Sunday, April 22, 2012

First Birthday Photo Shoot

 I don't get much time with my camera these days but I still like it and who could resist this face.
 He still has his moments though
I love you darling son, you bring so much joy into our lives, I thank God for giving you to us!  Happy Birthday!

Sunday, March 25, 2012

1 Year Has Past

1 year ago today, I was standing in my son's room, on the phone, tears pouring down my face.  I felt a panic attack coming, not knowing what to do . . . praying and asking God, why?

It was a beautiful spring day, I had spent the morning at a friends house.  I walked to pick up my daughter from preschool when I saw I had a text message from a team member who said their was an accident and one of our staff's son had an accident . . . and it was bad.  For the entire walk to pick up my daughter I prayed for Tim, for healing, prayed for wisdom for the doctors . . . . I prayed hard.  When I returned to my friends house I got a phone call from my husband who said that he had gone to the hospital (he was the communications director and needed to be on site), he said that Tim had been playing at a nearby apartment complex and had fallen through a window into the underground car park.  He said it was bad. 

When I got off the phone my friends I prayed again and then headed home.  Once home I talked to my husband again and that is when he told me, he said "Tim, isn't going to make it."  I burst into tears and started pacing around the house trying to catch my breath.  I couldn't believe it!!  Tim was going to die, my friend was losing her son!  How could this happen.  At this point my Chinese helper looked at me and asked what was wrong.  Through my tears I tried to talk, I tried to explain to her that my friend's son was dying.  It was so hard to say it out loud.  She become very concerned for me and told me I needed to calm down.  At this time I was 9 months pregnant (my due date was 1 week away) and she was nervous I was going to make myself go into labor.  I was pretty hysterical so I tried to calm down.

What do you do when you find out a 10 year old little boy isn't going to make it?  I decided that I had to go to the hospital, I didn't know what I would do there, but at least I would be there.  Plus, my husband needed his phone charger, because he needed his phone to stay  in contact with others.  So I said that I would bring it over, but before I could go over to the hospital, I had to wait for my friend to bring me my phone because I had left it at her house. 

I told my helper what I was planning and she started to yell at me and was very concerned for me.  She thought it was a terrible idea for me to go to the hospital, after all, if I was freaking out this much at home what would I do if I was at the hospital.  She was convinced I was going to put myself into labor.  I thanked her for her advise and said that I was going to go anyway . . . after all my husband needed his phone charger . . . plus it gave me something to do.

The hospital was only 2 short blocks away and the weather was so beautiful . . . too beautiful for this terrible accident to have occurred.   The fresh air was nice though, and it helped me to catch my breath, and once in the hospital I actually felt a little bit better.  I was "doing" something . . . . really just sitting with a bunch of other outside of the ICU . . . but at least we were close.  I remember when Tim's mom came out, she fell into her friends arms and began to cry but I remember even in her tears she had her beautiful smile on her face.  She wiped her tears away and talked to us a little bit.  I remember though every time she or her husband came out you could tell that they were obviously said but they kept calm through it all.  She sat down next to us and shared what was going on but headed back into the ICU after about 15 minutes.  The hospital really doesn't let visitors in the ICU - including parents, but had let Tim's parents in.  She didn't want to lose that privilege so she returned back to Tim's side.

At this point they were working on getting Tim transferred to Hong Kong to see if there would be anything that they could do for him there.  The health care in China is not as advanced as in other places in the world.  Our insurance company and staff worked very hard to get Tim medi-vac'd to Hong Kong as soon as possible.  It was the next day, Saturday, around dinner time that they finally were wheeling Tim out of the ICU and onto a plane to Hong Kong. 

Our staff had made sure that there were people outside the ICU all day and night while Tim was in the QD hospital.  When they wheeled him out, there were a good number of us, they stopped for a second, we prayed over him and then we sang as he wheeled him away.  I remember feeling so frightened and scared.  He was so little, so young.

My husband had been at the hospital for just about 24 hours, only coming home for a few hours of sleep the night before.  He now was going to head up a meeting for our staff.  I had to stay home because small children were not allowed.

During the meeting I remember feeling so torn, my friend - no - we all were losing a sweet little boy, but at the same time I was going to be giving birth to my second son any day.  I was just praying that I wouldn't go into labor.  I didn't have the strength or energy to do it.  How could I mourn the loss of Tim and celebrate the birth of my son?

When my husband finally came home that night I shared my concerns and fears.  It was comforting to talk with him, he understood what I was saying and said that death and birth is part of life.  (It doesn't sound comforting but it was at the time.)

Being the communications manger, my husband was the point man for any news.  So, when Tim arrived in Hong Kong safely we got a phone call.  Now we waited to hear what the hospital would have to say.

Sunday morning was another beautiful sunny day.  My family walked to McDonald's for breakfast and that is when Tim's mom called with the news.  The doctors said that there wasn't really anything they could do for him, he was brain dead.  His parents had decided to try and donate his organs, which meant that they were going to have to take him off of life-support soon.

At our fellowship service the news was shared with the community and spent the entire service singing and praying for a miracle.  We sang this song that really comforted me  "Blessed Be Your Name". (You can read my post from 1 year ago here.)  It says that in the good times we Bless His Name and in the hard times we Bless His Name.  God gives and God takes away.  In the birth of my son God is good, and in the death of Tim, God is good. 

It wasn't till Tuesday that Tim was actually pronounced and his organs were donated.  Tim's liver, kidneys and corneas were given to those who needed them.

Thursday morning I woke up and told my husband I thought that I was going to have a baby that day.  A few hours later my second son came into the world.  God had given me the strength to make it through the delivery and my mother was even able to be there!  (Huge blessing!!)  But when my son was born, he was not breathing, he wasn't moving, he was lifeless.  I thought of Tim and began to cry . . . "I'm going to lose my son too".  But after a very long and scary 10 minutes of suctioning, quiet prayers and tears my son was stabilized.

As I sit here, 1 year later, holding and nursing my 1 year old.  I give him extra kisses and hold him a little bit longer, squeeze him a little tighter as I shed a tear for my friend who no longer can do that to her son.  I grieve her loss and try not to take for granted what God has given me.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Birthday Cupcakes

Keeping with the theme of the Reese's Peanut Butter Cup Birthday Cake we made these peanut butter cupcakes and used the left over butter cream peanut butter frosting.  (I did alter the cupcakes: I put in half the sugar, used 1 cup whole wheat flour and then the rest was all purpose four, I also used 1/2 c applesauce and 1/4 c oil instead of the shortening.)   In some of the cupcakes we added chopped pb cups, those that we didn't we put pb cups on top of the frosting.  My daughter picked out these cute pink tea party cupcake wrappers. 

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Skate Cake

As tradition goes I made my daughter a special "fancy" cake for her birthday.  Originally she asked for a flower cake with a number 6 on it.  As time drew closer to making the cake she changed her mind and said she wanted an ice skating cake and she wanted it to be blue.  So . . . let the cake making begin.  

This year, as I blog about this event I decided to "write down" all the recipes I used so I didn't have to search and search next time for them.  (Now, I will just have to search for this post)  For the look of the cake I searched and looked at many pictures but pulled most of my ideas from these two cakes.

Ok, so lets talk cake . . . . I'm not really sure my daughter even likes cake so when it comes to flavor she didn't really care.  When I suggested chocolate and peanut butter she totally went for it (our family are huge Reese's PB Cup fans!).  I found this recipe for the cake and used this recipe  for the filling and then I had a brilliant idea to cut up peanut butter cups and put that in the filling.  
When carving and decorating cakes it's a good idea to have a crumb coat and then put a second layer of your frosting.  The crumb coat will seal any crumbs from the cake so they don't show through the decorating layer.  This is especially important when you are decorating with frosting, giving a nice clean look.  I saw that this was very important when I made my daughter's Rocket cake.  This year I did a crumb coat because . . . I have always done a crumb coat.  (Not really a good reason to do something.)  I decided that doing a crumb coast is not only not necessary when decorating with fondant but detracts from the cake's flavor.  Because I was making a peanut butter frosting the crumb coat, a simple powder sugar frosting, detracted from the flavor. - Lesson Learned (hopefully) - Ok, so back to what I did with this cake.  When decorating with fondant it's a good idea to use butter cream frosting as it makes a good glue to help fondant stick to the cake.  I used this peanut butter butter cream recipe.  I also made my own fondant, I made two batches one using this recipe and added blue food coloring and almond flavor into it before I added the powder sugar.  The second batch I used this recipe which is basically the same as the first.
Covering the cake with fondant did not go as smoothly as last year . . . still learning!  First mistake was rolling more than we needed and letting it sit too long after rolling it out.  Our first attempted we failed and had to try again.  The second attempt I think we used too much crisco making it too soft and "melty".
I learned from my new friend some very helpful things about modeling with fondant.  You can use a lot more crisco on the fondant than I thought, it can make it too wet though, but, then you just have to add more powder sugar to it and it's back to normal.  I think I found that when adding so much food coloring to the fondant can cause it to dry and crack. But when making shapes you can just rub and work with the fondant and smooth out cracks and seems.  We tried to make the ice skate out of complete fondant but it didn't work,  The fondant wasn't firm enough and kept falling down and not holding it's shape.  (I would like to try adding Tylose Powder to the fondant to make it into gum paste, which is more firm and stiff.)  We ended up using a cut out shape from card board for the ice skate and a hanger shaped into the number 6.  I didn't have silver food color so I bought pearl dust and painted with it.  I also bought white and blue pearl dust and used that to give the cake a sparkle to it.  We put snow flake "sprinkles" on top as well to give a snow look (not shown well in the picture).

The taste of the cake was very good!  As I cut it the smell of peanut butter brought me to a happy place.  The filling was by far the best part!  I thought the chocolate cake was a bit dry but the frosting was very moist and so the dryness of the cake really balanced that out.  Just about everybody loved the fondant and ate almost all of it. 

Overall I was very pleased with the cake, it wasn't too hard (I was going for simple) and my daughter said it was the best part of her birthday!  I'm still learning and hope to make even more improvements next year. 

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Cake Therapy

It's that time of year again . . . . birthday cake making.  I'm sad to be making this without my best friend, but life moves on . . . even if I don't want it too.  I did consider not making anything super fancy this year because my friend won't be with me (I may come up with all the ideas but she is one that makes it all happen).  But thinking through it I figured that I need to make a cake, not necessarily for my daughter (does she really care? she's happy with just about anything).  No, making this cake is more of therapy for myself.  I do have fun baking and creating, this is the time that I have an excuse to make art.  I'm a terrible drawer! but I do like creating things and baking and this puts them together!
So lets talk cake.  My daughter has been taking ice skating lessons this year so we are doing an ice skate theme cake.  It's not going to be super crazy, I want to keep it simple . . . . simple and easy . . . except for making the ice skate I'm hoping it shouldn't be too hard (but things always go wrong and the "easy" things always seem hard).  As far as the cake flavor I'm making a peanut butter cup cake (chocolate cake with peanut butter filling). A new friend is coming over tomorrow and we shall make a cake . . . . it will be great (hopefully my kids will let us work).

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Surgery #2 - Done

Friday, Feburary 10, my daughter had tubes put in her ears.  Things went very smoothly . . . I see that it makes a huge difference when 10 month old vs an almost 6 year old has surgery.  My daughters hearing is much in proved and for that we are thankful!  You can read more about the surgery in details here.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Surgery #1 - Done

So yesterday was my baby's surgery.  To be honest I hadn't put much thought into it, I didn't think it would be a huge deal.  It's just a common everyday surgery, I had gone through it with my first son.  Really though our focus is on our daughter's surgery on Friday.  (She is going to have tubes put in which should fix her hearing loss that she has been suffering from for about 1 1/2 years.)  But I guess because he is 10 months old instead of a newborn the surgery is more involved (at least I wasn't given any other options and I'm kicking myself for not researching to see if there really was).

The surgical staff was very nice and took great care of us.  my only complaint was the doctor seemed to be in too big of hurry to stop and really answer my questions.  I think he was trying to make up time and get back on schedule, my son's surgery ended up started 30 minutes late.

The staff explained to me what was going to happen to try and prepare me but when it all happened I some how didn't feel prepared for it.  I carried my son into the operating room and placed him on the table.  All these hands appeared putting lots of monitors on his tiny body.  There were sweet voices to go with all these hands calling my son's name and telling him sweet encouraging things.  They encouraged me to keep talking to him and then they put a mask over his face to breath in the anesthesia.  He squirmed and cried a little and that's not pleasant to watch but that wasn't really the hardest thing for me.  I watched him fall asleep but you could tell he wasn't really sleeping a nice peaceful sleep.  He looked drugged, his eyes were open but you knew he wasn't there.  That was hard!  As I looked at him I thought to myself, what in the world am I doing to him, they just put drugs into my tiny little boy and now he looks . . . . awful.  As they pulled me away from him everybody began to ask "Are you ok?".  My thoughts were "Absolutely Not!! What are you doing to him!! Isn't there another way!" But I sweetly said "Yea, I'm fine." Then my thoughts went straight to Friday and how I would have to watch that whole thing again with my daughter.  I almost lost it, I don't think I can do that again!

I packed up my things and headed to the waiting area and did just that.  It was nice to get texts from people and to know that they were thinking about us.  I HATE being alone and somehow that made it feel like I wasn't alone.

The surgery took an hour, the doctor thought it would only take a half hour.  When he came out and talked to me he said that nothing happened out of the ordinary but that my son was a little oozy making things go a little slower.  I'm not sure what oozy means but the doctor did ask if he had recently had a cold because that can cause oozy-ness.  After giving me care instructions he sent me back to the waiting room for the nurses to call me back when my son was ready in the recovery room.

When I walked back there I didn't even recognize my son.  They had a do rag on his head, an IV in his arm and he was just laying there "asleep" but not looking very peaceful, you know that drug sleep.  I began to talk to him trying to get him to wake up and that's when the screaming began.  You have to understand my son is the happiest baby with biggest smiles on this planet.  He has the sweetest personality but this awful drug turned him into a cranky monster (ok, maybe not that bad but it gets my point across that he wasn't himself).  I immediately began to nurse him and that calmed him down but he would end up just going back to sleep.  Every time I would try and move him he would just scream, push and kick me.  It was hard to handle him all by myself, the nurses tried to help but didn't really know how.  I didn't really know what to do.  So I tried to be as still as possible and we sat there nursing for about an hour.  It was a sweet time.  I finally was able to get him to sit up and dress him so we could go home.

He spent the rest of the day sleeping or nursing and sleeping.  It was about the time his daddy came home and carried him around that his smiles came back and he actually began to crawl around. 

Overall everything went smoothly but I'm so glad that it's over.  We have a ways to go with the healing but we are on the way to recovery.  Unfortunately, we get to do it all again on Friday.  I'm thinking it shouldn't be as bad with my daughter but I'll be prepared this time.