I was stopped at a red light today, by the high school.  Ellie and on were on our way to our doctor's appointment.

I looked over and saw a little gaggle of teenage girls running and laughing, grabbing onto each other.  The sun was hitting their shiny hair, they were 

I became a mama when I was 20 years old.  Just a few years older than those carefree girls.  That's when Em came into my world.  Her mom just wasn't up to the task, even though she was still around then. 

I forget what that feeling is, freedom, even watching those girls.  It's been 9 years of mom time for me. 

I love being a mom.  It's beyond the beyond of awesomeness. God has given me so much more than I could ever ask for, and more. 

But, it's scary, and it's hard.  

It's hard going to pick up a two year old from her mom, and she's covered in filth and you're 20 years old and you have no idea what to do. 

It's scary when her mom wants her less and less, and you want her more and more, and you don't know what's this all means.

It's hard explaining to a 5 year old why she can't see mommy right now. 

It's hard to be a newlywed in your first apartment and trying to help and listen to a 5 year old baby scream and cry and throw up for hours day after day after day because she misses her mom.

It's hard when your little kid is having a hard time at school, because she is destroyed inside, and you don't know what to do.

It's scary not knowing where her birth mother is, and so you have to pick her up from the school office everyday for awhile, just to be safe.

It's scary when you try to get pregnant and you can't, for 3 years.

It's scary when you're finally pregnant and you start to bleed, and your doctor says there's nothing to do but wait, and see.  So you wait and see, and cry and pray, and beg and plead.

It's hard when you don't have a nice, smooth pregnancy you can brag to everyone about.

It's scary when you end up having to have a c-section. 

It's scary when you find out your pregnant when your baby is a few months old. 

It's hard to have babies 13 months apart.

It's scary when you're little one has a lot of ups and downs, left and rights.

It's hard watch your 10 year old baby turn into a pre-teen.

It's hard to watch your 2 year old go from a baby to a boy.

It's hard to watch your little baby girl get older everyday, knowing there are no more babies, no matter how much you wanted one more.

I just wanted to scream to those girls that all their problems, all those things they think make their lives so hard, to embrace them.  The boys, the crushes, the first kisses, the pimples right before a dance, the bad grades, the parents who just don't get it, the fighting with friends, the heartache of being a teenager is nothing compared to the heartache of being a mom. 

Every moment is their biggest moment, when they are young and running across the street. 

One of my biggest moments was sitting in her car seat, singing along to a song she didn't know the words to...because she doesn't know a whole lot of words to begin with. 

There is nothing more beautiful in this world to me than my children.  They have filled me with more appreciation, wonder, and awe than I have words for.  They are the hardest, the scariest, the most tiring, wondrous creatures. They breathe life into me, they anchor me to this world. 

Those little girls running, someday they will be mamas, their shiny hair will fade, their carefree smiles will turn into smiles of joy, and pain, and pride.  I used to be one of them, now i'm just some lady, staring from a minivan, wishing them all the happiness, (and the hard and scary parts) i've been blessed with, while my baby girl sings me a song.

Yummy Orange Cake

I had some oranges in the fridge, and I thought an orange cake sounded good.  I looked around online, but couldn't find anything I wanted to make.  Everything called for lots of orange juice, or cake mix, but no orange pieces.  I wanted to use some real oranges.  So I did an experiment and it came out awesome (according to my husband and 10 year old)!

It's gone.

The whole freaking cake is gone. 

I brought 4 pieces over to my parents house, and the rest is history, literally.  I put the last few pieces away last night, but it mysteriously disappeared (into my husband's lunch box, I presume). I might have to make another one in a few days! 

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees, grease your pan of choice.  I used a 9x13.

Get a bowl and combine:

2 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt

Beat a stick of butter and 1 1/4 cup sugar until fluffy, then add 3 eggs, one at a time.  I put in some vanilla, probably a teaspoon.

Get 1 cup of milk

Alternately beat in the flour mixture and the milk, starting and ending with the flour.

I zested two medium size oranges, then peeled them, cleaned most of the white fiber off, and then diced them pretty small.  Of course, two oranges didn't make it into the cake because I have kids running around, but a good part of the orange got in.  

Just mix the zest and orange to the batter, then transfer it to your cake pan. 

Bake at 350 degrees for about 35 minutes, or until done. 

When it was cooled I made an orange glaze. 

I cut an orange in half, and squeezed all the juice out.  Then I mixed it with one cup of confectioners sugar, then spread it on the cake. 

The cake came out incredibly moist, and it had a nice, but not overpowering orange flavor. 

Let me know if you try it out!

Cheesy Meatloaf Awesomeness

Soooo, I took some hamburger out for dinner yesterday, then couldn't decide whether to make a meatloaf or burgers or whatever.  I found a recipe for cheeseburger meatloaf.  Lightbulb!! 

Now, because I hardly ever follow directions...shocked i'm sure...I read them over and then decided I would create my own version.  Thus, Cheesy Meatloaf Awesomeness was born. 

Here's how to do it:

Get a big 'ol bowl. 

Dump into it:
*garlic pepper
*dried green and red bell peppers (if you have them)
*diced up onion

How much?  However much you feel like.

Squish your beef into it.  I find this part disgusting, I hate raw meat.  I do it anyway because..well..who the hell else is going to do it?

In the recipe I read, they got all fancy with wax paper and rolling up the meatloaf with the cheese inside.  I don't have time for all that jazz.

Slap half the meat into your meatloaf baking device of choice.  Make a little well down the middle. 

Time for cheese!  I used some shredded cheddar and a few slices of white american. 

Once it's sufficiently cheesed, give it a meat hat with the other half.  Crimp it all together so the cheese can't escape. 

I squirted some BBQ sauce on the top.  You could use ketchup, or whatever you feel like. 

Cover it with foil.  (I took the foil off towards the end so the meat went from that icky color to nice and brown.)

I cooked it at 375 degrees for like an hour or so. 

About halfway through I made my husband come in and dump some of the grease out of the pan.  It was his contribution to preparing dinner.

To be honest I didn't pay attention how long it took.  I've developed that mom-o-meter that can somehow get all the food done at the same time, know what i'm talking about?  It's like a superpower. 

I didn't take any pictures, so you'll have to use some imagination.  But, it was really good.  Really, really good. 

*I received TWO versatile blogger awards, what an great surprise to wake up to!  Thank you soooo much ladies, now I know what i'll be posting tomorrow!