Friday, December 07, 2007

Swamp Smoothie

Here is a picture of a smoothie that my family actually drinks and (here’s the shocker) IT’S GOOD!!

My sister and her husband, and both of my parents eat mostly a vegan diet. The have found all sorts of creative ways to get the good types of food down without sacrificing good tastes.

About a month ago, my mom had me try her spinach smoothie. She assured me that although it looks disgusting, it actually tastes good. First I smelled the stuff. It smelled fine, so I very cautiously took a tiny little sip. Since it didn’t make me gag, I tried a bigger taste. Shockingly, it was actually very yummy!! Next my husband and my kids tried the stuff, and everyone seemed to approve.

Here is the recipe, in case you are brave enough to consume this nutritious treat:

1 cup of OJ
A little bit of soy milk (I don’t have soy, so I use cow milk, about ¼ cup)
A little bit of vanilla extract
A whole bunch of baby spinach-fill the blender to the top with this stuff.
1-2 bananas (frozen is good, otherwise, I add some crushed ice to make it cold)

Put everything except the bananas into the blender and blend until the spinach is blended in very well, into a liquid. Then add the bananas and blend some more. It makes two large servings that could replace a meal, if desired.

Every time I make this stuff, my kids ask if they can have some too. My husband asks for this stuff quite often. Even my brother (!!!) started drinking these smoothies.

If you know me, you would know that I would rather sacrifice a few years of my life by eating yummy things that may not be all that healthy, rather than eating a strict diet of healthy things I don’t enjoy. But I am very excited when I find something that I enjoy that is actually good for me! I just wanted to share.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

So, yesterday, we were having a rather difficult day with one of my kids. She was feeling sad about her grandparents going home to another state after visiting for several days. She displayed this by flipping out about everything, things like me not giving her the answers to her homework (it’s not MY homework. It’s HERS. I will do no more than helping her figure it out on her own, but that’s not what she wanted). So, she was flipping out about that and it just got out of control. She was screaming, as though she was possessed. You would have to actually see this to understand the full extent of what she does. You would probably be shocked.

Needless to say, I was losing my sanity quickly. There were other things going on in the house with the other kids too, since I think the noises coming out of this child were causing everyone to lose their sanity to some extent.

Then the phone rings. I don’t like the phone a whole lot, even when it is a friend (no offense, friends). But I could tell from the caller ID that it was a telemarketer. Not only that, but it is right at dinner time, which also drives me nuts about telemarketers. So I answer the phone somewhat rudely from the start:
Me: “Hello?!”
Guy on the phone: (in jumbled English…) “Is this Mrs. Kendra Evans”?
I am even more annoyed now. My name has not been “Evans” for 5 and a half years! My phone number has been unlisted for 3 years, and I was put on the “do not call” list before that.
Me: (rudely) “Put me on your “do not call” list”!
Guy on the phone: “Is this Mrs. Evans”?
Me: (nearly yelling) “Put me on your do not call list”!!
Guy on the phone: “But ma’am, I need to know if –“
Me: “NO!! Do not call me!”
Guy on the phone: “Why?”
Is he serious? Clearly, he is not dealing with a stable person on the phone. Did he really just ask me why, when I seem to have stated my position so clearly already?
Me: (full blown yelling at this point) "BECAUSE I DON’T WANT YOU TO FRICKIN’ CALL ME!!! I DON’T WANT TO TALK TO YOU! DON’T CALL!!!"

The guy on the phone seems to have hung up on me.

Meanwhile, Tony had been trying to get my daughter to calm down, or at least stop screaming. He comes out of her room, and asks what happened, since he heard me yelling. I said “A frickin’ telemarketer called!”. The look on his face was priceless when he realized that I had been yelling at a telemarketer. Shocked/amused/understanding.

So, I don’t think that guy is going to call back.

Several telemarketers have called since then. (Aarrgghh!!!!! *banging head against the wall* where are they getting my number???) I have managed to get my point across to them without yelling. I just interrupt, and firmly tell them not to call me. I think I hurt someone’s feelings this morning. But at least I didn’t yell…

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Life has been crazy for us lately. There have been all sorts of changes for everyone. We are dealing with some very difficult things right now. Maybe someday I’ll be able to share the details with everyone.

The up side to our current difficulties is that we have been surrounded by friends and family that love us, care about use, and support us. Even more importantly, we have been able to run to God with our problems. We depend on our faith and God’s promises of protection to get us through things. That’s worth more than anything. Our whole purpose while we are on this earth is to get our focus on God, and to help others do the same.

So in a way, these difficult times are also a blessing. They get us where we are supposed to be in terms of our walk with God. When things are bad, it is easy to turn to God for help.

I hope we will succeed in keeping that same focus on Him even when things are good, instead of drifting back into our own world as if we only need God when things are bad.

I want to thank God for the peace I am able to feel by putting my trust in Him. I want to thank Him for all loved ones that support us and make themselves available to us when we need them. I want to thank him in advance for the miracle he is going to provide to us.

I want to pray for the miracle we need, for continued peace and comfort in Him, and His will to be done in His perfect time. I pray for the person who has been waiting for years for prayers to be answered. I pray for the person who is struggling to adjust and feeling judged during a divorce. I pray for the person who is homeless, jobless, and in drug rehab. I pray for the children who are living in a home lacking spiritual and moral values. I just pray…

Friday, August 10, 2007

My baby is here!!!

Kaden Josiah
7lb 4oz, 20 inches long
Born on August 6, 2007, at 11:32 a.m

On Sunday evening, I was monitoring my blood pressure at home and it was too high. I went to the Birth Center so I could be tested for pre-eclamsia, just to make sure I was OK. I went by myself after the kids went to bed, figuring I would get tested and be back home in a couple hours.

While lab work was being done, I was hooked up to monitors. Everything was looking good until the baby’s heart rate went way down for a short time. Soon, it came back up and everything seemed to be fine again.

The student doctor came to tell me that the lab work came back good, but since the baby had a heart rate deceleration, she wanted me to stay the night to be monitored and then have a bio physical profile done (ultrasound) in the morning. She assured me that everything was probably OK.

I didn’t want to spend the night at the hospital. They seemed confident that the issue was not a big deal, so I figured I could just come back in the morning for the special ultrasound. Since I was hesitating about spending the night, the doctor decided to call the ultrasound tech in right then (1am) because they didn’t want me to go home until they knew more. While we were waiting for her to arrive, I tried to nap. It didn’t happen because the nurse came running in. She was panicked. The baby’s heart rate had dropped again. She had me change positions, put on an oxygen mask, and a sensor on my finger, and then she started an IV. The heart rate came back up pretty quickly, but now the nurse and doctor were very concerned that this was happening.

During the ultrasound/ bio physical profile (BPP), the baby was asleep. The tech did all sorts of things to try to wake him up, but he refused. Although we could see his heart beating, and his lungs practicing breathing, he failed the BPP.

The BPP got done at 3 am. Then I had to wait for the results. At 4 am, the student doctor came to tell me that the attending physician (on the phone) decided that it was time for the baby to be born. The induction would start at 5:30 am.

At 4:30, I called Tony to tell him that we were going to have the baby, and that the induction would start in an hour. He and the kids were sleeping. I called and woke up my parents so that they could come watch the kids while Tony joined me at the hospital.

Tony showed up, but nothing happened for awhile. My mom was also invited to attend the birth. I have never invited anyone to be present for the birth before. But this is the last grandchild to be born, and since my mom had expressed an interest in being there, I decided it would be nice to share that with her.

Although the induction started at 5:30, I didn’t feel like I was in labor until about 9:30. At a little after 10, a doctor came in and decided to break my water so that an internal contraction monitor could be used. This made my labor instantly unbearable. I asked for the epidural, and then waited for what seemed like forever. I wanted an epidural for my other three deliveries, but never got one, and was forced to go natural every time. The anesthesiologist arrived around 11:00 (I think). It was a rather difficult process to go through while suffering through hard labor. Once it was in, it was such a relief! I could still feel pain and pressure, but it was now manageable. Once the epidural was in place, the end was very near. In no time, it was time to push. Kaden came out in 3-4 pushes. It didn’t seem all that difficult. The pain was minimal, and I had no tearing.

Kaden got 9/9 on his Apgars (whatever that means). He started looking around right away.

Kaden started having a hard time keeping his body temperature up. Since I had gestational diabetes, he also had to be tested for low blood sugar. Unfortunately, his sugar was too low. They had to take him to the nursery to give him some formula. He didn’t want it, so they had to put a tub down his throat. Later, his sugar was too low again. They tried to give him some formula from a bottle, but he promptly threw it up (he had just nursed). So they had to put in IV in to give him sugar water.

On a side note, by the time I got to go to sleep on Monday night, I had been up for 38 hours. *yawn*

By the next morning (Tuesday), the doctor said we could wean him off the IV. By the afternoon, his sugar levels were doing fine and they stopped the IV. He was also keeping his temp up just fine.

Wednesday morning, Kaden was declared completely healthy. His weight was down to 6lb 13oz, but that is ormal. He is doing a great job nursing. He will have his first check up with his ton Friday. We came home from the hospital at lunch time. It is so good to be back home!

The other five kids are thrilled that their new brother is finally here.

I am just in awe of him. Every time I look at him, I just can't believe how lucky and blessed I am to have him. It's like winning the lottery, but so much better.

Friday, June 29, 2007

Many weeks ago, I wrote about my blood pressure being high, and the effects that may have on my pregnancy. I am happy to report that my blood pressure has been staying in an acceptable range (praise God!). We are still keeping very close tabs on it, but for now it is fine. As each week goes by, my baby gets bigger and healthier. In just a couple weeks, he could be born early and be totally fine. Woohoo!

Unfortunately, we have had a new complication come up. 5 weeks ago, I took my 1 hour glucose test to screen for gestational diabetes. According to the standards used by most clinics nation wide, I barely passed. According to my doctor’s standards which are a bit more strict, I barely failed. She wanted me to take the 3 hour glucose test, which she figured I would probably pass. I was very torn on whether to take the 3 hour test because it is pure torture, and by most standards I actually passed the 1 hour test anyway. But since my numbers were borderline at the very least, I didn’t want to just brush off the importance of this test. Obviously, the health of my baby is very important to me. So instead of taking the dreaded 3 hour test, I bought myself some diabetic testing supplies, and started testing my sugar levels at home. This would either prove that I am fine, or indicate that something is wrong, without having to go through the test at the hospital. After a couple days of testing, there were a few numbers that were alarming to me. I called my doctor, and although it was clear that I was dealing with GD, I had to do the test for insurance purposes. I failed, big time.

So that was a little over 3 weeks ago. I have been on a strict diet to control my blood sugar. I have to check my sugar at least 5 times per day. It hasn’t been too hard to keep my numbers under control. I have to do a lot more meal planning than normal, so it would be a whole lot harder if I were employed right now. I think if I had to switch to this diet just for me, it would be a lot harder to do. But since it is for my baby I have been very motivated, and very successful. I now have a much better understanding of diabetes, although it is very complex.

My baby is doing very well right now. I have started going to the doctor twice per week now to keep close tabs on him. Once for my regular appointment followed by a Non Stress Test (NST), and the second time for only the NST. It’s kind of funny. This is my fourth baby, and this is the first time I have ever had to have any NST. Basically, I just sit in a comfy recliner with monitors on my belly, and I listen to baby’s heartbeat for about half an hour. Doctor checks the read out and sends me on my way. There is a TV/VCR in the room, so Kaylee gets to watch a movie while we sit there.

I have a maximum of 7 weeks left. Hopefully, it will be more than 4 weeks so my baby can get fully cooked. But whatever happens at this point will be fine. It is all up to God, my baby, my doctor, and me (in that order). I can’t believe how fast the time has gone by. I am trying to enjoy every moment. I am in no hurry.

Friday, June 08, 2007

6/8/07 “Graduation”

Three years ago my family and I watched my brother-in-law, Dustin, graduate from college. Something stirred in me and I was inspired to go to college.

When I graduated from high school, I decided not to go to college right away. I was getting married, and I just wanted to be a wife, and eventually a mom, much like my own mother. I had my life all figured out. Then, several years later I found that life doesn’t always go as planned. I had two kids, I was in the middle of getting divorced, and I had no career to fall back on. This is when I started to regret my decision not to go to college immediately after high school. I had nothing to fall back on, and it was a scary time for me.

Life has a way of working itself out. I found a wonderful new husband, and a healthy blended family. I knew I was doing what I was meant to do by staying home and raising our children. But I was still bothered by the fact that I had nothing to fall back on if the day comes that I need to support my family on my own. I figured out the hard way that you never know what the future holds.

So as I sat at Dustin’s graduation and watched all of those people who had achieved their goals, I knew that it was time for me to do the same. I had no idea what I would major in, but I knew that I would earn a college degree, and I also wanted to graduate with honors.

Fast forward to tonight, Friday, June 08, 2007: Graduation Night! Woohoo!!! I achieved both of my goals. I earned an Associate of Applied Science in Human Services, Summa Cum Laude. There were so many times that I questioned whether or not I could do it, whether I was good enough, if I would be able to follow through with my goals. It was quite a journey to say the least. But I did it!

I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. Philippians 4:13

Now I will take a break from school and my potential career. I will go back to what is really important to me, and I will spend the next few years raising my children full time. I am back where I belong.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

A week ago I had a bit of a scare. My blood pressure was up, and my doctor and I were concerned that I may be developing preeclamsia (toxemia). So I spread the word and lots of people started praying for me. I also changed my diet quite a bit in hopes of bringing down my blood pressure. Thankfully, I started noticing my BP coming down some. I had an appointment with my doctor today to check my BP and other signs of impending preeclamsia, and it went pretty well. Although my BP is still a bit higher than normal, I have no other concerning symptoms. I will still have to keep close tabs on myself, of course, but it looks like everything is going to be OK!

With my first baby, 9 years ago, I developed preeclamsia at about 32-33 weeks along, then I had to deliver him at about 34-35 weeks after being in the hospital on bed rest for a week. It was scary, but everything ended up being OK in the end. With my second baby, I was scared that the same thing could happen again, but I never had any complications with her, and I was delighted to deliver a full-term baby. I was also concerned that this would develop with my third child (since she has a different father than the first two, it was like having a “first child” all over again). But I never had any complications with her either. So with this last child, we assumed everything would go just as smoothly as it did the last two times.

It makes me wonder… Do I just have a harder time carrying boys? Or did the baby asprin that I took every day while pregnant with the girls really do the trick at keeping my BP down (it isn’t actually proven to work)?

I want to thank all those who prayed for me and my baby and my family. I trust that all the prayers have made a difference. Keep ‘em coming, as I will certainly need things to stay calm and healthy for at least the next 7-8 weeks.

I’ll try to keep everyone updated.

Thursday, April 05, 2007

It's a BOY!!!!!!

We had our ultrasound this morning, and found out that we are expecting a baby boy in August!
This picture shows just the bottom half of the baby.

His legs are all scrunched up and there is a little something poking out...LOL.

This one is a 3D picture which shows the profile of the face with the arm in front.

We are SO EXCITED to finally know what we are having!

Friday, March 16, 2007

School is DONE!!!

Yay!! I finished my final classes yesterday. I have my associates degree now, and I will have the graduation ceremony in June. I am SO HAPPY to have this behind me. Don't get me wrong, I really enjoyed going to school. But it is very satisfying to know that I finished what I started, and now I can take a nice long break.

I am taking at least 2-3 years off before going back to get my Bachelors Degree. I am going to be a Stay At Home Mom to my last baby, just as I did with all of my other kids when they were babies.

Now I will have a little bit of time to do some things around the house since I don't have to go to school. I still work three days per week, but now I look forward to sleeping in, organizing the house, and painting/redecorating some rooms during my two days off per week.

Hopefully, all of this means that my stress levels will go down quite a bit. I'm sure the extra sleep will help out a whole bunch too.

Can you tell I'm excited???

Monday, March 12, 2007

I wonder what is worse; a man who cheats, or a man who is abusive?

Actually, I don’t wonder. I’ve experienced both of these types of men.
Abuse and infidelity are pretty equal in terms of the emotional pain that goes along with it.

Something I have found to be pretty silly is that both types of man will still confess to loving his wife, even when he cheats on her or when he is regularly violent towards her.

Something even sillier is that the woman will often actually believe that he loves her.

It’s hard to say who is more messed up in those situations. I wonder if these people don’t really know what love is. Or maybe they are just fooling themselves because that is easier than facing the truth.

Can a person who abuses or cheats REALLY love the one they have betrayed????
My kids are finally back home! For those of you who didn't know, they went to visit their dad who got two weeks of R&R while serving in Iraq. The kids went to Alabama for two weeks. That was the longest they have ever been away from me, and the farthest they have ever been from me. It was really odd to have them out of the house. Some days, the house seemed very empty. But since I did still have 3 more kids at home during this time, the two weeks went by a lot faster than I had expected.

The kids had a wonderful time visiting their dad, grandparents and aunt. I am just glad it is all over.

In order for the kids to get to Alabama, we drove to the halfway point for both dropping them off and picking them up. The destination was over 530 miles away. So we drove all day long, and then turned around and came back home the next day. Twice. Needless to say, I am still exhausted from the trips. We got home a little before midnight last night. We also did a bit of traveling during the one weekend between these two trips to celebrate our anniversary.

In other new, I only have to go to school two more times to finish up my degree. Woohoo!!!!

Friday, March 02, 2007

3/2/07 "Heartbroken"
Life seemed to be going great. School is almost done (2 weeks left!!), my pregnancy is going just fine, and my family has been quite healthy. Life is good, right?

Then all of the sudden I am hit with something that turns my world upside-down. I am numb. Heartbroken. And I realize how alone I am.

I don’t know how to react, respond or recover from what has caused my torment. Pray for me…

*sorry to be so vague. I am unwilling to talk about it right now.

Friday, February 16, 2007

I am SO JEALOUS of all of my friends who get together for bible study each week! I want so badly to be with them. Right now, it just isn’t a good time for me. You know, it’s probably silly, but I feel a bit left out. Just to be clear, I am NOT being left out at all. I was invited. They want me to be there. They are happy to see me the few times I have come. So I understand that it is completely irrational for me to feel left out…LOL.

I guess my fear is that maybe everyone is getting really close and bonded to each other while I am missing out. I really want to become closer with several of these friends. Friendship is a long process though. Sometimes, I wonder if there is a limit on how many close friends a person can have. Will all those friendship vacancies get filled up without me?

Monday, January 15, 2007

1/15/07 “Judgmental People”

It amazes me as I realize how judgmental people are on a regular basis. It seems to me that strangers, acquaintances, and friends all seem to come up with all sorts of judgments towards others.

Up until the last couple of years, there weren’t many people I associated with. Yeah, I had no friends. Apparently, in joining a social group I have gained more than just the friends and acquaintances I was happy to be part of. I have also put myself out there for other people to judge me and everything about me. I guess I was na├»ve to expect anything different from “friends”, even from Christians.

To be fair, I doubt that “everyone” judges me so harshly. But it’s hard to know. There are the looks, the off-handed comments, or the outright talking-about-me-behind-my-back that I find out about days, weeks, or months later. But how much is there that I never end up hearing about?? It makes it hard to trust anyone.

I realize that I set myself up for it as soon as I let anyone know anything about me. People just can’t resist, I guess.

Let’s see, there was the time that Tony and I asked for prayer for our marriage that was feeling pretty rocky at the time. That opened up the door for others to think that it was because we don’t get out without the kids enough. We were told that we “need” to do that as though that was the answer to some issues that had nothing to do with that. Apparently, we didn’t need to simply have prayer for our marriage as I had thought. No… it seems I also needed to take the advice of others who had no idea what they were talking about.

Then there was the time when we were really struggling financially. For the first time ever, we actually got a shut off notice, and we had no idea how we were going to pay our bills. (I now know that there was a reason. God was shutting a door on a job so he could open a new door to a great job. Transition isn’t easy. Seeing His plan isn’t easy. But GOD is good!)Again, we asked for prayer. We got more than prayer. There were also the judgments and/or gossip about how we can’t handle money, or that there is no reason we should be struggling as people who have no business doing so estimate what our income vs. expenses might be. I have no idea where anyone would come up with the figures necessary for such evaluation of my personal finances, but the point is that it is offensive that anyone would think it is their business at all. (The exception would be if I were asking for monetary help from someone. Then they would certainly have the right to wonder/ask. But that’s not what I’m talking about here…)

Then there are all the judgments associated with parenting choices and techniques. It’s just unreal.

Let’s see… I have received judgment from others in regards to breastfeeding, breastfeeding for too long, attachment parenting, co-sleeping, cloth diapering. Some might say I’m a mean mom for giving my kids chores to do (keep room clean, + one more chore, requiring about a half an hour of work per day before playtime). Give me a break!

If I express frustration towards any problems there may be with the kids, there will always be the select few who think that means I need unsolicited advice.
Certainly, this insightful advice from an outsider will help me overcome my parental deficiencies.

Then there is the announcement of a child on the way. This news seems to be an invitation for people to ask personal questions.

Was it planned? (MYOB)
Don’t you have enough kids? (We will soon)
How many more are you going to have? (Does it matter?)
Is our house big enough? (Um, yeah. We fit in our house just fine. Why would anyone else worry about this?)
It seems that some people don’t think we should have anymore kids. In light of the financial problems we had nearly a year ago, we must not be able to afford our kids.

After our pregnancy had been announced at church, someone actually laughed at me. I don’t mean a little chuckle. It was more of an obnoxious cackle that was very inappropriate. It seems this person thought the baby was unplanned, and she took great joy in that thought. It was interesting to watch this same person unable to manage her own child during the service while our family and the another large family sat with a total of nine children (ages 9 and under) being appropriately quiet during the service. Hmm…

This rant of mine is not to say that I am never guilty. I understand that it is human nature to be judgmental. But this just seems ridiculous at times. Human nature or not, it is wrong, and it’s time for people, especially Christians to make some changes.

Do not judge and you will not be judged. Do not condemn, and you will not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven. Luke 6:37