Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Little Bits of Movement

Yesterday morning I woke early--before the sun, before most of the kids--and wanted to just go back to sleep. Then I felt it.  A little bump against my belly.  I placed my hand over my lower abdomen and there it was again.  I could even feel it with my hand.  Now I KNOW this isn't just gas. :)  The little one kicking around in there kept me up and smiling for at least 15 minutes.  I am in my 17th week of pregnancy.  I've been feeling these little bits of movement for about a month now, but never really sure if it's baby or what.  Now I know for sure and it's exciting!

It's kind of funny when you think about it.  From everything I've read that little one is anywhere from 4-6 inches long.  It swims and moves around all the time.  Yet I rarely feel it.  How weird is that?  Imagine you had a 4-6 inch long gas bubble moving around in your stomach.  Think there's any chance you would NOT feel that? 

The Bible calls the womb the "secret place."  That seems so accurate.  This little one has been there hiding.  We knew it, but only now can I feel it.

And though this is the 12th time I've been in my 17th week of pregnancy, it is no less exciting, wonderful, or new to feel the movements for sure for the first time.  I am still amazed that there is such a tiny little person growing inside of me.  And I continue to be more and more amazed that God would choose to bless me with this life.  I think the more times I experience it, the more in awe I am of the whole thing.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Long Night

A new record was set at our house last night.  Longest night's sleep for a baby. 

I put Gwen to bed at 9pm last night.  She had a bit of a fever and sounded hoarse--like maybe a sore throat.  I had just changed her diaper, but decided to change her again in case she slept late.  Good decision.

5pm this evening she woke up.  Thanks to my sister we have a video monitor. (I used to think they were a silly waste of money.  Boy have I changed my tune since Julie gave me one!) I was able to see her and check on her all day long.  I missed her!  Sometimes I just stopped what I was doing and stared!

I did get a lot done today though.  But 20 hours is rather excessive!!  Then she went right back to bed at 9pm tonight.  Poor baby has a fever still though so if anyone wants to pray for quick healing we'd sure appreciate it!

Monday, March 21, 2011

King Ranch Chicken

I wanted to share this recipe.  I made it several years ago for a group of teenagers who claimed they didn't like any vegetables or anything healthy.  They loved it.  I made it again recently when we had friends over and it was a hit.  It had never occurred to me that others might like to see how to make things with OUT using condensed soups in order to avoid MSG in their food.

All you do is make a white sauce and add a little chicken or beef base to it.  Finding that without MSG isn't always easy.  At times I've just added some salt and onion and garlic powder for flavor.

Here's one recipe that we make that called for condensed soup, but I altered it to leave that out.

King Ranch Chicken

1 lb tortilla chips, crushed
1-2 cups chicken, cooked and cubed
1/2 lb grated cheddar cheese
1 green pepper
1 onion
1/2 T chili powder
1/2 t garlic powder
4 T butter (1/2 stick)
4 T flour
2 t chicken bouillon or chicken base
2 c water
1 can Rotel tomatoes

Layer chips, chicken pieces and cheese in a large greased 9" x 13" pan. Use food processor and puree the green pepper and onion.  In a pan, melt the butter.  Add flour and stir to form a thick paste.  Next stir in pureed veggies, garlic powder, chili powder, chicken base, and water.  Cook and stir until you have a thick sauce.  This may take a little time, but be patient.  Stir in Rotel tomatoes and mix well.  Pour this over the chips, cheese and chicken.  Sprinkle some extra cheese over the top and bake in a 375 degree oven for 30 minutes or until bubbly hot.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

New School Year

Our school year starts and ends at a different time from anyone else I know.  This year it ended just in time for a spring break and we will start a new year on Monday.

I've worked at trying to create some excitement with new books.  Apparently it's working.  Three of my six students for this coming year are already several pages into a couple of their books.

So I'm wondering.  Does that mean we get a few extra days off? :)

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Purim

This is a new holiday for us.  It's like a gift from God to me so I wanted to share the story.

Some of you have been following us long enough to know we don't celebrate Christmas anymore.  You can read about that on our post about why we don't if you are interested.  Well, when we stopped celebrating Christmas, Roger and I really wanted to still give our children gifts, so we looked for how we could do that still.  We came up with Hanukkah.  For 8 nights, we gave our children gifts every night.  We read about the Maccabees and love the story.  It is so inspiring to read about how devoted they were to God and following His ways.  If all Christians were that devoted to God, I believe the world would be very different.  Anyway, that's not the point of this post.

So after a few years of celebrating Hanukkah, in 2009 at the end of the feast I woke up feeling God was clearly telling me we had now added Mammon (demon of riches and avarice) to Hanukkah.  I knew He was right, but I didn't like it.  Roger and I discussed it and agreed we would still do birthday gifts (God hasn't spoken anything to us about this being wrong so if someone has something to say about it, just shhhh.  I don't want to hear.) but not Hanukkah gifts.  But we love the Holiday so we kept that.

During Hanukkah this last year, we still remembered the Maccabees and celebrated their bravery in a much quieter way (no gifts--which really had nothing to do with Hanukkah anyway).  We still enjoyed it.  The eighth morning I was thinking to myself how awesome it was that not one child complained or seemed to feel a bit slighted that we didn't do gifts.  We talked about it together just before we read the Bible that morning and the kids agreed that they didn't feel they'd missed out on anything.

We'd been reading through Esther.  If you've never read it, or haven't in a while, I encourage you to read it.  It's a good story.  Or watch One Night With A King if you are more into movies.  That morning we just happened to be near the end of the book--chapter 9.  As we finished our reading we read this:

"But the Jews who were at Shushan assembled together on the thirteenth day, as well as the fourteenth; and on the fifteenth of the month they rested, and made it a day of feasting and gladness.  Therefore the Jews of the villages who dwelt in the unwalled towns celebrated the fourteenth day of the month of Adar with gladness and feasting, as a holiday, and for sending presents to one another."  Esther 9:18-19

Did you catch those last few words? We were so excited! It's been there all along, but what an awesome Father to show it to me so clearly right after we obeyed Him and refrained from giving gifts at a time He'd told us not to!

So the 14th of Adar begins at sunset this evening.  We will be celebrating with gladness and feasting and giving each other gifts.  I'm sure we aren't doing any of the traditional celebrating that the Jews do because we don't even know what they do.  But all it says is gladness and feasting and sending presents and we can do that!

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Dye Free Shamrock Shakes

I love mint and I love ice cream.  I used to be a huge fan of McDonald's Shamrock shakes.  But they have dyes so I've never been able to let my children experience that wonderful taste.  Yesterday I came across this link to a recipe for Shamrock Shakes and had to make them--with some substituting. 

Here's what I did.

Shamrock Shakes

small handful (12-15 maybe?) baby spinach leaves (for color--you don't taste it at all)
2 cups milk
4 cups vanilla ice cream
1/2 tsp mint extract

In my 6 cup capacity blender, I placed about a handful of frozen spinach leaves.  Fresh would work too, but we've found if we take fresh leaves and store them in the freezer, they blend nicely and you notice it less in your smoothies.  Worked for our shakes, too.  I then added a little bit of the 2 cups of milk I'd measured out.  I let the blender run until it was just a green liquid and no little bits of spinach were left.  It took a couple minutes on the highest speed.  It kinda looked like there were chunks of butter on top, but I'd bet most milk wouldn't work that way.  I used whole raw milk so it had lots of cream.

Next I added 1/2 teaspoon mint extract (although I only had 1/4 tsp left for the second batch and it was just as good) and filled it to the 6 cup line with vanilla ice cream.  I blended it until it was creamy (Sam made sure because he'd read the recipe and knew it was supposed to be creamy.)

I was going to take a picture.  It came out a nice minty green color.  But no one wanted to wait to drink theirs.  It was gone before cameras could be found. :)

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Being Supermom

It's lonely at the top.

Not that I think I'm supermom, or that I'm a better mom than anyone else (well, honestly I've seen a couple moms that I wondered about, but in general I don't think so), or that I'm at the top in any way.  But people seem to perceive me that way.

There's this line of thinking that seems to be automatic.  I did it myself back when I just had a few kids.  You meet someone with lots of kids and there's this automatic feeling of awe.  How can she handle all those kids?  She must be Supermom!

But you know what? I'm not.  Yes, I have more experience, and yes, I have my hands full.  But I mess up just like any other mom--probably more so since I have more opportunity.  And I worry about each and every thing about my kids just like any mom.  Maybe more so in some areas because I've seen more problems, but less in other areas because I've seen those things are okay.  But overall, I worry a lot.  And just like any mom, I need fellowship with other moms.  I need to be able to talk to people and share my trials and triumphs just like any other mom.

And please don't think I know everything.  You know how you can't remember what you had for dinner last week? Neither can I.  You know how you forget things and when you had your second child, or babysat your friend's child, you couldn't remember things about that stage you've already been through with your child?  I do that too.  It doesn't matter that I'm pregnant with my 12th.  I still have to look up each stage of pregnancy to try to remember what's going on.  And I still can't remember things about what age a newborn should do what.  I have to keep my babycare books handy.  Not as handy as with my first, but still there.  And I still get frustrated when they cry and I can't figure out what's wrong and sometimes end up crying myself because I just don't know what to do or I'm so tired I can't function.  I'm still in awe of how smart they can be or how cute they are and laugh at their silliness.  It's all new every time.

So when you meet a mom who has a lot of kids and you are in awe, just remember that she's just a mom who does what you do-- just more of it.  She needs to talk, just like you do, only maybe more.  Don't walk away scared because you think she'll judge your lack of experience.  She's too busy to be judging you.  Just treat her like you would any other mom--say hi, talk to her, ask questions about her kids, talk about your own, share your trials and triumphs and let her share hers. Offer to help her if she needs help or accept her help if she offers it.  Take time to talk to her at church and don't be afraid of her because she's some weirdo. She's as much like you as any other mom, just busy. But never too busy for friends.