

“I don’t always wear hats, but when I do, women find me irresistible.”

“Your story’s all full of holes, Louis, and soon you will be too.”

“How you doin’?”

If I didn’t know any better, I’d swear he was a shameless flirt! ;)

Love his goofy grin.

Angel baby pose. :)

And just for fun, here’s one of the ultra-horrible ones.

Priceless. :)

Notes on Joshua: he was 14 weeks in these photos, now 15 weeks. Where does the time go?! He has his four month shots next Monday. Not looking forward to that. :( He is smiling more and more and I am waiting for giggles. He does little chuckles but I want full out laughter. I really suck at tummy time and pretty much only do it by putting him on his tummy on my chest while I’m leaning back on the couch because he fusses the least that way, but somehow he’s gaining strength in his neck and is able to hold his head up for quite a while despite my suckage.  I think he’ll be able to keep it up when the doc tests it next week (it’s cute, he holds him up over his head like a flying baby to see if he can keep his head up. He almost made it last month but dropped it after a few seconds). He’ll also get his bilirubin tested and I’m sure it’s normal by now, or it better be! Also, he hasn’t peed on me during a diaper change in at least a month – yay! :)  Also, it looks like his newborn eye color has turned to blue which took me by surprise as most everyone agreed his dark color looked like it would turn to brown. Yay for blue eyes like Daddy!  (And lashes like Momma’s) My little stud muffin. :)

Maximum Cuteness Level: attained


A few of his many faces :)

My Mom always said babies reach their maximum cuteness at three months because they’re still fairly small, but have had enough time to grow into their looks.  Joshua is almost three months now and it’s hard to imagine him getting any cuter, but it seems that he does get cuter every day.  I may or may not be outrageously biased, however. :)

Good news on his bilirubin (jaundice), it went down from 5 to 2.7 in just a week.  We did have an appointment yesterday but since it’s on the decline, the doctor wanted to wait until his four-month check up to test it again because it’s not even at a level that they would treat for.  He just wants to make sure it keeps going down.  Yay for not needing a specialist! You can see how clear his skin is in the photo below, and his eye whites are finally white!  He has just a bit of yellow left at his hairline.

This month he has definitely found his voice, and I included two videos at the end (the first and third one) where you get to hear it.  I feel like he’s finally a “real baby” as I call it – one that I can interact with and does real baby stuff like coo and smile and laugh.  I love it!

He’s not into toys yet, but does like to hold things and if I give him something soft, he seems to enjoy clutching it to himself.

One toy he does enjoy is his jungle gym from cousin Andrea.  He’s not purposely reaching up to hit the danglies, but he moves a lot while staring up at them and when he does hit the lowest one, he likes to watch the movement.  It’s amazing how staring up at three dangling things can be so enthralling – I’ve put him underneath it quite a lot and it just never gets old for him.  He also loves staring up at things we hang over the changing table – first a blankey with tags on it and now a sensory giraffe toy from Grandma Miller.  I keep thinking he’s going to start getting bored with the same old things, but I guess living in a world for only three months, everything every day would seem so new.

My favorite photos this month (both from last week):

Catch you soon with more recipes – I’ve now got quite a few to share and hope I have the time to do so soon!  Here are the videos from this last month if you care to watch.  Enjoy!

Joshua loves to jump, although you wouldn’t know it from his face, which is always so serious when he does it, but he gets so intense about it that I think he must enjoy it to do it so much once I hold him in position and we start. Anyway, my camera is dying on me and it’s really hard to capture a complete video and this is the worst video because it cut out all his really intense, good jumping, but you do get to see a few little jumps on it. :)

I quit

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Yep, I did it.  I resigned last Wednesday and I’m officially a stay-at-home Mom now!  I went back to work Tuesday and Wednesday to make enough to pay back some leave I took and hadn’t earned, and am so glad I did because it gave me the chance to say a lot of goodbyes.  And it was hard.  I was postal (lol) for almost ten years and although my work environment wasn’t conducive to forging friendships, somehow I managed to forge a few over those years and not seeing those faces every day makes me sad.  But staying home with my little dude makes me happier than I am sad not to be there. Joshua wins!  I’m so happy, and so fulfilled.

Joshua is nine weeks old now and it’s hard to believe.  Time is flying!  He’s getting bigger all the time and has outgrown all the stuff he was wearing the first month.  He’s now 12 lbs and 22 3/4″ – up almost 3 lbs and 3 inches since his one month check up.  He had to get his shots which was awful, and he also had to have blood drawn (also awful) to check his bilirubin since he’s still a bit yellow. It’s still a bit elevated (5 and they want it at 1 or less) so he’ll have to see a specialist if it’s not lower by Friday.  It was nice and warm this last weekend so we took him our for a sunshiney stroll both days.  I’m really hoping we won’t have to go to a specialist about his jaundice.  I just want that over with and behind us! Jaundice be gone!

The biggest update is that Joshua now really smiles!  OK, not frequently, just randomly, but finally he’s given me a few non-gas-related smiles.  The last video has smiles in it, unfortunately they are gas related as you will see and hear (lol) at the end, but he does smile like this without being gassy and it’s awesome.  I even got my first giggle yesterday. Be still my heart!

And here are the latest videos.  Sorry for the random and spaced out postings – I guess I’m not quite up to getting on a regular blogging schedule yet.  But I’m at least cooking and baking again so I have some more recipes to share as soon as I can! :)

I thought my boob was my baby

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People have asked if I’ve had any postpartum craziness.  Well, yes, but I don’t think it’s the usual kind.  I didn’t have any depression or blues, though I was more prone to tears the first couple weeks (especially with our little guy back in the hospital – that made me cry a lot!), and I didn’t get too crazy, but I did think my boob was my baby at one point. Yup.

For some reason almost every night for the first month, I would wake up thinking Joshua was in bed with us, and then I couldn’t find him and would wake Dennis up in my search for him.  He has slept in his crib from day one so I have no idea why this kept happening.  Sometimes I’d wake up thinking I was holding him and would be cradling my boob, thinking it was his head.  For reals.  Sometimes I’d wake up and stare at the back of Dennis’ head and stroke it, thinking he was Joshua.  (I think this is partially justified since they both have old man hair that gets totally crazy when they sleep on it.)  Sometimes I’d stroke his hand and wonder how our baby’s hands could have gotten so big, so fast.

I’m pretty sure this is kinda normal.  Normal for postpartum women, I mean.  It’s not normal to think your boob is a baby, but I think getting kinda crazy after a baby is normal.  My sister seriously believed she had two babies and someone had kidnapped the other one.  And she didn’t think this in a sleepy haze, this was a fully conscious conviction, despite having birthed and left the hospital with a single baby.  Dennis told me a man at the Boot Camp for New Dads told the men about his wife’s postpartum depression, and how one day she was convinced she had dropped her baby off at daycare and when she went to pick her up, they said she never did.  She had a full out meltdown yelling at them that they were trying to take her baby and when she finally got back home, she found her baby in her crib.  So yeah, those whacko hormones can really do a number on your head!

What about you?  Any crazy or scary postpartum stories to share?

Joshua at 6 weeks: Great-Grandpa’s Little Doppelganger

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https://lh6.googleusercontent.com/-jimstEZ7G2w/UW44JJKF3NI/AAAAAAAAICg/6AN-Us1igxU/w342-h514-no/23.jpg

On Wednesday, my parents came over and I showed them this picture I had of Grandpa Millner (yes, my Mom’s maiden name is Millner and I married a Miller – freaky!) as a baby in 1930 and they both agreed that Joshua bore a remarkable resemblance to his Great-Grandpa.  I couldn’t find the perfect picture to show how similar they are because it’s more something you can see in person so just watch the videos (esp the last one) I included at the end to get the full effect  :)

Joshua, 6 weeks 4 days old

I looked at the back and it said he was 6 weeks, 4 days old when it was taken, which is exactly how old Joshua was that day I showed them the photo. Kinda creepy/cool!  Also very bittersweet that Grandpa passed almost exactly a month before his little doppelganger was conceived, but also cool that because of his passing, he helped Joshua come to be (check out this post for the explanation if you missed it).

Joshua and Daddy 12/30/13

Joshua is growing up so fast already! He’s graduated to size 1 diapers, which are for babies 10-14 lbs. I’m guessing he’s about 10 pounds right now.  He can lift his head and his legs at the same time while on his tummy (need to catch this on video!) doing a sort of “plank” lol. He no longer cries while getting his diaper changed, and can even endure a few minutes of bath time before he starts crying. I love this!

Joshua 1/4/14

He’s so cute during diaper changes – he seems so happy and he grunts/snorts the whole time because he knows he’s going to be fed afterward and he makes little piggy sounds.  Need to catch this on video too, but for now, here’s the videos I do have. :)

Joshua 1/5/14

Joshua and Mommy 1/5/14

Oh my gosh, I just ran across this photo of my Dad holding me as a baby in another blog post, and now I finally see myself in Joshua! I’ve never really thought he looked like me until now. He looks so much like me in this pic! :)

Thankful Thursday #122: a year of happiness

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On New Year’s Eve, Dennis and I celebrated quietly at home, going through our memory jar.  We started this last year and I think it will be something we do every year.  Throughout the year, we fill a jar with paper memories, then go through them at the end of the year. It’s a fun way to remember all that happened in the last year.

If you’ve been reading my blog for at least a year, you might remember the bittersweet post about 2012′s memory jar.  I have copied it below this one for you to read if you have the time or interest – it’s so awesome to read that already having what we prayed for in our arms.

Anyway, while going through 2013′s jar, we ran across this fortune:

Today I’m thankful that this fortune came true.  Thank God for our little miracle! :)

* * *

Thankful Thursday #97: a fresh start – originally posted January 3, 2013

Our Memory Jar, filled with paper memories from 2012. The pictures included in this post are all things found within the jar.

Despite not doing a recipes “best of” to recap for 2012, I am a little introspective on the year.  In one way, it was a hard year. Really hard.  In all other ways, it was great.  When I think back on this year, all I feel is happy, so I’m thankful for that.  But I’m also thankful for a fresh start.

Regular readers know that 2012 was the year we really tried to have a baby–and I mean gave it our all.  And did not succeed.  We finally got ourselves checked out after eight years of casually trying and nearly a year of gung-ho trying (you know, with all the charting and timing and hooplah), and the urologist said it is “very unlikely” that we will ever have a baby together naturally.  That was really tough to hear.

Right now our future is uncertain as far as children are concerned.  We are doing what we can, including praying and taking natural supplements (there’s nothing doctors can do to help besides IVF, which we are not interested in), but our window of opportunity is fairly well shut.  Haus is on the older side to become a first-time Dad (45) and knowing what it’s like for a child to be raised by older parents (my Dad was a surprise, born to my grandparents when they were in their late 40s) and how it can make them constantly afraid that their parents will die while they are still growing up, I feel it’s not right to keep trying.  And yet it’s also something hard for me to give up.

I have been thinking about fostering to adopt for almost as long as we’ve been trying, and while this is something Dennis and I will have to decided between us, it is definitely one avenue of opportunity for us to raise a child if we do not have one of our own.  I am finding it terribly hard to totally give up on the hope of having one of our own right now, so I don’t think 2013 will be the year for us to go into the foster program.  2013 is more likely going to be a year of transition into parenthood, Lord willing, one way or another.

Anyway, besides the trial of trying to conceive and month after month of disappointment, and the weight gain brought on by my emotional eating, this has been a wonderful year.   While the photos in this post are showing our paper memories, there were many more wonderful memories made that you won’t  find on paper.  Lots of laughter, lots of hugs and kisses, lots of celebrations, long walks & talks, lots of love. We are happy, we are healthy, and I am thankful.

While I do yearn for children, I’m also desperately thankful for the “alone time” Dennis and I have had with each other for fourteen years.  I know being a parent is really hard, and we are so totally spoiled without them, and I do count that as a blessing.  I’m sure I will miss the freedom I have now if I ever lose it, so I do try to appreciate it while it is mine.

That said, I’m dreaming of what 2013 will bring.  While I’m hoping and praying that it includes a child, something that I do have control over is my diet and I’m getting that back under control.  No more, “This baby stuff is so harrrrrrd, whiney whine whine whine,” while shoveling in chips and sour cream dips, and squirting pastry bags full of leftover icing in my mouth. OK, so I don’t really whine like that, and don’t really squirt pastry bags full of icing into my mouth (though I have been known to do so in the past), but you get the idea.  I’m not going to milk the baby stress excuse to eat whatever I want in huge quantities.  Not any more.  I’m ready to “give birth” to the food baby I’ve created from overeating.  Especially since he’s decided to take up precious pants space and I really don’t want to buy bigger pants (I’ve already done that too many times).  Food baby be gone!

That is all I have to say (finally, right?), so get ready for it.  The epic ending to my blog:

Still makes me laugh.  Check out the blog Den’s cartoon is featured in here if you missed it last January.  Peace to you all, may 2013 bring you much happiness.

Love, Veronica

Baybay videos


I so miss blogging, and am going to try to ease my way back into it.  I was calculating the time I spend doing my new job and I have spent up to 16 hours in a day just pumping and feeding him (we can’t do direct breast feeding solely yet – long story) so it’s no wonder that the only thing I seem to get done besides the part of life that revolves around my boobs is the dishes and the laundry and the dinner.  But another reason my free time has been lacking is that I keep taking videos of him and then I watch those videos (over and over and over) while he’s sleeping, when I could be doing something more productive.  I think I need a baby intervention. I’m so in love with him!

So here are the videos I’ve taken so far.  I’ve already shared the video of him at one week here, so these start at two weeks.  I know it’s a lot of videos (seriously – intervention needed!) so if you just want to see the shortest and most entertaining one and what he looks like currently, watch the last one – I love watching my husband taking care of his son.  :)

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