Thursday, January 24, 2008

Below Zero

All I can say it is CRAZY COLD out here!

The news just reported that it has been 24 hours since our city has seen ZERO DEGREES.

And people (kids and adults) walk around our neighborhood with a little hoodie on. CRAZY!!!

I think the wind chill has made it feel like NEGATIVE 24 DEGREES!

It's gonna take YEARS before I get used to this...

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Allergies and Doctors

Currently I'm working through some anger.

This afternoon, in celebration of the RAST (radioallergosorbent - a blood test for allergies) results for Joshua and Kadin which read as Joshua and Kadin being virtually allergy-free in regard to peanuts, the kiddos all ate peanut butter sandwiches for lunch. Ooooo happy day!


Yesterday we got the call from the allergist's office telling us that Kadin's RAST came back with the numbers 0.10 for both peanut and egg *(even though he tested postive for an egg allergy in the office during the skin test) and Joshua's RAST for peanuts was 0.10 and for egg was 0.35. The nurse explained that the boys were virtually not allergic to peanuts as the results showed no allergy. I got off the phone and explained the news to Joshua and we clapped and thanked God for this blessing. I was all set to pick up their Epi-pens but decided to wait for the results. Again, another reason to praise God! I get to save $$ by not getting that prescription!

So, fast forward to lunchtime today. Peanut butter sandwiches all around. Kiddos are happy and everyone ate without too much encouragement. They were digging the peanut butter! But, Joshua finished his lunch and was ready to get down when I glanced over and wondered if I was seeing hives on his cheeks. Well, yes! He had a reaction to the peanut butter. I gave him some Benadryl and within 25 minutes the hives and ichiness were almost gone.

Here's a quick pic of Joshua before the hives went away.


I called the allergist and explained my concern. No one explained how prevalent false negative results are. No one explained that you can have a postive skin test and negative RAST and still be allergic. When the nurse called me back after consulting with the doctor she said the doctor said I can bring Joshua in for a skin test and I almost laughed. Why on earth would I bring him in to see you AGAIN (after the doctor would not give him a skin test last week!) when he just had his own skin test less than an hour ago in our dining room? What would your test show that I don't know? The answer... NOTHING.

Urgh.

So... the allergist tells me to keep all things with peanuts away from Joshua (DUHHH!) and to not give Kadin OR Joshua anything made with eggs (bread, pasta, cake, waffles, etc.). I'm scratching my head in amazement. What a racket! I should've just done what William and I talked about... administering our own "home test" to both Joshua and Kadin. It certainly would not have cost us $40 in co-pays!

Would you pray for the boys and my heart in this situation. Granted, it is NOT a big deal in the big picture. God is way bigger than a food allergy! But, my heart is definitely being squeezed. Joshua has lived 3 years without eggs and peanuts (minus the few Daddy slipped him in a Kudos bar and a few other instances like that!) and he can continue till the Lord says he can do otherwise. But I need more faith. And poor Saraiana-bug can't eat those things either since they "share" food at times.

It is so typical of me to think that everything revolves around and depends on me. I get news like this and feel the weight of maintaining the food budget, having variety in the kids' meals, and get weary in thinking about the logistics in making it all work.

But my Savior knows my sinful tendencies. And He welcomes me to rest in His arms. So that's what I'm gonna do. I'm gonna go take a nap and rest in His sovereignty.

Uuuuggghhh. Nope. Someone just woke up from their nap! I'll go and rest washing dishes instead!

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Our Drummer Boy Turns ONE

Dear Kadin David,

All we can do is giggle when we think of you! What a precious, wild boy you are! Truly, you are not lacking in the personality department.

But this letter is to wish you a happy, happy FIRST BIRTHDAY, little guy! Yes, you're finally able to face forward in your car seat and ride in style! You are getting so big so quickly!!!!

Thinking back a year ago when you BURST into the world, our lives have been all the richer and are so much sweeter. Your infectious smile and hearty laugh combined with your love of cuddling in our arms makes us know the Savior's love more.

There are so many things we adore about you, kiddo. Oooo, we just have to list a few!

We love how red your cheeks get when you wake up from your naps.

We love your ability to drum with and without sticks, standing or sitting. We hope to capitalize on that one day!

We love how aggressive you get when playing.

We love your wild curls which have a life all their own and seem to hide oatmeal so well.

We love how you move your upper body and shake your head as you dance.

We love how you are so content playing or just chillin' by your self. It's so neat to go into your room to see you just hanging out in your crib smiling!

You are so unique yet also so like your older brother and sister.

And like them, our greatest desire is for you is to know the love and peace of God which passes all understanding. We pray for your salvation "for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved."

Happy First Birthday, Little Little!

Love,
~Papa and Mama

Oh- and here's a little video for those who want to see how Kadin reacted to his cake.

video

What We Do For Fun

People always ask us what we do for fun. We never really know how to answer that. Generally we say we like to eat. But now I can tell you just what we Whitneys do for fun.

Ready?

We buy things in bulk and then store them.

And we mean it. See for yourselves what we just got. (We got to work after celebrating Kadin's first birthday and putting the kids down for a nap. Blog entry on that ofrthcoming from my wife.)


Oh- if the font is too small, it reads 105 ounces of tomato sauce. We figure it should last us a month. And at only $1.99, that is a super savings!


Thing is, it doesn't seem that large anymore. I'm wanting bulk which requires delivery to us on a flatbed. And then we'd need a shovel to get the food out of the container.


We need something bigger to conquer. Bonafide bulk. For cafeterias, army mess halls. We need to get it directly from the producer. Forget about messing around with the distributor. Costco has become tame. Any challenge it ever had is gone.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Who Likes Pictures of Themselves?

So my sister emailed and ask me to put a picture of me on the blog. She wants to see how large I am. (Whatcha think, Seve? I should've put on a black shirt since black is always slimming!)

So, although I despise being in pictures, William snapped a couple of me this morning before he went to work.

Explanations for the kiddos if you look back one day and are embarrassed by their mama:

1 - I don't bother to get "dressed" since the days I do I end up spilling bleach on myself or getting spit up or pee or poop on my clothes.

2 - I am all about comfort and warmth these days. Even showering falls behind being warm and comfortable.

3 - I'm a work in progress! But, haven't you read that "though our outer self is wasting way our inner self is being renewed"?
And the pictures I dread...

Under Pressure

Here's my new favorite thing to play with...




Isn't she a beauty! My very own pressure cooker (thanks, Grandad and Grammy!)!!!!

I have memories of my grandmother cooking all sorts of yummy smelling stuff in her pressure cooker. But I also recall the rattling noise of that piece at the top giving us the impression it was gonna blow any moment! But it never did to my knowledge!

Anyway, a friend cooked us some chili in her pressure cooker when we first moved here and I've been thinking about getting one ever since. (Katie, William and I still think back to that meal!) What's not attractive about an appliance that's so versatile, easy to clean, cuts my cooking time in half, and cuts down on my mess?

Sooo, because I don't have any cookbooks on pressure cooking and there's not too much out there online, I've been experimenting... a lot. I've made rice, pasta, pork roast with apples, veggies, a Korean chicken dish, pinto beans, and today we're going for beef spare ribs with veggies.

I've debated over getting a rice steamer / cooker for awhile and never got one because of space. Anyway, now I don't have to! In a regular pot, my rice almost always would boil over. Too much going on to watch the pot like I should. But in the pressure cooker, William said the rice was extra fluffy. Score one!

My pork roast was easy to cook and the clean up was even better. No oven to preheat or keep on for hours. (Hey, aren't we all watching our gas and electric bills!) No splattering mess to clean up. Here are two pictures of my pork roast in process. Picture one is me browning the roast prior to locking on the lid. I should've browned it even more. Picture two is after the pressure cooking. Oh- the apples were WAY overcooked. I was gonna make homemade applesauce from it but they basically turned to mush. I'm still trying to get the hang of when to add things and how much liquid.


Regarding the other foods I've tried, the beans were a bit too firm (gotta add more liquid and look longer, I think), the pasta was fine but didn't save me a lot of time, veggies steam great, and my chicken literally fell off the bone.

So, anyone out there have any experience with pressure cooking? I'd love to get some recipes and tips!

All Mine

The other day we were playing outside enjoying the mild weather. Kadin is finally able to enjoy being outside using a push toy although he is FAST and DANGEROUS as he steers straight toward the road.


Anyway, I was helping to keep Kadin safe when a car decides to do a u-turn in our driveway, where we were playing. I thought some unkind thoughts and tried to extend grace when I noticed they were not moving from our driveway.


I glanced over to get a look at the car and occupants when I noticed they were motioning to me. So, I assume they are lost and need directions and grab Kadin and walk over to them. The lady in the driver's seat yells, "You babysit?"


Now, I was not expecting that!


I awkwardly and with a confused look said, "My kids?" I wasn't getting that she was looking for childcare.


She then looks at the kiddos and then back at me and says, "You mean they're all your kids? Oh!"


Lord, it doesn't feel like I have "a lot" of kids and I still struggle with people's comments regarding "how many" we have or want to have but I thank You that YES they are all mine. And we trust Your perfect plan to provide all the children You have for us to raise, both those you've allowed me to carry in my womb and those we hope You'll provide though adoption. Help me to live for Your glory alone as I am (thankfully) all Yours!

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

The Miracle of Life

Introducing our growing Whitney Kiddo #4...





We found out on New Year's Eve that we're expecting ONE baby in July. While we were REALLY excited about twins, we're also quite relieved. God's sovereignty truly is GOOD. William was a bit bummed because he was all pumped to blog an entry titled, "Deuces Wild."

We also found out the my three fibroids are still thriving, enjoying the ride as well. The largest one is about 2x2 inches right now so hopefully they'll stay small and stay out the way! Perhaps we should finally name them since they've been around for so long and have lived so closely with each kiddo! Any suggestions?

One area we'd appreciate your prayers though is my midwife has asked me to see a high risk doctor. Seems the combo of my fibroids, how quickly the last 2 kiddos arrived, and my tendency to hemorrhage after the births makes me a candidate. Hopefully it'll just be a simple consultation visit though and nothing more.

Anyway, my official due date was moved up from July 17th to July 12th. That helps a bit seeing how I look like I'm already six months pregnant! That was one reason we felt we were having twins. Between my enormous belly, being WAY more nauseous, my constant exhaustion, and back pain, this sure is a different pregnancy. I mean I've gotten ill simply taking my prenatal vitamin which is VERY STRANGE for me! Truth be told, I still want the 20-week ultrasound to confirm that there's only ONE inside! Techs do make mistakes!

But, come July we hope to hold our newest Whitney Kiddo in our arms and welcome him or her to our family. No matter how much work, how much exhaustion, how much pain is involved, we wouldn't dream of having our lives without any of them. Even Joshua and Saraina talk about the "baby in Mommy's belly" coming out one day.


Oh- when we went for our ultrasound we took the whole clan and it was so sweet to have them look and talk about the picture of the baby. Of course, Joshua was VERY concerned about the color and how dark the picture was. I think he thought the baby was going to literally look like that!

Monday, January 07, 2008

Miracles to Remember

It has been a while since I've blogged. As a result, there is much to catch up on. But I must first share two miracles.



Of all the big things that happened in 2007, having a restored relationship with my mom has got to be the highlight I most doubted God could or would change. There's so much I could write about this but it's just too private and too intricate for me to quickly find the words. Suffice it to say, God truly is in the miracle business!



Speaking of God's power, we received our November gas bill in December and swallowed hard as we dropped the temperature down a couple of degrees. We revisited our newly constructed 2008 budget plan and made some other hard calls to make things work. I was full of faith for the changes and really knew it was possible.



Then last week William opened up our December gas bill and we were shocked to see it DOUBLE. I guess those days of hitting 3 and then 0 degrees really caused this ole house to pump! So, we went back to the thermostat and dropped it down again as we zipped up our jackets and slipped on our slippers. What was tough was looking at the numbers on our budget spreadsheet though. How were we going to trim things down again? Those miscellaneous items like cards, birthdays, and Christmas were already virtually non-existent. We both started looking at Saraina and saying to ourselves, "She's going to have to be potty-trained!"



But, we laughed. We can so recall lean times in the not-so-distant past and marvel at how God provides. Did you catch that? GOD provided it. It was NOTHING we had done! We have NEVER gone in true NEED. So, what was going to happen this round?



Given God's faithfulness to us in the past and His sovereignty in allowing us at church to be going through s series now on prayer, we simply took our requests to the only One who could make a way where there is none! I remember asking the Lord to help me make wise choices shopping this month as the grocery budget is really the only negotiable area. Indeed I worked the numbers and asked Him to help me cut back by a specific (yet pretty much unrealistic in my mind) amount, $181. But I knew I could only do it if He would grant me the ability to see His leading and prompting.



Well, literally, it has only been a matter of days since this whole thing has happened and God has worked another miracle. Last night William and I chatted about praying and asking God to meet our shortfall and just this morning He has provided!



Ed the mailman rang the bell this morning and had a certified envelope to deliver that I needed to sign. I looked at the address and name and wondered what it was. I called William and told him about it and asked if I could open it. So, while he was still on the phone I opened it and found FIVE American Express gift cards in the amount of $100 each with a handwritten note to William from a former community board president. He and the board wanted to thank William for his effort and counsel!



The kids were watching a TV show at the time and all I could do after getting off the phone is fall down on my knees next to the computer chair and give praise to the God of all, the Creator of the heavens and the earth, the God who died for my sins, who is the Giver of life, who can do anything, has yet again poured out His mercy on us. Talk about strengthening my faith!



God truly is a Father who loves giving things to His children and meeting their needs as we recognize our utter dependence on Him! Mmmmm, How good it is to be loved by You!