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Category Archives: Husband

How to Make a Chocolate Chip-Oreo Love Child

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I can’t take credit for this idea – I saw it on Pinterest a while back and even as a non-chocolate-lover I stopped to take notice. I can, however take credit for the brilliant idea (because I’m sure I’m the first person in the history of the planet to have this idea) of using 100% store-bought ingredients. I executed this diabolical plan around 2 am the night before/day of Randy’s birthday and I just happened to have my trusty new iPhone with me to document the process:

 

Step 1: Get a husband or friend who likes chocolate to have a birthday. Or I suppose you could make them for yourself if you yourself like chocolate for some reason.

Step 2: Buy a package of Double Stuff Oreos and some chocolate chip cookie dough. For maximum laziness purposes, I suggest the type of dough that is already pre-formed into perfect cookie portions. Also, if you happen to have some Hershey Bars lying around the house leftover from your husband’s last go around with s’mores (since you don’t like s’mores, even if it makes you a bad Girl Scout), go ahead and throw those into the mix, for garnish.

 

Step 3: Get the chocolate chip cookie dough ball ready for its big date by slimming down a bit (flatten it with the palm of your hand). Then, gingerly introduce the Oreo, ensuring that you provide them plenty of time for small talk and to get to know each other.

 

Step 4: This next part could get a bit awkward, as you are going to introduce a third party to the romance. Place another flattened chocolate chip cookie dough ball on top of the Oreo. Don’t worry – they’ll grow to love each other in time.

 

Step 5: Much like at a middle school dance, you will need to encourage mingling. Smoosh the sides of the cookies together, completely encasing the Oreo in a chocolate chip cookie bear-hug. Repeat Steps 3 – 5 until you run out of chocolate chip cookie dough. Then eat a couple of the leftover Oreos and remember how much you like them, despite their chocolatey nature.

 

Step 6: Place your Hershey Bar garnishes on top and put your Frankenstein cookie creations into the oven that you preheated even though I didn’t tell you to, because you are proactive.  While you wait, eat a couple more Oreos and perform the “experiment” wherein you make a quadruple stuff Oreo out of two Double Stuff Oreos.

<quadruple stuff Oreo not pictured due to extreme distraction caused by eating quadruple stuff Oreo>

 

Step 7: Check on your little darlings after about five minutes. Most likely, they have become unruly and started spreading all over the place, trying to morph into unattractive blobs (similar to how I’m starting to look after eating the quadruple stuff Oreos). Crack the whip – that is to say – the spatula! Get those cookies back in line and mold them into round, respectable fellows.

 

Step 8: Leave your cookies in the oven a little longer than the package recommends, since you have more than doubled their size. Keep checking on them and when they look golden delicious, snatch them up (use a potholder). Once they’ve cooled, place them on a cute red plate and admire.

 

Step 9: Try to resist the urge to cut a cookie in half to see it in all its glory. Resistance is futile – cave in and cut away.

 

Step 10: (Even though the process is essentially complete, you have to have a Step 10 because the ever expanding Mr. Monk part of your brain absolutely WILL NOT tolerate having only 9 steps.) Be glad that you went ahead and cut a cookie open once you see how scrumptious it looks in the photo. Be seduced by the scrumtiousness and take a bite only to discover that its just too much chocolate for you. Decide to leave the rest for your husband or chocolate-loving friend and stick to the safe confines of Oreos. Delight in watching their head nearly explode when they see the awesomeness you have created for them.

 

Birthday Adventure Time

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Feeling kinda lazy lately + lots of other things to do = photo heavy blog posts here at Hitched and Stitched. Randy and I are currently in the process of taking back our lives (we’ll let you know when this has happened) and hope to get into some kind of regular posting routine soon. Until then, we hope you enjoy looking at lots of pictures. Actually the pictures are probably better because, as you know – each one is worth 1000 words – so this post is technically something like 14,000 words long. Sweet – now I don’t feel like a slacker at all. I’m actually an overachiever!

Anyway, please (try to) enjoy a photo tour of the official 2011 Hitched and Stitched Birthdays. (For those of you who don’t know, Randy and I were born exactly 7 days apart in the same year, so June includes a LOT of combined celebrating.) We’ve moved passed getting each other many traditional gifts on birthdays/anniversaries/Christmas in favor of a fun big purchase for both of us to enjoy or special trips/activities. We MUCH prefer this system. This year we decided to each plan a surprise day of fun for each other and we both ended up centering our activities around a theme all day. Without further ado, our birthday outings in 2 parts:

Part One: Randy

For Randy’s birthday we were sent on a scavenger hunt by Doc Brown who was inexplicably trapped without a flux capacitor in a year he couldn’t identify. He needed Randy to follow the clues he sent to deduce his whereabouts in time. Spoiler Alert: the year was 1979 (which coincidentally is the year Randy and I were born). The day included stops all over the tri-state accompanied by a soundtrack of Billboard Top 100 hits from 1979. Here’s a peek from the day:

 

Part Two: Kimmie

The overall theme for my birthday was “A Very Pinteresting Birthday” because I am supremely addicted to the website Pinterest – a kind of online bullitin board where you can “pin” and organizes images you like from anywhere online onto different boards you create. People use pinboards to plan their weddings, decorate their homes, and organize their favorite recipes. Also, it allows you to browse pinboards created by other friends and even other random people. Basically, its an internet black hole that sucks up WAY too much of my time (and even more now that I have the iPhone app). Randy realized it is also an excellent tool for figuring out what someone is interested in without having to ask them and spoil surprises. He created a pinboard on Pinterest just for my birthday that gave me clues as to what would be happening throughout the day.

The theme of our outing for the day was PIZZA CRAWL! Randy realizes that my first true love was pizza – and he knows how to use it to get straight to my heart. We sampled pizza from three different restaurants around the area and made local touristy stops between each to let the previous pizza digest a bit. Our favorite pizza was the Barbecue Chicken White Pizza from Mt. Adams Pizza and Deli, and our favorite stop was the Cincinnati Art Museum to see the Circus Poster exhibit.

 

We have declared our birthday adventures raging successes and we loved the Pizza crawl idea so much that we want to plan all kinds of crawls. Ideas so far include: ice cream crawl, park crawl, museum crawl, Chinese food crawl. Stay tuned for more!

Changes

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There’s nothing quite like life’s door slamming in your face to motivate you to make sweeping changes where you can. I’m sure its a control thing – trying to exert control over the details of life that I am still (to some extent) in charge of. So in that vein, I’m announcing some big changes for The Spotted Elephant – the blog and the business.

Well, kind of. There are big changes coming, and I am announcing that….but that’s all I’m saying for now. We aren’t quite ready to reveal everything yet – but we are super excited about them and wanted to give a couple hints. Hint: a name change is coming!  Another Hint: an Etsy shop is in the works! (BTW: I thought the cat was pretty well out of the bag about Etsy – what it is, etc., but I recently found out that my own sister had never heard of it. SO – if you are currently thinking “what’s an Etsy?” please click the link and check it out – amazing online handmade marketplace!)

*Picture above taken with my new Cannon Rebel T3i at Girl Scouts during our water experimentation day. Its a picture of change. Get it? 🙂

…the rest of our lives

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Hello there. I haven’t been around these parts much lately. I took some time off from cyber-world to breathe and really, to figure out who I am now that I am officially no longer trying to conceive. It occured to Randy and I recently that its been five years since we have just been us- living our life for what it is instead of  for what we need it to be. Five years since we have had goals that weren’t colored by our desperate quest. Five years since we haven’t been carrying the extra weight that accompanies the sometimes invisible but ever present stress of trying, trying, trying. Five years since we haven’t spent every day failing.

We dreamed of the day when we were finally released from the purgatory of trying – and often worried that it wouldn’t be as freeing as we hoped. But our new circumstances have proven surprisingly liberating. The world seems full of promise for the first time in years. We want to live life and have fun and make plans and start projects and be sociable and delight in what we do have – each other. Don’t get me wrong – I wish we had been successful. I wish our lost children were here in our arms. Nothing we do now will ever make up for our losses, and no one will ever convince me that they are part of a bigger plan that will work out for the best. But this is where we are now and though its not ideal, its so much better than being in limbo.

We feel like we have our lives ahead of us now and we can mold them however we want. We are going to take the summer to “find ourselves”, as cliched as that sounds. We want to go camping, take photography classes, redecorate, travel, reinvent our business, and generally figure out who we are as two best friends living life together with no other objectives. We feel like we are in the first days of the rest of our lives.

*First two photos above taken with my new Canon Rebel T3i in Randy’s parents’ back yard. Bottom photo taken with my Sony DSC-T100 in Yellow Springs, Ohio in 2008.

Part 2: March Forth

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Time marches on, unconcerned with grieving and readiness. Time will march on without you. Time has marched on without me for a while now. Today I’m catching up.

I became an aunt at 7:14 today. An occurrence the approach of which has terrified and exhausted me and entrapped my emotions for the past 7 months.  I’ve built it up in my imagination to mythical proportions and placed undue amounts of significance on the anticipated moment. My heart ached every time I thought of seeing my parents as first-time grandparents to a baby other than my own. I imagined the moment my mother saw her first grandchild as life-changing and able to be matched by nothing ever – not the birth of any future baby of mine and certainly not my adoption of a child. The latter fear gripped my mind for the better part of the afternoon, even as I was sending jovial texts back and forth to my sister as she was in her hospital bed waiting to push her child into the world.

And then it happened. And I lived. And reality was much less magical than my imagination. People were happy – it was a wonderful event – but it was not the mythical fantasy I had feared. I have a nephew. He’s a real person who is a part of our family now. I’m one of only two aunts he’ll ever have. He’s not just someone else’s baby – he’s my nephew. He will never fill the gap left by my own lost children – he is not my child – but he will fit into my life exactly the way he is meant to. And I will be his Auntie Kimmie.

Me and Daniel

Originally I felt like the only way I could make a hospital visit was if Randy and I could be there alone with my sister, brother-in-law, and baby. I didn’t think I could handle seeing my parents or grandparents there and possibly not even friends of my sister that i don’t even know. I needed some privacy. Luckily, my parents are angels and understood this implicitly. They had me text them when we got to the hospital and they retreated to the family waiting room to give us the space we needed. After a while I felt like I could handle it, so I invited them in. We ended up staying for 3 hours. I finally felt a part of the family again, and it was such a relief. Infertility is hard enough, but having it rob you of family is a crushing blow. Things will never be the same as they used to, but today was a glimpse of how we might cobble together a new family reality.

I don’t attribute tonight’s success to any supernatural or magical forces. I think it is born of months of therapy, the support of an amazing family, and the transition from having a pregnant sister to having a sister and a nephew. I have long anticipated that things would get much better once the baby was born, as it has in similar situations with my pregnant friends. Every woman experiencing infertility has her triggers – the certain things that are particularly soul-crushing to her. For me, its pregnancy more than babies. This is not because I want to be pregnant more than I want a baby. I think its because a pregnancy is the first step down that road, my next step – my elusive goal. I can’t even fathom the baby part because its so far away and seems so unattainable to me right now. Just getting to the pregnancy has defined my life for five long years. And also, now that the baby is born he’s not just a reminder of my failures and struggles and illness – he’s my nephew. He’s here. And I’m going to get to know him.

Two Week Wait: Cut Short

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Two Week Wait Day 9: March 2, 2011

For all intents and purposes, the two week wait has turned into a 9 day wait and is over today. I started lightly bleeding this afternoon around 3:00 in the restroom at a school. Since I have my classic PMS headache and since today is the day my period is due, this was not a good sign – though spotting can sometimes be a pregnancy symptom. I knew it was over and I tried to pull myself together in the ancient wooden and brass faculty bathroom that a student had to unlock for me with her teacher’s keys. I still had 20 minutes left of class time to get through. On my way out a parent volunteer who was on her way to the restroom stopped me and told me a long story about how often she had to go to the bathroom when she was pregnant. Ugh. I somehow zombied my way through the last 20 minutes of school and was able to make it to my car before completely losing it.

I called Randy and since I was close to downtown he directed me to pick him up (he rode the bus in) so he could come home with me. Through tears and fogged up sunglasses I saw my way to his office and then retreated to the passenger seat so that he could drive home while I cried. We decided we’d test as soon as we got home to confirm what we both know – that my period is starting. At 14 days past ovulation  and with an impending period, the risk of a false negative is very low. Here’s the test. There’s only one line where there should be two. Story of my life these last 5 years.

We spent the night in bed cuddling, crying, and eating pizza (what can’t pizza make better?). Initially we had no hopes for this cycle – it was just something to get through in order to move out of this phase of life. But every single step of the process went SO well that hope seeped back in. We DID NOT want to get attached to this cycle, but how could we not when it seemed so unstoppable? Now we have crashed down to reality – off of our hope-high. A fall that would have been much softer if it wasn’t from so high. So it really makes us wonder – if things do happen for a reason and if someone is watching over us – why have everything go so well only to trick us in the end? It seems so very cruel.

Two Week Wait Day 6: Things I Worry About

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Two Week Wait Day 6: Sunday, February 27, 2011

Yesterday was bad. I was nothing but nervous all day long. Today started out very promising – I woke up with a can-do attitude. I made French Toast. I marveled at nature and felt like I could do ANYTHING. And then without warning, the worries struck. So I thought it would be a fun exercise to list all the different, sometimes ridiculous worries that go through a person’s mind during the two week wait, when the crazy level gets turned WAY up.

A Sampling of Worries:

  • Water flushes things out of your system. If I drink a lot of water, will I flush out the embryos?
  • If I laugh too hard, will the vibrations dislodge the embryos?
  • If I cough too hard, will the vibrations dislodge the embryos?
  • What if that 12 pack of Coke and gallon of milk I just lifted were too much weight all at once?
  • Did I wait too long between taking my doses of progesterone?
  • Is my abdomen getting too hot with the dog laying on it? The nurse said no heating pads – she is like a living heating pad.
  • I was having a lot of breast tenderness and now its gone. Its all over! There’s no hope!
  • I need to dye my hair. Can I dye my hair? Better not – fumes.
  • My head hurts. Is this a normal headache or one of my classic PMS mondo-headaches?
  • I cried yesterday – I hope the emotional stress didn’t ruin my cycle. I know I just read the study that found that stress had no impact on the outcome of an IVF cycle but still….
  • I feel some twinges of cramping. Maybe its a pregnancy sign. Or maybe its PMS. 😦
  • My temperature is too high – the embryos are burning alive.
  • My temperature dipped down to normal for the first time since the transfer. Maybe the higher temp was a good thing and this dip means its all over!
  • I’m surrounded by so much support right now and its really keeping me going, but…. what if this cycle fails? I will disappoint everyone and they won’t like me anymore. They won’t care about me like they do now because I won’t be interesting anymore – I’ll just go back to being bitter and sad and no fun to be around.

Suffice to say, my brain is a messed up place right now and I have to give a hand to the people who are on the front lines every day, trying to help me sort out the crazy. Randy is my superhero – he managed to get me up and out of the house yesterday for a date and he coordinated us working together to actually accomplish something in between worries – this custom quilt for a loyal customer.

Note: This pic was taken in the elegant surroundings of Randy’s cube at work with our broken camera, so no judgment on the less than stellar quality, please 🙂

Also, Randy: cleaned the entire house, changed the cat litter, went through Mt. Mail and organized it, cleaned out the fridge, went grocery shopping where he bought us some Samoas :), made dinner for tonight AND a casserole for tomorrow’s dinner, washed our sheets and re-clothed the bed, took care of Zipper’s every need, washed-folded-put away about 5 loads of laundry, AND took apart my camera to see if he could fix it (Note: do not take apart your digital camera – turns out there are bajillions of tiny screws and microscopic parts that you can barely pick up, much less screw back into place. Randy was able to use his patience and attention to detail to get everything back where it belonged but I don’t think many people would. The camera needs SERIOUS professional help.) And he probably did about 10 other things I’m forgetting right now. I don’t know how I was so lucky as to find my Randy, but I’m thankful for him every second of every day. And he doesn’t laugh at my crazy worries. 🙂