Saturday, August 29, 2009


Yippee!!! She's here! The short story is I went into labor Friday night, left for the hospital around 1 a.m. Saturday morning and Caroline Marcelle was born at 5:48 a.m. After two previous c-sections I am so thrilled and excited to report that Caroline was NOT a c-section and came out quickly and easily (well, thanks to the epidural, anyway).

She's our smallest baby weighing in at 6 pounds and 4 ounces. Madeleine, Hank and Elisabeth already are fighting over who gets to hold Caroline the longest (Mommy should!) and everyone seems to be adjusting nicely.

I haven't downloaded any pictures from our camera yet, just a few from my iPhone, but here's at least one to share that was taken in recovery mere moments after her birth.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Try This Cake

Seriously. This cake is just that good. I feel like surely I must be overstating, but this might be the best chocolate cake I've ever eaten. The recipe comes from an old Penzey's Spice catalog and I finally tried it yesterday. I will be making it again, for sure.

Aunt Velma's Chocolate Cake

2 c. flour
1/2 c. cocoa powder
2 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. salt
2 tsp. pure vanilla extract
1/2 c. butter
2 c. sugar
2 c. boiling water
2 eggs

Preheat oven to 350. Sift together flour, cocoa, baking soda and salt (note: I skip the sifting step 99.999% of the time, but I wouldn't skip it w/this recipe). In a separate bowl, cream together vanilla, butter and sugar. Add boiling water, blend, then add eggs and mix until well blended. Gradually add dry ingredients and mix well. Pour into ungreased 9x13 pan and bake for 30 minutes.

Penzey's also tags a buttercream frosting recipe to go with the cake but, I'll be honest, I think it would have been way too much frosting for this moist, rich cake and I halved it and purposely tried to get a runnier consistency. I am sharing the halved recipe here, so if you want lots of gooey frosting, double the following.

1/2 lb, powdered sugar, sifted (I skipped the sifting here to no ill-effects)
1/6-1/4 c. soft butter
1/16 tsp. salt (skip if using salted butter)
1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
1.5-3.5 tbsp. milk

Beat together powdered sugar, butter, salt and vanilla. Add enough milk to get good spreading consistency. For chocolate frosting (which I did and would highly recommend) add 1/4 c. cocoa powder. Adding the cocoa powder will necessitate more milk, however.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

More Humor at Favre's Expense

Sorry for more Favre stuff, but this is even funnier than last night's clip. Double click it to go to YouTube so you can see it full screen and read the subtitles; I don't know why it's cropped on my blog, but it is.

HT: Glenda

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

"He's Coming Back"

Oh my goodness; the pirate at the end? With the lanterns? I'm laughing so hard it might actually induce labor.

Who's the Baby?

Since the actual baby of the family is hidden away in utero, Elisabeth doesn't mind pinch hitting.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Almost There

A month or so ago I looked at our calendar the week preceding Caroline's technical due date and happily looked at the events we'd scheduled. Some people thought we were crazy-- won't you be in the hospital? they'd say. After having three kids, all born well past their due date, I felt confident that scheduling things only a few days before my due date wouldn't be a problem.

And it wasn't. In fact, I feel so blessed because instead of sitting around my house analyzing every contraction and twinge I enjoyed a pleasant day with friends on Sunday afternoon. I was able to watch my two older kids jump in up to their necks in Lake Michigan's frigid water at Harrington Beach State Park. I relaxed and had a fun time eating and chatting with other Lutheran home-schoolers while the kids shrieked over newly found turtles and played various games with other kids. I was treated to an enjoyable night of stargazing with those far more knowledgeable than I who were able to pass along their knowledge not only to me, but to my kids.

And last night Joe and I were fortunate enough to have an extremely pleasant and relaxing evening with good friends who were nice enough to make the drive down to see us and eat a wonderful meal at one of my favorite Milwaukee spots.

But now I am ready. I know, I know, Elisabeth has an important meet the teacher event at her preschool on Wednesday morning and it would be better if I were there, but I can feel the why-am-I-still-pregnant crabbiness setting in and I am just ready. Never mind the arbitrary eviction date scheduled for Friday* (scheduled more for liability reasons than medical ones, but such is the state of health care in America today-- but I won't get into that in this post). I am ready now. Ready, ready, ready.

Do you hear me, Caroline? I'm ready!

*UPDATE: Nope, not Friday, next Tuesday, September 1. After my appointment today my OB thought it would be good to give her a few more days to come on her own since my body does seem to be progressing that way but he's not willing to go past Tuesday. Considering that he's letting me try a vaginal birth after two c-sections, I'll take whatever time he'll give me. I'm still awaiting final confirmation from my OB's nurse that the surgery is scheduled, but once I know I will update, I'm sure. And, of course, I'm still optimistic I'll go into labor on my own prior to September 1.

UPDATE 2: September 1 at 8:45 a.m. it is. Unless she's born before that, which would be most, most excellent. One way or another, this baby is coming out SOON!

Monday, August 24, 2009

Monday Afternoon

The sun is shining. The day's temperature is warm, but not hot. All family members are tired from a late night. How does Madeleine choose to relax and enjoy the day?

UPDATE: Here's a link to our late night. The astronomy presentation was so neat; even Madeleine who started out poo-pooing the idea ended up fascinated with what she saw through the various telescopes.

Thursday, August 20, 2009


I really admire bloggers who can find something to say every day. Talented bloggers can make the mundane come alive and I appreciate their presence on the internet because I love to divert myself from my everyday life with the internet at some point each day.

I know I am not one of those bloggers, nor do I really want to be. The mere idea of trying to spin an interesting post out of this week exhausts me. Not that it's been uninteresting. No, we've been busy with horseback riding camp, swimming, shopping, the fair and lots of cooking and, I suppose, had I tried, a blog post that would, at the very least, interest me in months to come as I look back on this electronic scrapbook, could have been composed. But I don't want to try. I want to smell (and taste!) my marinara sauce that's composed entirely of freshly picked tomatoes simmering away on the stove. And read Julie and Julia. And enjoy the fresh, summer breeze that's pushing back the curtains in my living room. And listen to Elisabeth snore away on the sofa.

In other words, for today I want to live in the moment, not write about it. I suppose in few months I will look back and wonder what we did these last few weeks of August before Caroline arrived and I might chastise myself for not at least taking a picture of something but, then again, I might read this post and maybe-- if I'm lucky-- I'll be able to smell the fresh summer air and remember this quiet, peaceful moment and hold onto it since I know there will be many moments ahead that won't be so peaceful and quiet. We'll see.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Favre is Back. Again.

Um, are we all supposed to be shocked by this news? As long as there's a team willing to sign him, Brett Favre will be willing to play, is what I've come to realize.

Personally, I don't really think this does much for the Vikings one way or another. I still think the Packers are a strong contender to win the NFC Central, and I don't think this changes things in that respect in the least.

UPDATE: Packer linebacker Aaron Kampman had the best line regarding Favre signing with the Vikings: The red jersey will be off. I love it.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Packers Versus Cleveland Browns

I am absolutely giddy with excitement-- the Packers play their first football game of the season today! Sure, it's only a preseason game and I won't be as interested in the results as a regular season game but, still, the Packers play their first football game of the new season today!

Friday, August 14, 2009

Checking In

I'm here. Or, at least, physically I'm here in my house, but mentally? My mind has been consumed with getting a room, clothes and a car seat ready for the baby, getting every last stitch of laundry done (not quite there, but close!), stocking our refrigerator and cabinets, planning a baptism and party, relaxing with a good book (just finished Willa Cather's The Professor's House, which was a lovely book), lunching and shopping with Diana and one last celebratory date night with Joe at one of our favorite restaurants.

How did I manage all this with three small kids underfoot? I didn't. Joe's mom and dad requested the kids for five days way back in May; how could I refuse? So, off the kids went with Grandma and Grandpa, who did all sorts of fun things with the kids like taking them camping, swimming, boating and on various day trips. We pick up the kids in a few short hours and while I'll be happy to see them, I don't know how I would have been ready for Caroline's arrival had I not had this week to get ready both physically and mentally.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009


We are now ready for the baby! The crib is up, the carseat is in the car and she has clothes in her drawers. Now I am officially excited.

Here's what the room she'll be sharing with Madeleine looks like.

Sometime within the next few weeks they'll actually be a baby to put in that crib and put those cute newborn size clothes on-- I can't wait!

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Family Getaway

Last weekend capped of the end of our summer weekends away and while I'm glad to be home, we had a really fun weekend. Every year our church reserves this really great location right on a lake in Wisconsin's Northwoods. There are actually three buildings: a main house, a big kitchen house (with a few bedrooms off the back) and a dormitory building. This year we had about sixty people attend, and the buildings were easily able to accommodate our group.

What do we do there? Well, we eat. A lot. Everyone brings food and there's always way too much, but we sure have fun sampling other families favorite recipes while we're there. We play a lot of cards (Sheep's Head mostly). During the day we fish,

we kayak,

we read, chat and laugh. We play on the dock,

we rent a pontoon boat and go tubing and, of course, jump off the pontoon.

But, more than anything else we just relax. We attended for the first time last summer and after two years we're hooked-- we'll definitely be going back again next year!

Wednesday, August 05, 2009

Back to Bed

Last night Joe and I took all three kids to a pool party that started at 8:30 p.m. Our kids are pretty flexible, bedtime-wise, and neither Joe or I really thought twice about it. The kids played and swam with friends until it was time to leave (around 10:30 p.m.) and went immediately to bed when we got home. At no time in the evening did I have second thoughts about going, or about taking the kids. They were well-behaved all evening, and all five of us had a wonderfully fun time.

But this morning? Oh. My. Goodness. All three kids slept in and yet still, the shrieking! the fighting! the whining! Ugh. We're suffering from a major pool party hangover here, folks.

Monday, August 03, 2009


Look what my little sister is wearing on a very important finger!

Congratulations, guys, I'm so excited for you both!

Madeleine's Ninth Birthday

First off, let's just get this out of the way: I can't believe I have a nine-year-old daughter. Nine! For some reason her turning nine has been a hard to digest number. It just seems so old (kid-wise).

But today is the little girl's birthday. Today she is, in fact, nine-years-old. If you're interested, her birthday story is here. Today the neighborhood children will come over for cupcakes and lemonade in our backyard (if anyone who is not a neighbor and would like to come, just give me a call and let me know!) and tonight, as a family, we will pour over Madeleine's baby book and reminisce about her birth.

Yesterday, though, we celebrated the event, one day early. In attendance were grandparents, a great aunt, aunts, uncles, cousins and godparents who were all gracious enough to make what was, for some, a two hour trip. It was such a perfect day.

On the way home from church we stopped to pick up a large balloon bouquet. A few made it outside, but most loomed over the food table.

By mid-afternoon we were ready to eat Madeleine's birthday request: BBQ ribs and sweet corn (and a lot else too, obviously).

The beautiful weather allowed us to take our heaping plates in the backyard and eat in the sunshine (good thing, too, since ribs are messy!).

Later we came in for cake.

Can you see the horse in the middle of the cake? Ace of Cakes I am not but, still, I thought it was pretty cool.

All in all a very nice day. Happy Birthday, NINE-year-old Madeleine!