Saturday, December 15, 2012

Two Little Words

Two Little Words

Matt and I have been waiting for months now to hear two little words. I wish I could say I have been patient, but the truth is that I am not a very patient person. I bet you were thinking that the two little words would be “We’re Pregnant”, but nope, that’s not them. We have been waiting and waiting to hear “We’re Approved” for adoption.

That’s right, after ten months of waiting we have been approved to adopt from the state foster system. So from here, we wait to be matched to our kids. We are hoping for siblings, under the age of 6. Maybe two or three, we didn’t put a max number down. I did see on the national waiting children website that there are sibling groups of five!

In a day our family could double in size! We are so thankful that God already knows who are kids are and we have been praying that he protects their hearts from the abuse they may experience before they come to us. We have also been praying that God will equip us to be able to help them and parent them the best way we can. It’s exciting and I would say that I hope you all will be praying for us too, but I already know that there are so many that are because I have an unexplainable amount of peace about everything that is about to change in our life.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

The Little House Revealed- Kitchen

In April, Matt and I bought a Hud Home to renovate and live in. It has been a lot of work, but it is so rewarding to see all that we have accomplished. The home sat vacant for over a year, but before that the family that lived here did not do much house work, which was evident by all the dead bugs and bug poop everywhere. Before we painted we scrubbed everything down with disinfecting Pine Sol.
The house is little, 1100 sq feet little, but the space is laid out really well, and for such a small house it has a pretty nice size kitchen.
In the kitchen, we took out all the cabinets and scrubbed them, sanded them, and painted them. We also put Pergo floors in the entire house except the bathrooms and laundry room.

The new floors are great, they are really hard to scratch and so far even the chairs have not scratched them. I like them so much more than carpet and they have been so easy to keep clean. Some people said they would not do well in a kitchen, but so far I have not had any problems. We just made sure when we hooked up the dishwasher and ice maker they were not leaking.

 We took every single thing that was attached with a screw out of the house. We replaced all the hardware with brushed nickle and put in new electrical outlets and light fixtures. The only 2 things that were not taken out of the house were the bath tub and shower stall.

 Painting the cabinets was a huge job, especially since they were so dirty and had to be scrubbed and sanded so much. We probably put at least 40 hours into them. Cabinets are expensive, so I think we still did really well. My dad had to help us repair a couple of them and he made us an entire new one to go on the side of the dishwasher so we could utilize the entire length of counter. You can see in the picture above that we have not hung the door on it yet.

  I really love my Folk Art chicken painting. I bought it on a Facebook resale page for my birthday present. You can't see it very well, but I have a vintage kitchen towel on the stove with a chicken on it and my paper towel holder is also a chicken. They are cute but I don't think I have overdone it in a cheesy way.

I hope you enjoyed the tour of our little kitchen. I think it turned out great but what's most important is that I'm able to prepare and serve tasty and healthy meals.

It took me over an hour to format this correctly, and at the end I was so frazzled that I may have missed a few mistakes. Please ignore them. Thank You.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Kidney Check-up appointment

My girls in my kidney support group know what I mean when I say that the anxiety before a check-up appointment is horrible. I am sure it's just as bad if you had a cancer check-up. The fear that your labs will be bad is always present and real. My last appointment was a little less anxiety filled than normal, and I am thankful to report that I got a great report.

Exactly a year ago I saw my nephrologist right after Malakai had passed away and I was recovering from the Pre-Eclampsia. Looking back at the labs for the past year, everything is looking very stable and IN FACT things are getting better. (Yup, I am doing the happy dance right now!) The improvement is slow, but I am so thankful that the numbers are heading in the right direction. He said there is no reason I should be worried about my numbers since they are slowly improving. My creatine is slowly coming back down and my protein is also getting better. My protein was never a really big concern, but it has been hanging out above the normal range for a while now. Normal is 0-15 mg and I think I had about 50 mg. Some of the girls in my group spill 1 or more grams per day and that is when it becomes a concern.

We talked about getting pregnant again and he said that he would prescribe the IVIg treatments for me. Wahoo! He first wants to call and speak to a doctor that prescribes them to make sure they increase pregnancy success and to know how often I will need them. There are only a few doctors in the country that specialize in auto-immune disorders AND pregnancy (reproductive immunologist) and they all happen to be to far to drive to. These doctors use IVIg treatments a lot, so I hope they are able to help him help me. I'm praying that everything falls into place soon.

I'm so thankful that everything went well and we got all good news back. I'm continuing to pray for complete healing for my kidneys and that our family grows soon!

These pictures are from the appointment, since it was close to the beach we decided to stay and make it a vacation.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Pre-Baby Making Appointment

At lunch, before the appointment.
I never thought that having a baby would be easy for us, but I never thought it would be THIS HARD. We have seen so many doctors this year, all in hopes that we will find the missing piece to help us have a healthy and full-term pregnancy. On Friday, we saw a new Maternal Fetal Medicine doctor in hopes that he could suggest some new treatments. We were really impressed with him and the whole hospital. For the first time I felt like we had found a doctor that was going to be there to help us.

We talked about so many things, and before we knew it, we had been in his office for an entire hour. We went over what happened during our last pregnancy with Malakai and what we hope will happen next pregnancy. I will try to update you in the most easy to understand format.
1. IVIg treatments were one of the first things I wanted to talk about. He said that they may help, but there is a lot of evidence that it could increase my chances of getting pre-eclampsia again. I also thought that it was really interesting that the antibodies are not just in my blood, THEY ARE EVERYWHERE. In every little tissue there are anti-bodies. His explanation was great and it went something like this: The anti-bodies carry around little bar code scanners and scan everything. When they get to something, say the pregnancy, they scan the barcode and it comes up that it is broken. Since its coming up that it's broken my body then starts to attack it like its something making me sick. The best thing to do is to reduce any factors that would make me have a lupus flare up. Lucky for me, my lupus is very quiet. He said that it will be important for me to listen to my body and when I am tired, take a nap. Don't over do it.
On our way there.

2. My kidneys. The most he said about my kidneys is that as long as I am stable and not spilling protein, now is a good time to try. He focused less on the kidney function and more on stability. He really emphasized eating a very healthy and balanced diet. I have been doing so well on my diet and he said it's great that I have been able to reduce my blood pressure so much; it will help us next time.

3. Lupus and Auto-immune stuff. I am going to stay on the Plaquenil which will help reduce flares and help the pregnancy. This is a new thing since I have never taken if before in a pregnancy, so I hope it is a big help. I am also going to increase the aspirin I take everyday which will help reduce clotting and take blood thinner shots 2x daily.

After we discussed everything we asked if we could go tour the NICU. He called up there and arranged for us to meet with one of the NICU doctors and we talked with him for at least 30 minutes and then toured the NICU, Well Baby nursery, and Delivery ward. The NICU doctor was funny and said that Prayer is the Best Medicine. We really like everyone we met; they were all so nice and confident they could offer us great medical care during our next pregnancy. It was like they really wanted to see our dreams come true and they wanted to help us do it.
Found on pintrest. Source unknown.

Thursday, October 25, 2012


As October approached, I started to get very sad. I had been thinking about all the things I would have liked to have done with Malakai at his big 1 year birthday, but am unable to since he left us so soon. Several of my friends were so sweet to me. I had a couple close friend send me cards to let us know that they still remember him and are thinking of me. A couple friends that were with us through Malakai's journey wanted to celebrate his day, so they took me to lunch. Another sweet friend thought of me when she was at a craft fair and picked up the picture I have posted today "Grace".

Looking back, I was so crushed that we were once again not able to bring home a baby. I was so ready to jump into adoption and fill that space in my heart with kids that needed a mom and dad. We really thought that God was leading us toward adoption. I mean- adoption is talked about as a awesome thing in the Bible, surely God would want that for us. We continued to pray that God would direct us and it seems pretty clear that God wants us to build our family another way. First, with the failed private adoption, and then second with the road blocks to get our approval for state adoption from foster care. God does like to surprise us, so maybe he has a curve ball for us, but for now we have peace about getting pregnant again.

Tomorrow, I have an appointment with a Maternal Fetal Medicine doctor and I hope that he will prescribe IVIg treatments I have mentioned before. I am getting excited about the future for our family. Sometimes, I find it hard to get excited when things have gone wrong so many times in the past, but this time I am getting really excited. I will be completely honest, last pregnancy was so hard. I was so scared I would go to my next appointment and we would not be able to find the heart beat. I think I missed some of the joy of my pregnancy because of fear. I'm sure I will still have those moments, but I hope that in that moment I can remember to put my trust in the Lord.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

October Freezer Cooking

October is almost gone and my freezer is full. This month I cooked with a new cooking buddy and we had a great time. The food all turned out really great; I have already tried a few of the meals. The majority of the meals I choose are from the Once a Month Mom site. It is a great site, and I love that they have tried all of these as freezer meals. We made 8 meals, so we will have a few meals we still need to cook or eat out to have an entire month, but it was still really successful. 

Over all, I think we spent about $225 for all the meals we cooked. My cooking buddy did all the shopping for meat and non-perishables at the commissary and I was shocked at the great prices. I bought all the produce from the organic co-op.  They are all gluten/dairy free, but there are no funny ingredients in them to make them this way, just simple cooking.

As I dive into gluten and dairy free meals, I have found I really don’t like substituting a bunch of ingredients to make a “normal food” gluten and dairy free. It’s a lot of work and it should not be this hard. A lot of what we made is oriental and that is all naturally dairy free and gluten free if served over rice. I know some people would have a really hard time giving up their favorites, but for me it’s not been that hard. I guess what makes it a little easier is that I feel so much better and I am still able to eat really flavorful meals. 

I will admit that when I go out to eat, it is really hard to stick to gluten and dairy free. It has been a lot easier for me if I plan our meals and freezer cooking helps me do that so much. 

Everything is strapped in and ready to go.

 Curried soup is so GOOD! I found lemon grass in the fresh herb section at the grocery store- but it was in a tube. It worked great.

 Taco Soup was in September's menu too.

 Honey Bourbon Chicken was so good last month that Matt said he would eat it this month too. I use my potato masher to break up the chicken after it cooks and I like to add a bag of frozen broccoli 1 1/2 hrs before I serve it.

 The red sauce in this recipe is so good. It was really easy to make too. Instead of layering it with raw chicken on top of rice and the sauce on top of that, I froze it all separately. I think I will pour the sauce into the crock pot and cook the chicken in it on high for 2-3 hours. It will almost be like Parmesan Chicken without the breaded chicken and cheese. 

 These are going to taste great. They look fantastic.

 I have made this before and it is really great. I will add more bell peppers to it, but I had run out on cooking day.

I have made this in the past. Her site is pretty neat; the only changes I made were that I used regular coconut milk, not low fat, and I cooked my own beans instead of using canned.

This is the recipe for Jambalaya I have always used, but this time it was not as flavorful, I think I may have forgotten to triple the spices since I tripled the recipe. I also used chicken instead of ham and sausage and those add a lot of flavor too.

Some of these recipes I doubled, tripled or quadrupled. I froze all my meals in 2-3 portion sizes and my buddy did all hers in 4-6 portion sizes for her family of 4. Making one meal vegetarian really helps cut down on cost too.

I am still not sure how to upload my shopping list, but if you want to do all of these yourself, I can send it to you in an e-mail. 

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Adoption Update

Sometimes, so much happens that I have to take a few days to let it sink in and process before I share it on my blog. So many things are going on this month and I want to focus just on adoption today.

I know that I shared last month that we were very excited and a little discouraged that our home study had been sent in. We were excited to finally have it approved and complete and discouraged it was taking so long. Everyone that went through the process with us has already been approved, why has ours not even been sent to the state yet? This whole time we have been going through this, I felt that I HAD to do something to feel like I was trying to grow my family. Going through the classes helped me to feel active. I really thought we would complete the classes and our home study and things would go without a hitch.

The more time passes the more it seems that things are not working for a reason. We have been faithfully praying that God would give us peace as we decide how to grow our family and I am surprised at how well I have taken the newest news.

Last week we found out that our home study was never sent to the state office last month.

It's a long story but, I am proud of myself for the way I handled the situation. I very politely let my social worker know that I was not pleased my study had been delayed another month. I'm normally so nervous to speak up, but this time I did and I did a good job.

We should have an appointment soon with a Maternal Fetal Specialist, or high risk ob. This doctor seems really nice, much nicer than the last doctor I saw. So, while it seems adoption is not working for us at this moment, it is still something that holds a very special place in my heart and I am am not sure what God has in store for us yet, but I am positive it will all be worth it.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Wednesday Update
Yesterday, I had my 3 month check-up with my rheumatologist. He asked me how I have been feeling and if I felt as good as I wanted to feel. It's pretty awesome to have a doctor ask if you could feel any better. I told him that I have so much more energy now and all the cramping has gone away from my joints. Plaquenil is awesome! We also discussed IVIg again and he said that I NEED to add that to my next pregnancy. We have already done everything else that is normal protocol for someone with a positive ANA and Lupus anti-bodies and APS. THIS IS THE ONLY OTHER MEDICINE WE COULD TRY. He said that he was surprised that the MFM I saw would not at least try it since it is safe and has no side effects.

I am encouraged that he said that all my numbers look good. They are not too high and I think that they will get better the longer I eat a whole foods diet. We talked about my new eating habits and he asked if I had lost any weight. I have lost about 10 pounds in the last three  months and he said that is because when you cut out things your sensitive to, you will lose weight. For me, I cut out dairy, gluten, and processed sugar. He also said that it is great that I have cut out those things and that there are not enough people that consider how food impacts their life. He seemed to think that it would be more important to be dairy free than gluten free.

I'm glad that he is a nice doctor. I feel better about getting pregnant now that I am feeling better and there has been slow improvement in my kidney function. I think that it is going to continue to get better. I also think that cutting out dairy, gluten, and sugar is going to help so much. Even if I don't get IVIg I am on 1 new medicine (plaquenil) and the MFM said that would help.I am getting another opinion from a MFM that is in his own private practice, I hear he is really nice and he does use IVIg a lot.

Hebrews 4:15-16 (KJV)

For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin. Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.

This passage is so encouraging to me. As a christian, my high priest is Christ Jesus and this verse is telling us that He knows everything that we are going through because he has gone through all these things, AND He wants us to come to Him with GREAT FAITH that we can have everything we need through Him.

Friday, September 28, 2012

Coconut Chocolate Chip Cookies

Did you know that coconut is really healthy and good for you? The fat that is in coconut is very similar to the fat that is in our kidneys, so for kidney disease patients like me, its a super food. When I found that little tib-bit of information out, I felt like I could really incorporate coconut into my daily meals a little better. I already love coconut, this just give me a reason to eat more of it.

A favorite cookie of mine has always been Ranger Cookies from my Better Homes and Gardens cook book. They taste great but for some reason when ever I would make them, the dough would not stick together very well. That was not the problem with my tweaked recipe that I have adapted to become Coconut Chocolate Chip Cookies.

Coconut Chocolate Chip Cookies (gluten free and dairy free)

1/2 cup coconut oil, room temp but not totally melted
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/4 Teaspoon baking soda
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 1/4 cup gluten free flour mix (wheat flour would also work just fine)
1 cup quick rolled oats
1 cup coconut flakes
1 cup chocolate chips

1. Using your mixer beat the coconut oil, granulated sugar, brown sugar, baking soda, egg, and vanilla together.
2. Add the gluten free flour, rolled oats, coconut flakes, and chocolate chips one at a time until each is mixed well. Use a spoon to mix the dough if it becomes to hard for your mixer. This is the point I like to pre-heat my oven to 375 degrees.
3. Drop by rounded spoon full onto parchment lined cookie sheets and bake at 375 degrees 8-10 minutes.
4. It's tempting to eat them as soon as they come out of the oven- but wait for them to cool a few minutes or you will burn your tongue.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Update 2.5

I am excited to share this update with all my readers. Over 10 years ago I found out that I was having kidney problems and high blood pressure. So, for over 10 years I have been taking medicine to control my blood pressure every day. After Malakai was delivered last fall, I was taking 300 mg of Labetalol 2x daily and 5 mg of Enalapril. Today, I am so excite to announce that I am now only taking 2.5 mg of Enalapril. The does is so low they don't even make 2.5 mg tablets, so I have to chop my pills.
Image from
Not only has my blood pressure come down drastically, but my pulse has also come down a lot too. Back in November my pulse was over 90 beats per minute, and that's high. I have also lost 20 pounds since November. A lot of the weight was water weight, but I have lost all my pregnancy weight. I am very proud of myself.

This is so encouraging to me and I am so thankful that God is doing great things. He has placed people in my life to help me learn and research what I could do to help my health improve.

What have I been doing differently? I cut out refined sugar like white sugar, high fructose corn syrup and artificial sugars. I also have been gluten free for about a month now. I also challenged myself to not eat out for 30 days, so that eliminates a lot of processed foods. I have been exercising several times each week too.

A friend shared these encouraging verses with me last week:
Psalm 62:5-8 - "Let all that I am wait quietly before God, for my hope is in Him. He alone is my rock and my salvation, my fortress where I will not be shaken. My victory and honor come from God alone. He is my refuge, a rock where no enemy can reach me. O my people, trust in him at all times. Pour out your hearts to him, for God is our refuge."
Found on Pintrest.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Frustrated, Aggravated, Confused

Found on Pintrest, don't know where it came from, it cheered me up.

Frustrated, Aggravated, Confused. These words describe how I felt last week. I was so upset I cried in the car, I cried in the shower, and I cried with other people. I am feeling much better this week and I will let you know how things are this week too.

Frustrated: Last week we got an update on our homestudy. It has just been sent to the state office. LAST WEEK. At the same time last week, several other couples that went through the class have been approved for adoption from foster care. I can’t blame our case manager for this entirely, we did ask to start the process a couple of weeks later, but for it to delay us THIS MUCH? Matt said it a good thing we are not in a big hurry. 

Aggravated: Last week (on the same day) I got a call from the Maternal Fetal Medicine Doctor that we had seen in August. He wanted to let me know that he talked about the IVIg treatment with ALL the other MFMs and they would not prescribe the treatment. They agreed that it is a safe treatment, and should NOT CAUSE ANY HARM, BUT THEY DON’T HAVE ENOUGH EVIDENCE THAT IT WOULD HELP. What? That is insane. A research hospital that is so very much respected by other doctors will not prescribe a treatment that has no side effects because there is NOT ENOUGH evidence that it will help. I called my OB and he is supposed to schedule me an appointment with another MFM that has a private practice and hopefully he will be willing to help. 

Confused: Through all of this I was left confused. We have been praying that God would make it clear what we should do and what way of growing our family we should pursue and last week I felt so confused. I have been praying that God would make it clear what door I should walk through and I felt more like I was in a revolving door that just kept me going in circles.   

Peaceful, Content, Thankful. These are the words that describe how I feel right now.

Peaceful: I am at peace about all of this at this moment. Matt has encouraged me to not be worried and fearful about my kidney numbers and stats. Less important are the actual numbers and more important is kidney stability. Right now my numbers are looking pretty stable, low and crappy- but stable. That’s a really good thing. I am reminded that I serve a great and awesome God, and He can make the impossible things POSSIBLE.

Content. In April, we bought a little foreclosure outside of town at a steal of a deal. We spent a lot of time together fixing it up and remodeling and even though it is half the size of our city house, I am so content here. Last night, I told Matt that we spend more time together now than we did before and it’s been really great. Now we do so much more together, we are not just sitting in the same room doing different things, but we are doing more together.

Thankful. I am  so very thankful for all the people that God has brought into my life. I am thankful for my husband and his ability to make me smile, provide for us, and love me even when I am an emotional basket case. I am thankful for all the new friends God has brought into my life. I am thankful for this opportunity to share what I am going through in my life, and I hope that somewhere out there my story is giving someone else a little glimmer of hope that things will always work out for the best when we are able to Trust In God.

Friday, September 14, 2012

Monthly Cooking. DONE

On Wednesday, my sister and I did our big day of cooking. I would say it went really well and so far I have tried the Taco soup and Sweet and Sour Meatballs and they were both good.
Some tips to make the day go faster and with fewer problems.

1.       Prepare all produce that day before. Chopping, dicing, slicing, and mincing everything. This will make preparing everything so much faster. It also helps the onion smell to disappear before your day of cooking.

2.       Rinse your potatoes in the dishwasher on the rinse cycle. I had read about it somewhere else, and it works!
Picture found on pintrest.

3.       Gather enough containers and freezer bags before you start. We ran out and ended up using yogurt containers instead of driving 20 miles to buy more bags.

4.       Ask the butcher to cut all your meat instead of doing it yourself. 

5.       While you’re shopping for all the freezer meals, go ahead and buy the toppings and sides that go with it all. Like noodles, rice, chips, cheese.

6.       Freeze your bags flat so everything stacks nicely.

7.       Keep the vacuum close to clean up the floor.

8.       Wash and tidy up as you go. I know for me I don’t have enough large bowls to use a new one every time, and so we have to wash them often.

It went really well, and for both families we spent about $400 for the month, so $200 each. We did our shopping at Earth Fare and it’s great going in there and not guessing what is ok and what is not, they do that for you. Some stuff is more expensive and I will it at the regular grocery store next time but the meat prices were comparable, we paid $3.75 for ground chuck.

I wish I had more pictures to share, but my sister would not let me take any of her and then my battery died.
My kitchen has still not fully recovered and my house smells like a Chinese restaurant now. It’s ok, it will be better after I mop (I hope).