Rejoicing in Life

I promise you I will keep most of these light and less emotional, but sometimes life isn't just about baking bread and cooking up herbs...sometimes its sharing with the ones you love your innermost struggles. Some times you have a trigger moment...I read something today that triggered this.
I was born into a family of extremely fertile women. My maternal great grandmother had 12 children by the time she was 32. My grandmother had 8 children by the time she was 32 and my mother had 4 children by the time she was 30. Without trying I might add. My mother told me NEVER THINK about having sex unless I was ready to have children...hmm. (Not how it works, but you get the picture) 
When Adam and I got married we knew we wanted to have a family and decided not to wait, not to "try", but not prevent it either. We were married in April 2007 and the following March we found out we were pregnant. We were thrilled as most soon-to-be parents are. About a month later we found out we were having twins at the same time we found out there was no heartbeat. There is nothing that really prepares you for those words that comes out of the dr's mouth.
Shock. Disbelief. Guilt. Sadness. Pain.
Its been several years since then. I am not sure those feelings ever "go away" maybe you just put them in a place in your heart that feels it less. What I do know is that I am able to mourn with those that have lost their unborn children. You see I believe you become parents in that moment you see that positive pregnancy test. I believe your heart feels it. I believe your spirit feels it.
I was able to spend some time "at home" with my family before I had to go back to work. It was important that I had that support. It seems silly to some, but you really draw strength from one another. I think as newly weds my husband needed that too.
I went back to work and life went on...sort of.
If you are that person who struggles with infertility you know what I am talking about. You know what it is like for people to not share with you the news of their new pregnancy. They are afraid of hurting you. Which I think hurts worse than finding out they are pregnant. Its not jealousy you feel its pain. You ARE excited for them. You are. Its the pain of wondering what is wrong with you that you can't get things right. Feeling broken.
So you deal with it.
2010 November
 I am pregnant.
At a time most parents are excited...panic set in. I remember calling my sister who had just had her baby and crying. Scared to get excited about being pregnant. Scared about loosing another one. What a comfort she brought.
He was born July 20, 2011. He filled places in my heart I am not sure I knew were there.
He is my proof that miracles do happen. 
 Watching him grow I pray for another miracle.
Yet rejoicing in the miracle of life given to those around me.
Thank you for allowing me to share that with you...

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Family is so important.

I don't know if it is because I am a mom myself, I am getting older (not that one for sure) or I am more in tune with how fast life really is, but I am so much more emotional about relationships with family.
(those of you who are moms know how close to the surface those tears are)
Every child is a miracle in their own right. What our bodies go through to make a child is REMARKABLE. Period. I wont get into it, but it is.
I have this boy that really changed me. Literally...I have the scar to prove it. Nothing about my body is the same before he was born. I may complain about the extra weight I carry around, but I will never EVER change one second of the opportunity I had to carry him full term. To create a child with my husband that we both love and are in utter amazement by his growth and learning. These children are miracles. Never another one like them.
This month we celebrate a lot of birthdays. (Happy birthday to you if you celebrate this month)
One that is close to my heart is my cousin Tim. Its hard to share with someone that didn't know him the kind of person he was and still is. The impact he still makes on our family. I had just graduated from high school when he returned to Heaven, but I remember it like it was last year. He was the first in our family to return "home". Yet although he isn't physically around us we still feel him close. I've always thought about him, but since I have had my son his memory becomes more important to share with my son.
Isn't that what family is? Keeping each others memories alive? Celebrating life together!?
Since then we have lost several members in our family, yet I am SURE my son was able to meet them and know them before he came to this earth.  That's how important family is.
Creating memories with your little ones is important, but what I think is even more important is creating memories with THEIR family. One of my most treasured pictures is of Caden sitting with his great granny. Little did we know she would be leaving this earth shortly after. I cherish those moments they were able to spend together. When he is older he will know who she is.
Love your family my friends. Correct your relationships with them. Friends come and go but family is forever. We must remember where we came from.
Tim Kreidel
March 22, 1982- July 21, 2002
Edward Valentine
December 14, 1934 -January 2, 2006
Dorothy Valentine
April 16, 1936 - June 4, 2010
Ann Woodard
April 30,1930- May 20, 2013
*This isn't the best picture of her. This was the last few weeks of her life, but this is the only picture I have of Caden and her and it is the most precious to me.*
He would sit on her bed with her while Pam (Caden's grandmother) would feed her and she would feed both of them at the same time. It was a sight to see for sure.
Spend time with your loved ones before it is to late. That time you will never ever get back.

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The brownies you can't resist.

Ok I am officially caught up. Don't judge me.
I have set out on a mission to make things from scratch. Not because I am "Susie B Homemaker" but because I was tired of things not tasting delicious. I heard my Aunt Jane say once "That isn't even worth the calories I just ate." --So true, so true.
Adam and I both have a hard time eating out now or buying prepackaged foods because really they DONT taste the same. Honestly it doesn't take that much MORE time, just takes a little bit of planning. I thought I would share the BEST BROWNIES EVER. Don't believe me...try them.
I made these this morning...and doubled the batch. --Wait--Before you start making jokes about my pant size...Hear me out. My husband called me this morning and asked me to make some brownies for the bake sale at his work. Ladies!! If your husband is asking you to make something HE LOVES for a bake sale at HIS WORK, you KNOW he is proud. I did what any good wife would do...I made them. 
I have to admit I out did myself this time. Not going to lie. They were THE BOMB!
Here is what I did this time:
I double the batch.
 Turned the oven down 25 degrees and melted chocolate chips in with the butter and sugar. Here is the real recipe.
12 Tablespoons of REAL salted butter (don't cheat)
1 1/2 Cups sugar
2/3 Cup Cocoa powder
1 teaspoon vanilla
3 large eggs
1 Cup flour
**Here is the important part**
Brownies do not like to be played with. (that one is for you mom)
Preheat oven to 350.
Grease an 8x8 pan
Melt the butter and sugar in a sauce pan. Low heat don't burn it.
Beat your eggs in a separate bowl.
After sugar and butter are creamed together. Remove from heat and add Cocoa.
Add eggs.
Add vanilla
Fold in flour.
I love the way none of it really sticks together...its so cool to watch.
Make for about 30 minutes. (I say about because some of you don't like them soft. I DO!)
Enjoy. They are even better with a little bit of ice cream.
Let me know what you think when you try them.
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A better me.

I consider myself to be a "modern mom". There are a few modern things I can't live without.
1. Mr. Pibb
(I've tried. Its just not worth killing someone over)
3. My iPhone
4. Running HOT water
The other stuff in there I could possibly learn to live without. (obviously I NEED my family--not to be confused with good friends, they aren't family. Friends are necessary for a complete life yes, but they aren't family. )
Here recently we have been making a shift to a friendlier healthier way of cleaning our home, eating and feeding our bodies. Its been a challenge and the more I learn the more eager I am to fix and change our way of living.
I think the first thing I wanted to "try" was making my own cleaner. How hard is THAT? Since citrus is an AWESOME germ fighter I started with some fresh grapefruit and put it in vinegar and let it sit for a week. (a little longer because I wanted to use the cleaner I had)

So today I put it into a spray bottle and let me tell you what I am BLOWN AWAY by how yummy it smells and how fantastic it cleans.

This picture was taken after I cleaned it with nothing but the citrus cleaner! I am always having to sparkle it, but it looks pretty good without it.
My next "to try" I wanted was a toothpaste. I have always struggled with yellow teeth. So I found on pinterest where I can whiten my teeth with lemon juice and baking soda. I have been doing this about 2x a week for about a month. I have extremely sensitive teeth since I have had braces twice. I am sure you can do it more often, but not me.  

So for the first time last week someone made a comment on how white my teeth looked. I am still gleaming. Is it yummy? Nope! Not gunna lie. Its pretty nasty, but my teeth feel great and my gums feel very clean after words. I keep this in an air tight container and I clean it often. I am still trying to find a "natural" toothpaste. -stay tuned for that
The other one I have made and really like is my homemade dishwashing detergent.

I have been using cascade for as long as I can remember. I would deviate and go to the cheaper brand but always would hate myself for it later. After using this I am positive I wont be going back. I did try it without borax (since it is technically a chemical) but I was less than pleased with the outcome. I do not rinse my dishes...I am lazy. I do not have a problem with dishes coming out of the dishwasher dirty. I have an entry level dishwasher...its all about the soap. It is cheaper and takes seconds to make when I run out. I don't have time for hassling a bunch of crazy instructions.
1Cup Borax
1Cup Washing Soda
1/4 Cup Epsom Salt
1/2 Cup Sea Salt
1 1/2 Cup Lemi-shine
*Use vinegar instead of jet dry
**combine this in an AIR TIGHT container**
Use approx. 2 tsp per load.
I hope you enjoy the suggestions.

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