Thursday, August 19, 2010

Happy Birthday, Whitney

16 years ago today my middle child was born. 
I had gone into early labor several times and had been put on medication and bedrest to give her more time.
By August 19 though I wasn't doing well from the stress and neither was she.
It was time for her to be born.

I will never forget the look on my husband's face when he walked in the door of the recovery room.
He did not have the baby with him.
His face was emotional as I'd ever seen him (and his is so not an emotional kind of guy).
I wanted to know where my baby was.
Our baby was having trouble breathing on her own and needed machines and tubes to help her survive.
I wanted up and I wanted out of that bed.  My baby needed me.  Period.

I'd had a C-section, so no matter how much I wanted up, I wasn't going anywhere for a while.
I couldn't feel the bottom half of my body...much less get up and walk down the hall.
Once I got back to my room, my doctor finally came and said he'd heard about all the ruckus I'd been causing trying to get up.
He finally agreed to let me go the NICU so I could see my baby.

As scary as the tubes and machines were, I was not scared.
I was here, now.
I would make my baby well.
All she needed was her Mommy.
The nurses let me hold her.
They stood by and blew oxygen by her face so I could wrap her in the love that only a mother can give.
I could only hold her for short amounts of time at first.
But each time they let me try, she would make it a little bit longer out of the oxygen tent.
Once they let me feed her, there was no stopping her or me.
She was a scrapper; we knew that from Day 1.
She and me.
It was as if we knew each other already...
After a miraculous recovery, leaps and bounds quicker than she was expected to respond, we took our baby home. 

She grew into quite a character, a Mama's baby, making funny noises, and loving to be held and cuddled. 

She warily kept her eyes on her crazy big sister and would run to me whenever she felt threatened (which was often ;)

Her dimples delight even adults who see her now. 
We can't explain where they came from.
We just know they are one more characteristic that makes her special.

My favorite pictures of her are when she has a giant genuine smile on her face.
She is finding her way in the world.
And learning to be comfortable in her own skin.

Happy 16th Birthday, Whitney the Pooh.
Mommy loves you.

(video by her proud dad)

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

A Mama Cooked Meal

Tonight all my little chickies and the rooster were home :)

The Head of My Household needed some down time, so he opted out of band practice
(He plays in an old man's band...have I never told you??)
My firstborn's soccer practice was cancelled.
My middle child actually got out of marching band practice ON TIME for a change!
The youngest was with Show Choir meetings, no Band Parent meetings, no errands to run...etc.

Once I realized around 4 p.m. that we were all going to be home together by 6 p.m. I started scrambling around thinking about supper. 
I love to cook...but it's difficult when you're running in and out during the process, not to mention when you go to all the trouble to prepare a meal and half of your family is out and about most days...myself included.

I announced that I would be cooking and asked my kids what they wanted for supper.
My friend from work, Missie, had mentioned that she was making meatloaf, so I said, "How about meatloaf?"

My firstborn's eyes lit up, and she responded, "You mean the little round meatloafs...with the barbeque sauce?'

"Yep, those are the ones."

"With butterbeans?"

"Uh-huh; those too."

And mashed potatoes, Mama...don't forget mashed potatoes!"

"Heavens to CANNOT have meatloaf without mashed potatoes!"

For about 5 seconds, I was proud.
Then, I started feeling guilty.
My poor children were starving for a Mama cooked meal!!!!

You better believe I gave it to them!!!!!!!

I'm an old fashioned meatloaf kindof girl.
I very seldom order meatloaf if we are in a restaurant for one very simple reason...

They put too much extra stuff in there!

I have not always been a successful cooker of meatloaf.
I do really well as far as mixing all the stuff with the meat (the traditional stuff, of course)
I can mold the loaf with the best Southern cooks around.
What I have never been able to do is cook the meatloaf completely.


The outside is absolutely delicious.
But, the inside is like dogfood.
That's actually a quote from the Head of My Household.

Please don't get the wrong idea...the Head of My Household teases me about my kitchen experiments.
I laughed with him about my dogfood meatloaf...
Because he was actually did look like dogfood.

It didn't hurt my feelings when he said my meatloaf looked like dogfood...
I just told him to head his sassy butt right on down to McDonalds ;)

I'm a lover of the Food Network, and I happened to see Rachael Ray make meatloaf muffins on one of her shows.
What a novel idea!!
I figured it might just be the answer to my undercooked, dogfood looking meatloaf problem.

No offense to Rachael Ray, but her recipe had too much extra "stuff" in it.
So, I began looking through my cookbooks and finally found a winner.

I am Southern, and I know I'm biased.
But, Trisha knows that meatloaf is NOT supposed to have all that "stuff" in it.
(Trisha knows quite a bit more about what goes on in the kitchen too...this is an absolutely awsome cookbook!)

Trisha's recipe for meatloaf is very simple: ground chuck, a chopped onion, salt, pepper, mustard, ketchup and an egg.

No extra veggies, no wild spices.
C'mon, people, it's meatloaf!
No need to reinvent the wheel.
Don't fix what's not broken.
Yada, yada, yada.

The best way to mix the basic ingredients of meatloaf is with your hands.


Then, I made little balls out of that mixed meatloaf...and put them in muffin tins...some small and some regular sized.

These are just 2 of the 4 pans that I made. 
I leave some without topping, some with barbeque sauce and some with an incredible sauce called "Country Bobs."

I bake them at 350 until they are done and then immediately scoop them out of the muffin holes when I remove the pan from the oven.
(If you don't take the meat out immediately, it will sit and cool in its own grease...and that would really look (and probably taste) like dog food :)

I tried to take a picture of the finished product before my family swooped in...
But...I had to wait until the first wave died.
This picture doesn't do these little meatloaf muffins justice...they are delicious.

Even to the man who once compared my meatloaf to dogfood :):)