Friday, February 27, 2009

Good News...

I am happy to report that my niece, Anna Claire will be coming home tomorrow!!! Sarah and Mike will be "rooming in" with her at the hospital tonight in preparation of bringing her home. All three of them are able to stay in a hospital room and have the doctors and nurses there if need be. Anna Claire has been without apnea spells, has been taking all bottle feedings for over 48 hours, has passed her hearing test as well as being able to sit in her car seat for 30 minutes. This baby girl is ready to come home and I know that Sarah and Mike can hardly stand it!

This also means that Aunt Christy gets to make another trip to Nashville. I will be staying the week with Sarah, Mike, and Anna Claire and let me just say that I can not wait to love on that baby girl!

Thank you to all of you that have sent emails and left such sweet and encouraging comments here on my post these last couple of weeks. You have encouraged us and to know that there have been so many praying has truly touched our hearts.

I will be checking in when I can and I am sure that I will have LOTS of pictures to share. Have a wonderful week and I will be back soon.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009


I have a really delicious recipe to share with you today, but before I do, I wanted to share one of the latest pictures of my niece, Anna Claire. She is still in the NICU but continues to do very well. She even gets to wear baby clothes now although the little socks are like knee socks on her. We can't wait until the day she comes home!!! Is she not one of the most precious things you've ever seen...

A couple of weeks ago, I made a recipe that Carrie (Buzzings of a Queen Bee) had posted on her blog. I have tried a few of her recipes before and each one has been fantastic. Definite keepers in our family. This latest one was a recipe for Lemon Chicken with Croutons. This dish is DELICIOUS! The best part of the whole dish are the croutons... she wasn't kidding when she said that you would be fighting over them. One of my favorite ways to prepare chicken these days is to roast them. It's easy, affordable, makes the house smell oh so yummy, and the leftover chicken is great for chicken salad. I promise, you will love his recipe!

Lemon Chicken with Croutons

1 (4-5 pound) roasting chicken
1 large yellow onion, sliced
olive oil
kosher salt
freshly ground black pepper
2 lemons, quartered
2 T. unsalted butter, melted
6 cups (3/4 inch) bread cubes (1 baquette from the bakery section of your grocery store)

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Take the giblets out of the chicken and wash it inside and out. Remove any excess fat and leftover pinfeathers. Toss the onion with a little olive oil in a small roasting pan. Place the chicken on top and sprinkle inside the cavity with salt and pepper. Place the lemons inside the chicken. Pat the outside of the chicken dry with paper towels, brush it with melted butter, and sprinkle it with salt and pepper. Tie the legs together with kitchen string and tuck the wing tips under the body of the chicken.

Roast for 1 1/4 to 1 1/2 hours, or until juices run clear when you cut between the leg and thigh. Cover with foil and allow to sit at room temperature for 15 minutes. (The onions may get a little brown, but the flavor is really good!)

And for the best part part....

Meanwhile, heat a large saute pan with 2 T. of olive oil until very hot. Lower the heat to medium-low and saute the bread cubes, tossing frequently, until nicely browned, 8-10 minutes. Add more olive oil, as needed, and sprinkle with 1/2 t. salt and 1/4 t. pepper. Place the croutons on a serving platter. Place the whole chicken on top of the croutons and slice it, letting all the pan juices and onions distribute over the croutons. Sprinkle with salt and serve.

Monday, February 23, 2009

God Is Good...

What a week (really I should say the last two!) it has been. After staying with Sarah for the last week, I returned home on Saturday. These last two weeks have been nothing but amazing as we celebrated the early arrival of Anna Claire. She is now in an open crib, receiving some bottling feedings, and hasn't really had any apnea spells in the last few days. When she was weighed the other night, she weighed in at 4 lbs. 9 oz. so, at this point she has surpassed her birth weight of 4 lbs. 7 oz. A coming home date hasn't been set yet as they are wanting her to be able to sit in her car seat for 30 minutes without any problems, continue to gain weight, and have her bottle feedings down. She really is doing great and we are all so proud of this tiny bundle of pure joy!

I have found myself this morning getting back into my routine here at home... packing lunches, getting the kids off to school, catching up on piles of laundry, and planning our meals for this week. It's been quite awhile since I have read any blogs and also writing some new posts. These last two weeks have brought many things to my mind that when I have some time will put into words. In particular, this past week was not only filled with continued good reports on Anna Claire, but our daughter, Jessica found out that she was accepted into YWAM (Youth With A Mission) and will be attending their DTS (Discipleship Training School) in Maui (yes, Maui!) and will be leaving on September 10th. As I would sit in the hospital with my sister, we talked of what an incredible moment this was for both of us. Here she is with this new baby daughter while I am in the place of preparing to send my daughter off. As I sit here right now, I am filled with thankfulness and praise for what God has done in our families life. He has answered our prayers, made it known that He is near, been our comfort and source of strength, and has made our joy complete. God is good.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Update on Anna Claire...

I just returned from the hospital and thought I would give another quick update on my niece, Anna Claire. She continues to take one day at a time and is definitely making progress. She is no longer under the lights for jaundice and yesterday she received her first bottle feeding. Right now she is only able to have one bottle feeding a day because of the amount of energy it requires from her little body. When Sarah gave her the bottle today, we were able to hold her and love on her for almost an hour. It was wonderful! I've been taking Sarah to the hospital in the morning or early afternoon and staying until late in the evening. Everyday we sit there and say to each other how amazing it is that we sit there for hours just staring at this precious little girl.

The nurse reminded us this evening that with preemies, everything is on their own little time table. We are so thankful that Anna Claire hasn't had any major set backs. At this point, we are praying that the apnea spells will cease. She hasn't had many of them, but she needs to be in the clear of them seven days straight. Hopefully within the next day or so, she will be moved to open crib. Once she is in an open crib, she willl need to maintain here body temperature, be taking bottles, and gaining weight. Thank you again for your prayers and your words of encourgement. They are so appreciated!

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Update on Anna Claire...

Anna Claire continues to do very well. She is now breathing on her own and has been given regular tube feedings. It appears that her little digestive system is finally getting the hang of things, which is really good. She is a little jaundice, so she is spending time under the lights. Sarah said that as her digestive system begins working that her bilirubin number will begin coming down. I want to thank all of you that have been praying again. Anna Claire is nothing short of a miracle, and we have found ourselves in this incredible state of praise and thanksgiving. 

I will be leaving tomorrow morning to go visit Sarah, Mike and Anna Claire for a few days, and I can't hardly stand the wait to see her. I also can't wait to see my sister holding her daughter. Sarah completely amazes me and there is no one that I admire more. A year ago in September, Sarah and Mike lost twin daughters at 20 weeks. It was a road marked with sadness and grief, but they continued to believe and trust God with everything they had. Hope and a faith that didn't waiver is what they held onto with every ounce of their being. Anna Claire is a little girl who is very blessed to have parents like hers. 
I'm going to be taking a little break from posting regularly but will continue to give updates and share photos of Anna Claire. I am so thankful that I am able to go and spend time with Sarah, Mike, and Anna Claire in the weeks to come. When I am at home, I want to be spending it with my family. Thank you again for your prayers and for sharing our joy. I am blessed to have a community of friends like you!

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Welcome Anna Claire....

I just wanted to share some really special news with all of you.... Tuesday at 12:50 am, my sister, Sarah and her husband, Mike welcomed the arrival of their sweet daughter, Anna Claire. She weighed in at 4 pounds 7.9 ounces and is 17 1/2 inches long. Anna Claire surprised us all by arriving 7 weeks early but continues to show us how strong she is. She is doing very well and already has all of us wrapped around her tiny finger. Right now, the estimated time for Anna Claire staying in the NICU is two weeks. Don't you love the purple bow? The nurses put that in her hair yesterday. Every girl needs a bow right?

We Love this little girl!

I also want to thank each and every one of you who were aware of the situation when Sarah went into premature labor on Monday. When Steve and I were headed to Nashville at 11:00 p.m. Monday night, I knew that there were friends out there that I could call or text no matter what time of day it was. I SO appreciate and love you. God heard our prayers! It was so comforting and encouraging to know that there were people praying on behalf of Sarah, Mike, and Anna Claire. We know that you are now rejoicing and celebrating with us!

Monday, February 09, 2009


Just wanted to let you know that I am still here... just in case you are wondering. I always wonder about all of you when it's been several days since you last posted. I just haven't had much to say here lately. I think it's one of those times that the things that are going on inside of me right now are just between me and the Lord. As I have shared before, I am beginning the Believing God bible study by Beth Moore again. I didn't realize until last week when I opened my book up from the last time, that it was actually five years ago when I did this study the first time. So much has changed since then and as I sat watching the first session I couldn't help but think about how I had no idea what was in store for me during that time. Of course I find myself asking, "Lord, what do you have in store for me this time? How are you going to teach me to exercise a much greater faith?"

So, that is where I am right now. Just thinking, praying, and processing some things. I am learning once again that faith and believing God go hand in hand. More than anything I want to be caught in the act of believing God.

Without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.
~Hebrews 11:6

Tuesday, February 03, 2009

"R" You Ready For Some Fun...

I recently started following Christy from Falling Around All Apart Me and she played a game in which another blogger friend assigned her a letter and she had to come up with  10 things she loves beginning with that letter. I thought it sounded like fun so Christy assigned me a letter too! My letter is "R" and here are my ten things I love...

1) Reese Peanut Butter Cups... really, I love all things peanut butter & chocolate. 
2) Running
3) Resting... God has really been teaching me a lot about this lately. What a gift it is!
4) Recipes... collecting them and trying new ones.
5 ) Relationships... since having a personal relationship with Jesus, my life has been changed. I also love the relationships I have with friends and of course with my family.
7) Road Trips... loved them since I was a little girl. I think some of the best conversations happen in the car. My husband knows to always take the long way.
8) Relaxing on the beach... I know this kind goes with the whole resting thing, but is there anything better than sitting on the beach, sand in your toes, a great book in hand, and the sound of the ocean?
9) Reality T.V... Jon & Kate Plus 8, Survivor, and American Idol
10) Remembering... looking back on what God has done in my life knowing He has always been faithful and is strengthening my faith for the future.

If you would like to play along, just leave me a comment and I will assign a letter to you!

Sunday, February 01, 2009

Happy Birthday Jessica...

It seems that all I hear myself saying lately when looking at my daughter is,"Where has the time gone?" 18 years have flown by faster than I can even believe. There were days that I thought would never end, yet now I would take some of those days back in a heartbeat. To have her cuddle in my lap with her Bear-Bear and sucking her thumb, to see her walking around playing dress-up, playing with her baby dolls, and to just hear her sweet little voice.

Days of dressing- up (and she did it well!) are now replaced with trips to the mall to go shopping. The cuddling doesn't happen like it used to but there are still many hugs to be found. The baby dolls, dollhouses, and other toys are all packed up in boxes and hopefully will one day be passed onto a daughter of her own. And that sweet, little voice is now a voice of a young woman who has opinions of her own. A voice that isn't afraid to ask the hard questions in life. A voice that can talk about things that really matter. A voice that will make a difference in the world.

The maturity, confidence, passions, and love for the Lord she has amazes me. She has a wonderful sense of humor, and desires to live life at it's fullest. She is intelligent, compassionate, discerning, and often so wise beyond her years. God really has begun an incredible work in her heart and her life and I look forward to seeing His plan unfold. I have learned so much about who I am as mom through Jessica. Things I know I could have never learned on my own. Through that, I have deeply learned about who God is as my Heavenly Father.

Today I celebrate my daughter's 18th birthday. I celebrate who she is and all that she is becoming.

Happy Birthday and I love you so very much my Jessa girl.