Archive | December, 2011

Merry Christmas

25 Dec

christmas tree star

I hope this finds you in the midst of a joy-filled day and tears are held at bay.  Although this time of year marks our two-year anniversary of this awfulness, today I’m finding happiness in the holiday spirit, and I’m sending it out to each and every one of you.

I hope by this time next year, we all have babies in our arms and presents for them under the tree.

Love and peace to you all,

Courtney
xoxo

Because it’s fun to say “balls.”

20 Dec

Thank you everyone for your incredible comments on my Festive with Whine post.  I don’t know how you do it but you continue to surprise me.  I was in the midst of so many projects at work and all of that needed to get out of my head so I could focus better.  I wrote it in five minutes and just expected a release, never did I expect a discussion to come out of it.  If you haven’t had a chance to read it, I recommend it just so you can read the comments.  You guys are awesome in so many ways.

The end of my craziness is in sight.  I actually never thought I’d want Christmas to be over with already, but this year I’ve never been more ready for the day to actually get here so I can just stop for a moment.  I’m exhausted.

The thing is, I’m not one of those people who can just go out and buy a gift.  No, I have to make it difficult for myself and everyone around me by turning my surroundings into my own personal Santa’s Workshop.  I’m crazy.  But I like to think it’s all worth it.

I thought I’d share with you some of the treats I’ve been making.  I wish I could send each and every one of you your own personal treat box filled with the goods you see here.  But since I can’t at this time (I wouldn’t put it past me to do actually do that at some point), you’ll have to settle for a virtual treat box.  Someone really needs to work on making scratch n’ taste digital photos.

In return for making you drool, I’ll even give you a recipe. But first, the sweets:

whipped egg whites

marshmallows

marshmallows 2

Vanilla Bean Marshmallows

(K thought they looked like tofu…but I can assure you, they taste nothing like bean curd and everything like pillowy bits of heaven in your mouth.)

french macarons
french macarons 3

french macarons 2

Chocolate French Macarons with an Orange-Chocolate Ganache

(K thought these looked like mini hamburgers, and I really can’t argue with that.  But these?  These are bite-size chocolatey pieces of goodness.  And as soon as I realized they had a 2-day shelf-life, I made sure they didn’t go to waste.  And by that I mean I ate them.  Almost all of them.)

bark

Salty-Sweet Bark

bourbon balls

Black Cherry Chocolate Bourbon Balls

And now to make up for teasing you like that, here’s the recipe for the Black Cherry Chocolate Bourbon Balls.  They may not look like much, but they are fudgey and delicious, with quite a big kick of bourbon.  I think you can get drunk just from the fumes that are released when opening the container you keep them in.  Just how a bourbon ball should be.

This is adapted from a super-top-secret recipe given to me by a professor at the university I worked at before moving to California, one that was coveted by every employee in our building.  Good thing I charmed him into giving it to me, because it really is the best bourbon ball you will ever have (too bad I’m not giving you that recipe).  I feel comfortable posting my version of it here because I really changed it dramatically, and the main ingredient below is not at all what he has in his, so I think I’m safe.  And a funny little tidbit before you get to the recipe – I had a new bottle of Maker’s Mark (my bourbon of choice) open and ready to be used here, but I just couldn’t waste it like this.  Not that it would have been a complete waste, but Maker’s is meant to be sipped, not mixed with chocolate in my opinion.  I’m glad I’m a bourbon snob, because the Black Cherry bourbon I’ve had on my shelf for almost a year really made the recipe a hit.

Now go forth and make ye’ some balls!  (hehehe)

Black Cherry Chocolate Bourbon Balls
makes 40-50 balls

1 – 10 oz. pkg. Chocolate Teddy Grahams, crushed

1/2 cup confectioners’ sugar

6 oz. semi-sweet chocolate

 1/2 cup of Jim Beam’s Red Stag Black Cherry bourbon (if you can’t find this, any ole’ bourbon will do…but this really takes it up a notch from your everyday bourbon ball, so I recommend trying to find it)

3 tbsp light corn syrup

1 cup chopped pecans (or any type nut)

granulated sugar

In the top of a double-boiler, melt chocolate.  Once smooth, remove from heat and stir in corn syrup and bourbon.  In a large mixing bowl, combine crushed Teddy Grahams, confectioners’ sugar and chopped nuts.  Add chocolate mixture and let stand for 30 minutes.  Shape into 1-inch balls and roll in granulated sugar.

Enjoy with a highball of Maker’s Mark, spiked hot chocolate or hot-buttered rum (stay tuned for the recipe).

Let me know what you think if any of you make them.  I’ll just be on the couch, drunk from the remaining ones I have at home.

Happy Christmas week, everyone!

(If you’re so inclined, check out the treats I made last year)

Best blank journal cover ever.

19 Dec

image

Festive with whine.

14 Dec

I’ve been running around like crazy since Saturday trying to get a bunch of things done for Christmas and for friends visiting this weekend and I’m ready to slow down already.  When I get like this, I get tired and emotional and that combination is never a good thing for someone in my shoes.

You would think running around crazy wouldn’t allow for the baby thoughts to creep in, but they seem to never go away.  This morning as I was cleaning up a bit before I left for work, I opened the trunk in our bedroom and caught a glimpse of the baby blanket my friend made for me two pregnancies ago, and instantly I thought that the chances of wrapping a baby in that incredible gift of love is very slim.  Then moments later as I was getting dressed, I opened a clothes drawer and saw the onesie I bought when I was pregnant for the second time, the one that was just too cute to pass up, even though I knew I was pressing my luck.  It’s red and white striped, and fits exactly into the style Tim swears I possess – that of a pirate (I like to call it romantic).  I love that onesie.  And all I want is to be able to see it on our baby.  Except I realize that it may remain in my drawer, left forever waiting to be filled.

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about how, at two years, I seem to be becoming an elder in this community.  I know there are a handful of you out there that have been at this for twice that amount of time, and I am awed by your persistence and strength.  Because even though I’m “only” at two years, I’ve started to notice that the majority of women out there don’t usually have to struggle for this long.  I am not by any means saying that their pain or grief or frustration is any less than mine…believe me when I say a month at this is too long.  It’s just that I’m starting to see more and more people succeeding while I remain in the same place.  I’ve begun witnessing a new wave of women come into our community (I’m so sorry you’ve joined us), while the old ones move on to their newfound (and much deserved) families.  How did I get to be a Super* Senior in this shitty-ass high school?  And who can I talk to about the fazing involved for the Freshman?  They don’t deserve this pain.  I’d rather be the welcoming Senior, with an arm-full of babies to hand out than the one handing out blows to the uterus with a paddle.

It’s difficult feeling like you’re being left behind.  And it’s not just in blog world.  Yesterday I saw from a distance a woman that I used to be friends with before all of this crap, pushing a stroller with her 3-month-old in it.  I realized later that day that she has gotten engaged, married, pregnant, and had her baby all in the time I’ve been trying for a successful pregnancy.  Why does she deserve it so much more than I?  I can’t make sense of it.

To those of you that have succeeded or on their way to succeeding, please know that I hold no resentment towards you – in fact, just the opposite – I’m thrilled for you because you give us hope when it feels impossible to find.  Unfortunately though, that excitement doesn’t erase the fact I want so badly to be in your shoes – for all of us left in here to be in your shoes.  And I know you want that, too.  That’s the one thing this infertility school gives us, an uncanny ability to be compassionate to those who know what this is like.

I know this sounds like one big whine-fest, but we’ve hit our two-year anniversary of trying to make a pregnancy work and I can’t believe I’m still here.  As happy as the holidays are for me, the Christmas lights and warm fires are reminding me of a more innocent me that is gone forever.  I miss her spirit, her hope, her naivety.  This is a world I never wanted to be experienced in.

*Super Senior is a phrase my friends and I used when we were all in our 5th year of college.  In that case, it was fun to be a Super Senior because why rush the real world?  In this case: not so fun.  I want back into that Super Senior year…this one sucks.

A broken compass.

7 Dec

When I moved to California 5 years ago, I did so primarily because my intuition told me to.  I knew absolutely no one in Sonoma County, I didn’t have a job or a place to stay, and I barely had any money.   And yet, because of a feeling in my gut, I hopped in the car and took a chance. Within three weeks of being here, a newly acquired friend asked me to go to a party with him.  Even though I didn’t feel like going, I decided to join him because something was pulling me there.  The second we opened the door, I spotted Tim.  2 years later, he became my husband.  My intuition was dead-on.

In therapy two nights ago, we discovered that one of the problems for me with my losses is that my intuition has been silenced.  When I think about my next pregnancy, my head is telling me it’s not going to work-out and that I have to start accepting the fact that I may not be a mother because my head is trying to protect my heart.  But when I try to listen to my intuition, I can’t hear a thing.  It’s telling me nothing.  Which means one of two things: 1) my intuition has been thwarted from all of the grief and pain and it just doesn’t have an answer for me, or 2) I’m too scared to listen.

We sat with the second option for a few moments.  As we sat in silence while I tried to listen, I still heard nothing.  But while my intuition was mute, my fear was screaming.  It appears I’m scared to death of finding out what it’s trying to tell me.  Which can only mean one thing: that it’s going to tell me what I don’t want to hear.  I can try to tell myself that my fear and my heart are confusing my intuition, but it has never failed me before.

Or has it?

Didn’t I believe whole-heartedly that my second pregnancy (and first planned) was it?  Isn’t that how it works?  Except I think in that case it was merely naivety.  Women who get pregnant stay pregnant, right?  No one miscarries!  My intuition didn’t know any better.

This brings me to a very good point that both my therapist and my husband brought to my attention: biology will always have the ability to overrule my gut.  Perhaps biology even trumps it all – no matter what I feel, it will always have the last say.  The bastard.

Perhaps this is something I can believe in while my intuition remains silenced.  That even though I can’t (or won’t) hear what it’s trying to tell me, that maybe this one I should just leave up to biology.  It’s just so difficult to turn my back on the compass that I’ve relied on my entire life, the one that brought me three thousand miles to my husband.  Navigating this newly-found landscape sometimes feels impossible without it.

Gratitude.

4 Dec

image

I’m smiling today for the first time in a few weeks, and it has everything to do with these girls.  Esperanza and I helped Jjiraffe celebrate her birthday yesterday, and we had such a great time.  It takes a lot to get me out of the house these days, but I’m so happy I went.  It’s been hard for me to find girls around here that I connect with, but not any more.  These girls are my girls.

Thanks for helping me smile today, E and J.  I can’t wait until we get to do it again.  Mmwah!

(Now go check out some fun pics from Esperanza.)