Saturday, May 21, 2011


“Behold, children are a heritage from the Lord, the fruit of the womb a reward.  Like arrows in the hand of a warrior are the children of one's youth.  Blessed is the man who fills his quiver with them!  He shall not be put to shame when he speaks with his enemies in the gate.”
Psalm 127:3-5

12 Weeks
25 Weeks
“Your wife 
will be 
like a fruitful 
flourishing within 
your home. 
Your children 
will be like 
vigorous young 
olive trees 
as they sit 
around your table.”
Psalm 128:3

 “For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother's womb. I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well. My frame was not hidden from you, when I was being made in secret, intricately woven in the depths of the earth. Your eyes saw my unformed substance; in your book were written, every one of them, the days that were formed for me, when as yet there was none of them.”
Psalm 139:13-16

32 Weeks
“May our sons flourish in their youth like well-nurtured plants.   
May our daughters be like graceful pillars, carved to beautify a palace.”
Psalm 144:12

36 Weeks
 “Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change.”
James 1:17

Dave and I found out on Tuesday, February 23, 2010, almost three weeks after our daughter Emmi turned one year old, that we were expecting our second child!  We were overjoyed once again.   

This is how we announced
our second pregnancy.

Then, later on Thursday, June 3rd, we found out we were expecting a baby boy!  I was so excited to be given the gift of a daughter and now a son, as well.  So, we went to celebrate with Emmi at Chipotle for dinner, and then we headed over to the Owl’s Nest Toy Shop in Southlake to buy him his first gift, a blue lovey blanket.  

Baby Boy at 13 Weeks
He's a BOY!
Baby Boy at 18 Weeks
 The following is the story of our beautiful baby boy’s birth…

Blue Toenails
On Sunday, October 31st, I started having contractions all evening.  I wasn’t sure if they were strong Braxton Hicks contractions or early labor, but they continued most of the evening until I went to bed.  This happened again on Tuesday (November 2nd, Pierson’s due date) and then again on Thursday, following a pattern of every other day.  I decided, since I was being given some extra time, to go get a pedicure – blue toenails, in honor of our baby boy on the way.  My dear Aunt Sara drove up from Magnolia on Friday, November 5th, in order to be here to help us with Emmi, when we went into labor.  We were so thankful she had offered to come and help during this time.  She thought surely I was about to have the baby, after the night before of contractions…but, little did we know we had a while longer to go…

Amber (41 weeks pregnant) & Aunt Sara
at Ft. Worth Botanic Gardens
 Then, the same thing occurred on Saturday, and then on Monday.  As usual, the contractions had tapered off by morning.  Katie Perez, my sweet friend and doula, had been in communication with me this entire time, on the phone and in text messages.  I was starting to get a bit anxious, at this point, because we were approaching the 41 week mark, and my ObGyn, Dr. Wai, doesn’t usually recommend that his patients go over 41 weeks in their pregnancies. 

41 Weeks
Tuesday, November 9th came (41 weeks), and we consented to have Dr. Wai do a 2nd ultrasound exam on baby boy, to make sure all was well inside the womb with him.  Everything checked out perfectly with me and with our baby.  On Wednesday, November 10th, I sent Katie a text telling her that I’d been having contractions all evening since 4:35pm, some stronger and longer than others.  This was also another “practice” evening, as nothing continued through the night.  But, I got a good night’s sleep.  Katie texted me saying this happens sometimes, and it is called Prodromal Labor.
Katie shared that it could sometimes indicate a position (with the baby) problem, but that it could also just be my body taking its time to get ready for the big event. 

With family, awaiting baby boy's arrival any day now...
So, on Friday, November 12th, Katie came by to bring me some Master Gland,
which helps regulate the major glands of the body, especially the thyroid, and helps to promote a healthy hormone balance.  So, hoping this would help stimulate regular labor contractions, I started taking these and contractions were happening every five minutes that evening.  I went to lie down for some rest around 11pm.  I had contractions throughout the night, but still inconsistent.

On Monday, November 15th, I had an appointment with Dr. Wai at 4:30pm.  I was still only dilated to a little over one centimeter (I measured one centimeter at our 39 week check-up.)  A Non-Stress Test was performed via Ultrasound on our baby boy, before we spoke with Dr. Wai, and our baby was predicted at 7 lbs. 12 oz.  Everything checked out normally.  However, by the end of our discussion with Dr. Wai, I was in tears, because we were finally making plans for an induction, which I had hoped to avoid, if at all possible.  We were upon the 42 week mark, and Dr. Wai wanted me to come in at 10pm that Wednesday night (Nov. 17th), to start Cervidil, which would serve to dilate my cervix.  And, the plan was for this to work overnight, and then he would come to check me early the next morning (Nov. 18th.)  If this hadn’t caused labor to start already, then I had the option of having AROM (Artificial Rupture of Membranes) or receiving Pitocin.

I didn’t want either!  If they broke my waters (AROM), this had the potential to get my contractions moving along, but it was also “no turning back,” and other interventions could escalate from there, because I would no longer be able to leave the hospital, if my body didn’t progress in labor.  If they administered Pitocin, I could have really strong contractions and possibly need help with pain management through drugs or an epidural, which I also very much wanted to avoid.  My desire was to have our baby boy come naturally, in God’s own timing, without the use of any drugs, and to have a relatively quick vaginal birth.  I was becoming very sad and disappointed that our chances of this happening were becoming very slim.  Constantly, I counted on the encouragement, support, advice, and wisdom of my doula friend, Katie Perez.  At the same time, I knew we needed to make a plan, and God gave us the peace to continue on and to trust Him.  So, we reluctantly agreed to come to the hospital Wednesday night…

Lord, please let this baby come soon!
On Tuesday morning, Katie texted me saying that she had a dream the night before that I had a great birth!  I wrote back saying I hoped her dream was prophetic… Come back for Part 2, to see if it was!

Friday, May 13, 2011

Surprise Gift for Readers
Well, despite problems with Blogger all day yesterday, I am committed to keeping my word, but perhaps a little later in the day than expected.  So, here it is: my surprise gift for you each.

This is a family favorite of ours, something I can always count on my picky daughter asking for more, each bite.  And, almost every time I have made this for guests or taken it to a family, people ask for the recipe.  I have sent it to a handful of friends privately, but have never posted it publicly...until now.

When Dave and I first married, we loved to have a Pepperidge Farm Chicken Pot Pie on occasion.  Then, one day, I read a Yahoo article implicating this very dinner meal as one of the most unhealthy things you could buy in the frozen foods section.  You see, I always thought one pie was a single serving, but it is actually two, if I remember correctly, that amounted to over 60 grams of fat in my dinner.  I think that is a day's worth of fat?  :/  So, I told Dave that I had to learn how to make a Homemade Chicken Pot Pie.  I finally did my research a couple of years ago, and the following is what I came up with for our family...

Amber's Homemade Chicken Pot Pie


1.  If your oven takes a while to heat up, preheat it to 375 degrees F; otherwise, wait until you are on the last two steps.

2.  Boil 1 - 1.5 lbs. of chicken breasts until no longer pink.  I turn the water to high, until it starts to boil, and then I turn it down, so that the chicken cooks only on medium heat and will not dry out. 

3.  Add 2-3 cloves of chopped garlic (so tasty and SO good for you), 1/2 cup chopped onion, and 1/2 cup sliced celery to a heavy saucepan.

4.  Saute these with 1/3 cup real butter (please no margarine, folks; it's just not natural), until soft.

5.  Stir in 1/3 cup all-purpose flour.  (You may use a good wheat flour, if you prefer that taste...Dave prefers white flour in this recipe.)  Add 1/2 teaspoon salt (preferably Sea Salt or Himalayan Pink Salt), 1/2 teaspoon black pepper, and 1/4 teaspoon celery seed (important.)  Mix ingredients gently...

6.  Slowly stir in 1 3/4 cups of chicken broth and 2/3 cup raw milk.  (Check on chicken.)

7.  Add 1 bag of mixed vegetables.  I used to use the Birds Eye® Steamfresh® Mixed Vegetables 12 oz. bag, which will work just fine.  But, since we've started eating more organically, I've come to love the 16 oz. bag of Mixed Vegetables by Cascadian Farm.  Either will suffice...however, I do love the little square carrot pieces in the organic bag!  :D  Now, people, it is okay to use frozen vegetables...sometimes they retain more nutrients than even fresh vegetables.  :)  You can certainly chop up your own mix, but using the bag cuts out a lot of time and footwork for me.

8.  Simmer all of this over medium-low heat until mixture thickens a bit.

9.  Chop your cooked chicken into small chunks or shred it into pieces, whichever texture you prefer, and add to the saucepan.  You may also like to add 1/4 cup of freshly grated Parmesan cheese at this time -- yummy, but optional.  Mix well and turn off stove top.

10.  Now, you are ready to form one of the pie crust dough pieces into the bottom of your baking dish.  I use the refrigerated pie crusts by Pillsbury®.  (You'll find these near the refrigerated biscuits, cinnamon rolls, and ready-made cookie dough.)  I know, shouldn't I be making my own pie crust?  Yes, I most certainly should....and one day when I have a nice food processor, I will do just that.  :)  I use my lovely deep dish pie stone, from the Pampered Chef, but you may use any round, deep dish bakeware; I even used to use the square 9x9 CorningWare baking dish that my Nana gave to me years ago.  It was a little awkward to form the dough around, but I managed.  :)  FYI, a regular pie dish will be too shallow...and a 9x13 dish will be too long, for this recipe, at least.

11.  Place the chicken mixture evenly into the bottom pie crust.  Make sure oven is preheating...

12.  Cover with the top pie crust dough piece, and seal and shape extra dough around the edges.  I just do pinches, all the way around, with my index fingers and thumbs on each hand, together.

13.  Make several small slits in the top of dough to allow the steam to escape. 
(I use a fork and make holes.)

14.  Bake in preheated oven for 45 minutes, or until pastry is golden brown and filling is bubbly.  I put a cookie sheet underneath it, as it bakes, because sometimes the juices will bubble over and spill out.

15.  You may brush the top with melted butter or egg whites, for shiny presentation, five minutes before finished baking.  Cool for 10 minutes, at least, before serving.

We enjoy fresh cracked pepper with ours...  I hope you might give this recipe a try -- please let me know if you do so! :o)

Dinner is served!  Delicious!

Amber's Homemade Chicken Pot Pie
(condensed recipe)

  • 1 - 1.5 pound chicken breasts (boneless, skinless) - cubed/shredded (usu. 2 breasts)
  • 1 bag mixed vegetables (16 oz. by Cascadian Farm)
  • 1/2 cup sliced celery
  • 1/3 cup butter
  • 1/2 cup chopped onion
  • 2-3 large garlic cloves (chopped small or minced)
  • 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt (Himalayan Pink Salt or Sea Salt)
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon celery seed
  • 1 3/4 cups organic chicken broth
  •  2/3 cup raw milk
  • 1/4 cup shredded parmesean cheese (opt.)
  •  2 (9 inch) unbaked pie crusts (Pillsbury® 15 oz. box refrigerated pie crusts)


  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
  2. Boil chicken breasts until no longer pink.  (Let cool on cutting board / mat, when done.)
  3. In the saucepan over medium heat, cook garlic, celery, and onions in butter until soft.  
  4. Stir in flour, salt, pepper, and celery seed. 
  5. Slowly stir in chicken broth and milk.  
  6. Add mixed vegetables.  Simmer over medium-low heat until thick.
  7. Cube or shred chicken breasts.
  8. Add chicken and parmesean (opt.) to sauce mixture on stove.  Mix well.  Turn off stovetop.
  9. Form one of the pie crust doughs in the bottom of baking dish (square or round -- not 9x13.  A regular pie dish may be too shallow.  I use my deep dish pie stone by Pampered Chef.)
  10. Place the chicken mixture evenly in bottom pie crust
  11. Cover with top crust, seal and shape extra dough around edges. 
  12. Make several small slits in the top to allow steam to escape.  (I use a fork and make holes.)
  13. Bake in the preheated oven (on a cookie sheet, in the case of overflow) for 45 minutes, or until pastry is golden brown and filling is bubbly.    
  14. You may brush the top with melted butter or egg whites, for shiny presentation, five minutes before finished baking.  
  15. Cool for 10 minutes, at least, before serving. Serve with fresh cracked pepper!   :~D  Yummy!