Monthly Archives: May 2012

Pregnancy Envy

I had lots of meetings today. Four out of those five meetings were with Moms. Collaborating with Moms is one of my favorite things to do, except when they are pregnant. Meeting with Moms who are pregnant is distracting. I sit and stare at their expanding waistline trying to size it up and wonder if they are in their second or third trimester. I wonder if they are having a boy or girl. Single, twin or high order multiple pregnancy? Does her stomach look like a watermelon or a basketball? Throughout these distractions I smile approvingly and give appropriate congratulations. After all, I am a Mom.

I am a Mom who has a beautiful and precocious 11 month old son. But, I am a Mom who wants more than that. I desperately want more children and that takes me back to something I never thought I would feel again: pregnancy envy.

It has finally struck again! Now that I know what I am missing, pregnancy envy is twice as strong this time around while we are trying to conceive (TTC for those of you who are new to this whole infertility thing). This envy is consuming me and causing me to lose sight of the fact that I already have a son. I should consider myself lucky, but I don’t. I am greedy and I want more children running around my house. I miss the newborn cry and reminisce for the time when I saw a first smile, heard a belly laugh or saw those adorable dimples.

Pregnancy envy makes me want all of this again. It makes me miss my swollen ankles and not being able to sleep on my stomach. It makes me miss wearing full panel maternity pants. (I finally admitted it! I am still convinced that none of my friends read our blog so this will be a true test of that.) I would give anything to look at the clock at 7:30 pm preparing for “morning sickness” to strike or wake up most of the night because my little one has the hiccups. Pregnancy envy makes me want every single symptom that I loathed while pregnant, even the unspeakable ones!

I am taking this month off of fertility treatments. After a very rough course of side effects and a near mental break down last month, I need a break to regain my composure, gather my emotions and come up with a battle plan.  I need to tuck the crazy lady away and come up with a practical plan to defeat her. Let’s be real, I need a break from Clomid and lots of Cabernet (click here). This is no longer a game. We’ve up the ante and are going to battle to win. Come next month I will win. I will not waive a white flag!

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Banana Pudding Reminds Me Of Granny

Magnolia’s Famous Banana Pudding reminds me of Granny. At each family gathering of our large extended family, Granny (my great-grandmother) would whip up a large pans of banana pudding. This happens to be one of my favorite desserts (next to King Cake and McKenzie’s cinnamon rolls)! A few weeks ago a friend came by to watch a movie and sip on red wine. When she pulled out banana pudding from her bag I immediately thought of Granny and felt a tiny bit of New Orleans here with me in Chicago.

I have the fondest of memories growing up in my great-grandmother’s house. That’s right, she raised me! I didn’t go to daycare or two-year old preschool. I grew up in a house with plenty of other grandchildren and great-grandchildren. We picked vegetables in the garden with Papa, sat around her kitchen table everyday for lunch with our grandparents, aunts and uncles, played outside in the yard and were yelled at my Uncle Medric (Granny’s cranky old brother who lived next year). Have you seen the movie, “Grumpy Old Men”? Yes, that’s exactly what it was like spending our days next door to Uncle Medric!

The best memories I have of Granny all go back to being in the kitchen. She made the best white beans, chicken stew and every other down home dish that you could think of. Her recipes were not fat free, but they were made with plenty of love. The only picture that I have of Granny in our house is proudly displayed on the side of our refrigerator as inspiration and a reminder that we all add a bit of love to our recipes. I have one of her aprons that I keep in my kitchen draw and hope that one day I can pass that along to a daughter or daughter-in-law who shares the same passion for bringing love to her family at the dinner table.

Here’s the recipe for Magnolia’s Famous Banana Pudding that I made this weekend for my family. I hope it brings a little happiness to your table!

Magnolia’s Famous Banana Pudding

One 14-ounce can sweetend condensed milk

1 1/2 cups ice cold cater

One 3.4 ounce package instant vanilla pudding mix (preferably Jell-O brand)

3 cups heavy cream

One 12-ounce box Nabisco Nilla Wafers (no substitutions)

4 cups sliced ripe bananas

In a small bowl, on the medium speed of an electric mixer, beat together the sweetened condensed milk and water until well combined, about 1 minute. Add the pudding mix and beat well, about 2 minutes more. Cover and refrigerate for 3-4 hours or overnight, before continuing. It is very important to allow the proper amount of time for the pudding mixture to set.

In a large bowl, on the medium speed of an electric mixer, whip the heavy cream until stiff peaks form. Gently fold the pudding mixture into the whipped cream until well blended and no streaks of pudding remain.

To assemble the dessert, select a large, wide bowl (preferably glass) with a 4-5 quart capacity. Arrange one-third of the wafers to cover the bottom of the bowl, overlapping in necessary, the one-third of the bananas and one-third of the pudding. Repeat the layering twice more, garnishing with additional wafers or wafer crumbs on the top layer of the pudding. Cover tightly with plastic wrap and allow to chill in the refirigerator for 4 hours – or up to 8 hours, but no longer! – before serving.

Serves 12-15

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Mother’s Day Reflections

Mother’s Day is a celebration. A joyous occasion of bringing life into this world and coming together with family to give thanks to a woman (or women) in our life who have molded us into the person we are today. This is how we celebrated Mother’s Day. As we walked around Chicago together as a family of three I looked the part of the doting parent. What on earth could be wrong on Mother’s Day? What couldn’t be? Thanks to Hallmark, all Moms are supposed to be happy and give thanks on Mother’s Day.

ImageWhat others couldn’t see this past Sunday was that I was mourning. I mourned the loss of a child just one week before this holiday, the slim prospect of having another and, yet another uphill battle with infertility to conceive again. And, an uphill battle it has been. Although we are only on our third round of treatments for baby number two (the first was eleven rounds) it has been significantly harder emotionally and physically during this second course of treatments. I feel guilty taking time away from a son we worked so hard to conceive to try to have another. Is this fair to him? Is this fair to me? What about my husband? He is an integral part of this and what are these treatments doing to our relationship?

You see, the decision to try to have another child and our failed attempts at it Imagehas affected us all in different ways. But most importantly it has shown me that mourning the loss of a child and the yearning for a sibling for our son are all natural emotions that women feel. These emotions make us stronger, bolder, more confident and more loving. They make us compassionate and understanding. They make us grandmothers, mothers, wives and sisters. They make us. They make me.

I have not figured out how to manage and balance the grief and yearning that I feel. But, I have come to understand that life is simple. We live and we die. In the process we all become mothers along the way. Some may be later than others and not through the most conventional ways. Do not give up hope. Until that time, celebrate the women in your life. Teach your nieces and daughters compassion and how to love. A special woman in my life did and I am ever thankful for her grace and patience. Without her I could not have celebrated Mother’s Day.

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