Thursday, May 12, 2016

Birthday Girls

This past weekend was a memorable one with the girls 1st birthday and Mother's Day!  I had been planning the girls birthday for months, squirreling away party decor in our basement.  The day before the party I realized that I may have gone a bit overboard, but it was fun none-the-less.

I chose Dr. Suess for the theme and scored a lot of the decor/favors from the dollar section of Target earlier in the year when it was Dr. Seuss' birthday.

The invite came from and I have obviously obstructed some of the details below, but for $12 for the graphic designer and $10 in printing, I thought they were a score!

The table decor was a mix of things that I made (truffula trees) and Dr. Seuss books that we already owned.

Banners, tablecloths, balloons and The Cat in the Hat all came from Amazon.

The girls shirts were another etsy score.  The seller, 4AngelBabies, was great to work with and had these out to me in no time.


For the food, I did stay within the theme, serving Roast Beast, Hop on Pop! Corn, Green Eggs and Ham, One Fish, Two Fish and Who Treats.  The tent cards for the food (seen below) also came from etsy.


The cakes...  We are lucky to have an amazing bakery within walking distance of our house.  I took them pictures of what I was looking for cake-wise and they knocked it out of the park!

The girls loved the cake too...


That folks is serious mess.  It took 45 minutes to scrub them down afterward and another good 45 minutes to clean the highchairs.

The rest of the weekend was basically spent recovering from the party.  The girls got to spend some quality time with their grandparents and at the park.

Swinging at the park= Avery and Noelle's favorite thing!


The farmer and his daughters:

I cannot believe I have 1 year olds!

Monday, May 2, 2016

Double Bubble

These pictures turned out too cute not to share.

This weekend we were stuck at home due to a perpetual rain/snow mix and very cold temperatures. By Sunday we were all getting a little stir crazy and decided to liven things up with bubbles!

These girls sure love their bath time.

We are five days out from their 1st birthday.  I am so excited for them, but so sad for me.  Babies no more.

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

National Infertility Week

This week is National Infertility Awareness week and I would be completely remiss not to speak to it. Infertility is recently much more talked about in the media, but it still is a situation that many battle silently.  With it comes shame, heartbreak/ache and insecurity, but I have found that talking about it does make it easier and many times invites solidarity.

If you have read the blog for any length of time, you know that we went through IVF to have our girls.  Before we were even married, Eric and I started having tests and knew we would face some difficulties.  Somehow I had this premonition that my greatest aspiration in life, becoming a Mother, would also be my hardest battle.  In some ways this was good because I was mentally prepared for what was ahead, but it still didn't make the process easy.

After 1.5 years of trying ourselves and 2 unsuccessful rounds of IUI, we decided to jump-start the process in May 2014 and proceed with IVF.  We also wanted to give ourselves the best odds possible so we did chromosomal screening, DNA testing and decided to do the retrieval, wait two months for the transfer while I recovered and our embryos sat on ice, and then proceed.

Finally, in October 2014, we were ready for transfer.  When I took the picture below, I just remember that everything was happening so suddenly.  After months of preparation, we got there and the nurse walked in to get us and I just remember thinking that I needed to take a quick picture because this would be our last moment as a family of two (I didn't even have time to take a good picture- this one had to do).

Our embryologist showed us our babies.  We had decided in advance to go for twins.

 I spent the three days following transfer in bed.  I would literally only get up to go to the bathroom.  My mom came into town to take care of me and I can say with absolute certainty that I knew at that time that I was pregnant.  Again, my optimism kicking in, but going through this process knowing/having convinced myself that it would work, kept it from being so painful.

About a week later, I cheated and started taking daily pregnancy tests (even though they tell you not to).  These results confirmed what I already knew- it had worked.

Based on my hormone levels, the nurses were guessing that I was pregnant with twins too!  Our suspicions were confirmed not long after.

This was about two weeks before the girls were born and I am not even sure how I am standing upright anymore...

And finally, on May 7th, 2015, all of our years of fighting paid off with the birth of our girls.

Now, don't get me wrong, this is a VERY simplified version of what we went through and I do not in any way want to make less of this process.  It was painful both mentally and physically.  There were more doctors visits than I can count, hundreds (literally) of shots, tens of thousands of dollars spent, countless procedures and tears shed, but at the end of the day, it worked and there is not a day that goes by that I am not thankful.  There is also not a day that goes by that I do not stop and think about people still going through the process or that will be.  In the weeks following pregnancy,  I suffered with some serious guilt that we had "gotten off so easy", when in reality, nothing was easy about what we went through.  Infertility has affected Eric and I for life.

So, I encourage you to talk about it if you are going through this.  There is something about knowing/realizing that you are not alone in this struggle that does make it better.

Thursday, April 14, 2016

My Mom's Banana Bread

Growing up, my mom never cut any corners when it came to cooking/baking.  Every night we had a balanced dinner on the table and Sundays always included a from scratch dessert.  One of my favorite things to this day that she would make is her banana bread.  While baking any bread from scratch may seem intimidating, this recipe is about as easy as it gets.  I can see now why she made it so often. It also freezes really well, so I almost always make two loaves at a time. Now that I am starting to have a little time free to dip my toes back into cooking and baking, this bread has become a staple in our house especially seeing as how the girls love it so much.

This is a dump it all in the mixer and let it go kind of recipe.  I start with adding the sugar and softened butter to the mixer and let it combine.

Next, I drop in the eggs.  I do not pre-mix these- I literally crack them and drop them in.

Up next is the bananas.  You can see the ripeness of the bananas that I used below.  Again, I just break these up into large 2" chunks and drop them in as the mixer is going.

Then I sift all my dry ingredients together and slowly add them to the wet ingredients in the mixer.  After the dry ingredients are added is when you would add pecans if you like and your vanilla.

Meanwhile, I prepare my loaf pans with cooking spray.  This Baker's Joy is a flour and oil mix that makes life so much easier than having to actually grease and then flour your pans.

The final step is to pour it into your loaf pans, let rest for 20 minutes and then pop into the oven.

I have a convection oven so I pulled these about five minutes short of the cooking time listed below. I always check with a toothpick first.

I think Banana Bread is the girls favorite thing.  In the loaves above, I cut the sugar a bit since these are for the girls.  They did not seem to mind...

I couldn't even get Noelle to look at me.  She was to focused on her food!

These photos are so nostalgic for me because back in the day, I would make banana bread for the twins that I used to nanny for.

Now they are in middle school...

Mom's Banana Bread
(for two loaves)

1 c. butter softened
2 c. sugar
4 beaten eggs
6 large bananas
4 c. flour
1 tsp. salt
2 tsp. soda
1 c. pecans (optional)
2 tsp. vanilla

Cream butter and sugar.  Fold in eggs.  Mix in bananas
Sift dry ingredients and add.  Add vanilla and nuts if desired.
Pour into greased loaf pan.
Let stand for 20 minutes.
Bake at 350 for 1 hour and 20 minutes.
Remove from pan and cool on rack immediately after removing from oven.