We were going to have a baby..

We were going to have a baby, but we had an angel instead.

Things didn’t turn out the way we planned.  We are supposed to be exhausted and worn out.  My breasts should be engorged with milk because she needs it.  We should be so filled with love that we are bursting.  I should be doing laundry filled with dirty baby clothes.  The house should be a mess because we are just learning how to juggle all the duties of parenthood.  Things didn’t go the way we planned.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014, Cora joined us in this crazy world in body, but not in spirit.

I was a few days shy of being 38 weeks and feeling all the weight of being that far pregnant.  That weekend I was not feeling right. Being my first pregnancy, I just chalked it up to what it was and trudged through.  I’m not much of a complainer so I kept on going.  Monday night I had a slightly high temperature and called my midwives.  Tylenol and relaxing was recommended and it seemed to work.  I was feeling some movement from our girl so I thought all was well.  That was a hard night to sleep and Tuesday morning was not any better.  I knew something was going on and excitedly thought Cora wanted to join us earlier than her October 9th due date. I even packed my makeup bag and toiletries as I got ready for work.  I had felt worse in my life, but made an appointment anyway.  I even went in to work and powered through until that morning’s duties were done.

Jeff picked me up at work to go to the appointment.  I kept thinking my students had given me some sort of illness.  So when I went into the office, they made me wear a mask.  I refused to tie it in the back, but followed along with their wishes.  Jeff even took a picture of me in the waiting room.  Little did we know that would be our last picture with Cora inside of me.  We waited a long time in the waiting room that day to see our midwife, but when we did we got right to it and they were checking for a heartbeat.  When she couldn’t find it right away, I wasn’t surprised because it had happened before.  I still felt a bumping around so I wasn’t concerned.  Even when she had another midwife come in to try with another Doppler, I wasn’t overly concerned.  The same thing had happened to my friend a week earlier.  Then, they sent us back into the waiting room to wait for a sonogram.  I think it was just being my stubborn self or being completely ignorant because even as we waited in the waiting room for 30 minutes I still thought all was ok.  Little did I know was that Jeff knew, but was just keeping it all to himself.

The rest is a moment in my life that I play over and over again everyday.  Going into the sonogram room, watching the nurse take measurements and just thinking…”get to finding the heartbeat already”.  She didn’t look for the heartbeat right away and I was so impatient.  Her next words were the worst thing I have ever heard, “I’m sorry but there is no heartbeat.”  Seriously…this shouldn’t happen to people “like us”.  That is, planners, responsible, careful and healthy people who are this far along in the pregnancy.  Jeff immediately broke down, but I did not…I was stoic.  Shocked.  Even as they talked about what we can do, I didn’t cry.  I focused on what I had to do next, give birth to my daughter.

In denial would be the phrase to describe me at that time.  I kept thinking that she might still be ok by a miracle.  These things don’t happen to me?

After calling our families and trying to explain something we didn’t and still don’t understand, we decided to go to the hospital and deliver our Cora that night.  How would I go home and wait?

It turns out that I didn’t need to wait very long because my body had started laboring the night before.  When I arrived at the hospital I was dilated three centimeters and progressed quickly to six before I got the epidural.  Waiting for that epidural was not enjoyable and I couldn’t imagine giving birth without one now.  I give credit to those that do it naturally.

After a few hours in the hospital, I still had barely cried, but I to this day just knew how focused I was to bring our girl into the world.  I had a job to do and I wanted to do it as best I could.    The next few hours were a blur.  I remember my midwife telling me I was ready to go, but was okay to wait a bit for my Mother and oldest sister to arrive from out of state.  As soon as they came I started pushing.  Apparently my body once again was ready and it took about 30 minutes before we could see Cora in person. I still remember staring at a bright yellow light across the room while pushing and still thinking, “maybe she will cry and it will be alright.”

Jeff and I had talked to our midwife about seeing her prior to pushing.  We left it up to her because we weren’t sure what state she would be in.  But, when she popped out, and I mean popped, she was perfect.

Thinking back three months now, Jeff and I have regrets.  We held her and loved her, but man we wish we could have done it more.  She was perfect, with dark hair like her daddy, bright scarlet lips, 6 pounds, 15.5 ounces and 21 inches long.The nurses dressed her and took pictures and treated her like she was living child.  To this day I still wish we could have sung to her, but at that time, the shock was overwhelming.

My father and other sister arrived the next morning and were able to love on her.  Seeing Jeff and my father with her are some of the most painful memories. I know that Jeff and I both questioned if we could handle parenthood in the months leading up to her birth, but seeing how devastated we were and how we dealt with her loss, we are more confident than ever that we could handle parenthood.

Cora was cremated and we wear necklaces with some of her ashes.  She is able to come around with us wherever we go.  We call her our sunshine because the sun warms you and that seems to be comforting to us because we can feel her.

It has been three months to-date and the pain is no better.  We are so much stronger as a couple.  We realize what wonderful friends and family we do have and cherish that each day.   Despite numerous tests and analyses, we still have no answers to what happened to our girl and too often we hear that this can be common.  Talking about our situation has been helpful and we have heard so many stories about others in our shoes.  People just don’t talk about it because who wants to talk about babies dying?  I know I didn’t when I was pregnant, but being naïve wasn’t helpful either.

Death is the great fictionalizer. Cora is alive our minds; forever with us, but always out of reach. She is forever the sunshine of our lives.  One day we will meet again.

A friend sent this poem to us and it really hits home.  We all have struggles in life and we have faced the worst one of our life.  We will be stronger and will appreciate life more because our angel wants us to.

The world may never notice
If a flower doesn’t bloom
Or even pause to wonder if the
Petals fall too soon.
But every life that ever forms,
Or ever comes to be,
Touches the world in some small
Way for eternity.
The little one we long for was
Swiftly here and gone.
But the love that was planted is
A light that still shines on.
And though our arms are empty,
Our hearts know what to do.
Every beating of our hearts
Say that we love you.

<3 mk, jeff, and cora


Home Made Bold and Spicy "Cereal" Mix


For many years now my husband goes away for what I call a “geek fest” conference in Vegas.  His biggest complaint is that the snack food is totally expensive in the hotel, but he always ends up buying it because he's hungry.  So the logical thing to do would be to just buy the snacks and bring them with him to have on hand when the munchies do set in. No, I decided to make the said snack of choice as it would be “special”.  Plus, I'll make it without the worm-like crackers which he calls filler.

Bold and Spicy chex mix is awesome!  Salty and crunchy with a little kick, a perfect snack food.  Trying to remake this  snack was easy, but it took some tweaking to get it to the right level of bold and spicy.  If you want more bold and less spicy, feel freed to modify as you please.

3 cups corn cereal
3 cups rice cereal
2 cups bite size bagel chips (use any flavor you choose)
1 cup oyster crackers
1 cup pretzels
6 T melted butter or butter substitute
4 T Worchester sauce
1.5 t garlic salt
2 t cayenne
1.5 t onion powder
1/2 t MSG powder (optional)

Preheat the oven to 250.  Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.

Combine the corn cereal, rice cereal, bagel chips, crackers and pretzels in a large bowl.  In a separate dish, mix together the melted butter, Worcestershire sauce, and all the spices.  Pour the wet ingredients over the dry and mix.  It is helpful to use a bowl that has a lid and shake it until the entire piece combine.  Spread onto the parchment lined baking sheet.

Bake for 1 hour, stirring every 15 minutes.  Let cool before storing in an airtight container.

As stated earlier. Feel free to modify as you please with the spices or even the crunchy ingredients.  I tried to stick with the original ingredients, but you can add in nuts or rice crackers, etc.  Enjoy!

<3 mk


Easy and Quick Rack of Lamb



In an effort to clean out the freezer, I made this rack of lamb last night.  Organizing and cleaning has been my thing lately.  Maybe its the summer break, but I am also equating it to nesting (25 weeks today).  Jeff loves lamb and we bought a bunch from a local farmer - one of the perks of living near farms.  I forgot that we had this beautiful piece of meat in the freezer until I cleaned it out.

The name of the recipe truly explains it all, The Laziest, Most Delicious Rack of Lamb.   It really is super delicious and very easy / "lazy" to prepare.  Jeff was not a big fan of the paprika / pimentón as much as I was so next time I will substitute it with fresh rosemary.  Seriously...what goes better with lamb than rosemary?  I served roasted rosemary potatoes along side with a nice red wine, so I heard.

A few hints...

- Use a good meat thermometer.  Jeff received the Thermapen instant read thermometer for Christmas last year and it rocks. Its a bit pricey, but totally worth it.  What else received 700 5 star reviews on amazon?

- After cutting the potatoes for roasting, put them in the microwave for about 8-10 minutes.  It will partially cook them and lessen the roasting time in the oven.

I needed to share this recipe as it was that good, but it was gobbled up before taking any pictures.  It did look just like the pictures right from the source.


<3 mk


Simple DIY Pipe Shelf


Simple DIY Pipe Shelf

Industrial pipe shelves seem to be popping up everywhere. They are on sale in stores for big bucks and there are tons of DIY ideas to make your own.  When Jeff and I were finishing our basement, we were going for the industrial feel so what better of a project than a shelf made from pipes.

Many of the ideas have numerous levels and can get a bit intricate and time consuming.  We didn't have the space or need for a large unit yet, so a single shelf was made. 

Supplies list:
  • Iron pipes
  • Pipe flanges
  • Pipe caps
  • Pipe brackets (they hold the shelf to the pipe)
  • Metallic spray paint
  • Lag screws or serious drywall anchors (not recommended)
  • Pine panel - ours was 16" x 8' ($23) but they cut it to size 
  • Polyurethane

Pipe, flange and end cap for simple pipe shelf

When purchasing the piping, we needed the shelf to be 18" in width, as an audio receiver is going to sit on it. The pine was 16", but we planned on keeping it a few inches away from the wall so wires could go behind it. The hardware store sold the pipes pre-threaded, but it was much more expensive than buying the pipe by the foot and then having an employee use the pipe cutter and threading machine. The employee may try to sell you on the pre-cut and threaded pipes because it's time consuming for them to cut and thread the pipes.You'll save quite a bit more this way though.

Test fitting pipe flanges for shelf

Test fitting board on pipe shelf
Prior to painting, we used a mixture of rubbing alcohol and water plus steel wool to remove as much grease and grime as possible from the pipes, of which there was a ton.  You'll need to do this so the paint adheres properly.

We also applied a coating of polyurethane to the pine, but it doesn't show very well in the pictures.

Putting the shelf together is very straight forward, especially our single level design.  Make sure to attach the flanges to the studs in the wall, or your drywall may be coming down with the shelf!

Simple industrial DIY pipe shelf
We got the look we were aiming for and the shelf is not only serving its purpose, but it is also appealing to the eyes.  No matter the type of wood and number of shelves, this project is a sure winner for any DIYer.

P.S. - More on that gym later!

<3 mk


Our New House - Interior “Before” Tour


It took me a while, but I finally got the chance to do the tour of the inside of the house…back in the fall as you can see by the pumpkins on the front porch. The outdoor "before" tour was done this past summer when we moved here and I promised an inside tour.  When filming it had been a few months since we moved and I was feeling confident that it was clean enough and presentable to show you all.  Then the editing of the video took me some time plus the fact that I am procrastinator, now it’s spring (ok... almost summer) and I am just getting to posting it now.

I actually had to do the tour a few times because of a few technical glitches.  I guess you would call those a dress rehearsals?  Watching the video a few times I realized that I missed a few things and wanted to fill you in on all of the projects we want and already have completed.

Dining Room
Living Room
  • new pillow covering to incorporate the blue into the living room
  • mount the tv and hide the wires in the wall
  • new sectional couch; move the current one downstairs when the basement is fully finished
  • remove all the builtins and shelves and put in a more modern system 
  • tile up the fireplace higher with possibly no mantel
Kitchen/ Kitchen area
  • remove french doors and put in solid wood door with sound deadening
  • curtain system
  • doors on the upper cabinet
  • new art
  • filing cabinet
  • larger area rug
  • more substantial desk
Laundry Room
Garage (sorry not on the tour, Jeff was inside doing work)
  • organize storage shelves
  • wall system for yard work tools
  • shelving system for all large tools and supplies
  • gardening bench

"Pink" Room- Baby's Room
  • couch/sleeper
  • decorative pillows and poof
  • mount tv
  • paint the walls a different color (?)
  • DIY wall art
  • remove carpet and add wood floors
  • make a shelving unit
  • DIY decorative lamp 
  • curtains
Guest Bedroom
  • curtains
  • remove carpet and add wood floors
  • another piece of furniture - maybe a side table for sitting chair
  • decorative lamp

Guest Bath
  • paint cabinets
  • frame mirror

Master Bedroom

Master Bath

Upper Patio
  • planters
  • new patio furniture (table, chairs, lounge chairs)
  • spiral staircase down to ground level
  • replace the plastic balusters with acrylic or glass baluster

Lower Patio (not seen)
  • hang outdoor lights
  • lounge furniture
  • garden area
  • swinging chair or hammock
  • powerwash (again)
I am getting agita just reading this list, but I realize how much we have done since the video was filmed in the fall.  The amount of posts on our house projects is increasing just as I am writing this.   Even with a relatively new house, the projects never end!  The only thing now...where is all the money to complete these projects coming from? DIY saves money, but the materials aren't free!

<3 mk


Closet Spring Cleaning 2014


After reading a recent blog post from Stitch Fix, I realized I desperately needed to do some spring-cleaning myself.  A few weeks ago I went through my transition with my boots to sandals phase, but still need to get working on the clothing phase.  I really like the tips they gave, but would like to add some more money saving and organization tips that have worked for me. 

Try it on!

Going through a pregnancy makes it a bit rough since this waist really isn’t my norm, but make sure you try on all of your clothes before taking them out for the season.  You know there are pants/shorts that didn’t quite fit last year and you were holding out for the “I’m going to be able to wear these one day”.  I decided to put items that didn't fit in an unreachable location because of the expanding baby waist. Let's face it, a button extender will work for only so long and many items really won't be in play until next summer.  

This rule also applies to shoes.  If they hurt, just get rid of them.  If they are looking sad and can be rejuvenated, bring them to a shoe repair shop.  You can keep the shoes without the cost of whole new pair.   I had a hard time with this rule with my shoes because looking through all my sandals, I realized I have moved out of the sky-high wedges phase and just want comfort.  I have many pairs of wedges that I love, but can’t walk around in easily.  They are in the “under consideration pile”.

Ask a question / Two year rule

These two have been combined because it just makes sense. Ask yourself if it really is your style and if it has been worn in the past two years.   They have to go together or you, like me will try to rationalize why you should keep it. There is this one sleeveless blouse that I have had for many years and I always persuade myself that I will wear it.  Well, when trying it on, I automatically realized the whole cut and style of it is not for me and even if I style it differently, there are just too many ruffles.  It has been donated to one of my friend from work already.


I totally agree with the “Improve your Quality” rule.  Hangers area big deal and transitioning from dorm room plastic to real hangers can be expensive.  I still have a mix in my closet, but each time I go to TJ Maxx, I buy a pack of the velvet covered hangers for about $15. Sometimes I even score a pack for half that price. They honestly make a huge difference with storing your clothes and the look is so much more streamlined. I have transitioned all of my dresses over to these hangers and in time all of my clothing will be hung in the same fashion.

Color Coding

Arrange for ease, I totally agree! Jeff and I have been color-coding for years and it is not only visually appealing, but it helps getting dressed a bit easier.  It also makes your realize you might need a bit more diversity in color or patterns.  I mean, how many black shirts can one person own? Apparently about twenty-five.

See What You Wear

I cannot see a way that this rule is one I could follow.  Yeah, it would work for a little while and then life would get in the way and your closet will be back to its usual mess again.  Here is what I suggest; If you are color coding, put the most recent worn items in the end of the line for that color section.  Pretty much all the items will be lined up and you will know which one you wore most recently.  The teacher in me is coming out; I love things lined up neatly and highly organized.

This post was actually done last year, but revisited this year with a few upgrades.  I love reading that last post because I did finally get the closet I had dreamed of.   Looking at my last closet, I just can’t believe that we actually shared it.  I know, first world problems, but boy do I feel lucky right now.

Happy Spring Cleaning!

<3 mk


Happy Mother's Day!


We're expecting!
I have been sitting on a big secret for a couple of months now, well actually 18+ weeks now and I figured it was about time to share the good news… I’m pregnant!   I had been really playing around with not sharing for a while, but I thought it would be strange if all of a sudden I started blogging about baby stuff. What perfect time than to announce it on Mother's Day.

Sharing this news is a bit nerve wracking.  We shared the news with our friends and family, but really opening up about such a big personal change to the world is a lot different.  There are all these “what if” scenarios that go through ones mind.  But after a lot of thought, I realized, I want to share because so many great changes are occurring and I want you to all know about it.  I have been reading many other blogs that have given me great ideas and I want to pass my ideas along as well. 

No longer just us!
We found out that Baby Scrumptious, as we are nicknaming, is a....GIRL! She will be joining us in early October.  Now that the news has been let out, I can’t wait to start sharing.

<3 mk

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