Saturday, April 26, 2014

Cinnamon Roll Cake

For a long time I was a pretty avid Pinterest pinner.  And I actually used a number of the things I pinned.  Then Reed came along and life just got busy and I kind of forgot about Pinterest.

Before Kelsey was born I signed up to bring breakfast to church on Easter morning.  I was feeling less than thrilled with the prospect of making some kind of baked good because I don't bake that often and I had a 1 week old baby.  So I turned back to my old friend Pinterest and found this super easy (because you know that's the only kind I do) made from scratch Cinnamon Roll Cake.  Yes it's a cake.  Not exactly breakfast food.  But I don't care.  It's easy and delicious!!

I found the recipe on Cookin Up North!  As usual I made minor changes.  This had a little too much butter for me to even try to follow the recipe!

For the Cake

3 cups flour
1/4 t. salt
1 cup sugar
4 t. baking powder
2 eggs
1 & 1/2 cups milk
2 t vanilla
1/2 cup butter, melted

For the Swirl

1/2 cup butter, softened (recipe called for a whole cup...I just couldn't do it!)
1 cup brown sugar
2 T flour
1 T cinnamon

For the Glaze

2 cups powdered sugar
5 T milk
1 t vanilla

For the cake mix all of the ingredients together except the melted butter.  After you've mixed well stir in the melted butter slowly.  Pour into a greased 9x13 pan.

Mix the cinnamon swirl together.  Then pour this over the cake batter.  Take a knife and swirl it around.  A lot.  The more you swirl the prettier it gets.  Also you want to make sure you are putting your knife the whole way to the bottom of the batter if you want the swirl to be throughout the cake.  I didn't do this and my swirl was only about 1/3 of the way down.  This is what really adds the flavor to the cake so you want to make sure it is really mixed in well!

Bake the cake at 350 for 28 to 32 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.

While the cake is still warm drizzle the glaze overtop.  You could also consider cutting the cake before you do the glaze so it seeps down between the pieces making it more "cinnamon roll" like.

This cake was excellent.  Peter did a taste test before we took it to church and I think he was a little sad that we couldn't eat it all!  I'm planning to make another one this week!

You can see here I've swirled a lot on top but needed to put the knife in further.

It really does look and taste like a cinnamon roll!!  Yum!!!!

Kelsey's Birth Story--Part II

Kelsey's Birth Story

Thankfully Peter was able to get the boys down for a nap and get back to the hospital.  In the last couple of weeks leading up to having the baby I was most worried about the boys.  We had plans for our neighbors to take care of them but I think taking care of two busy boys is a lot to ask of someone for a couple of days.  I was also nervous I would go into labor at a time when they weren't home and we wouldn't be able to get a hold of them.  So I was thrilled that we were able to go to the hospital knowing they were in good hands.

Right before Peter arrived they put me in a hospital gown and started the spot on my hand for the IV.  He arrived around 2pm and the difference in the pain between 1:30 and 2 for me was quite a lot.  I wanted my epidural NOW.  We went to a labor room and already the nurses were starting to get everything ready.  I was getting a little nervous because there was no part of me that was interested in giving birth without something for the pain and did they really think the baby was coming that fast?

The contractions started coming harder and faster at that point.  I remember the nurses telling me that my midwife and the anesthesiologist were in a C-section and as soon as they were done he would come do the epidural.  90 LONG minutes later he finally arrived.  I was actually proud of myself for not going crazy with the pain because I am just not good with pain.  I do remember yelling a couple of times but thankfully I made it through!

It's 3:30 at this point and the midwife has still not checked me.  However I'm feeling much better so I rested for the next hour or so.  I think she went to eat lunch.  At 4:30 she came back and did a cervical check for the first time.  I was 9.5 cm already and she said I had a huge bag of water.  This was interesting since the test earlier in the day indicated my water had already broken.  She broke it and she was right.  There was a LOT of water.  After delivery she showed us the 2 spots on the placenta where the water was broken.  The spot where it popped naturally and the spot that she did.  It was really interesting to see.  At that point she said the water was keeping me from progressing that last 1/2 a cm.  She also said if the water hadn't been there I would have delivered much faster and earlier.  I'm thankful for that huge bag of water!!

After she broke my water I started having more regular contractions.  I think the midwife went to check on another patient and all of the sudden I looked at the nurse feeling kind of panicked.  I remember saying...What do I have to do to keep her in here?  I was ready to push and there was no one there to deliver.  I can't remember if they paged her or called her but she came running in and after about 7-10 minutes of pushing the baby arrived!!

They gave her right to me and it was such a sweet moment.  She was still covered in vernix (she looked like a little ghost!) but I sure didn't care!  We had so many nurses that we were able to get pictures (something I regret with Reed's birth).

We still hadn't decided on a name so after they cleaned her up a little bit and finished sewing me up we chatted briefly about our options and settled on our name.  Peter then left to go get the boys.  It was SO fun to see them and watch them interact with the baby.  They were very interested in the hospital and the view.  Stafford wanted to hold the baby and he asked me, "Mama what's her name?"  When I told him Kelsey Jane he said, "Kelsey Jane.  I like her."  Before they left we had the same interchange.  Apparently Millie was all but forgotten and since then he takes great pride in introducing anyone and everyone to his sister Kelsey Jane.

Peter left to get the boys home and in bed so I had a few hours to cuddle with our sweet girl.  In the hospital she nursed well and slept a LOT.  We were discharged the next day and brought our beautiful girl home!

We are so thankful for her safe and relatively uneventful delivery!!  She is the perfect addition to our family!

In between contractions.  Can't remember if this was before or after the epidural but I'm guessing it was after!

She's here!!

Proud Daddy

Sweet girl.  So alert!!

Our first photo as a family of five!!

Isn't this adorable?  He was so excited to hold her.  He is in LOVE with his sister.

View from our room.

--Our first couple of weeks have been full of surprises and ups and downs.  But God has been so faithful.  From words of encouragement to wonderful lactation advice to meals and people helping to watch the boys I have been so blessed!  Even though we are miles and miles from family you sure wouldn't know it the way people have cared for us.  Thank you especially for your sweet words of encouragement regarding our nursing and eating struggles.  I'l have an update on that soon!!

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Kelsey's Birth Story--Part 1

Even thought I know each child is different I'm always so surprised at how different each birthday story is.  Kelsey's was an interesting combination of both Stafford's and Reed's.  I'm trying to get this all down before I forget the fun details.

Stafford was born at 38 week and Reed at 39.  My awesome midwife said that your body typically follows a similar pattern for each birth so when week 38 hit I was chomping at the bit for this baby girl to arrive.  This pregnancy has been easier in some ways (WAY less pelvic pain than I had with Reed) but harder in others (ie I was SO HUGE that it was hard to do anything!!!  Peter even had to tie my shoes for me the last month or so.)

My midwife was on vacation during week 38 so she told me to try to hold out until she got back. Haha!  I really wanted her to deliver the baby but not that bad!!  She got her wish though and I went in on April 7 for my 39 week appointment.  She told me she planned to strip my membranes (lovely it if you want details) so I was hoping that would cause something to get going!

I left my appointment and hoped that if she did decide to come she would wait until after the NCAA National Championship Game.  Peter got home from work and I settled in to watch the game while he took the boys for a hike.  Turns out I should've gone hiking.  Not only was the game sloppy the ending was disappointing and I went to bed experiencing the occasional contraction but nothing that seemed like it was very labor inducing.

I woke up around 3 to use the restroom.  That's pretty common at this point so I didn't think much of it.  But right after I went I needed to go again.  When I sat down I felt and heard my water break.  This is the third time that has happened so I was pretty sure I knew what I was experiencing.  I did the little "lay down for a while to test it out" test and felt positive that my water really had broken.  I called the midwife on call and took a shower.  She said that unless I was having contractions I should just labor at home.  I could then make an appointment at the office for the AM to get checked or just come into the hospital by around 10 AM.

We got up in the morning (I never went back to sleep) and took Stafford to school.  Yes we are the crazy couple that takes our kid to preschool on the day we are having a baby.  We left Reed with our neighbor and around 10 we left the house.  After stops at Walmart (to get a new SD card for our camera) and Starbucks (to get a snack for me in case I wasn't permitted to eat once admitted) we headed to the hospital.  They administered a test to see if I had in fact experienced my water breaking and Peter left me there to go pick up Stafford.

The test results came in positive (I knew they would!) and I finally saw my midwife around noon.  She didn't even bother to check my progress, just told me to order lunch and to have Peter came back around 1:45 or 2.  So I'm just hanging out in a room, watching the food channel and eating a salad.  By myself.

Around 1:30 I started noticing the contractions getting stronger and closer together.  So I started calling Peter hoping to rush him a bit.  I don't mind laboring alone but I did NOT want to have the baby by myself!

Stay tuned for the rest of the story....hopefully tomorrow...but definitely eventually!!

My protein box from Starbucks.  I figured I needed to power up for a long day!

This is my labor shirt.  I've worn it to the hospital with all three kids.  I guess when it falls apart or gets so stretched out I can't wear it anymore then we'll be done having kids.  I'll have to post a comparison picture with all three!  

Thursday, April 17, 2014

I'm Expecting

Surprise! I'm expecting again.  In fact I'm always...forever...expecting.

When you are pregnant you tell people, "I'm expecting".  But really all of us are expecting each and every day.  We have ideas of what life should be like.  How it should turn out.  We expect a driver to turn left if their left turn single is on.  We make decisions based on our expectations.  We come  into relationships with expectations.  We fall short of other's expectations.

Expectations can't be trusted.

The last ten days haven't been what I expected.  They have been filled with newborn cuddles and kisses.  Pain.  Sweet with big brother adoration.  Frustrating with sickness.  A little devastating with milk literally dripping like tears and a baby who won't drink it.

Some things exceeding my expectations.  The rest.  Well....

I read a quote today that said...

Sometimes your plans don't work out because God has better ones.

And as nice as it sounds it's incorrect.  It should read

When your plans don't work out God ALWAYS has better ones.

Our expectations are usually OURS.  But they aren't God's.  We get ideas and plans in our head.  And they are usually great in our own mind.  But they aren't necessarily God's plan.  He never promises that our lives will be perfect...that they will go according to our expectations...that we will always be happy.  But He promises that He has our best interests in His heart.  That He loves us.  That if we are truly in His will He will use us to further His kingdom and to His glory.

And isn't that what it's all about?

It's not really about whether my life goes the way I wanted it to.  It's about where I'm living.

I'm choosing today to live in the center of His will.  To be unquestionably firm in my belief that He loves me.  That He loves my sweet Kelsey Jane.  That He has given me her for a reason and that he has a purpose for both of our lives.  I refuse to think about the fact that I'm terrified that Peter has to go back to work on Monday.  That I'm devastated that she refuses to breastfeed.

My God is greater.

We celebrate His resurrection and His LIFE this Sunday.  My hope is in Him.


I know you are all dying for a birth story and a "how we picked her name" story and a "how is the first week going" story.

They are coming....eventually.  You'll have to manage your expectations...haha.  Just kidding.  Yes they are coming eventually.  This week has been filled with clearly unexpected twists and turns.  Lots of doctors appointments.  Orders to rest.  Frustration.  Many many tears.  Once things settle down I can't wait to share some sweet pictures of our girl and her birthday story.

Thank you especially to everyone who has checked in on us and prayed for us.  It means more than you'll ever know!


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