Monday, May 16, 2011

Adkins Life Update: It's been a while.

by Lacey

I was reading a friend's blog and realized I should really give an update on what's been going on in the Adkins household.  I stopped posting over a year ago for a few reasons.  One:  life is busy.  Two:  I'm really bad about uploading pictures.  And three:  I feel like I'm being a little redundant because of Facebook.  Despite these reasons, I thought it was about time to give an Adkins Life Update.

Jason is still working at OVEC as a grant writer.  He also works part-time for our church, Auburndale Baptist Church, doing sundry tasks.  His duties include some administrative work, service planning, and music/worship leadership.  He was also recently voted in as an assistant pastor at our church.  We look forward to serving our brothers and sisters in this new way!

Jason had to drop his seminary classes this semester because of life happenings, but he plans to start back up this summer.  He has been enjoying writing on his music blog, The Persistence of Song during his time off from school and hopes to keep it up even after his classes start back.

I am still working part-time for our church, as well.  I have many administrative duties, with an emphasis in the financial side of things.  I've also organized a cooking blog called Cooking with Willing Hands that is authored by several ladies from church, including myself. 

I stay at home with Riley most of the time.  I've been working like crazy trying to get our home ready for our expected arrival!  Between caring for Riley, keeping our home, and working at church, I manage to stay quite busy!

Riley is now two years old; she turned two on February 19th.  We had a party for her at All About Kids with several families from church, and it was a blast! 

She is talking up a storm now.  She talks in full sentences, and her grammer is getting better all the time.  Her favorite toys are Mr. Potato Head, blocks, and Little People.  She is also currently infatuated with a Jessie doll (the character from Toy Story 2 and 3) that we got her. 

Speaking of movies, she absolutely loves watching tv and movies.  Her favorite movie is Toy Story 3 which she got for Christmas.  We try to limit her tv time, but it's really nice to have the option of putting on a movie to keep her entertained for an hour!

Riley is definitely a toddler these days.  She now sleeps in a big girl bed.  She has recently learned that she can get out of bed whenever she wants.  Consequently, naptime has become a battle, and we're being woken up a few times a night during most nights.  We're hoping she grows out of this phase soon!

We're also in the process of potty-training.  Jason and I are hoping to not have two in diapers come July...

I'm sure most of you know that we're expecting our second child, our first son - Carter Michael!  So the Adkins household will be stretching to four in about seven weeks!  We're scheduled for a ceserean on July 1st and are really looking forward to having a baby in the house again.

I'm a little nervous about taking care of a toddler during my recovery this time, but I am so thankful for our moms who will be coming to help out during the first two weeks.  Hopefully, I'll be up to the task of caring for a newborn and toddler by the time they leave!

The hardest experience we've had since I last updated the blog (really in our entire lives) is the loss of Jason's father, Mike.  I mentioned Riley's birthday party on February 19th.  Mike was already in the hospital for a case of pancreatitis, but we received a call that evening that we should make plans to go to Tennessee because Mike was worse.  After the party, we drove home, packed, and hit the rode within an hour.  By God's providence, my parents (who also live in middle TN) were in town for Riley's party so we sent her home with them.

We were able to see Mike that night and talk to him a little bit.  He was in quite a bit of pain and was kind of out of it because of the medication, but he was stable and, to our understanding, not in any immediate danger.  We stayed with my parents that night and went back to the hospital the next morning. 

That day things changed dramatically for the worse.  Mike was first put on a ventilator because of some fluid pressing against his lungs.  We later found out that the fluid consisted of pancreatic fluid.  This information meant that not only was his pancreas leaking fluid, but the fluid had made a way into his chest cavity. 

The doctors told us that his chances of survival were very slim.  We were blown away.  None of us had ever known a case of pancreatitis to be fatal, and, in fact, it is rare.  We spent the next two weeks on a vicious roller coaster of improvements and declines.  On March 6, 2011, our God and Father chose to take Jason's father away from his earthly home to a glorious paradise where there is no sun because Jesus is the light.

We trust that Mike is in Heaven glorifying God.  We've spent a great deal of time reflecting on the legacy Mike has left.  He loved and cared for his wife in a manner that is rarely seen, even among believers, and he cared for others in such a subtle way that he rarely received praise for it and never sought it.

I'd like to finish with one example of Mike's subtle way of caring for others. 

Mike was an early riser.  It wasn't unusual for him to be up well before 5 am.  When we would spend the night, Mike would always come and close our bedroom door before making his coffee first thing in the morning.  I'm a light sleeper so I always woke up when the door clicked, and I would usually still hear the rattle of the coffee cups, etc.  I never thanked Mike for this little act of thoughtfulness.  I doubt if he even knew that I knew.  I don't think Jason knew until I told him after Mike passed away.  As strange as it may seem, I feel Mike's love for us in the memory of that little act for which he never sought praise. 

I pray that I can improve the lives of my family and friends in hundreds of little ways that they never know about, even if it's only allowing them a few extra minutes of sleep.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Chicken Stew

By Jason

Lacey and I enjoy cooking together. With some of my Christmas spending money, I bought a new cookbook, Jamie’s Food Revolution by Jamie Oliver. We’re committed to trying one new recipe per week, and, already, we’ve had a few recipes (sweet potato and chorizo soup, macaroni and cheese with cauliflower, and baked carrots).

Yesterday, Lacey made a chicken stew recipe (with a sliced potato topping) from the new cookbook, and it turned out really well. We had enough to make a serving dish full and a little dish to stick in the freezer.

We had a few of our own twists. The recipe called for white wine, but since we don’t keep that on hand, we used apple juice (you can also use white grape juice). The stew was supposed to have 2 medium onions, but we almost always reduce the onion in recipes. We like to use dry spices, instead of buying fresh herbs. The trick is to use 1 teaspoon of dry spice for every 1 tablespoon of fresh herbs.

Jamie Oliver encourages his readers to teach four people how to cook some of their favorite recipes from the cookbook. Since there’s about four of you reading this post, I’ll include the recipe at the bottom of this post.

We’ll keep you updated on our progress through the cookbook. So far, I would recommend the book to others. For us, it’s a good mix of things we’ll obviously enjoy and some things that will be experimental.

Basic Chicken Stew

2 stalks celery
2 medium onions (we used 1)
2 carrots
Olive oil
1 heaped tablespoon of all-purpose floor
1 14-ounce can of diced tomatoes
Salt and pepper (to taste)
3 sprigs of fresh thyme (we used about 2 teaspoons of dried thyme)
1 pound diced, boneless, skinless chicken
2 cups white wine (we used 2 cups of apple juice)

Roughly chop celery and onions (we prefer to finely chop them). Peel and roughly chop carrots. Heat 2-3 tablespoons over medium heat in a large pot, and sauté celery, onions, and carrots for 10 minutes. Stir in chicken, flour, wine/apple sauce, and canned tomatoes. Season with salt and pepper. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover, and simmer for 1.5 hours. Remove the lid during the final half hour; if the stew appears dry, add a splash of water.

Hot-pot Topping

1.25 lbs of medium potatoes
Salt and pepper to taste
.5 stick of butter
Dried thyme

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Peel and boil potatoes whole for ten minutes. Drain potatoes and cool for 5 minutes. Slice potatoes length-wise in .25-inch slices and lay over stew in an oven-safe pan. Brush with melted butter, and sprinkle lightly with salt, pepper, and thyme. Cook in the oven for 40 minutes.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Redeeming the Commute

(by Jason)

In May 2008, Lacey and I decided to move closer to our church, Auburndale Baptist Church in Louisville, Kentucky. Since I work east of Louisville and our church is more in the southwestern part of Louisville, this move meant a longer commute to work. I spend approximately 100 minutes per day driving to and from work.

Actually, I enjoy the driving time. It certainly helps that most people commute the opposite direction! But I also enjoy “pleasure listening”: audio books, new music, sermons, and, even, NPR.

I have become lazy in my commute, though. Now, I spend a lot of time listening to sports radio or radio surfing. I realized recently how I am wasting away what could be productive time.

So, join me along I-265 and I-64, as I learn to redeem the commute. Expect a few posts a week, and maybe even a few ideas for maximizing your commute time.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

The Many Faces of Riley

by Lacey

Big eyes.  Big mouth.  I'm afraid she's going to take after me.

Gotta love the tongue shot.

Sweet Riley.

This one is a good teeth shot.  She has four now!

I think this one is my favorite.  It always makes me giggle.

The scrunched up face is a new skill.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Adkins Life Update

So much has been going on since our last post that I don’t even know where to begin. Washington, D.C. was fun, but kind of crazy. More to come on that from Jason soon.

The weekend after we got back from D.C., we went to Tennessee to see my best friend from high school as Belle in a production of Beauty and the Beast. She was amazing! She was definitely the star of the show. She’s planning on moving to New York next year, and I can’t wait to see what God has in store for her!

Before we headed back to Louisville, we had lunch with Jason’s parents. They definitely enjoyed the Riley time, and Kathy even received a Riley kiss (right), which is a rare occurrence!

Riley is not crawling on hands and knees yet, but she still manages to get wherever she wants to go. She has a very mobile army crawl, elbows and knees, and she scoots and rolls everywhere else. She also officially has two teeth. We just found them yesterday; they are the two middle teeth on the bottom. No pics of the teeth yet, but here are a couple of recent ones.

Jason is in a Fantasy Football league with some guys from church, and we went to one of their houses for them to do a live draft. Below is a picture of Riley with Ally, a little girl from church. Riley is wearing the Titans uniform my mom got her. I'm not really a football fan, but Riley looked really cute in her cheerleading uniform!

Some friends of ours, the Moores, are moving to west Tennessee. Brent is the new Minister of Students at First Baptist Milan. Since he went down there right away to begin his new job, Courtney had some packing to do on her own. I took this picture the day I went to help her do a little packing. We're really going to miss the Moores in Louisville. Their move has reminded us to be more diligent in spending time with our friends who still live in Louisville.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

my baby, an Addiction?

by Lacey

In a recent article on MSN, Martha Brockenbrough compares a woman's desire to have multiple children to an addiction. She explains that the reasons a woman decides to have a child are the same reasons that she might succumb to alcoholism or other addictions. She dubs them "bumpaholics," in reference to the baby bump.

"The Belly-Rubbing High"

What a shame that bearing children has been reduced to an addiction akin to alcoholism, that wanting to be a mother means one has a serious disease of inadequacy, that being "only a mom" is something of which to be ashamed. Why cannot loving and caring for one's children be a natural, wonderful responsibility, a worthy occupation? Why cannot one's motivation to become pregnant (or pregnant again) be simply because she loves her husband and wants to have a family with him? Can a woman not enjoy being pregnant without being accused of having an unhealthy, financially restricting, earth-destroying, society-imposing addiction?

Is this woman truly implying that having children is like an obsession with drugs? I'm not sure I even have the words to address that implication. Frankly, it's preposterous and degrading! I refuse to be compared to a drug addict or an alcoholic.

I adore my daughter, but not because I yearn for the attention she gets me or because I have a self-worth issue. Do not mistake me. I do have a self-worth issue. The issue is that on my own, I am worthless; however, my daughter is unable to heal that. She is unable to even put a band-aid on it. Only one person can remedy my self-worth issue, and it is not myself as so many would lead one to believe. It is Jesus the Christ.

You have heard it repeatedly, but how true it is. We live in a fallen world. A world that demeans the value of human life in every possible way. A world where children are not beautiful blessings, but rather inconveniences, financial burdens, addictions. They are things that can be purchased, sold, collected, or thrown away at one's discretion. How horrifying!

Do we as believers of the Gospel show those who believe this way that we value human life... pregnancy, children, family? How do we do it? Is it simply by defying them and living our lives in our little bubbles? Is it by holding a sign up in front of an abortion clinic? Is it by praying for them? How?

I'd like to know what you think.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

How Much Weight Will Jason Gain in DC?

On Saturday, I will fly out to Washington, DC, to participate in a two-week grant review. The review process is a pretty sweet deal. The Department of Health and Human Services is paying for travel, hotel arrangements, meals, and a nice stipend.

I’m really excited about one aspect of the review process: dinner. Reviewers will be reimbursed for dinner expenses up to, get this, $31 per night.

Now, I LOVE to eat out. Lacey and I don’t eat out much together because of money; so, eating out every night for two weeks is an appealing prospect.

$31 dollars a night, though, seems a bit excessive. Lacey and I rarely spend that much together! After perusing a few online menus, I can tell you $31 per night is not outrageous for DC.

Perhaps, this rare occasion affords us the opportunity for our first interactive Adkins family blog competition. I will weigh myself the night before I leave for DC and the night after I return from DC. Guess the two-week weight differential and post your guess in our comments section (e.g., +10.5 lbs, -5 lbs).

The guess that comes closest to the weight differential (within the nearest half-pound) will merit a special DC-related prize for the winning weight-prognosticator. Guesses must be logged by 11:59:59 EST August 7, 2009.

Here are a few variables worth considering while determining your guess (yes, singular guess, one per person please).

1. It is likely that my method of transportation to restaurants will consist of my own two legs. Many of the restaurants I’m considering are within a 4 block area of the hotel.

2. For those wanting to scan potential menus, I will be staying at the Madison Hotel in DC. Be advised: I don’t like fish.

3. $31 per night may seem quite exorbitant, but I’ve seen several restaurants where a simple pasta dish and a drink (non-alcoholic) will be pushing my reimbursement level.

4. When budget allows, I will definitely be ordering dessert. A few of my favorite desserts include banana pudding, key lime pie, bread pudding, and vanilla ice cream. Also, I will probably consume sodas and coffee, when budget allows.

For the purpose of full disclosure, you should know that this grant competition, including the grant review, is funded by the stimulus package (a.k.a., the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009).

So, while the data may be inconclusive as to whether or not your hard earned stimulus dollars are stimulating the economy, they certainly will be stimulating my waistline!