Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Baby Shower Cake

I went to a baby shower last weekend, and I made a cake for the shower as well. (I hope my friend doesn't mind me posting her picture on here, but I thought it was such a cute shot!) I'm also intrigued by the fact that the cake is iced with a bright pink frosting and the flowers were sort of purple, but in the pictures they look pink and the cake looks orange. Her baby shower colors were orange and magenta, however, so I guess that works out. Anyhow, I have more pictures that I took at home with natural lighting where the colors may be more accurate, but I have to get those off my camera still. These are actual shots from the baby shower of people eating (and enjoying the cake).

The cake had two layers of red velvet cake, two layers of yellow cake (colored orange), two filling layers of cream cheese frosting, and one filling layer of chocolate butter cream, and then the whole cake was iced in regular butter cream with chocolate fondant decorations. I wasn't sure how all the flavors would work together...but, now I can say Soooo delicious!
And if you had trouble telling...there were flowers, hearts, bows, and little baby carriages around the cake. I'm thinking that in the future I should just buy a baby carriage cookie cutter because free handing them in fondant was not easy at all, and after three I about had it. (And yes, I just stuck a vase in the middle of the cake to hold the flowers. Worked well. And some people didn't realize it was a cake until it was cut. That was sort of fun.)

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Okay, so it's finally here. The long awaited

Wooo! Ahhh! Yea! (The crowd goes wild...)

The website is:

(I will be posting the link on the sidebar as well.) And just so you know, it's still a work in progress. I have some more ideas for it, but I wanted to go ahead and get pictures posted so that I could give out business cards and people could go online to see a portfolio. I plan on adding some more picture pages with drawings/designs of cakes too. But this will give you an idea of what I've been spending my free well time doing. I'm making a cake for a baby shower this weekend that will be sweet! And I just donated a cake to a charity event too. So, look forward to more pictures next week.
Well, enjoy!

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Marriage has taught me that I'm not NORMAL

I always thought I was normal. In the norm. Middle of the row. Anyone not like me is probably the strange one.

Well, marriage is slowing changing that perception.

Maybe it's lingering effects from childhood when we saw ourselves as the center of the universe and things that we did were just what everyone did, what our family did is what all kids' families was hard to comprehend another reality. Everyone is just like us.

Here's an example of a silly but recent realization for me. You know that freezing pain you get in the roof of your mouth or middle of your forehead when you suck on ice cold Slurpee from 7Eleven? That brain freeze that comes on after eating a big bite of ice cream?
... Well, I would have thought that everyone would know what I was talking about. Everyone gets an ice cream headache, right?! Wrong. Monte has never had one in his life! In fact he has a hard time fathoming the idea. Well, that's weird...he's in the minority...he the strange one...cause I'm normal.

Wrong again. I just recently read a study that was done on this very topic and apparently only 1/3 of Americans get brain freeze. WHAT? You mean not everyone experiences this excruciating pain when they eat something cold. I thought I was in the norm, the majority...but I'm not. I'm in the minority. So are you if you've ever experienced and ice cream headache. So think about that. Count yourself lucky...or unlucky, I guess.

Now here's another random bodily function that Monte has pointed out to me. When I yawn, my eyes tear up. At night if I'm laying in bed and start yawning the tears will run down my cheeks, sometimes getting in my ears...drives me crazy! Monte on the other hand does not cry when he yawns. He doesn't tear up when he sneezes. His eyes don't even tear up during a sappy Hallmark commercial. (Okay, so maybe that last one has nothing to do with this.) But really, I thought everyone teared up when they were tired and yawning. But I guess they don't.

We've been married a year and Monte just recently discovered that I tear up when I yawn. Poor guy. He thought I was crying cause I was upset. He thought that when I said "No, I'm not mad...or sad...or whatever"..."I'm just tired." that I was lying. He didn't know why I was so upset all the time.

I really am not sad. I am just tired. Tears really do run down my face when I yawn really hard. This was good for him to figure out finally, but it got me wondering. Is this like the brain freeze thing? Am I the strange one because my tear ducts get all squished when I yawn and leak onto my face? I don't know the answer to this one. No study has been done, as far as I can tell, about what percentage of Americans cry when they yawn. So, I thought I'd take an unofficial pole. Then we will least among my friends if I'm in the minority or majority.
The pole is in the upper right. Please answer for yourself, and if you're up for it, find out if your spouse is a yawn crier or not too. Thanks. :)

Friday, September 18, 2009

A long post about health

Well, it's been ages since I've posted (again). I've been sick (again) and looking at the computer screen made me feel dizzy. But I'm doing better for the moment so I'm here again.

For those interested in medical updates I have a pretty extensive explanation, but the short of it is that I have Fibromyalgia (confirmed by three different doctors) and am currently seeing a Fibromyalgia and Fatigue specialist up in Dallas (3 1/2 hours away from where I live in Austin) once a month. He's treating me for the Fibromyalga while trying to figure out what has caused it.

For a more detailed idea of what's going on in my on:
A month ago they took 32 viles of blood for testing and I got this report on Wednesday:

The test results showed that it appears that my body is fighting some underlying infection. A couple of different blood things appeared low and I have nearly no fighter cells (lymphocytes). So, now the doctor took more blood and is going to check for a bunch of different infectious diseases. (including things like Lyme disease and heavy metals) I have to go back to Dallas in a month for the results.

The doctor also found that my TSH was a little high, my T4's a little low, my T3's okay, and my Reverse T3's extremely high. All that comes down to that they want to start me on a thyroid medicine for Hypothyroidism. So, I'll be starting that soon. The compounding pharmacy called yesterday morning, but I slept through their call.

So, along with the thyroid problem and the possible infectious disease, he told me that my Vitamin D was pathetic (I don't drink milk and I've seen very little sunlight in the past year with my all my sleeping.) so I have to take a supplement for that and also some medicine for some mild adrenal deficiencies. They are: My growth hormone (IGF) is a little low, my cortisol (the body's natural anti-inflammatory and stress reducer) is low, my Pregnenololne (head honcho hormone that all the other hormones connect with) is low, and my aldosterone was less than 1 (and it should be between 10 and 28 or your blood pressure drops upon standing or moving and it causes dizziness) so, I have to take a bunch of supplements and another prescription.

I finally found a doctor that would check all of my hormones and all my thyroid and blood counts. And that just lead to lots and lots of medication. Whoopee! And they haven't even discovered what the main real problem is yet. Though, if we get my hormones back up to speed and my thyroid is shape then he says I will feel immensely better and have more energy, no dizziness, and less pain. So that's all good.

Continued research is as follows:


I looked up what a growth hormone (IGF 1) deficiency would be in an adult and this is what I found:

Deficiency in adults is rare, but may feature diminished lean body mass, poor bone density, and a number of physical and psychological symptoms. Psychological symptoms include poor memory, social withdrawal, and depression, while physical symptoms may include loss of strength, stamina, and musculature.

So, that's somewhat likely I guess. Sounds like a good one to fix.


I looked up Aldosterone too and it looks like the overall effect of aldosterone is to increase reabsorption of ions and water in the kidney (if it's low...then the sodium in my blood is low), but an increase in aldosterone does cause the the blood pressure to rise. So I'd better watch out for that.

Who would have guessed that my body is lacking sodium with the way I LOVE salt. Ha.


Then of course the low cortisol numbers lead to fatigue, sleep problems, weight gain, depression, no energy. ETC so that one is believable.


Also, did you know that Pregnenlone is derived from cholesterol...that could explain why it's low in my body. (Since my cholesterol is so amazingly off the charts low) Haha. Apparently women need cholesterol to make pregnenlone which then makes other hormones that women need. And low pregnenlone can lead to depression also...when more pregnenlone is added to the brain it has a calming effect.

That would be good, right! Calming effect...less panic I think I'll like this one.


And there you have it. A list of what hormones and adrenals are low in my body. A lot of these said that the levels could get low during times of stress and injury or infection. So, it will be nice to get these levels higher but what we really need is to find out what is causing the problem to begin with.

I have started some medicines already but mostly I think I am feeling better because I'm sleeping now. I couldn't sleep before because of the pain. They prescribed a sleep aid and now I'm finally really resting which is wonderful. I still have good days and bad days but I can get up and do more now. I'm less exhausted and I'm finally seeing some of my friends again. I feel like I'm getting my life back. I'm also getting back into baking and decorating cakes. I will post a link to a bunch of cake pictures real soon.

Lastly, I'm on a really weird diet. The doctor thinks that my irritable bowl might actually be a build up yeast from all the years of antibiotic use and all the times the doctors have given me steroids for pain so I have to take a medication to kill the yeast. While taking this medication, however, since yeast feeds on sugar...I can not have any. By that I mean, no concentrated sugar like candy, chocolate, sodas, fruit juice...etc. But also nothing with flour, rice, or potatoes. Limited fruit (no melons or high sugar fruits)...only occasional citric things like oranges. I have to limit my starchy vegetables as well. So that just leaves me with meat and vegetables. Maybe that doesn't sound too hard but try eating just vegetables for breakfast, lunch, and dinner when you're not allowed to add any potatoes, wheat/flour, or rice.

I've been doing it for almost a month now. I eat stir-fry's without the rice. I miss pasta more than anything in the world so I'll have tomato sauce on meatballs and pretend I'm having pasta. I'll eat a hamburger minus the bun. And soups are out of the question cause they all have potato starch to thicken them or noodles or something in them. I'm supposed to limit dairy too but I've been putting cheese on things cause I get so tired of all the vegetables plain.

So, if anyone out there has a recipes that do not involve rice, pasta, flour, wheat, potatoes, fruit, juices, sugar, honey, candy, molasses...etc. and would care to share send me an email or leave it in the comments section. I would greatly appreciate it. I need some new ideas. (What I need is to make friends with a diabetic and see how they eat. I just don't know how they do it.)

Well, that's about it...for me. I could go into a long explanation about Monte's health too. But I'll save that for another post. And do come back and see my cake post too. I promise that it is coming. I've been working on a website to showcase some pictures. It's very exciting. :)

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Jonathan and Sara

I thought I'd update everyone on my brother's status. Jonathan and his bride to be, Sara, have set a date to be married on the 26th of June in American Fork, Utah at the Timpanogos Temple. They took some pictures this past weekend up in Colorado. This is not the picture they chose for their announcements, but I absolutely love it so I'm posting it here on my blog. I think umbrellas are the most fun. I tried to convince Monte that we should take a picture with an umbrella for our engagement picture, but he didn't see the point. Haha. But aren't Jonathan and Sara just adorable. I'm soooo happy for my brother!

Luckily, if you want to look at it that way...Monte's work is issuing a mandatory week's vacation for all employees so we are going to spend a whole week in Utah and see friends and family and get to know Sara a bit before the wedding. It will be grand and I am looking forward to the trip ever so much.

I thought back to how much I wondered at the changes that took place in just one year of my life. One summer I was having my senior art show, graduating from college, and starting my job at the art gallery, and the next I was getting married, leaving my home in Utah, and starting a new life in Texas. Now a year hence I will be celebrating my one year anniversary with my brother in Utah as he embarks on the marital path. My Father will have had to spend the last two Father's Day's marrying off his only two children. And now I finally am beginning to feel like my brother and I have transitioned those years of childhood siblings into full fledged adults with families of our own. It's a little sad in a happy sort of way. I respectfully mourn the passing of those stages in our lives and gladly look forward to the new adventures that await us. My brother and I have always been close. My best friend for so long. I hope that our new families will continue that closeness and share with each other all that happens, the trials and blessings of life, and...may our children grow up with fond affection for their cousins.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Where to start?
It's always hard to get back into this thing when I've been away. I can think of a zillion things to write about and no place to start. Before, I've tried the chronological approach, but at the moment, I'm leaning more towards just listing what's on my mind and worry about everything else later.

So? What have I been thinking about lately...? Well, mostly I've been preoccupied with three trains of thought. One, my husband's health; two, babies-pregnancy-children-family-things in that scope; and three, longing for a best friend. These may sound unrelated but in fact they all run and mesh into one another that it's difficult sometimes to decipher what is truly bothering me or where I should be focusing my attention...not that any of them are really in my ability to control. And that may be the real reason I feel out of sorts lately. I really do prefer to feel in control of at least myself if not life around me.

I'll give you an example of some of the things running through my head lately. My husband has to decide to either undergo a surgery to remove his colon or agree to IV infusions of a new medicine and he is supposed to make this decision by tomorrow and call his doctor. We spent all last week discussing the possibilities and probabilities of different outcomes. My brain feels like it's been racked and wrecked and I am so tired of running scenarios over and over again in my head. And much to my dismay I find that I am more terrified of the small chance that we can not have children than I am of my husband's health. This fills me with guilt. I've told this to my husband and to his credit he understands. He feels sort of along the same lines as myself about what should be done though for different reasons. All I can hear is the doctor's voice saying over and over again...
"In your husband's condition it would be difficult at best to sire children, with IV infusions he may heal enough and his UC could go into remission and then he would be healthy and able to have a family...the next few years would be your best bet and for families that still want to have children this is what we advise, but it is not without would be the ultimate cure, there would no longer be any chance of cancer, his quality life would be much improved...yet you should know that there is a small...very small...but still a chance that surgery could affect his ability to have children."
My husband and I have pretty much decided to go with the IV infusions. He, because of the thought of having part of his body removed is still unthinkable and would rather try any other method than undergo the surgery...while I can only guiltily think of the children we may not be able to have. I should be thinking of what is best for my husband. I feel so selfish. That's not to say that I don't worry and don't think often about what might could happen. I don't want my husband to be sick anymore. I feel that I would do anything within my own power to heal him if I could. If I could take his pain away, I would. Yet, when the doctor says here is a cure - the surgery is a cure...I find myself reluctant.

The other problem lies in the fact that my health has not been great. The doctors have told me many times that to attempt to get pregnant right now would be unwise. Yet with my husband's doctor saying that he may have limited time...even if it's just a small still makes my heart tremble. Medically speaking with respect to having children...I shouldn't right now but he should right now. What can be done then?

I have reminded my husband that I am doing loads better than I was a couple of months ago. I feel better every week. The medication has taken a lot of the joint and muscle pain away. But unfortunately not all the pain is gone and the medication has seemed to have plateaued. The dizziness is still there and the headaches as bad as ever. My husband will not even begin to entertain the idea of having children while I am still hurting. He has promised to discuss it again after my meetings with my Rhuematolgist (to discuss my medication) and my Neurologist (to discuss my recent MRIs) at the end of June. I understand his reluctance to do anything that could put me in more pain. It is hard for him. But in my mind I honestly feel that I would undergo much more pain if it meant I could have a child. But that's again not fair to him. He is the one that has to worry and take care of me when I am sick and that puts a lot of extra pressure on him when he is already working a full time job and sick himself. Again, I feel selfish.

This is where the part about having a best friend comes in. And by that I mean someone other than my husband...a female friend, that I can go to talk to any time of day. That's not too busy or would not think it strange if I showed up on her doorstep. I miss my friends from Utah. A couple of them more than anyone else. I miss having that person that knows you so well that they would not think it strange if you showed up at their door and sat on their couch and didn't say much more than two words while you were there. You just hang out together and there is no uncomfortableness with silence nor would there be any if you suddenly burst into tears and talked for an hour straight about the issues and concerns running through your head. I miss having that. I miss having that closeness with a friend.

That's not to say that I haven't met some truly wonderful people hear in Texas. But all of them are married and most have children as well. There are few without babies but they work during the day just like their husbands. I am to the stranger who lives the life of a homemaker without a single child to tend to. Those that have children and have decided to be stay at home moms have their own circle of friends. It's not intentional to exclude. This I'm sure of there is no offense taken on my part by that. It's just different. I don't have children so I won't be invited to play dates with the kids. I don't have a baby so I won't be called on to babysit, or trade old baby clothes or toys. I can not relate so I will not be called when their is a problem or concern that they need another mother's advice on. I'm pretty much out of the loop on most things. These wonderful women have busy lives with husbands and babies and friends and family and projects. It's just not possible for me to call them up just anytime. So, what it boils down to is that most times I am pleasantly content with my life but there are moments when I feel burdened by all that is running through my head and then I desperately long for a best friend.

This past week has been one of those times. But with the lack of a best friend at the moment I find myself venting to the blogoshpere. Which I know is not private and anyone may read. So I would like to add that this is more for cathartic means than to cry for attention. I don't expect or particularly wish for anyone to suddenly show up on my doorstep with a shoulder to cry on. I just needed to get some of this out of my head so that I can rest.

I would also like to add that
and I really want a baby But would settle for a friend to tell that to.
There! now I feel better. Take that blog-world.

Friday, March 20, 2009

The Late Night News

Last night a little after 1 AM the phone beeped. Monte and I had been asleep for at least an hour and for once both of us were out soundly. It's usually just him, but no, this time I was blissfully dreaming...yet I heard the familiar sound. "You've got a message" that beeped said to me. I woke up enough to say "Monte your phone beeped."
His response..."No, it was my hand."
"No," I said "It was the phone."
"No it was my hand."
"No Monte your phone just made a noise."
"It was my hand."
At this point I attempted with my eyes still closed to roll over him to try and reach the phone which was on the floor next to his side of the bed.
"No I really think it was your has a message!" I insisted.
I think rolling over him woke him up enough that he finally realized what I was doing and he reached for the phone. "I never heard it beep." He said.
"It did!" "We have a's either good news or bad news but someone wants to get a hold of us in the middle of the night!" I said indignantly with one of my eyes still shut trying to preserve some sense of the blissful sleep I just rolled out of.
Monte then tries to get the phone open to see who called..."Oh," He says "...We have a message."
...Sigh... I took the phone from him then and rolled back over to my side.
I read it. Then I hand the phone back to Monte. "She said yes." I report.
"Who said yes?"
"I don't just says she said yes."
"Why did she say yes?"
"I don't know."
"Who called?"
"I have no idea...but she said yes."
Monte checks the phone again. "It was your brother."
...2 minutes later...
"I guess he's engaged. "
...another minute...
"That's good." Monte slurs back.
"Yeah...kind of weird to think about...he likes to copy me..."
...another 2 minutes...
"Getting engaged three months before he turns 26..."
Monte, "hmm..."
"Yeah, weird..."
...another minute...
"I'm happy for him" I mumble.
And then we're both out until 7 when the alarm wakes us. Monte does not remember much. It's fun to be married to someone who talks in his sleep. I think my roommate, Shiloh, prepared me well for that. I decided to text my brother back around 8:30 AM. It's an hour earlier his time. I secretly hope it wakes him up. I then talk to my Dad at 9. It's an hour later his time. He's in a meeting but takes the opportunity to escape for a moment. "Are you calling about Jonathan?" He asks. "Yes," I replied. "Did you get the message?"
"Yep...around 2 AM your Mother and I both got text messages."
"Haha...yeah, it was only one here. Monte and I couldn't figure it out for awhile cause we were still half asleep."
"It woke us both up."
"Yeah, I texted him back at 7:30 his time...maybe I woke him up."
"haha" My dad chuckles..."Well, I texted him at 6 AM."

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Okay here are more CAKES!
So, I've posted the cake from my first class previously so that's where I'll start. In class number two we learned how to make characters. We made faces on cupcakes and clowns whose bodies are made from huge globs of icing. Monte was excited for me to bring home the sugar-rich clowns for him to eat. Goodness knows, I do not like icing or cake enough to eat it myself. Good thing my husband is here to do the job beautifully. I think I had one and half slices from this entire cake.
(Look he has his arms around arms around the outside two. They are friends.)

And here are the cupcakes. I made them look like baby carriages so that I could take them to a baby shower. We already had a clown cake. We did not need cupcakes too. (The best part about these cupcakes, however, is not the icing on's the chocolate cake with creme cheese filling in the middle.)

I used drop flowers to make the wheels.
Then there will still a dozen cupcakes left and I did not feel like making more babies so they became donations to Monte's work. The guys at work have yet to turn down sweets that I've sent with Monte. So, that works out well for me.
[ And maybe I can help secure his job in this troubled economy. Cause who wants to fire the guy who works so hard, is so nice, and on top of that brings you delicious treats every few weeks. The boring unpleasant man in the corner would be a better choice. ]

The next week's course was our final for course 1. We learned how to make buttercream frosting roses! This was my favorite thing up until this point. We also learned a couple more borders and leaves to go with the shell border we had learned the previous week. Here are my flowers that I was so proud of:
This cake was a rainbow chip with a chocolate filling in the middle. I took the cake over to a girl's night for a treat. They ate a fourth of it. Then Monte polished off about half. And then I took a piece with a big chunk of the flowers to a lady who was turning 91.
I put one candle in it cause the other 90 would have made it crowded. It was great! She loved it and would have taken the last slice home if it had not been for the toddler who grabbed the plate and shook it vigorously until the cake slid from under the wrapper into the dirt at the park. Her mother kept apologizing. I thought it was funny. I had smelled so much cake and icing in the last three weeks that there was some sort of glorious delight in watching it fall mercilessly into the dirt. Take that cake!!!

Now onto the fondant class. I've got the first two classes under my belt and thus far this is my favorite medium. It reminds me so much of working with clay. Granted it's stickier, softer, and has a (in my opinion, sickly) smell of sugar but I love working with my hands to mold things.
Here is the cake from my first class. We learned how to cover the cake, make cut outs, and bows and swirls, things that stood up on the cake. I baked a yellow cake with chocolate chips in it and then covered it to look like a present. I then took the cake to a friend's housewarming party. It was their gift. But they did not cut it and serve it. That's the trouble with making cake that looks like too much fun. No one wants to eat it. (Can't say I blame them...I nearly abhor the smell of cake now. haha)

In the second class we learned to make roses. This the part where I really began to think I was back in a ceramics class. It was utterly delightful. This is the only class that we did not come home with a decorated cake. (Much to my relief.) We spent the whole time learning new borders, ruffles, and icing well as the roses.
Our homework was to make 30-40 roses that will cover our final cake which will be a two layer wedding cake. I have spent everyday working on these flowers. I've watched 4 different chick flicks (that I've missed doing since I've been married) and just made roses and leaves. Very relaxing. I have pictures of the flowers but the cake will not be made till this Friday.
I will of course have to make the cake on Thursday and cover it with fondant and then bring it with my roses to class and we will learned how to assemble the cake and then do the final decorations with fondant and buttercream icing. Our teacher also informed us that she would show us at least three more kind of flowers that you can make out of royal icing. Just you wait. I will have one more cake update later to show you my final wedding cake project!

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

This post is mostly by my husband. He sent me an email today to tell me that he was a nerd (haha). In his own words:

This morning as I ate breakfast I looked at a Domino's Pizza ad that was left on the table. They are advertising their online ordering and computerized "pizza tracker". While I was trying to figure out what they meant by "There's no wait online" (unless you can download your pizza, there is obviously some wait for the pizza to arrive--why else would there be something to track it's progress), I saw that some clever person decided to put a string on 1's and 0's to show that this was high-tech. I looked at the binary numbers and naturally I convert them to hexadecimal. Then I realized that they were ASCII code--they were letters. (ASCII code is the way computers convert letters into binary). There was a message, and I started remembering the movie "A Beautiful Mind". I looked again and saw that it was indeed ASCII letters, so I found an ASCII chart at work and decoded the message (too bad I didn't have it all memorized anymore). Whoever sent that message out, I have read it, and I have heard your message. I am a nerd, and there's another nerd out there somewhere. We have communicated in a way that only nerds can.


This was later followed by an email by myself asking what the encoded message was. His response:

Do you really want to know what it said? It's not that exciting. it said "Binary" binary, ha! That's like spelling "soup" in alphabet soup.

To which I thought to myself, "I love nerds." I'm quite happy to be married to one. I'm quite happy to be one. And I have always enjoyed binary. One of the funniest shirts I ever saw said:

"There are 10 types of people in this world:
Those who understand binary and those who don't."

What I wouldn't give to own that shirt right now.
This one is pretty good too. (but only if you can read it :)

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Hello family and friends!

I have enjoyed spending the last two mornings catching up on everyone's blogs, their family business, and all the fun Christmas (and post Christmas) times.

I also decided after reading all that everyone else is up to that it's about time I post some new things as well. I've decided to post everything in 4 different post (following this one) but it will cover everything from last week to back before my family came for Christmas, and I'm going to start with the most recent and work my way backwards.

So, I hope between my new hobby, our family health update, Christmas pics, and Seaworld that there will be something for everyone (whether family, friend, or acquaintance) to enjoy.

Okay so my new favorite hobby is making cakes. I don't have access to a kiln any longer and painting just does not sufficiently fill my need to work in 3D. (It also does not taste as good.) So, I have taking up cake decorating.

It all started when my roommate Mary decided to save some money and make her own wedding cake. "What a fantastic idea!" I thought. And so, following in her example, I decided to make my own. It took me seven hours to decorate the wedding cake but in the end it cost me around 20 bucks, and I had exactly what I wanted for my wedding. Since it seems that I will never get around to posting pictures from the wedding...hopefully, these cake shots will tide some of you over. Here I am piping on the curly blue swirls. I have already covered the pieces in fondant and dusted the cake with a luster dust.

The bottom three layers were styrofoam cake dummies while the fourth (and top) layer was made of white cake with blue swirls in it. That way we could still do our cake cutting.
I was pretty much just making everything up as I went along. I had spent many hours watching the food network and had some idea of how this might go. But it was still a learning experience. Piping can be very tiresome. Still, like I said before. I couldn't have been happier. It was perfectly what I wanted.
Shortly after moving here to Texas, Monte's birthday rolled around. In an attempt to make new friends in the ward and to throw Monte the biggest birthday celebration he had ever had...we had a large dinner party. The whole birthday was Asian themed so we cooked all kinds of Asian food and had chopsticks and little take out boxes for our guest. There was Asian candies and streamers and decorations. The whole living room and kitchen was a myriad of reds and golds. Most people in attendance thought that we were just really into the Olympics because Monte would not let me tell anyone it was his birthday.

But they got the idea when I surprised Monte by having everyone sing Happy Birthday to him while he stood next to a very large red velvet cake.
To really get an idea of the size of this cake you have to realize that the top section is two 8" rounds (so about the size that any normal birthday cake would be) and the bottom circle was 12" round. The candles were 4 inch candles as well. And the Asian topper was at least half a foot. It was a very large cake. I couldn't get too into the piping details on this cake because the icing was a homemade creme cheese frosting. The kind that goes perfect with a red velvet cake. I really should have taken a picture of the inside so you could see how beautiful it was when it was cut. BRIGHT RED!

Needless to say...the mere size of the cake turned some heads. It was so much fun!

Monte, seeing how much fun I was having making cakes started researching. He found a cake shop here in Austin that taught classes. As a Christmas present this years he bought me cake decorating classes: courses 1, 2, and 3. He has been very supportive thus far in helping me mix icings and prepare for my classes. I only have one cake to show as of right now. It was the cake we decorated the first class. They showed us how to torte, fill, and ice our cakes. Then we practiced with the round and star tips.
We had to share the icings and colors so all of our cakes looked pretty much the same (not much in the way of creativity yet) but they are more just for practice right now. This cake I ended up putting "Happy Birthday Rebecca" and taking it over to a friend's party a couple of days later. This week I will be making cupcakes and another cake. I will post pictures of my continued cake endeavors as I go. Course 1 is just the basic tips and how to make a rose. But in Course 2 we will do a lot of different kinds of flowers and Course 3 will be fondant and tiered cakes. This really was one of the best Christmas surprises ever!

Health Update

One of the great things about this cake class that Monte got for me is that I'm getting out of the house, even if it's just for once a week. My health has left me with little energy. I posted awhile back about all the strange things that my body was doing and the end result is that the doctors can't find anything wrong. I've been to see 4 different doctors in the last 5 months and it is only getting worse. They have now done three different blood test and a deeper screening on my thyroid. Except for the pain they can't find much wrong with me.

Last week the doctor put me back on another steroid to help control the pain that has now moved from my back, neck, and knees into my feet, chest, and hands as well. The knuckles in my fingers would swell in the mornings or when I wake from a nap and I would not be able to bend my fingers. The chest pain also had gotten so bad I that I couldn't sleep any longer. The doctor is afraid that I may be form gastritis from all the stress the pain has caused on my body. So now I have to take the steroid (4 times a day) with food and the heartburn medicine twice a day on an empty stomach. Not a pleasant day.

Good news is, though, that the rheumatology department had a cancellation so I have an appointment on the 9th of February instead of having to wait another three months to see a specialist. So, wish me luck there. This is really starting to be very annoying. In five months I feel like I went from a healthy 26 year old to an old woman's arthritic body. I WANT MY BODY BACK!


As for Monte, he's doing alright. The doctor switch his medicine again to a stronger one and seems a little miffed that things haven't improved much. He said it's just ulcerative colitis and we can give you medicine and you'll get better. Well, Monte is still having flare ups and the medicines aren't fixing anything. The new medicine he is on messes with his immune system so he has to have his blood checked weekly. Last week he blood test came back with a slightly high white blood count so he had to do another stool sample. That sample showed no more signs of C. Diff. which is a bacteria that he has been fighting on and off in his intestines. So that is good that it's gone...but why the high white count? We have to wait till this week's blood test to see if it has changed at all.

I have learned more about doctors and medicine and insurance in the few months I have been married than in my whole life up until this point. It's been crazy. I'm thinking of getting a medical degree so that I don't have to pay the doctors 20 dollars each visit to tell me they can't figure it out.


On a completely unrelated note, but as a little treat to those of you that read the health update is a true story.

So, if you have ever watched The Office you may have come across an episode where in a bat flies into Dunder Mifflin and terrorizes the employees. Just this week my husband sent me this email that he received while at his cubicle at work:

"A bat was sighted on the 6th floor this morning. It appears to have found a good hiding place for now. If you do see the bat, please do not touch it. Call the fixx line ext. 33499. They have the proper gear to handle the bat. "

Honestly...I could not stop laughing when I read that. Apparently this sort of thing is not as uncommon as I once thought. What do you think proper gear for a bat really is?

And on another somewhat related note...since we've just discussed bats and cakes (in the prior post) I thought it only too appropriate to include this picture that I came across. It apparently is a bat wedding cake. If only I had known that such a thing existed when I was making my cake.

If only.
(Okay, so really...I think it's just supposed to be ivy. But poor choice on whomever decided on such dark colored pointy ivy for the wedding cake. It really looks like bats have just landed all over this cake.)