Sunday, February 28, 2010

A recipe and a basketball game

So after the Beans and Rice post I thought it would be good to post a yummy comfort food recipe. I did a little Cooking Co-op cooking today so this recipe was sitting out and it's one that all the kids eat as well. Here ya go...Enjoy!

Ham Balls

1 1/2 pounds ground ham
1 pound ground pork
2 cups bread crumbs
2 beaten eggs
3/4 cup milk

Mix all together in a big bowl (just mush it together with your hands...messy!). Form it into baseball-size balls. Spray a 9x13 casserole with non-stick spray, put the balls in the pan, then make a sauce of the following:

1 1/2 cups brown sugar
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup vinegar
1 tsp. dry mustard

Whisk together until sugar is dissolved then pour over ham balls into the casserole. Bake uncovered for 2 hours at 275 degrees, basting occasionally with the sauce. If they start to get too brown on top, cover with foil for remaining half hour or so. This should make 12 good size ham balls. YUMMY!

Max and The Sooners had their final basketball game of the season and boy was it a good one! They finally won!! Not that we care, or that that's what it's about by any means, but truly, I think that one win made the season for Max. And I'm pretty sure they were dead last anyway so it didn't change anything, but to win a game was very exciting. Max puts forth such an awesome effort every game, and he really is a great encourager for his teammates. We were very proud of him, the Sooners, and oh so thankful for his coach, Steph, who put in the time to teach them with grace and patience!

Just gave our final nebulizer treatment for the evening for the Tater Bug (we may be a long night!) but 'tis the season, as everyone who has the pleasure of being the proud owner of a nebulizer knows, right? Started with a little cough on Saturday morning, right after I had finished saying how healthy our kids had been this winter on Friday night. I should have known better than to open my mouth about that one! Here's to a quiet night. Love to you all~

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Beans and Rice...Yummy Yummy

So this has been our family's meal for the past 3 nights. Beans and rice...yummy yummy (anyone else thinking of The Wiggles song "Fruit Salad, Yummy Yummy"?) Our church presented us with the very cool challenge of eating rice and beans for 3 days--either just for dinner or for all 3 meals--as an opportunity to help an orphanage in Honduras that we have a strong ongoing relationship with. By committing to eating rice and beans for 3 days, we contributed our grocery and/or restaurant money to help support a feeding program that Ministerios de Fe Vida Nueva "Ministries of Faith and New Life" runs. Just by 1000 people in our church doing this, we were able to feed these 50 children in Honduras for 1 YEAR. Praise the Lord!

There are many issues and groups of people that God really cares about but did you know that there are 3 specific groups of people that are mentioned over and over in God's Word? These people are the orphans, the widows and the strangers. In fact, the importance of caring for these people is mentioned more than 60 times in the Bible! Deutoronomy 10:18 says, "He administers justice for the fatherless and the widow, and loves the stranger, giving him food and clothing."

As I ate my rice and beans for 3 nights (and watched my 7-year-old whine the first night, then realize that's all he was getting the next 2 nights!) God broke my heart for the mother who cannot feed her children. My heart broke. I got tears in my eyes as I thought of being able to walk into a grocery store and buy the bagels and cream cheese that Charlie had asked for, being able to buy donuts this Saturday morning for a treat. I thought, would I be tempted to steal to feed my children? How unbearable to be in that position, where you know it is wrong, but it is more wrong to have hungry babies.

To be honest, I like rice and beans. :) By the third night, I put a little cheese on them for all of us, and boy did everyone think that was a treat! Isn't it amazing how our perspectives can change so quickly? When I find our family losing that perspective a little bit, you better believe that I will be bringing out the rice and beans again! Here is a lovely prayer that was sent out to help encourage us as we finished up our 3-day journey:
Lord God, you love us, you love your church, and you love those who are oppressed and underprivileged. We are now done eating our beans and rice for 3 days. But let this not just be 3 days of something we chose to do that will be forgotten. May it leave an impression on our hearts that leads us to act justly, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with You. Help us to love and give freely to those in need because it is part of who we are in Christ. Amen.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Edited post on kidneys (again...only if you're interested!)

This girl's got style! Don't you agree?? So she calls downstairs and asks, "Mom, can I wear a dress?" and I say "Sure, but make sure you put some tights with it so your legs aren't cold!" and this is what happens. This is her Easter dress from when she was 2. And those are her "Bear Bottom" tights because yes, there is a bear face on the tush of the tights. Unfortunately with the negative 200 degree temperature today, little miss did have to change her dress, but I am amazed that she could still get this thing on (and I'm amazed I still have this dress...why is that?)

Anyway, she's got a little thing going on with her kidneys. Maybe. And the only way that we would know for sure is to do a pretty invasive test that even a grown-up would not want done to them in a million years. 2 years ago, Zoe was hospitalized with a crazy high fever. While we were in the hospital, they ran every test in the book on her, of course including urine tests. They found her urine looked terrible, but they don't know if that was the cause of her infection/fever or that because her fever was so high, she was dehydrated and that's why her urine looked awful. Could be either way. Since that time, she has had at least 3 more UTI's (urinary tract infections) that I really only suspected because she wet the bed a couple of times (the girl's got a bladder of steel, and has been potty-trained at night since just over age 2). She only complained about pain maybe once or twice, the tough little cookie. So at my insistence, we saw a pediatric nurse practitioner who specializes in nephrology. Did you know there was such a thing? Neither did I, but we love her to death!

So NP Carissa tells us that it is extremely abnormal for little Z to be having these UTIs. Now, her regular NP was not missing something, I am the bad mommy in all this because I was taking Z in to have her urine checked at walk-in clinics, thinking that we could get a simple UTI cleared up with an easy script. So this is my bad. So 6 months ago, she ordered an ultrasound of Zoe's kidneys to check their size, shape and position to make sure nothing was way off with the anatomy. Very interesting to see your kid's insides, and Zoe was so cute because she thought she might have a baby in her tummy, since she was with us when we had our ultrsounds with Tate! :) Anyway, come to find out her kidneys are pretty small for a 3 1/2 year-old but then I question the fact that they are measuring on an American growth charts. But then again, they measure her height and weight on American growth charts...if they measured that on Ethiopian growth charts, she'd be off those for sure! Carissa thinks it's possible that Zoe has a congenital condition where urine refluxes (goes backward) from the bladder back up into the kidneys, which can lead to scarring. There are one-way valves that allow urine to come down from the kidneys into the bladder and stay there, but in this particular condition, those valves are two-way valves, allowing the urine to go both ways. The way that they think there could be scarring in the kidneys is that there is poor growth of the kidneys (i.e. small kidney size). Have you read this far?? You get a gold star!

So what is the problem with this condition? If (and it is an if since we don't know for sure) Z has this reflux condition, her kidneys could be scarred, the valve problem is not treated (treatment means surgery to fix it), down the road she could have kidney damage, high blood pressure, and potentially kidney failure. And her nurse-midwife mama immediately goes to worse-case scenario and sees dialysis and a kidney transplant! Which is WAY worse-case scenario, OK? Many, many, many kids who have this (it is a fairly rare condition) actually outgrow it on their own without the surgery. For some reason, the valve "strengthens" itself and the reflux no longer occurs. Which would be our hope if Zoe would have this, because Lord knows she doesn't need another procedure, bless her tough little heart.

Which leads me to the test and my request for your prayers for us and for Zoe. Like I said, we love Carissa (our NP), and trust her to offer us wise counsel on what to do for our girl. She has strongly recommended that we do this test for Z. It involves taking a series of pictures of her bladder, ureters (tubes from the kidneys to the bladder), and kidneys via x-ray and ultrasound. They will have to place a catheter (yikes!) and fill up Zoe's bladder with fluid and a dye. They have to completely fill her bladder to see if the fluid "refluxes" back up into the kidneys. The reason she can't be sedated for any of it is because she then has to get up and empty her bladder and they have to ultrasound her again to make sure she can completely empty her bladder. And the length of the procedure all depends on how "cooperative" she is...the less cooperative, the longer it will take. Breaks Mama's heart. But on the positive side...if she tests negative for the reflux, we can potentially be discharged completely from the nephrologist's care! No more ultrasounds every 6 months, and not that we don't love C, but it would be one less thing to worry about. If she does have the reflux, at least we would know and then we would cross that bridge. Please pray with us about what to do for Z and to calm my heart and mind about what the best thing to do is. I think God is nudging me in this direction but that doens't mean it's easy. Thanks for reading, if you've gotten this far...and thanks for praying.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Weird nights, early mornings, and a lesson on kidneys (if you're interested)

I was so exhausted last night...I had my weekly migraine (which for the past 3 weeks has come on you think my body is telling me it would like a 3-day weekend??). I fell asleep watching ice dancing. Ice dancing is sort of lame. I mean, they are talented and all, and I know it took a lot of hard work to get there. I'm not dissin' the ice dancers or anything. OK, I am a little bit. But whatever. I fell asleep watching ice dancing. Buck sleeps like the dead, so no way he would wake up and turn off the TV, so sometime around midnight I woke up and turned off the TV. Couldn't get back to sleep for a bit after that. Nice.

Finally got back to sleep, had the weirdest dream that Buck wanted me to read his journal. So (in my dream mind you) I read his journal and found out that he had had another child with some girl he went to high school with. And he told me this in his journal! So I woke up from that craziness at 2:15 and lay there seriously thinking back trying to remember if Buck dated this girl in high school which is ridiculous because he and I started dating when he was a sophomore for goodness sake. I hate the middle of the night thoughts because they are so bizarre! Couldn't get back to sleep after that weirdness either.

FINALLY blessed sleep came again and then BEEP BEEP BEEP. You thought that was my alarm clock? Oh, no, we don't set alarm clocks around here because we have 4 children that God somehow programmed like roosters to wake us up with the sunrise. No the BEEP BEEP BEEP was the cordless phone that I have to take off the charger on my nightstand all the time, put it up high out of Tate's reach because he plays with it all the time, and the last time he played with the phone he called 911 and then they called me back to make sure everything was OK. Which I was thankful for. But embarrassed because, you know, I didn't realize my 1-year-old had called 911. So the cordless phone decided it had a low battery at 4:55 this morning. Nice. Again.

So I had a very restful night. You?? Sorry I'm too tired to do the lesson on kidneys, that will have to wait til another day. Zoe has a little kidney issue we're figuring out but I'll fill y'all in some other time. Peace~

Friday, February 19, 2010

Excuses and Reasons

So there are all sorts of reasons not to do things. I don't have the time for that. I don't have the money for that. God is not calling me to do that. You could certainly call those things reasons. But careful, there. Those could very well be excuses.

Did you know that it is estimated that about 30% of Americans consider adoption at some point while only about 3% actually do it? So there are 27% of people out there who have maybe had this laid on their heart, then either brush it off or watch that dream float away as the years pass...then they look back and think, "Man, that was something I really wanted to do."

Here was our list of past "reasons":

Can't afford it

What will we drive?

Our house is too small

What if there is some scary unknown disease that this child brings home?

How is this going to affect our bio kids?

They will resent us!

People will think we are crazy

Can't afford it

People will think we are doing this just because "we want a girl"

I do not want to drive a stupid mini-van!

All this paperwork for a baby? Let's just get pregnant!

Where do you even start?

What if the plane crashes when we travel...we leave our two other kids as orphans for crying out loud!

Can't afford it

Is this really God's will for us?

How am I going to do that hair?

We are too young for 3 kids...under 4

This is most definitely not the right time.

I really don't think I'm that good of a mom anyway.

How are we going to pay for this?

It costs what? Where are we going to find the money for that?

Can't afford it

Both kids are potty-trained. I deserve a break.

Here's the deal, friends. It's not about US. It's not about ME. Much as we'd like to think, and much as our heart breaks, it's not even about the kids. It's about HIM. About the One who wants us to follow His lead. He wants to be the answer to every question. He is the answer. A wise mama Amy says "We limit God with our excuses. We limit God with our fears. By doing this, we are actually robbing ourselves of the blessings, robbing ourselves of the true joy, robbing ourselves of truly living."

Listen to this quote too, and see what you think: "Children are often described as resilient, but the truth is that they are usually ignorant of the alternative" ~Maya Angelou.

OK, my friends, heavy stuff. Please, please, please know that I fully realize that adoption is not for everyone. I would never try to push it on anyone. But for those who have considered it, even felt called to it, but maybe looked at that list and said, NOPE, NOT FOR ME, please, let God soften your heart. For some of you, your spouse may be your excuse. Guess what! God is even bigger than your spouse!! I can tell you some great stories about how God overcame those barriers as well. Trust me. More than that, TRUST HIM. Much love to you all.

And thanks again to Amy for the inspiration for this post.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Fun Photo Friday

Oh what a fun week it's been! Busy, busy and babies, babies! But fun stuff. Here's a quick glimpse at my babies...lights of my life and what keeps me smiling.

Tate is sort of learning to eat on his own, but hasn't quite mastered that plate thing yet. How can you "discipline" this smile?

These two have figured out the absolute best part of eating spaghetti!

Max's 100 stripes for the 100 days of school! He thought of this idea all on his own, made it all on his own, counted each stripe all on his own, and without counting them myself, I could guarantee you that there are no doubt 100 stripes on there. This kid is WAY more meticulous than I could ever be! Way to go Max!

The Zo-Girl is 4! Daddy's special Number Pancake for birthdays. Note the sleepy but happy eyes. Our girl is so special!
Have a great weekend. I am going to be writing a little something about adoption later today (I hope) because of a little gathering I'm hosting to get some information out about the adoption process in general. I am passionate about adoption and about helping families find a way to make adoption possible...please take what I post in that context. Thanks for indulging me! :) Have a great Friday!

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Another recipe and a little Max...

This one is so yummy I was thinking about it all day today. It's from my friend Julie, whose 4 boys are lucky to have a mommy who is such a good cook! And I'm going to stop saying these recipes are easy because let's face it, I really don't have time to cook things that aren't easy. So here goes:

Angel Chicken
You will need:
6 boneless skinless chicken breasts
1/4 cup butter/margarine
1 package dry Italian salad dressing mix
1 can golden mushroom condensed soup
1/2 cup dry white wine (any kind)
8 oz. cream cheese
Hot cooked angel hair pasta

Here's what you do. Place chicken in crock pot. In a medium sauce pan, melt butter. Stir in the dry Italian salad dressing mix, then stir in the mushroom soup, white wine and cream cheese until combined. Pour over chicken in crock pot. Cover and cook on low setting for 4-5 hours. Serve chicken and sauce over hot pasta. YUM~

Also, make sure you check out Max's button. He added a little something for you. There will be more to come. Have a great Tuesday!

Sunday, February 14, 2010

A Little Humility

Don't you love it when some things in life really make you realize your overall smallness and true place in the world when our heads and thoughts might be getting ahead ourselves?

Such as...

*Although I am a competent mom, I really can't handle raising these 4 kids by myself. I was alone last week as Buck was traveling and it was hard, hard, hard. Not only do I need my husband, but I also need my friends, my neighbors and my exercise buddies! Wow, that's a lot!

*I shared this on Facebook so my FB friends will be seeing this for the 2nd time, but this is Charlie's take on my singing: "Mom, you see how I'm singing to myself, with my mouth closed? Maybe you should try that." And it's true. I'm a terrible singer. But you know it's bad when your 5-year-old is critiquing you like Simon Cowell.

*When your 7-year-old says to you "Mom, you know I would really feel safer if you would put 2 hands on the steering wheel." I wasn't texting or talking on the phone or anything, I promise! But give me a break, this isn't Driver's Ed!

*It does tend to bring you down to earth a bit after you've attended a lovely birth, had the glowing new parents think the world of you (when in reality the new mama did all the hard work, and you know for a fact that you are only a vessel), and then you come home to...literally...piles and piles of laundry and a baby with a poopy diaper. Reality.Check.

I truly think God has a way of putting things in front of us that need to be seen. I also think that He puts things in front of us when we need to be built up as well. This just didn't happen to be one of those times. A little humility! Peace~

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

A new blog!

Wow, does this blog look pretty or what? Thank you to my new friend (I think I can call her that after all the e-mails I have put in her in-box!), Chelsea, at Aqua Poppy Designs for making it look so fancy!!!! If you haven't been here before, welcome! And if you used to read "I Love Naptime", welcome back. I still love naptime (let's be honest, who doesn't?), but wanted to focus a little more on the many, many joys and blessings that come with parenthood. All the buttons on the side are still works in progress so stay tuned. I'll let you know when they get fancier! Max (of course!) is excited to help me write "his story". Leave a comment...or not...but know that we're glad you're here, climbing our little family tree with us.