Thursday, May 30, 2013

Maternity Clothes

Let's talk about maternity clothes, shall we?

I think it's safe for me to say, after I have analyzed my thoughts lately, that I am obsessed with maternity clothes.

Who out there thinks that there are such cute choices these days? I can't even remember if I wore maternity clothes when I was pregnant 19 years ago with Russell, but I can tell you that maternity clothes have come a long way!!

I had a small stash of pregnancy clothes from Lucie's pregnancy 5 years ago, and when I got pregnant after Lucie, well, having twins just changed my body shape permanently and those clothes that I had saved from Lucie's pregnancy fit for the first 6 weeks, then they were too small! So, I gave them away to a friend.

And now, I have no maternity clothes.

So one day recently, I went online and commenced window shopping for cute and useful and comfortable and nice looking pregnancy clothes.  

I found Old Navy online.  They have such CUTE stuff! I browsed for at least an hour on that site.  And, just to be fun, I began to fill my online cart with clothes.  I put anything I wanted in my cart.  I thought of the things I'd need, but I also thought of what was cute and versatile and even things that would work after this baby is born and that I could wear as regular clothes that didn't look like pregnant lady clothes.  I found tons of stuff.

33 items, to be exact.

I listened to my inner gal and picked whatever stood out to me, and I picked whatever colors appealed to me.  There are a lot of sunshiny, cheerful colors in that cart.  There are a lot of really sweet dresses in there.  I simply adore cardigans, so I put whichever ones I liked in there too.  The whole cart is filled with things that this formerly conservative, frumpy and boring mama would never have worn in my early days!

It was so fun filling that online cart! I've never done that before, just throwing caution and frugality to the wind like that.  I acted like I was a millionaire!

I'm usually a thrift shopper and a resale and Goodwill junky.  All of the maternity clothes I have ever had have been second-hand.  I've shopped the resale shops around here and exhausted their supplies of maternity clothes.  Truthfully, the maternity clothes in the two resale shops that sell them are very, very small and it seems that all of the items are either black or gray.  I shopped and looked and felt like everything was so gloomy and sad and plain.

On a bit of a side note that isn't necessarily a rabbit trail, I'll be turning 40 next months (I'm having to practice saying that so I can get used to it) and I'm undergoing a metamorphosis lately.  I have always had a bit of an unusual, unique streak of funkiness or hmmm, eccentricity, and I have noticed that it's coming out a bit more lately, as I get older.  I have always denied that part of me before, thinking how unseemly it is and how a mama with as many kids as I have had should be staid and solemn and serious.......but I can't help it now! My head is being turned by a bit of glitter and glam and unusual colors and styles that I wouldn't have worn 5 years ago! Sassy nail polish, big dangly earrings, bigger hair, a bit more makeup with colors I wouldn't have worn when I was get the picture.

Ha, you must be thinking that I now love to dress like Cindy Lauper at a costume party!

Not quite.

I have noticed that I have refined my own personal style and you know what? I like it!! I'm getting a bit more adventurous in my older age now.  My online cart on Old Navy reflects that.  

The thing about all of this is, now I need to figure out how I can get those things in my cart.  I literally have not one piece of maternity clothing! I'm wearing my only nursing bra, and it's from when I had Sofia, who is now 7, and I won't even describe the condition it's in!! I've been wracking my brain to try to come up with ways that I can purchase those things, short of selling one of my kids. I do think about the super pretty stuff in my online cart a LOT......thus I can conclude that I'm totally obsessed!

I think I covet.  I try not to!! I know it isn't good.  But when I notice my regular, everyday elastic skirts getting tighter and tighter and my normal shirts displaying more than is good for anyone to show, I do covet!! The Lord knows that I'm bereft in the clothing department.  He knows I'm struggling with coveting.  He cares about that.  He cares about those little things that nibble away at us daily.  I believe that! 

I know there is going to be a way for me to be fully clothed and secure through this pregnancy.  So I'll just wait and hope and try not to let that full online Old Navy cart of gorgeous clothes sneak into my dreams!! 

Monday, May 27, 2013


I thought I'd be different today and post a recipe.

I can't even remember when I last posted a recipe!

Try not to faint.

I have no idea why I don't have a regular recipe day on here because I absolutely love to cook and I have tons of my own recipes that I've come up with! Silly of me, I know.  And everyone loves a good recipe that they've never tried before, so what gives?? 

Forgetfulness, so it's my mind that gives OUT!! Ha.

So, here you go.  This recipe is for a whole Costco package of chicken breasts, which is 12 breasts.  Please, adjust the quantity to fit your family!

Teriyaki Marinade (Original recipe created by leanne gilchrist leeswords2013)

1/2 C soy sauce (we use Bragg's Liquid Aminos, because I'm gluten/wheat free, and soy sauce is not gluten/wheat free)
1/2 bottled lime juice, such as Santa Cruz Organic Pure Lime Juice
1/2 C brown sugar (you can adjust this for sweetness)
5 garlic cloves, crushed (you can also use garlic powder, so use 1 tsp garlic powder per clove of garlic, and this can also be adjusted according to how garlicky you like your stuff)
1/3 C olive oil
1 handful chopped cilantro
12 boneless, skinless chicken breasts

In a bowl, combine the first 4 ingredients and mix very well. I use a mini whisk to mix it, but you can use a fork too.  Add olive oil and cilantro and mix well. Place chicken in two gallon sized zippy bags and pour marinade into each bag of chicken.  Turn bags this way and that (very technical here, folks), coating the chicken really well.  Let the chicken sit in the fridge for at least an hour.  After the hour of marination has passed, pour the chicken and marinade into two 13x9 inch baking dishes.  Bake the chicken at 350 for at least an hour to an hour and fifteen minutes, until chicken is done.  Serve with hot cooked rice.  Makes 12 adult sized servings.

**The fun thing about the marinade is that it's versatile. You can use it as a salad dressing for an Asian chicken salad or you can pour the marinade over steaks.  It's a great dressing for the Asian brown rice chicken salad that I came up with and will post at a later date.  The chicken breasts can be frozen in the marinade too.  Also, the best thing about this recipe is that you can cook the chicken breasts in the crock pot!! I use my crock pot's 6 hour setting, but you can do whatever, according to your own crock pot.  Put the chicken in the crock pot on a Sunday morning when you get up (if you get up ridiculously early at 5:30 like I do!) and let it cook while you're at church.  By 1 PM, when you get home, it ought to be done!!**

!Recipe created by Leanne Gilchrist and is under copyright with leeswords2013.  If you wish to share this recipe, permission from the author is required. Thanks!!

Friday, May 24, 2013


I don't know about you, but I think pregnancy cravings are so funny!

I mean, out of nowhere you suddenly start craving things that you weren't even thinking about.  Sometimes they're really funky cravings and really weird cravings and sometimes they're even things that you know you'd never eat.

I've always had pregnancy cravings, in each one of my pregnancies.  Some were stronger than others.  I like to see what's going to pop up next and I think it's a miracle that cravings happen, from just a tiny little human being inside of you.

I know that a lot of times cravings can come from a nutritional deficiency in our bodies.  I know that the craving for inedible things is called pica and can be attributed to a mineral deficiency.  But most of the time I crave things that are very fatty and high in calories because, well, to be honest, I often forget to eat during the day, and when I do eat, it's usually on the fly and I usually don't eat it all.  So, I usually crave high-calorie and high fat meals.  I don't make a habit of analyzing my cravings, but sometimes it's fun to!

I wanted to write down some of the cravings I'm having this pregnancy so I can remember them and laugh about them in the future.  Some of them have been so strong they've not been able to be ignored!

So, here's my list:

1.  Mexican food.  This is not an abnormal craving for me, since Mexican is my most favorite food ever and has been since I was about three years old!! However, the frequency of the cravings are interesting and the intensity of the cravings always takes me by surprise. I could eat it every meal, every day.  

2.  Coffee drinks.  My favorite coffee place is over the bridge in the adjacent town, and believe me, I'm not a stranger! But I am trying to ration them.  It sure does help not to have a reliable, running vehicle! Having a coffee drink is relaxing and peaceful for me. I actually try to limit my coffee drink intake to every pay day, which is every two weeks.  I refill my card every pay day.  You know, this coffee craving is sure hard to ignore!!

3.  Mango juice. This one is surprising.  I had never had mango juice before, although I love mangoes and tropical fruit.  My friend came to class one day with a Naked juice smoothie and I vowed I was going to get one, and she HIGHLY recommended the Naked brand of juice.  When I went to Costco last pay day, lo and behold, there were two varieties of Naked smoothies in the cooler!! And one was mango! BE STILL MY BEATING HEART! Gracious sakes, those babies are awesome!! I bought a Mango and a Blueberry one and man oh man!!! It's a new favorite.  I'm going to Costco today and I'll be picking up more.  The blueberry variety is actually a blend of the dark berries and it's full of B-vitamins, and I'm deficient in those.  The mango variety is loaded with Vitamin C, and I think my body needs more of that too, thus, the craving.

4.  French fries and tartar sauce. This was surprising too, because we hardly ever eat french fries at all.  We like to eat organic and really fresh around here, so this craving blindsided me! Last night at 7:30 I was reading a book and fellowshipping with the girls and out of the blue, this craving hit! It was OVERWHELMING! I was floored by the strength of it! So, what's a pregnant gal to do? I begged my husband to run to a nearby fast food joint and get me an order of fries and tartar sauce....only to find out they closed at 7:30! Then I asked him to go to Burgerville to get me some fries and sauce, only to feel a bit guilty about their prices, so I asked him just to go the grocery store and get me some jo-jo's at the deli.....and they were OUT OF THEM!!! The last option was Ore Ida fries and tartar sauce in a jar.  Boy was my mouth happy! I carefully avoided reading the ingredient list and realized that the Burgerville fries would have been a lot healthier of a choice.  Ah well.  At least I have tartar sauce now, and I also have to say that I make a pretty good sauce, when I have all of the ingredients!

5.  And last but not at all least, cucumbers! This one is pretty normal for me, and has actually been the first craving that I've had with a few of my babies.  In fact, it's been one of the first clues that I was pregnant with some of them! I was craving cucumbers yesterday afternoon while chatting with my good friend who lives a few miles up the road, and I didn't have any.  She was so nice to send me one online, just to look at!! I laughed! I'll be getting cucumbers today.  Incidentally, we planted cucumbers in our backyard garden this year and I can't wait to see them growing!!

There you have it.  What kinds of things do you crave during your pregnancy??

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Two Months

Today I'm two months and three days pregnant.


How do I feel?

Cruddy.  Nauseated.  Like I'm walking through thick fog, most of the time.  I'm so tired that I get up at my usual time, which is around 5:30 AM, and by 10 AM, I'm falling asleep in the chair in the living room.  And by 9:30 PM, I'm nodding off again!


But I take all of these symptoms to be a good sign that our baby is growing and thriving in there. And you won't hear my complaining (too loud, at least).

I realized the other day that I am severely lacking in the maternity clothing department! I haven't the smallest inkling of how that happened.  You'd sure think that, what with all of the kids I have, I'd have tons of stuff stashed away!  So now I'm trying to figure out where I can find the money for the huge amount of maternity clothes in my online cart at Old Navy that will sustain me for the rest of my life and any subsequent pregnancies.  I went a little crazy one day looking at things and just decided to pretend I had unlimited funds, so I loaded my cart with everything I could ever want in the maternity apparel department.  Such cute stuff, ya'll.  And I wager that most of it would look cute even between pregnancies.  Sigh.  A girl can dream, can't she??

I cancelled my first midwife appointment because I wanted to be farther along so that we could see our little baby on the ultrasound and hear the heartbeat nice and loud.  I'll be going to the midwife on June 5th.

So there you have it! A little update on this pregnancy.  You won't see me doing any belly shots, as I already look 6 months pregnant anyway.  Those leftover baby tummy pictures don't make for cute belly shots, you know?

On a separate note, my family and I have been praying for Oklahoma and the tens of thousands of families and individuals who have been devastated by the tornado that ripped through Moore and surrounding towns the other day.  My heart can hardly stand to look at all the destruction left behind.  For my friends who live in Oklahoma, we will continue to pray for God's provision and His people to help.  We'll continue to pray that He demonstrates His grace and His love and His healing.

Monday, May 13, 2013


Today is Janie's birthday.

She would be 9 years old today.

Today, just to test myself on the Grief Scale, I clicked on the button at the top of my blog, just under that beautiful picture, and read her story.

And I felt the all-too-familiar welling up of the tornado of grief. I felt my breathing become fast and I felt those sobbing tears coming.

Still, even after 9 years and countless moments of life.

I miss her so much today.  I look at Sara and Kellie and I think how well she would fit into their group.  They'd be like the Three Muskateers.  They'd be so close and there would be another sister to laugh with and be silly with and whisper and giggle late at night with.

I would have held her.  I'd have kissed her too much.  I would have gotten to see her face when she discovered something new in her toddling ways.  I'd have gotten to put ponytails in her hair and get her up in the morning and have snuggle time.

But I didn't get to do any of that.  And right now, she doesn't need it.

For my Jane, there will never be tears.  She will never know heartbreak or grief or fear. She won't have to jump through any hoops in this earthly life.  She'll never know disappointment or sadness.  She's staring at the Author of Peace and Joy and Contentment.  She gets to walk with Him and talk with Him daily.  

She isn't lonely.  She has mansions filled with other children to play with and sing with and laugh with.  The mansion that is mine that the Lord is preparing for me is full of her siblings.

She's safe.

She'll never know a day of darkness.  She stands before the Light of the World.

You know, looking back to those terrible, intense days after she died, I remember how my heart was shrieking and crying and screaming and I remember distinctly telling my husband I didn't want to have any more babies.  That time began my fears and my anxieties with pregnancies.  There was nothing my husband or anyone else could do to get me to get pregnant again.  I can be stubborn, and I was totally done.

I think back and I feel how determined I was not to have any more kids. Remember, I was totally done.  

I remember that God came and in His gentle, determined way, He changed my heart.  It's odd that I can remember the sharp, cutting pain of the grief, but I can't remember when my heart was changed.

I do remember that if I had stayed that course that I was on in my own will, Sofia would not be here.  Lucie wouldn't even be a thought.  Pennie and Olivia wouldn't have been in my womb together at all. I think about that, and a cold shaft of fear, like ice water, courses through my veins.  If I had taken matters into my own hands, all of the blessing and joy and happiness that I see now, resulting from Janie's death, would not be.

They wouldn't be.

Yes, I would not have had 4 miscarriages and another stillborn baby.  Yes, that's true.  But I wouldn't be so fulfilled and so wrung out and so much more grown up and so much more careful about listening for the Lord and trying to daily lose my will to His will!

I know now that grief and sorrow and the killing agony of loss is intertwined with the process of a colorful, meaningful life.  Of course, I never want to go through all of that again, but I know that, as I live and breathe on this earth, as I continue to give my heart fully to the Lord, I know that that is a possibility still, if God wills it again.

The Lord told me in those weeks leading up to her death and her birth that I was going to have to trust Him.  How right He was! He told me that she would bless and change many lives.

And as I listen to the quiet, blissful breathing of my children in their beds, and I think about Sofia and Lucie and Pennie, my heart wells up within me and I think......

Thank You, Father, for the blessing that was Janie!

Though I miss you, Janie Rose, 
and though I want you here,
I'll see you soon, when He calls my name.
Give my babies a kiss for me,
but don't wait up.
Love Mama

Saturday, May 11, 2013


I know, strange title for a post, huh?

But hang in there, it'll make sense in a minute.

I read "Springs in the Valley" by Mrs Charles E Cowman.  It's a devotional book for each day of the month.  I've been reading it for years, and I've gone through it quite a few times, but each day's word never, ever has gotten old to me, and it's always so relevant to that day and/or the situation I'm going through at the time.

This morning's word was no different.

It touched me so deeply that I wanted to share it with you, for someone out there who is reading this who may be going through something similar.  May God hasten this word to your heart!

"1 Corinthians 3:9 'God's tilled land...

   The plowing and the harrowing are painful processes.  And surely the Divine Plowman is at work in the world as never before! He plows by His spirit, by His Word, and by His providences. Though painful be the processes of cultivation, they are essential. 
   If they earth could speak, it would say, 'I felt the hard plow today; I knew what was coming; when the plow point first struck me I was full of pain and distress and I could have cried out in agony, for the point was sharp and driven through me with great energy; but now, I think , this means the blade, the ear, the full ear of corn, the golden harvest and the harvest-home.'
   When the plow of God's providence first cuts up one's life, I wouldn't wonder if that one were to exclaim a little; yes, if one should give in to an hour's grief! But one may come to oneself, in the evening, and say, 'Plow on, Lord! I want my life to be plowed all over, that it may be sown all over, and that in every corner there may be the golden grain or the beautiful flowers. Pity me that I exclaimed when I first felt the plowshare. You know my frame, Lord, You remember that I am dust. But now I remember, I put two and two together; I see Your meaning, so drive on, You Plowman of Eternity!'
   He does not use the plow and harrow without intention. Where God plows, He intends to sow. His plowing is a proof that He is FOR you, not against you! 'For behold, I am for you, and I will turn unto you, and you shall be tilled and sown' (Ezekiel 36:9)
   Let us never forget that the Husbandman is never so near the land as when He is plowing it, in the very time we are tempted to think He has forsaken us!
   His plowing is a proof that He thinks you are valuable and worth chastening; for He does not waste His plow on the barren sand! He will not plow continually, but only for a time, and for a definite purpose. Soon He will close the process. 'Does the plowman plow continually to sow? Does He continually open and break the clods of His ground?' (Isaiah 18:24) NO! Soon we shall, through these painful processes and by His gentle showers of grace become His fruitful land!
   'The desolate land shall be tilled...and they shall say, This land that was desolate is become like a garden of Eden' (Ezekiel 36:34-35), and then we shall be a praise to Him!

Come ill, come well, the cross, the crown,
The rainbow or the thunder~~
I fling my soul and body down
For God to plow them under.
(A Prince of Captivity by John Buchan)

Thursday, May 9, 2013


Would you all like to hear the story of how I told my husband that he was going to be a father again?

It's unique.  It's crazy.

I've never done something like that before.

So, let's get started.

I had actually suspected that something was brewing because of the way I was feeling.  I was S T A R V I N G! I was bawling at the drop of a hat.  And the last clue, which is a bit personal, I was late.  Now, that may not be a big deal to most of you, but for me, when you can set your watch by my cycle, it was significant.


I had been late before recently and hadn't seen two pink lines come up on the stick, so I was very hesitant to test this time.


I had so many feelings going through my heart and so many thoughts going through my mind.  I was trying to deny my body.  I was making excuses for what was probably undeniable.  I was avoiding the truth because I couldn't handle the potential disappointment.

I actually wasn't going to test when I did.  We were going to a big state homeschool convention that weekend and I didn't want to go through my weekend being totally devastated.  So, I decided to take a test on May 10th, when I was really, really late and there was no denying it anymore.

One of my friends gave me some stirling advice.  She said that I wasn't going to be any more pregnant or not pregnant whether I chose to wait to take a test or to take a test right away.  

Another of my friends said I wasn't going to jinx anything by testing then or testing later.

I still wasn't sure.  I waffled.  I talked to my BFF.  I couldn't make up my mind!

Finally, I caved. After talking to my BFF, the next morning, after I dropped my husband off at work early, I went straight to my favorite grocery store and straight to That Aisle.

You know the aisle.

The aisle that can make your heart pound just by standing there.  The aisle that can make you bite your fingernails in trepidation or make your heart sing for joy.

That Aisle.

I picked a test with two testers. I think it was First Response. As I stood there in that aisle, my hands were shaking.  My pulse was racing.  I had to regulate my breathing, lest I dissolve into a freaky pool of nervous anxiety right there.

And I went straight home and took the test.

I usually close my eyes after I put the lid back on and lay it on the counter.  Yes, I'm an expert at taking these little tests.  I told myself I wasn't going to look at all until the three minutes was up.  I began to walk out of the bathroom.......and I, against my will, happened to glance down at the test.

It had been about three seconds since I had laid the stick down on my counter.

I don't know, maybe I just wanted to make sure it was working.....

But I looked.

And there were two DARK pink lines.  

I freaked.  

Quietly, of course, because everyone was still sleeping.

And, before I could think about it reasonably, I grabbed that stick, stuck it in my purse, and I walked out the door and jumped into my van. I made the fastest beeline you'd ever seen for the post office.  I knew my husband would still be there.  He'd just gotten there not 20 minutes before!

I walked right into the back of the post office, like I always do, and I waited there like a just-lit firecracker for my husband to look up from his post.  I was hyperventilating.  I was shaking.  I was dangerously close to sobbing!

He saw me and came toward me.

He must have seen the strangest look on my face because he was instantly concerned.

He said, "WHAT?"

And I took that stick out of my purse and held it up, right up, in front of his eyes.

It took him a moment to focus on what was in my hand.

But once he did, he said, "OH MY GOODNESS!"

And he got tears in his eyes! They almost overflowed.  

He was so surprised! Since I hadn't firmed up when I was going to test, I think he thought I was still shooting for testing on May 10th, which was two weeks away.

His reaction was so sweet and so gratifying!

I saved that little stick for many weeks.  

In fact, I just threw it away after I posted that picture! 

This pregnancy is such a massive blessing to us.  We are stunned and surprised and ecstatic.

And I don't think there's any reason to take that second test!

Tuesday, May 7, 2013



You guys are the greatest!

I was so blessed and happy to read all of your comments on my post announcing my pregnancy.  

I want to extend a major, huge thank you to all of you who left me a sweet comment on that post.  It's nice to know ya'll are excited for us.

It also helps to know that a lot of you out there are praying for me too.  If you know even a little bit of my history, you know that there has been a lot of grief and sorrow and loss here.  I'm sure you can imagine the fears and anxiety that might plague me....

But strangely, I'm doing pretty well.

I think it's all of your prayers!!

I feel pretty peaceful about this pregnancy so far.  I'm not plagued by "what if's" and I'm not waking up in the middle of the night with severe anxiety.  I was pretty scared in the beginning...I admit that.  But right now, as of this week, I feel that I have no control over this baby, it's God's plan all the way, and fear and worry and anxiety and nervousness is not going to sway the plan.....actually, it's just going to send harmful toxins through my body that won't be good for me OR Baby!

God has a plan for this baby,whether we see this pregnancy through or He chooses to take this baby too.  He is totally in charge and I realize that this week....

I say "this week" because my feelings are subject to change on a dime, unfortunately!

But so far, I've been really, really easy and peaceful and not nervous at all this time around.

I attribute it to all of you who are praying for me!

If you'll let me be selfish, I covet your prayers throughout this pregnancy, and periodically I'll update you on what to pray for too......

Here's something you can pray for: I see my midwife, who has never treated me for a pregnancy before, at 10 AM on May 22nd.  She'll do blood work and she does have an ancient ultrasound machine in her office, and she'll do an ultrasound to see what she can see.  I know I'll probably be pretty nervous! So just pray!! Since both of our cars are broken down right now (the van for the second time in two weeks), it'll be fun to see HOW I'm going to get to that appointment!! :)

On an unrelated but kind of related rabbit trail:

I really want to post more!! I'm going to try to post every other day......the weather is beautiful and there's a lot going on and it's fun to share the pictures my girls take!!

So, thanks SO much for your great, kind and supportive comments! I need you as my cheerleaders right now!!

Thursday, May 2, 2013


Needless to say, I beg you for your prayers.

We are due December 27th.

I'm seeing a midwife this time, and my first appointment is May 22.

Thanks so much for your prayers!