Thursday, February 28, 2008

February Pictures

February is ending and I realizing many of you haven't seen our little kiddos in a bit as I have not made time to take or post pictures often. So, here are some shots and a video for you to check out.

The beginning of February was quite snowy. We had a good snowfall and took advantage of enjoying it for a SHORT time outside...


It's hard getting a picture of Joshua as he won't stay still.



And Papa-bear had to shovel... again. But hey, no need for exercise, right?



Saraina-bug TOLERATES the snow. She's all talk. Mommy, I want to go outside and then cries hysterically at how cold it actually is and how wet she gets. Sweet girl!


Kadin... well, he was fine. But it was more work for Mama since he was not a steady walker. Let's face it, no one wants to fall down facedown in the cold snow!


Saraina still loves her bright orange New Testament my mom gave her. She actually sleeps with it and "reads" it. It's so sweet to hear her recite Scripture from memory as she "reads."Joshua wanted in on the action as well.Kadin enjoyed his very first Rice Krispy treat. (He had a cracker in one hand and a Rice Krispy treat in the other.) He clearly is not put off by sugar. Saraina and her curls.An inpromptu picnic (after William mentioned picnics to the kiddos) in our dining room.Saraina and KadinThe kiddos enjoying time on the top bunk.The kiddos enjoying time on Joshua's bunk. Saraina thought it was fun to climb using the ladder on the side and Kadin was just happy to be with his sibs.More climbing practice for Saraina. Oh- and please do note the clothes. That was once William's western outfit. All we need is a cowboy (or cowgirl) hat!


Joshua loves building. He takes EVERYTHING to build his materpieces which can be a big problem for me and for his younger brother and sister!

Saraina loves playing alone with little people and little figures. Of course, she MUST have her cloth diaper with her though.

The Whitney Kiddos

Joshua and Kadin

Finally, here's a video that captures how they generally play together nowadays. Needless to say, we have many bruises as a result.

video

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Digging Deeper

I'm good at coming up with corny phrases and songs. And my themes for each new year seem to be just as corny. So my focus and theme for 2008 is DIGGING DEEPER. Themes just have a way of getting me pumped.

The Lord has been faithful to show me the many ways I have not been digging deeper in my walk with Him which seem to overflow to other areas. It's almost as if I've become accustomed to and okay with mediocrity in many areas of my life.

And I am NOT okay with that.

God has called me to live a certain way for His glory.

And in this subtle slip into mediocrity I've become distant and only dealt with surface-level things.

Enter DIGGING DEEPER. I want MORE! I want to GROW! I want to be ZEALOUS for what is good! I am THIRSTY!


I like my theme Digging Deeper because with it comes a picture for me. I've never gotten into gardening but it looks like it involves a big mess, a lot of work, and much patience and watchful care. But after time buds of hope appear. Fruit and vegetables sprout. But then again so do the weeds. More work, effort. But, oh the benefits! The harvest can be so bountiful.

So here are my next steps...


- During my QTs, I'm going to focus on the Book of Ephesians (since I finally finished my 90 Days in the Bible in 8+ months!). In fact, William and I are attempting to memorize Ephesians chapter 4. But I also see a need to first be still before God before even opening my journal or Bible. I've been doing this for the last couple of days and it has been humbling to recount the story or my salvation and even recount how kind God is in granting me another day of life!


- In my "teaching" and training of the kiddos, I'm trying to be more consistent and deliberate with joy. They're still memorizing Scripture but I'm now focusing on Scripture that will help "provide a way out" for areas we've identified as temptations for them and common sin patterns (whining/complaining, being kind to others, honoring Daddy & Mommy with their words and actions, etc.). And the biggest change is me going over these things constantly, like during our Circle Time, at lunchtime, and even when changing diapers or cleaning up "accidents" - all with joy.


- Worship all day. That might seem ridiculous to list but I have seen such a change in my heart AND in the kiddos when we worship the Lord throughout the day. The kids, though having arguments and being selfish in their play will stop and sway to the music and join in on the chorus of many songs. And for me, there's nothing better to help me see my need for my Savior than singing songs that recount who He is and why He is worthy of all I am and have and more. So, practically that means during my challenging times (before lunch and dinner) to play music that feeds my soul. And for those extra challenging times (during lunch and dinner when William's not home) to recite Scripture with them.


That's it. Those are my next three steps to grow and deepen in my walk with my Lord. I recognize that I can only do this as I am dependent on Christ alone. And I am excited to see what these next few weeks and months will reveal as I do well and poorly at sticking to this plan. I expect moments of failure and moments of success but it doesn't change my standing before my loving Father. And I even expect to alter this plan if necessary.


So, whatever you're facing today, may you "walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called" for the "one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all."

Kadin - our newest toddler!

Thought those of you far away would like to see our newest toddler doing his thang! This clip is from Valentine's Day. He still isn't speaking though. Wait... he did muster up the effort to scream, "Mama! Mama! Maaaammaaa!" in the wee hours of the night a few days ago!

Without further delay, Kadin David...


video

Friday, February 08, 2008

Wacky Cake - Egg-free, Dairy-free

Because so many people seem to be experiencing this crazy allergy madness, I thought I'd share our new and favorite Chocolate Cake recipe. It's from America's Test Kitchen (2/2006) and can be found at Cook'sCountry.com.



First, William really likes this cake. True, I've only made it once but it was so good to him that he kept asking if I really did not put eggs in it. I was shocked he actually liked it... and that's without icing or whipped cream or even confectioners' sugar! (But he does say it would be even better WITH whiped cream or icing!)



So, if try it let me know if you like it too!



Ingredients:



1.5 cups flour

3/4 cup sugar

1/4 cup cocoa powder

3/4 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

5 tablespoons vegetable oil

1 tablespoon white vinegar

1 teaspoon vanilla

1 cup water

Confectioners' sugar



Directions:



1. Set oven rack to middle position. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Coat 8-inch baking pan with nonstick cooking spray. (Note: I used a glass 9x13 b/c I don't have the own they rec'd)



2. Whisk flour, sugar, cocoa, baking soda, salt, together in pan. (Note: I mixed these things in a bowl and then put it in the pan.



3. Make 1 LARGE and 2 small craters in the dry ingredients. Add oil to the large crater and vinegar and vanilla separately to the remaining small craters. (Note: my oil spilled out of the large crater a bit but didn't touch the vanilla or vinegar. It is important that the three different ingredients don't mix until the right time!)



4. Pour water into the pan and mix with a WOODEN spoon until just a few streaks of flour remain. Immediately put pan in oven. (Note: I was concerned b/c the ingredients didn't look "mixed" at all and some parts seemed thicker and other parts seemed thinner but I stuck it in the oven anyway. The key is to not mix too much or too long.)



5. Bake about 30 minutes. Cool in pan and dust with Confectioners' sugar. (Note: I baked mine about 22 minutes and it was done. And I forgot to sprinkle with the Confectioners' sugar!)

Kadin's One Year Stats, Joshua's Three Stats

I never put this info on the blog (and seeing how I haven't written anything in any baby books in about a year!) I thought I should document it before I forget!

Kadin turned ONE on the 12th of January and weighed in at 18 pounds 4 ounces. Another lightweight, so far. We call him our chunk but I guess we've been wrong! And I guess we should NOT have turned his car seat around. Oh well. We're not turning it back!

And he's also small vertically too. He measured in at 2 feet 5 inches tall. I think he's going to be like my cousin Rasheed (who was also born on his birthday) who's on the shorter side but is strong. I'm talking no fat to be seen anywhere.

Joshua weighed in at a whopping 31 pounds and measured 3 feet 2.5 inches tall at his 3-year check-up. We were shocked because we just knew he was pushing 40 big ones but... not yet.

(And FYI, Saraina-bug is still only 22 pounds. We project Kadin will surpass her in weight in less than a year.)

A Good Day



Today is what I call a "good day." Basically, that's how I reply to William when he asks, "So, how'd your day go?"


It's a good day because...


~ I haven't spilled bleach on my clothes (yet)

~ I haven't burned any food (yet)

~ I haven't sat in someone else's urine (yet)

~ I had great coffee (which I woke up to - thanks to a new coffee pot!)

~ The kiddos and I had our Circle Time AND they did some mini lessons (pre-schoolish stuff)

~ Kadin had a solid morning nap

~ I have high hopes of relaxing my hair during the afternoon nap / video time (now changed to high hopes of showering during naptime - see update below)

~ I know what we're having for dinner (for the most part)

~ I haven't had to clean up any pee pee accidents yet (potty training for Saraina is in full swing and here she is below after going potty!)

~ The Lord was kind to to give me ample time with Him for my QT

~ The milk in the fridge in the garage didn't freeze over night

~ I'm being fairly consistent in my training / discipling of the kiddos (so far)

~ The kiddos and I have enjoyed singing loudly and off key together various worship songs

~ There's been no blood-accidents (yet)

~ And all the beds are made

~ Nothing has broken (yet)

~ And no vomit (yet)


And it's already 1 pm. Only 30 minutes to go till the coveted afternoon naptime.


Lord, I know that I wrongly and sinfully allow my circumstances to determine my happiness all too often. Forgive how quick I am to desire applause for these gifts fo grace you bring my way. I know that these "good days" have nothing to do with how good I am but only reflect how KIND, MERCIFUL, and LOVING you, my heavenly Father are to me.


Whether the rest of the day or tomorrow is "good" or not, I want to sing your praises with a thankful heart that knows how good it is to be loved by you. YOU ARE GOOD! Help me to manage this home in way that brings you much glory. Give me much wisdom to know how to tackle the tasks ahead of me (grocery shopping / planning, laundry, scheduling, home maintenance, my hair, and more). You are so wonderful!





UPDATE: (2 pm)


Upon returning downstairs after putting Saraina and Kadin down for their afternoon naps I found Joshua like this:



Can you see the large wet spot on the front of his pants?

My interrogation with him was like this:

Mama: Are you wet?
Joshua: No.
Mama: Joshua, are you wet? (very slow and deliberate)
Joshua: No, I not wet.

I go and get the camera to snap the picture above. The intergogation continues:

Mama: Joshua, are you lying to Mommy?

Joshua: Yes.

Mama: Didn't I just ask you if you had to go potty?

Joshua: Yes.

Mama: So you wanted to play more than you wanted to obey?

Joshua: Yes.

A few minutes later...

Joshua: I sorry Mommy. Will you forgive me?

Oh Lord! It is still a good day for You and Your truth have not changed!

By the way, sorry for the crazy spacing issues! Blogger always does that to me and it takes more energy sometimes to fix it than it should.

Friday, February 01, 2008

Baby Four and Diastasis Recti

Where shall I begin...

Had my ultrasound with the high risk doc yesterday. The midwife wanted me to see him to check on the size and location of my fibroids, esp. since she seemed a little concerned when I told her how quickly the last two kiddos came. If you're wondering WHY she's be concerned, with fibroids there is an increased chance of going into preterm labor.

The doc I saw today was cool. Very knowledgeable and easy to talk with. He was quick to tell me that the baby looks great and everything is normal. But, as I lifted my head at one point to look closer at the screen he noticed my cone belly.

Let me pause here. One way I can easily freak William out is to lay flat on my back and lift my head to unleash The Cone, aka my belly which looks like an alien is living inside. I've thought my cone belly was really my fibroid bulging out allowing me to see it growing. Nope.

The doc quickly said,"Lift your head again!" And immediately said, "You got diastasis recti. You see that?"

What?! The Cone actually has a name!!! This is great news!!!!

Doc explained that my abdomal muscles are split. Here's a blurb from what I found online:

For some women, pregnancy can cause abdominal separation (also called diastasis recti), a condition where the two right and left sides of the Rectus Abdominis —the “six-pack” muscle—spreads apart at the body’s midline, the linea alba. Separation occurs in response the force of the uterus pushing against the abdominal wall, and pregnancy hormones that soften connective tissue. Separation can occur anytime in the last half of pregnancy but is most problematic after pregnancy when the abdominal wall is weak.

But this is why I am so excited about this news. It finally explains so many of my ailments (potentially, of course!):

Abdominal separation/diastasis recti reduces the integrity and functional strength of the abdominal wall and can aggravate lower back pain and pelvic instability. Separation in a previous pregnancy significantly increases the probability, and severity, of the condition in subsequent pregnancies. Women expecting more than one baby, very petite women, those with a pronounced sway back, or with poor abdominal muscle tone are at increased risk. Genetics also plays a big role. For some women, it is simply how their bodies respond to pregnancy.

The doc also heard about the less than 10-minutes deliveries and said he definitely wants to check me further. Although I'm due in July, he said, "We may want to induce you at 38 or 39 weeks. Just think, if you went into labor in the parking lot on a day like today, your baby would freeze to death!" That got my attention. So, I made my next appointment and we'll take it from there.

Other Baby #4 news... he or she is definitely traveling solo. Translation: no twins. And that, friends, is God's kindness! Again, The Cone has probably made me look much bigger than I am / should be. The one fibroid doc was able to see is only slightly bigger than it was a month ago. That's good news!

Oh - and for my lady friends who are following, my official due date is still July 17th. I'm only 16 weeks along. Or so they think...

Thoughts on COLOR

Do you celebrate Black History Month? Did you know that today marks the beginning of Black History Month? Have you thought much about it?



Well, seeing as I am a black woman, race has ALWAYS been a predominant part of my life. Perhaps some black people out there will challenge me on that. And please do! But I can't remember race ever not being a very visible and talked about thing. In fact, it's weird for me when people do not include race (or ethnicity) in their descriptors of other people. It's just something I do without thinking.



And it is only since being married to a white man that I realize that not everyone thinks about race. I couldn't believe when he was growing up they never learned about famous black people who made SIGNIFICANT contributions to our world. I think he told me he never got off for Martin Luther King, Jr.'s birthday. I was shoked - I went to a school called Martin Luther King, Jr. Academic School! In our marriage, we talk about race all the time and think nothing of it.



I have gotten in many a heated conversation with others when they tell me they "don't see color." I can think of little more that communicates someone isn't really looking at me if they don't see my color. I mean I am far from being "light-skinned."



That said, the reason I want to be seen (including my race), is because God, the Creator, made me! Not only that, He made me in His image! God created me to be a black woman and neglecting that or choosing to not see that is choosing to not see Him. It makes my blackness out to be bad.



I've been noticing that Joshua has been talking about skin color. He'll say things like, "Ooo, that's not good" when talking about someone in a book who has a darker skin complexion. He'll say things like, "Joshua's skin not dark. Joshua's skin light like Daddy's." He's already making assumptions regarding certain skin colors being better or more desirable than others.



Where does this come from? And more importantly, how do we respond to these things?



Most of you (I'm assuming) would not think these things a big deal. But I know how growing up I hated my "black skin" and dealt with kids (of all colors!) commenting on it. I remember other black friends not wanting to spend too much time in the sun in fear of "getting blacker." Then there was the type of black skin one had - more red versus yellow was always better.



Anyway, color is a part of our lives.



I'm hoping our kiddos will grow up seeing God's amazing goodness in making people in all shapes, sizes, and colors. I hope they will not fear using descriptors as if they are curse words.



In our basement growing up my parents had a Black is Beautiful picture hanging. Well, I kinda wish I had one of those hanging in our home right now. Black is beautiful... as is every other color which God created!



So, I challenge you to see God's goodness in making all colors (from black to white), hair textures (from coarse to fine), lip sizes (from full to thin), and noses (from broad to narrow) for His glory! And regardless of where we stand in the spectrum, remember that we were each created in His image.



Oh - and if you're looking for a good way to begin thinking about Black History, check out Chuck Colson's Breakpoint commentary HERE. And just to give you a taste and to encourage you to check it out, did you know that Sojourner Truth's dying words at 88 years of age were, "Follow the Lord Jesus." That's Black History I want my kids to know!