Monday, January 31

Chicken Parmesan

I cooked supper for some friends recently and made this dish.  This is a dish I've been making since Chris and I were newlyweds . . . for almost 10 years now! Wow, time flies when you're having fun! My friend asked me to share this, so I thought I would share this quick, easy, and fairly healthy dish with everyone!

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. 
4 chicken breasts
2 eggs
Big Bowl of Italian Seasoned Bread Crumbs
Marinara sauce of your choice, depending on time I may make my own or I may add some extra herbs to a pre-made jarred brand.  If using a pre-made one I usually add garlic powder, dried onion flakes, and oregano. 
4 oz.Mozzarella cheese
4 oz Parmesan Cheese

Make your Marinara sauce and let it simmer while you do the following steps.  Cut chicken breasts in half or into strips. Break eggs and mix in a bowl.  Roll chicken in egg, then bread crumbs.  Cover thoroughly and place in a baking dish.  This step can be done up to one day prior and placed covered in the frig.  Cook for 20 mins, uncovered. 
Remove dish and pour a generous portion of marinara sauce over the chicken covering most of each piece.  Then, top with mozzarella and Parmesan cheeses.  I usually cover majority of the chicken with both the sauce and cheese. Cook for 15minutes, uncovered, until cheese melted and a light golden brown.  Serve with pasta and marinara sauce on the side.  We usually have a fresh salad and garlic bread with it too.  Enjoy!

Tuesday, January 25


One thing never changes with my pregnancies, no matter how many I go through, my cravings. (if you're wondering why I'm talking about this, then you need to read the post from a couple of weeks ago GO HERE) I always crave things early on and it continues throughout the duration of the pregnancy. Thankfully, diabetes doesn't kick in until after 20 weeks so for now I'm able to fulfill the cravings.
I'm sure I won't be able to remember each pregnancy as vividly as I do now, so I wanted to journal them because it is rather interesting to me.  I wonder if it shows what the child will like, his or her favorite foods???  It just amazes me at the difference in each of the pregnancies. Are you like that?  What have your cravings consisted of? Do you tend to crave healthier things or the worst things possible?

Bradley's: Sweets, such as chocolate candy bars.  Hawaiian Punch, and I drank it after every meal so that it would be "better" coming back up (I got sick for about 12 weeks, averaged 3 times a day).  Chocolate Fudge Milkshake from Sonic.  Strawberries, the last 3 months or so I had them every morning with breakfast and sometimes for a snack too.  I was working at Lexington Medical Center at the time and one of the deli's would cut them up and sell them like that.  It was winter and the grocery stores hardly ever had any as ripe and juicy as these.  So, a sweet co-worker would walk all the way across campus to get these for me every morning- those and 3 strips of bacon.  Sweet tea, and it didn't have to be sweetened with sugar, Splenda worked too. Pizza Hut Pan Cheese Pizza.

The Triplet's:  It was weird, as if each of the children had different wants and as quick as one would come it'd be gone and I was wanting something else- often before I could fulfill the previous craving.  However, I really liked the Creamy (sort of like ranch but with a peppery spice) salad dressing sold at Japanese restaurants.  My sweet hubby even bought a pint size container a couple of times from the local Hibachi restaurant.  Strawberry Fruitista from Taco Bell.  Cookies: Peanut Butter, Chocolate Chip Oatmeal or even the combination of the 2.  A ham and turkey sandwich with cheese on real, white bread with Duke's Mayo.  Apple Juice Slushes from Sonic.  I was sick a long time with this pregnancy, and I tried to eat more protein as that helps with it.  So, I made my own pasta salad with wheat pasta, chunks of cooked ham, bacon, shredded cheese, almonds, and ranch

Cameron's:  Fudge, cakes, and Cupcakes.  Salads from sub places like Jersey Mikes and even Publix' Deli; turkey, ham, cheese, with shredded lettuce (yeah I know, no real nutrition), cucumbers, pickles, pepper, vinegar, and ranch dressing.  I hated most meats, the only ones I could handle until about 20 weeks had to be shredded, finely cut, or ground.  Cherry Cokes.  Japanese Hibachi.  Zesto's fried chicken, coleslaw, and chocolate-dipped ice cream cones.  Hot fudge sundaes from Rush's or their chocolate milkshakes.  Fries were very tasty as well with vinegar on them- some places have spicy vinegar and that just hit the spot!  Little Debbie Honey Buns and Nutty Bars.  Whopper's Mini Robin Eggs

Baby Wicker's: Oranges and orange juice.  Strawberries and peaches.  Lots of fresh fruits thank goodness . . . finally!  Although sugar cookies and peanut butter cookies (with the Hershey kiss on top have been yummy).  Cherry Coke Icees or Slushes.  Chick-fil-a Nuggets.  I'm still not feeling quite like myself (only 11.5 weeks, so I'm sure I will have many more cravings this pregnancy). 

I never eat that much the first 12-16 weeks, but somewhere after 16 weeks my appetite begins to grow.  And, at about 22 weeks I'm so hungry I want to eat everything in site.  With diabetes I can't eat until I'm full, so I just deal with it.  I remember at the end of Cameron's pregnancy I told Chris I was going to be the only women to ever have a baby and gain weight afterwards, because I just couldn't wait until I got full. Then, I had her and realized there was no time to eat anymore! :-) ha ha

Thursday, January 20

WE WON! (and baby wicker update)

We WON the photo contest!!!  Thank you everyone who fully supported us and voted their hearts out for us! Y'all are awesome! To view the photographer's blog about the win click HERE.  And, to see more of Amanda's work go HERE. She is awesome, does fabulous work, is a Christian, reasonably priced, and a mom to twin girls (to give a little important background information on her).  So, now we will get pictures done when Baby Wicker is born in August.  Yay!
I had an appointment at the OB last Friday, and Baby Wicker was looking great. . . moving lots, strong heartbeat of 179, and all looked well.  About the heartbeat . . . I've been thinking it was a boy because I haven't been as sick this time around as with Cameron.  However, that heartbeat looks like a girl as our girls have distinctly faster heart rates than our boys.  Our boys are always in the 150's or slower and our girls are always upper 160's to 180's.  We shall see. . . anyway, I go back in about 2 weeks for another ultrasound. They will measure the nuchal fold to get an idea of if this baby is at risk for certain genetic abnormalities such as downs, etc.  Some of you may know that we did the full 1st trimester screening with Cameron, because of the the cerclage surgery. The doctor wanted to rule out Trisomy 13 or 18 as most of the time those babies die in utero and the cerclage would prevent my miscarrying the baby naturally.  Anyway, they did blood work, ultrasound measurements, and we met with the genetic counselor.  The results came back that Cameron had an increased chance of  Down Syndrome.  We never really knew the whole pregnancy whether or not Cameron had Down's and while it didn't change our feelings for her we did wish that we could have prepared ourselves it if were the case to best care for her.  So, obviously she was fine and the results gave a false positive.  So, this time I've opted to just have the measurement done as my high risk OB likes to do it to prepare parents.  The ultrasound is the most reliable way to determine such risks.
Okay, for all of those that want to know the other medical details of the pregnancy and my high risk factors . . .  when this ultrasound is done they will start measuring my cervix.  My OB is hopeful that the cerclage will work again, just as it did with Cameron. However, there is a chance that it may not tighten down correctly and some changes may have to be made to it surgically. So, he will continue to check my cervix, via ultrasound, and should know if it is working correctly by 18 weeks.  Then, he will follow it closely until I reach about 28 weeks when he will stop checking all together.  He will be checking my "Big E" antibody this pregnancy, monthly, just as with Cameron and the triplets. To remind you it stayed 1:16 and 2:16 all of Cameron's pregnancy, but if it goes to 8:16 (the 1st number doubles, so it will always be an even number 1, 2, 4, 8, 16 etc and can go from 2:16 to 8:16 in one month) they may decide to do a blood transfusion on the baby during the pregnancy.  I acquired this antibody through carrying one of Chris' previous children (Bradley or a miscarriage before the triplets).  As long as it stays low there are no big concerns.  They will check, through ultrasounds, to make sure that the blood flow to the baby looks good the last half of the pregnancy as it can cause issues. Then, there is my small Protein S Deficiency which puts me at high risk for blood clots during pregnancy. You may have heard of things like this where women take shots of blood thinners daily, but I'm able to be controlled by daily baby Aspirin.  Next, is my gestational diabetes which he doesn't expect to rear it's ugly head until 20 or 22 weeks at the earliest.  So, until then I'm going to do a one or two day trial every couple of weeks of all day blood sugar testing (fasting in the am and 2 hours after every meal). The placenta produces a hormone starting around 20 or 22 weeks and peaks at 28 weeks. This hormone causes some women's pancreas, such as myself, to not work properly. So, this is why I shouldn't have issues until after 20 weeks.  I'm already trying to watch what I eat and not carb overload, but this shouldn't have anything to do with the outcome besides going ahead and getting my mind in the diabetic way of thinking. I'm almost 11 weeks and haven't gained any weight- yay! They always want me to shoot for about 40lbs, so I know it will come later especially when insulin is added to my daily regimen as insulin causes people to gain 10-15 pounds. I will start to have weekly ultrasound and non-stress tests after 28 weeks just as with Bradley and Cameron due to diabetes. So, that is about it.  This pregnancy continues to be amazing as far as God providing for everything- sickness, childcare, etc.  I'm not too sick to take care of the kids everyday, my doctor continues to work around Chris' schedule for my appointments, and God just continues to provide in every way.  So, I know that all this other stuff above will be taken care of too, and I'm going to give it ALL to God.
 Now, we have to come up with a boy and girl name.  Leave your comment or email me and weigh in with your opinion as we'd love to hear it.  Do you think we should "go on down" the alphabet to a 'D' name or should we stick to an 'A, B, or C' name since all of our 5 children have had names starting with those 3 letters and allow the kids to continue being our A,B,C's??? Coming up with a name for a 6th child, after naming our 5 children, is getting kind of tricky! :-) What a great problem to have though! "Thank you Lord, how could I ask for more!"
Know this song? Check it out! How could I ask for More by Cindy Morgan- great song played on WMHK often.

Tuesday, January 11

Need YOUR help ASAP!

Amanda Joy Photography took this picture in October, and now she is having a Best of 2010 photo contest. This picture was picked, by her, as one of the Best of 2010. So, I need YOU to help us win a free session and free 16x20 canvas ($350 value!!!)by voting this picture THE BEST OF 2010.  Just go to her website HERE to do so. You can only vote once, and this needs to be done this week. Please share with all you know!  She does great newborn pictures, so I'd love to have her take picture of Baby Wicker and the rest of the family when he/ she arrives. Then, if you are on Facebook go to Amanda Joy Photo and put that you like #4 and that I sent you.  Amanda said this will allow you TWO votes!
Thanks so much. Hope everyone is having a blessed week and staying warm!

Saturday, January 8

New Year, New Hopes, and New Dreams

Welcome 2011! Wow, I can't believe it's already a new year.  Do you have new year's goals or resolutions? If so, what are they? 
I've been thinking about the goals for this family for the new year.  2010 was an awesome year- we added a new addition to the family, our 2 older children grew and developed, went on two vacations, and did lots of fun things throughout the year together as a family, and in December we found out that 2011 will bring a new addition to the family!  Can't get any better than that!  Yes, the Wickers will grow by one hopefully in early August.  A first for us, being due another month besides March.  So far it has gone well.  A few months ago, during the Summer, we felt God pushing us to give it all to Him. We weren't quite ready to add another member to the family just yet ( I mean I've been pregnant for 2 years in a row! :-) ), but we felt God saying that is should be in His time and not ours. So, we said "OK, your will is best so lets see what you have in store for us".  Now remember Bradley and Austin were fertility babies ( IUI and IVF).  We were about as infertile as they come before getting pregnant with the triplets. So, it still makes us laugh when we think we can get pregnant without the God-given technology.  But, this family is proof that God can and does work miracles.  And, God has definitely provided.  It's just amazing how God provides and only gives you what you can handle! So, I have to praise God when I say this pregnancy has been easy considering past pregnancies, still some sickness but just enough to know that all is well with Baby Wicker.  I love it not being a 100+ degrees like it always is when I'm at this point- since I'm always due in March, I go thru August and September very sick. So far no complications.  The cerclage was left in after Cameron, so that shouldn't have to be messed with.  My doctor is helping me work around Chris' schedule, so that Chris can keep the kids when I need to go to the doctor as it's hard to find childcare for 3 little ones so close together. My OB feels like, while I will be high risk, that everything should go well as it did with Cameron.  I saw the heartbeat mid December, and it was such a CHRISTmas blessing. It truly magnified the reason for the season this year and showed us how awesome God continues to be.  Some people think we're crazy, but we just think we're crazy blessed! 
So, now that the "cat is out of the bag" you know our "To Do List" has just expanded tremendously and there is a little more urgency with some of it. It's all good though, no worries here and just give it to God! We've started organizing the house.  We're cleaning out, and it feels so good.  I just love doing things like that!  Keeping life simple! I think going into 2010 we were hoping to move in the next couple of years, but now we've slowed down and realized that we should try to stay here and be thankful for what God has provided.  So, we have plans to do some minor remodeling.  We're hoping to make the small downstairs bedroom, now being used as a playroom, a mudroom.  We have 2 other rooms that we can choose to move the playroom to, and they're both bigger than the current playroom.  If we have a new mudroom, then I can use the old laundry room (which is more like a walk-in closet) for a pantry then the current pantry can be used as a broom closet for the vacuum, mop, and such! YAY! Love the idea, and I'm hoping we can get it done.  We have a lot of unused space in the house, and that is just silly.  We have a long "To Do List" for the inside and outside, but I'm sure everyone has the same.  To give you an idea of what ours includes in addition to the remodeling: finishing the storage building, extending our deck, working on the front flower beds, painting the rooms in the house that still need to be painted, etc. Who knows when this will all get done, but it's nice to have something to work towards.
We did very well this past year following the Dave Ramsey plan of paying off debt. I'm not sure we will pay off our huge debts sooner (house and medical school loan), but we've begun to pay down and pay off some other things.  And, we're going to continue to work on that. I think we may be halfway there. It sure does feel good, and I encourage everyone to read some of Ramsey's books too. We've cut back on spending, are eating at home more, and making lots of improvements in our financial decisions overall.  We're still working on making life simpler and have gotten off to a great start.  We feel God urging us to keep life simple, so that we can focus on HIM- so an organized, decluttered home; no debt; etc will help us work towards that.  With 3 little ones, 4 and under, and one on they way it makes you keep life simple by staying so busy with the kids.  It's a welcome busy though and so worth it.   I welcome ideas as to how you keep God in your life, every minute of everyday and first.  Chris and I are working on the book, The Purpose Driven Life. We're both reading the book and doing the study together.  My personal goal is to read something out of the Bible everyday.  I keep saying I'm going to read the entire Bible, but I've yet to actually do so. So, I really want to do that.  The more I study the Bible and the word of God the more changes I make to myself and my life; it's a continued work in progress. 

Here are some verses that I've found recently in my studies that  I want to remember this year and focus on. They have a lot of meaning in my life right now.

Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18

For it is God's will that by doing right you should put to silence the ignorance of foolish men.  1 Peter 2:15

For this reason, since the day we heard about you, we have not stopped praying for you and asking God to fill you with the knowledge of his will through all spiritual wisdom and understanding. And we pray this in order that you may live a life worthy of the Lord and may please him in every way, bearing fruit in every good work, growing in the knowledge of God, being strengthened with all power according to his glorious might so that you may have great endurance and patience, and joyfully giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of the saints in the kingdom of light. Colossians 1: 9-12
Do not love the world or anything in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For everything in the world--the cravings of sinful man, the lust of his eyes and the boasting of what he has and does--comes not from the Father but from the world. The world and its desires pass away, but the man who does the will of God lives forever. 1 John 2:15-17
And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for God’s people in accordance with the will of God. And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers and sisters. And those he predestined, he also called; those he called, he also justified; those he justified, he also glorified. Romans 8:27-31
Also, Matthew 6 has a lot of things in it that I want to live my life by, just paraphrasing the important parts to me:
- don't be righteous in front of others
-don't announce it when you give to the needy, keep it secret
- praying is an intimate time with Jesus, many words doesn't mean you're heard more- God knows your what you need before you speak of it.
-forgive other's sins
- when you fast, do it with gladness and don't speak of it for God knows what you're doing and will reward you
-do not hoard materialistic things, do not worship money
- don't worry about money, clothes, food, or anything as God will provide all to those who trust fully in Him

Christmas Eve
(Yes, Cameron is forward facing with the approval of her pediatrician since she is so big and has great muscle control- it's helping not strain my back so much when taking her in and out of the car)

Ready for bed on Christmas Eve in their pj's

Wicker Family
Christmas Day

Our ABC's

All comfy on Christmas night

Cameron's 1st Snow
Cameron is 9 months old now.  She is growing so well.  At her 9 month well visit she was in the 95th percentile for her height, weight, and head which is great because it means she is in proportion.  She is crawling some, but still rolls and does an army crawl a good bit to get where she wants quickly.  Cameron is also pulling up some and cruising.  Her favorite words are "Mama" and  "Nana" which I think stands for "No No" because she hears that a lot with her brothers.  Speaking of her brothers, she loves them very much and they love her almost too much (can be a little rough when loving on her).  She is eating well and has started giving herself some of her bottles, but still prefers for us to do it.  She takes abut 4 bottles a day which is right where they want her to be and eats 3 meals.  She will eat baby food still, but prefers our food.  The other night she enjoyed macaroni and cheese, green beans, and cooked carrots.  Another night she had Chicken and Dumplings with Green Bean Casserole.  I'm very impressed as I've never had another child eat this well.  She had tubes placed in December after her ear drum perforated.  So far, we don't notice any hearing loss, but she will have a hearing test at the ENT next month.  The procedure was simple and easy, and we've seen much improvement in her since getting the infections cleared up after the tubes.  Cameron is a great sleeper and still takes 2 good naps a day and sleeps through the night most nights.  She loves to be swaddled in her blankie still with her paci and that is perfectly OK with us, because she self soothes so well.  Our baby girl continues to be a happy baby and just goes with the flow. 

Austin's 1st time in the snow
Austin is 25 months old.  He continues to do well with his therapies and is progressing nicely.  His therapists did an evaluation around his birthday.  He is delayed in all areas from even his adjusted age, but it isn't by much (about 15-20% delay).  However, at 2 they start to test them by their actual age because they expect him to catch up.  There is quite a delay from his actual age (his birthday) in all areas including speech, motor skills, cognitive, to name a few.  Communication is his biggest delay with almost a 50% delay.  However, we are working on everything and they think he will catch up as he has started to decrease the gap.  His speech is growing, and he has started to say a couple of phrases such as "My Do", Here you go", and "My Go".  He is starting to talk more when others are around us which is part of the speech development.  And, he is babbling more which is all very promising and exciting.  He is stubborn though, so it can be quite a fight to get him to tell us what he wants.  He gets aggravated too which is understandable, because he can't communicate as well as he'd like.  A big help for us lately is that he is climbing up and down the stairs on his own! And, he wants to do it all by himself.  Austin's isn't eating great, but on most days I do get one good meal in him. I'm trying to fortify his almond milk with calorie supplement at least once a day.  We don't want to do it too often and keep him from eating.   At his 2 year well visit he was in almost the 10th % ( a 1st as he has never been more than 3%), his weight still isn't on the chart but it's back on his curve, and his head stays in the 50% which is great bc it means his brain is growing well.  Now we're trying discipline him more since he doesn't throw up all the time.  I've had to be more creative when it comes to disciplining him as he is such a stubborn little boy, but that stubbornness is part of the reason he didn't give up when he was born. So, praise God for that! And, Austin hasn't been sick since his last hospital visit, so the Synagis and our restrictions must be working.  We are so blessed that God has allowed us to continue to enjoy Austin here on Earth.

Bradley loved the snow and kept saying that it was going to snow on Christmas. Surprisingly it started just a few hours after Christmas ended.  Wow! Now how did he know that? He continues to surprise us with what he does know.  Bradley is saying that Baby Wicker is a girl and has correctly predicted all four of his siblings.  Bradley is definitely the most independent one in the house these days. He is able to dress himself, sleeps all night, feed himself, go to the potty alone, etc.  Sometimes he may need much encouragement with these things, but does well most of the time.  Of course, the older and smarter he gets we have to continue to work on what are bad choices and what are good choices and he knows that consequences will follow the bad choices.  We have been talking a lot about obedience and that God tells children to obey their mothers and fathers.  He even gave Chris a little speech telling him to obey recently.  He is such a loving child with such a kind heart which is quite a gift, and I pray he will use it very wisely.  It was a very special time while he was out of school as we all enjoyed having Bradley home everyday for the holidays.  Bradley continues to grow and thrive in all areas which is such a blessing to sit back and watch him soak up all of life's experiences.  Bradley will turn 5 in early March and while he is excited to "grow-up" I'm having a little bit of trouble knowing that it's imminent.  He is my oldest baby and has been such a blessing to us through good and bad times.  I pray for continued wisdom in how to raise Bradley in knowing and loving God fully and keeping our family close as our children grow.

What can I say? I'm very blessed by all of my children. We did miss Brayden and Lexi this Christmas, but I know they were watching over us.  I have no doubt they had a part in sending our family our special Christmas miracle gift, Baby Wicker.  It was a wonderful present to Chris and me.  I'm sure Lexi and Brayden had the most magical CHRISTmas celebrating with Jesus Christ.  I can't even begin to imagine what all it entailed.  Bradley, Austin, and Cameron are so special and I enjoy every moment with them.  I definitely don't take my gifts for granted anytime of the year and just thoroughly enjoyed this CHRISTmas season with them.  I can't wait to see what the New Year holds for our family. 
Stay tuned for the Whereabouts of the Wickers!