This blog is just about my life and mostly revolves around my son, Jamie. This blog is a combination of everything, whether it may be a new recipe I tried, a good freebie I found, something funny Jamie said, or feelings I'm having about life in general. There's little rhyme or reason. I'll never win any blogging awards, but I enjoy writing about our lives and I mostly do it for my son. It's so easy to forget moments over the years. I've got all these little tidbits of our life in print and I hope that someday Jamie can enjoy them.

I called this blog Mother of Life, Mother of Loss because of my issues with pregnancy loss and the joy of finally bringing this wonderful person into the world. Truly, I feel the pains of loss, but you won't see too much of that here. I am blessed and I am, above all else, a mother of life.

After all the years of infertility and loss, Matthew and I were blessed with a surprise pregnancy. We were pregnant with twins, but unfortunately, Baby A could not stay with us. Baby B grew into a healthy and happy baby girl that we named Bella Marie. We are so blessed to have two beautiful children.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Bacon Cheeseburger Quiche

  • 1 lb. lean hamburger meat
  • 1 small onion (chopped)
  • 4 slices of crispy cooked bacon
  • 3 eggs
  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • 1/2 cup half-n-half (check labels for carb content)
  • 8 oz, shredded cheddar cheese
  • garlic powder to taste
  • pepper to taste

Brown hamburger meat in skillet with onion. Remove and drain excess grease. Mix in a food processor with bacon using the S attachment until all clumps are broken up and it is a fine, consistent mix. Press into the bottom of a deep dish pie pan or casserole dish.

Preheat oven to 350.

Combine eggs, mayonnaise, half-n-half, shredded cheese, garlic powder, and pepper in a mixing bowl and mix well. Pour mixture into pan on top of the hamburger meat. Bake 40-45 minutes or until top is browned and set. Cool 15-20 minutes before slicing.

Makes 6 serving with about 2 grams net carbs per serving.

I'd like to try this recipe next time with some fresh spinach in with the filling. I bet that would be fabulous.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

The Cost of Giving

When I was a little girl in kindergarten, there was another girl in my class who didn't own any dresses at all. I had a closet full of them. In fact, I barely owned a pair of shorts. It was beyond my ability to comprehend a girl without dresses. When the child confided in me the fact that she had no dresses, that they in fact did not have the money for dresses, I was floored. As soon as I got home I begged my parents to let me give her some of mine. How could they refuse? I didn't just pick out some of my least favorites. I picked out the prettiest ones I had and gave them to the girl. This is a story that my mother proudly tells to this day.

It should be no surprise to me that my son has a generous heart. My husband and I are both givers and we would expect no less of him. Sometimes there are great consequences to giving, especially when you give up something you love.

I had noticed that Jamie was slipping his cars to school and that they were not coming back. I didn't think much of it, since he has a bloody billion. They're also small and easy to lose. Yesterday, however, he pitched a fit to take meerkat to school. This is not unusual. He loves meerkat. When I got him off the bus he told me, "I gave Shawnte my meerkat." Thinking that it was just on the bus with another child I went back to the bus and told the driver that he had left his stuffed animal. She said, "Oh, no, he gave the meerkat to Shawnte. I hope you don't mind." I mumbled something about getting it back later, knowing I probably would never see it again, despite his name being written on the tag.

On the walk to the house Jamie tried to explain about giving the meerkat to Shawnte. I asked him if he meant to give it away forever. I told him he would never get to see meerkat again. He told me that he understood.

At 12:30am Jamie woke up with a night terror. I calmed and coaxed him. I brought him to bed with me and gathered up all three Eeyores. "Where's meerkat?!!" I knew it. "Honey, you gave meerkat away. He's not here. His eyes welled up with tears, but he didn't argue like I had thought he would. I thought he would demand I get it and have us both in a panicked frenzy. It didn't happen. I was relieved. This is Jamie's first lesson about the cost of being a giver. I don't think it will change his attitude about giving. He just knows the true sacrifice now.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Easy Low Carb Hamburger Soup

This was just a quick experiment because I was craving something different, but I wanted it to be really simple. This whole pot has 25 net carbs. You decide your serving size. This is tasty even if you are not counting your carb intake.
  • 1 can of beef broth
  • 1 can of diced tomatoes
  • 1 can of green beans (drained)
  • 1 clove of garlic (minced)
  • pepper, oregano, and basil to taste
  • 2 lb ground beef (browned)

Combine all ingredients in your crock pot to cook slow or in a 2 quart pot to cook fast. I set my crock pot to cook for 6 hours on high since I was preparing it for dinner.

This recipe reheated wonderfully. I fed my family with it one night and then I ate on it for the next several days. I actually picked out some of the tomatoes to lower my carbs. perhaps if I make it again I will use a little tomato paste instead of diced tomatoes.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Field Trip to Melton Hill

Tuesday we went on a field trip with Jamie's class again. This was the most wonderful field trip that we've been on. It was a camping field trip to Melton Hill. We set up tents for the kids to play in. We went on a walk and stopped at the little "beach" area so the kids could play in the sand. The teachers brought pails and shovels. Some of the kids threw sticks and rocks in the water.

At the camp site we blew bubbles, played with toy bugs, ate grilled hot dogs, and roasted marshmallows. They worked with five kids at a time so they could roast the marshmallows themselves. When they were nicely roasted they got to make s'mores. I resisted for as long as I could, but eventually gave in and ate a s'more. I had never eaten a s'more before. Mmmm, it was heavenly. Jamie really liked them, too. The time passed so quickly that I was shocked when it was time to get back on the bus.

There was a down side to our field trip. I forgot my camera. I'll get pictures from the other parents and teacher later, but I won't get the shots I would have taken if I had my own. My stomach knotted up each time I saw Jamie doing something I would have loved to get a picture of... building a sand castle, blowing bubbles, holding a skewer rotating two fat marshmallows over an open flame, relishing a s'more with marshmallow smeared all over his mouth and fingers, etc. I still feel sick to my stomach over it.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Food Preferences

Do you think that babies really develop their main food preferences in the womb? I do. The more time passes, the more he eats like I did when I was pregnant. He got up this morning demanding cheese with mustard for breakfast. When I was pregnant I ate cheddar cheese dipped in mustard all the time. He loves spicy foods. I ate a lot of spicy foods when I was pregnant. He loves hot and spicy pork rinds, which I ate a lot when I was pregnant since I was on a carb restricted diet.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

There's Less of Me

I've been on my low-carb diet again. I really want to drop some weight before Jamie starts school in the fall. I want to have more confidence when I start meeting other parents. I don't want the first impression to be "fat and lazy". I've been trying to walk every day, though I admit I haven't been following through with that very well. I am doing well on my diet. I did cheat on Mother's Day for that strawberry pie, but I've always believed in permissible cheating on occasion. If you don't allow yourself some indulgence every few months then you won't follow through.

The kids broke my scales a few months ago, so I can't gauge my weight, but I found a method to use in the meantime that is probable a better gauge anyway. I took all my measurements and also tried on a dress I love that is about two sizes too small. I could manage to squeeze into it, but could not zip it. When I tried it on the other day I could zip it, but I'm busting at the seams. I lost two inches off my waist and one off my bust (darn it).

Because of financial restrictions, my diet is not as varied as I would like. I eat plain salad at least twice a day. I eat lean hamburger and chicken for almost every meal. My uncle brought me some great steaks last week and I really loved the indulgence. I'm generally a chicken person, though. I try to keep some snacks like pork rinds and almonds around. Sometimes my husband picks me up some sugar free candy for a treat. He also buys sugar free popsicles for Jamie and I. I also keep stocked on cheese. A couple of days ago he picked me up some low carb wraps. I can only eat one of them a day, but it's great for a change and Jamie loves them, too.

The best part of being on the diet is that I no longer need medication for my diabetes. Keeping my carbs really low keeps my blood sugar in check for the most part. I've had some highs, but nothing higher than one hundred sixty. That's much better than before when I would frequently have blood glucose levels of three to four hundred on medication.

I also have a good baseline to go by medically since I had blood work done about a week before starting the diet. In a few months I'll ask my doctor to check my blood work again and see if my liver enzymes, cholesterol, A1C levels, and blood counts have improved. I'll let you know when I do that. That's a ways off. I want to have been on the diet long enough to see some significant change. I was also weighed, so I'm going to try to stop in and use their scales so I can see my progress. I know I've lost weight, but it helps to see the numbers.

I didn't think I could do this on a budget. It's harder. I can't have all the extras that make this easier. I also didn't think I could do it without Matthew following the diet as well. I think that I've finally become so determined that nothing can bother me. I sit with Matthew and Jamie while they eat things I love but can't have and it doesn't bother me.

My Mother's Day Gift

I have not had a chance to show off what Jamie made me for Mother's Day yet.

100 Days Background

Here's a bright, sunny new background. This background reminds me of Jamie more than any background I've used so far. It may be too bright for me to use for long, though. Do you find it difficult to read?

Thanks is due to Shel Belle Scraps for the elements I used to create this background! This is from her 100 Days kit.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Strawberry Pie

I’ve probably blogged about Shoney’s strawberry pie before, but I’ll refresh your memory. Matthew’s family always met at Shoney’s for Mother’s Day. Now Shoney’s is not my favorite place to eat. In fact, in our pre-baby days we hardly ever ate there by choice. We were never buffet people. Now we know the value of an all you can eat buffet both for price and for selection when you never know what the little stinker will eat from one day to the next. I’m getting away from my story, though. When Matthew and I were trying to have a baby, Mother’s Day at Shoney’s was a particularly heinous kind of torture for me. No doubt that every person at the table would take their turn asking Matthew and I when we would have a baby. It didn’t matter that everyone was aware that we were undergoing infertility treatments. The meal would be concluded with free pieces of strawberry pie for all the mothers. As ridiculous as it is, somehow, the free Mother’s Day strawberry pies from Shoney’s became the symbol of my inability to have a baby. The first Mother’s Day after I gave birth to Jamie I couldn’t wait to go to Shoney’s. It was my turn to eat pie. Unexpectedly, Matthew’s family announced that we would be going to Red Lobster. We never went to Shoney’s on Mother’s Day again, but every Mother’s Day I think about that pie.

Matthew’s grandmother passed away a couple of years ago. Since then the family has not gone to eat together for Mother’s Day and this year we had no plans. Matthew let me sleep in and then I got up and did dishes and laundry. Same old, same old. Jamie had made cards and paper flowers for his grandmothers and we went to their respective houses to give them their gifts and then headed back home so I could fix dinner. I had chicken out to cook. When I opened the package it smelled funny. Though in date, the meat was no good. I fished around my cabinets and the refrigerator in search of a replacement. With no meat thawed and no time to thaw any, I took out a package of tri-color pasta to make noodles with veggies and cheese. I started the water on to boil when the phone rang. It was Matthew’s mother. “Have you already fixed dinner?” she asked. I told her about what happened and she said, “Good. We’re taking you to Shoney’s.” I was struck dumb for a moment, as silly as it sounds.

Pie. I am going to have the pie.

Dinner was pleasant. Jamie filled up on bread, but I didn’t concern myself with his nutritional deficits. The meal was done. The waitress came, “Can I get you anything else? Mother’s get free strawberry pie. Would you like one?” Yes. Yes. I would. This is it. This is the moment. The waitress comes right back with the pie and sits it in front of me. It holds no form. It is a piece of crust with sickening sweet strawberry goo and fat over-ripened strawberries. At any other moment I would find this desert to be less than appealing. Matthew has gone to the bathroom. I’m the only one at the table who knows what this moment means. I long to have my camera to take a picture of this pie, but I am out of luck. There is no camera to capture this momentous occasion. How could I have forgotten my camera?

I pick up my fork and cut a fat strawberry in half along with the crust under it. My grandfather had craved these strawberry pies when he was dying of cancer. My parents had brought them home at least once a week. He loved them. My grandmother loved them. I took the bite. It was perhaps the worst pie I have ever eaten. The strawberries were bitter and the goo too rich. I still ate every bite. The years of longing disappeared. I glanced at my baby, now just three months shy of being a five year old boy. Why had this disgusting pie held such meaning to me for so long when the very thing it symbolized had disappeared nearly five years before? I hope we go to Red Lobster next year.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

It's Just Me Today

Sometimes it feels like I miss out on everything. Matthew's sister got tickets to go to the Tutankhamun exhibit in Atlanta and invited him. She said she had presents for Jamie and really wanted to spend some time with him. Matthew misunderstood and thought she had tickets for the whole family, but she really just meant him and Jamie. Matthew was very upset and said we could buy my tickets, but I had to be the voice of reason, even though I didn't want to be. It's just not in the budget right now.

This will officially be the farthest away from Jamie I have ever been. He'll be four hours away from me and if anything happened I wouldn't have any way to get to him. I'm sure if something bad happened I'd find some way, but it's disconcerting to be so far away. I packed changes of clothing in case Jamie had an accident. I packed his pajamas so Matthew could change him before putting him in the car to come home. That way he can just slip him into bed when he gets here. I put Jamie's favorite blanket in the van so he can sleep with it. I made snacks and sandwiches so Matthew wouldn't have to go out to eat. I put some DVDs in the van so Jamie can watch movies if he doesn't sleep on the way home. I also packed a few pocket sized toys. I charged the camera and put it in the bag. I tried to think of everything so that the trip will go smoothly for both of them.

Jamie will be seeing things I've dreamed of seeing in real life. I hope he will remember it when he is older. Matthew and I both have a great love of archeology and ancient history. I remember the moment when I first realized the correlation between the Exodus and the pharaohs of Egypt. Until that point, the story of the Exodus was little more to me than a fairy tale. The Bible was just another story book. Suddenly, the realization that the history of scholars and the history of religion were truly one and the same. History and Christianity were both suddenly real and tangible.

I imagine that my naive epiphany is rare and not generally the catalyst for faith. I guess God finds what speaks to us as individuals. I'm not expecting Jamie to go have a religious moment at the museum. It would not be a religious moment for me if I was there. I just hope that it starts nurturing a love of learning. Lessons in school can only go so far. If there's a spark that ignites a burning in your soul to learn, you enjoy gaining knowledge for the sake of gaining knowledge. It's so much more rewarding than learning your lessons because you have to. I find it inexplicably poignant to be in the room with items that people who lived thousands of years ago touched, created, and lived with. If you don't think that way, then you could never understand what I mean. I could never explain this to you in words. It's something that you feel.

Well, morning for my little family has arrived. I hear Matthew's alarm clock going off. He's already hit the snooze and he'll continue to do so until I drag him out of bed. It's hard to get up this early. It would be very hard for me if I had slept last night. I guess I've got all day to sleep if I get tired. It's just me today. Maybe Matthew will write about his trip this time.