let's talk about banana bread.

National Banana Bread Day occurred sometime last week while I was sick and stuffy and out of milk, so I made up for it yesterday by baking my little brains out. I always use my Grandma's recipe-- it's the best banana bread I've ever, ever had. When I was younger, my grandparents lived in a little cabin on a lake and my Grandma would serve it every morning when my family came to visit in the summer. She'd wake up so early, before everyone else, and take a loaf out of the freezer. By the time the rest of us finally woke, the bread would be just barely thawed and ice cold. Oh. I'm convinced it's better cold. It tastes best with a thick coat of butter and a glass of orange juice. Dining whilst dangling your feet into a sun-sparkling lake is optional, but encouraged. As is the bowl of Cocoa Puffs on the side. Optional. But encouraged.

I'm not a batter eater, because hello guys, E. coli and Salmonella, didn't your mom ever tell you? But the combination of the buttermilk and the bananas makes this batter smell so divine. I would consider eating it.

Also, the recipe I use makes four loaves and was written out by my sister, who has enough pans and room in her freezer for four loaves. I don't always remember this, and usually end up with more batter than I know what to do with. I try to remind myself to cut the recipe in half, so that I have one warm and freshly baked loaf for Ryan, and one for the freezer (for that blessed cold loaf.)

Grandma Evie's Banana Bread::

1 1/2 cups sugar
1/2 cup shortening
2 eggs
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
2 cups flour
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp vanilla
1 cup buttermilk
2 bananas, mashed

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cream sugar and shortening. Add eggs and beat well. Slowly, mix in remaining ingredients. Divide batter into 2 greased bread pans. Bake for 45 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean.


moon mobile

Air dry clay is officially my new favorite crafty medium. I have made countless little projects with that stuff. For around $8 you can get yourself a big chunk of it at any craft store, and it lasts forever! Even after all my clay creations, I still have nearly half of that big chunk left.

This here's my latest clay creation. I made myself one of those adorable Curbly bowls not too long ago, and when I finished that I guess I just kept going. I rolled out more clay, and cut out circles with a round cookie cutter. Then I poked some holes in 'em, painted 'em, and made myself a regular old mobile. Because, who says mobiles are just for babies? It's an inexpensive and easy afternoon project, and it makes me smile. All those little circles remind me of shiny, rotating half moons.

The best part of it all is the sound they make when they clack into each other. So satisfying! I can't wait for open-window weather, so it can turn itself into a little clacking wind chime. 

In other news, I have a fantastically awful, never-ending head cold. I've been spending most of the week sipping orange juice, blowing my nose, and eating leftover birthday cake that I can't even taste. What a waste!


World Renowned Genius Turns 24.

...was Ryan's suggestion for the title of this post.

The birthday celebrations have come and gone, and my guy is now a whole age older than me for exactly 25 days. We had a little party last night that consisted mostly of boys. Only Jackie and I were there to add some girlish charm. Somehow we all managed to squeeze into our tiny living room. Soup was on the menu-- my sister's Tomato Ravioli soup and one of my dad's favorites, Spinach Artichoke. Those burly men ate up most of the soup and I couldn't have been happier about it, because my half pint fridge certainly can't hold two giant stock pots. Let's be real.

We topped the evening off with a candlelit birthday cake and a little SNL on hulu. 
(Specifically this skit.)
Happy Birthday to you, sweet Ryan! I'm praying that this year brings you lots of blessings and happiness. And if I could, I'd knit you a sweater with an extra hole for your dreams and ideas. 

I love you.



First of all: thank you so much to those who wrote such wonderful words about my baby's birth story. And thank you for your prayers! I feel so much better after writing that out and reading your comments. Ryan and I feel so loved.

Speaking of Ryan, it's his birthday on Monday! He's out with some dudes tonight, so I'm watching SNL and preparing for his party. The theme is:: woodgrain. The man likes carpentry and bears, so it seems like the only logical choice. Unfortunately, now that I'm actually looking at my decorations, it seems I'm planning this party for an eight-year-old girl? I may need to adjust some stuff.

Happy weekend to you all!


February 15th, 2012

Lately our evenings have been spent talking about how different this February was supposed to be. Not in a sad or bitter way, but more in a "Can you believe we could have had a baby by now?" kind of way. Thankfully, it seems that Ryan and I have grown out of the ugly side of grieving. (And by that I mean I'm no longer giving the middle finger to my computer screen whenever someone on facebook or twitter announces a pregnancy or birth.) ((Beyonce got a lot of middle fingers.))

Yesterday was supposed to be my due date. I anticipated having a hard time with it and I didn't want to be alone, so I went to my sister's house and played with her and her boys. I was so thankful for the distraction! Though, I came home last night and felt a little sad that I hadn't done anything to honor the baby that was supposed to be born. 

I constantly tell Ryan that one of the hardest things about losing our daughter is that I feel like a mother, yet I don't have much to show for it. It's so difficult to watch other parents enjoy sharing sweet stories and photos of their children--I want to shout, "I'm a parent, too! Even though my baby went to heaven earlier than she should have, it still counts!" Along with this, not many people know what to say when it comes to miscarriage--it's a hard topic to talk about. As a result, very few people know the story of our baby and her birth. Sometimes the feeling of not being able to talk about it is unbearable. So, please. Do you mind if I take a little time to tell you about her? I'll start here:

At our 20 week checkup, the baby measured at 18-19 weeks, and my fluid was low. My doctor didn't seem too concerned, but still had us make an appointment with an ultrasound specialist to check things over. I spent the week worrying, drinking glass after glass of water, and laying on my left side. That Sunday in church I remembered how the previous Sunday's service had been full of tiny bumps and wiggles. I quietly sat with my hand on my belly, waiting for a kick. I didn't feel anything. I think that was when I knew something was wrong.

We went to our next appointment that Tuesday, and the world's most insensitive doctor told us what we had been dreading. She checked the heartbeat, and there on the screen where the usual whomp-whomps had been in other appointments, was a long blank line. I couldn't breathe, I couldn't cry, and I couldn't look at Ryan. I lay on the hospital bed in misery for 20 minutes while that awful, thin-lipped doctor used the ultrasound to check for "deformities." She stared at the screen as though it were a fascinating science experiment, and my baby was so, so still.

Ryan and I checked into the hospital the next day, on October 5th, and I was given medicine to induce labor. I was terrified. I hadn't gotten to the labor and delivery chapters of my baby books yet. I was clueless about breathing and pushing, and I didn't know what to expect when the baby actually came. Thankfully, my nurses were wonderful and explained how a stillbirth delivery typically happens. I spent most of the day and and evening waiting. Finally, around 8pm, the medicine kicked in. After a short, but not so pain-less labor, my baby was born at 9:30pm. The doctor immediately took her to a different part of the room to examine her. As she was working, Ryan asked if the baby was a boy or a girl. Her response was, "It's a girl! Nope, wait, it's a boy!" They took the baby away to do some tests, and we were left alone.

Later on, after the baby had been dressed in a blue onesie and a much-too-large blue hat, Ryan brought her to me to hold. Since she was so small and fragile, they wrapped her in a blanket and put her in a tiny basket. We looked at her small hands and feet, and opened her onesie to catch a glimpse of her bird-like legs. She was beautiful. We knew we had to give her a name, but all the names we had picked seemed too jolly for our little one. We opened our Bible, hoping for a some inspiration. Because the doctor had told us she was a boy, we searched for boy names, and chose Daniel. The name felt so right.

Two weeks later, we were back at the doctor's office to get the results of all the testing. We were told that 50% of stillbirth cases can't be explained, and ours was one of them. As frustrating as that was to hear, we were relieved to know that I am perfectly healthy, and my body is normal. We were given the go-ahead to try for another baby whenever we were ready. My wonderful doctor assured me that the next time around, I would be monitored closely and that he would do all he could to take care of me and my baby. Then he hugged me (as I sat pants-less on the table--oy) and said, "See you soon!" While I never, ever want to be in the antepartum wing of the hospital again, I would love to see my doctors and nurses again. I'm so thankful for the way they cared for me.

We were also told at that appointment that the baby was not a boy, but a girl. My doctor was so apologetic, but Ryan and I laughed it off as human error. It wasn't until a while later, when we returned home, that I realized we had given our daughter a boy's name and dressed her in blue. It broke my heart a little bit. But, after talking about it, we decided to keep the name we had given her. We love what it means.

A few hours after my baby was born, the nurse on duty brought in a few gifts and keepsakes for Ryan and me. Among those things was a photo album filled with some pictures of our daughter, and four little ceramic molds of her hands and feet. I cherish those little gifts we have to remember her by.

Now. I don't quite know how to close this. However, I will tell you that you can bet your bottom dollar we're hoping for another sweet baby as soon as possible. And that I feel better knowing that I shared my baby's little story with whoever pushed through this terribly long blog post. Thank you for reading it.


"each day is valentine's day"

...except not really.
it's not every day that i wake up extra early and make my lover boy 
heart-shaped food.
happy valentine's day, ryan.
i love you.

and happy valentine's day to you!


project on a snowy day:: heart pillow

Has anyone seen this cute little pillow tutorial floating around Pinterest?
Me too.
I made my own.
Though I didn't exactly follow Anna's instructions.
(Mine is totally temporary and totally not as professionally sewn.)
I used some scrap fabric to cut out a heart, and hand stitched it 
onto the back of an old pillow.
It's a strong stitch that will hopefully hold up to Ryan's inevitable pillow tossing,
but not too strong--I'll be able to snip the thread and re-use the pillow
when I get tired of big red hearts everywhere.
And it only took me about 10 minutes to make two pillows.

And when I was done, I rewarded myself with a spoonful of peanut butter,
because that's the only sweet thing we have in this house right now.

I need to go grocery shopping.


home again

I have returned! It's just the two of us again in our little apartment, and Christmas is officially over. As s'wonderful-marvelous as it was to hang with my family for 5 days, it's good to be back home and sleep in my own fluffy bed. And once I clean this place up a little bit, I plan on taking a loooong hot shower. All those 5 minute lukewarm showers I've been taking? Not my favorite.

But I'll tell you what is my favorite: having someone do the dishes for me. I think my poor mother spent most of the weekend in the kitchen, either cooking or cleaning up. And as sorry as I was for her, I was also totally pleased for myself. I'd like to keep a tiny little dishwashing version of my mom in my cupboards, and pull her out when my kitchen is messy. I'd make her a tiny sponge bed and feed her potato chip crumbs. What do you say, Mom?

I'm sure I'm headed into niece/nephew withdrawals for the next few days, too. Each one of them was so darling and hilarious. I wish I could bottle up their chubby sweetness. If you haven't held a fresh newborn recently, go find one, and take a sniff of it's little baby powder-y head. It will do wonders for your soul!

Speaking of babies, this weekend was the first time my mom and sisters and I had all been together since I lost my baby. It was so wonderful for me to talk with them about it. And when I say talk with them, I mostly mean I whined and cried, while they listened (and cried a little, too.) My sister Gretel looked at my baby's pictures for the first time. Even though it's so sad to do, I can't tell you how good it is for me to show her off, even if all I have is a few hospital photos and her tiny knit hat. Thank you, Mom and sisters, for all the hugs, advice, and lovely words. Smooches for you.

I was supposed to go to a meeting this afternoon, but my February-Christmas brain completely forgot all about it. I kissed Ryan goodbye this morning, and he took off with our only car. So instead of meeting-ing it up, I'm stuck at the apartment, determined to catch up on things and get some stuff done. I'm feeling nice and motivated. My plan for the afternoon: season one of Downton Abbey (for the fourth time!) and Valentine's Day crafties. Delightful.


mom and dad's house

Lots of things going on at Mom and Dad's house this February Christmas...
like board games and baby-gazing...
pasta night...
luigi and alfredo supervising...
peppers and meatballs...
feeling sweaty and exhausted from cooking for the whole family...
present opening...
and stuffing our faces.

I'm a perpetually full and happy girl this week.


It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas! (Again.)

We're just about to head out for my parent's house! I spent the entire day packing, wrapping last-minute gifts and cleaning the apartment so that it's not a depressing mess when we return. My sister who lives in Nebraska texted me this morning and said their ETA is sometime this afternoon, so they should be at the house when Ryan and I arrive! (Although they're traveling with three kids under 5, so who knows? Also, yikes.) 

Every year my family picks a theme for Christmas, just for the fun of it--this year's theme is Season's Eatings. We've got some grand plans for root beer taste testing, pasta making, fondue, and a gigantic chocolate cake. I'm sure we'll all be feeling nice and hefty when we return home. I'll be sure to take photos of all our feasts!

Also, Ryan and I got downgraded to the basement this year, right near allllll the kiddos' favorite toys. I'm sure we won't be getting much sleep. Here's to 5 nights of sleeping on an air mattress!

Merry Christmas to all, and to all a happy weekend!


Happy February and other stuff

I'm not sure how I feel about February just yet.

This month was supposed to be entirely different from what it's turned out to be, in every sort of way possible. If I let my mind slow down just the tiniest bit, I remember that February was supposed to be filled with fresh, healthy, pink baby things. Then the sadness creeps in, and it takes me a little while to dig myself back out of it.

But what's odd is that I felt really good when I woke up this morning and remembered it was the first day of a new month. Maybe I'm just thankful that the gloom of January is over? It's also possible that I'm faking it, and I'm just tricking myself out of feeling sad. Whatever it is, I've got some sparkly energy coming from somewhere, and it's keeping my brain from slowing down too much. And that's fine with me.

You know what else is helping me out this month? A few things. Let me tell you about them:
  • This photo challenge. I usually stay away from long list-type stuff like this, because I have a hard time sticking with it. (Take my Advent calendar, for example.) But I think it'll help me find some happy things in this stupid month of February. And every blogger and their mother is doing it, so why not? Wanna see my first photo? Day 1: The view from my dining room table.
  • Christmas in February with my family. For various reasons that mostly have to do with a sweet new baby being born in Nebraska on December 21st, Christmas has been postponed until this Saturday. Ryan and I are driving to my Mom and Dad's house on Friday evening, and we're spending a few days with every single member of my family. I couldn't be more excited to hug my sisters and get snuggles from my niece and nephews, and meet brand new little Jonas. Oh the joy! The downside is that I still haven't put away some of my Christmas decorations, and the gifts that I've wrapped so far look suspiciously Valentine's Day-ish. I think I'm seasonally confused.

To close this silly post, I'd like to wish a Very Merry Birthday to my dear friend Miss Becker, who turned 24 today. I hope it was marvelous! Let's flashback, shall we?
Ah. That was nice.
Happy Birthday, Sarah B.

And happy February.