Monday, December 31, 2007

An Unexpected Date!!

Tonight Megan (who babysits for us) came over because her parents were going to be gone for a while. She didn't want to stay home alone and wanted to visit with the boys. So, I got a brilliant idea. I figured I would be shot down anyway, but I thought I might as well ask. I called Steve at work (he always works New Years Eve and New Years Day due to year end) and asked if he would want to go on a date. At first, he said he would take me to the cafe. The food there always gives me a stomach ache and it just isn't my idea of a great "date" place. The other option was the bar, which has excellent food, but is super smoky. And a bar on New Year's Eve is not exactly where I really want to be...no matter how good the food is! So then I thought maybe we could go to a movie. He agreed!!

We fed everyone supper and helped get the babies down for bedtime (so Megan really only had Austin and Aidan awake) and then we left quick.

We went to see Enchanted. We have a 99 cent theater in town that has one movie a week, and this happens to be the movie of the week. I told Steve I didn't care if it was a cartoon, I'd go. Well, it did start out with about 10 minutes of cartoon, but it turned into a surprisingly really good movie!

Then we were home by 9:15 and Megan's parents came about 9:30, so we all toasted New Year's at about 9:45 and then Austin and Aidan went to bed. We then stayed up for the ball to drop in New York (11 pm our time...that's getting a little late, you know!) and had another glass of "champagne" (if sparkling grape juice counts??) and went to bed. It was all in all a great and unexpected night!

Saturday, December 29, 2007

Ethan's WALKING!!!!

video

Today, Ethan was boogy-ing away to dctalk (at least he has good taste!), so I got out the camera to get his dancing. As I was getting it ready, he started walking!!!! Thankfully, I caught a few seconds (it literally is only 3 seconds long) before he fell. He now practices about 8 steps every single time he stands up. He also will walk between Steve and I. It is so cute, but boy we are in sooo much trouble once he figures out he can go further than 8 steps!!

(That's Aidan in the background.)

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Daddy's Birthday

Today is Steve's birthday. He requested that I make the turkey breast that we have had for a little bit, so I made my very first turkey. I am very proud of myself...it turned out excellent! I also made homemade rolls, green bean casserole, homemade stuffing (I usually make Stovetop), cranberry raspberry salad, and mashed potatoes and gravy. I tried to find a good recipe for the turkey breast and I stumbled upon one on Allrecipes. I love that site! For dessert, Aidan and I made a strawberry pretzel "salad" (he got cake on Christmas). It has a layer of pretzels, cheese cake type layer, and then a strawberry jello layer. The pretzels turned nutty tasting and it was really good, too.

As we were making the dessert, Aidan asked me how old Daddy was. I told him he was 41 and Aidan got a very upset look on his face and asked me if we had to get a new Daddy now. If he wasn't so upset, I would have laughed right there, but he was very serious and really thought we would have to trade Steve in for a "newer model." No thanks...I think I'll stick with the Daddy we have. He's pretty good. Steve and I got a good laugh over it after the kids were in bed.

"The boys" bought Daddy a VCR/DVD combo and an I Love Lucy boxset. He was thrilled with it; as well he should be considering he picked it all out and ordered it all! Just once I'd like to be able to buy him something he didn't expect...

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Merry CHRISTmas

This year I have been reflecting on Christmas more than any other year. I don't know why...I've been a "real" Christian for over seven years and was raised in the church, so I have truly understood the meaning of it my entire life and especially in the last seven years. It seems to have been triggered by my children. Which is another thing that is perplexing to me, as I have had children for the last twelve years and three of those Christmases I've had infants.

This year, though, it just is impacting me more than any other year. I think about how Mary must have felt. Here she was, never having been with a man, and yet, she was to birth a son who would save the world. Can you imagine how that must feel??? We all think our children are special, but to know that you are carrying, and mothering, the Savior? That is powerful.

Then Joseph. Here he was, engaged to a woman (which was as good as being married in those days), who was pregnant, and it sure wasn't his! Yet, he trusted God and did what was "right." That is unfathomable to me and we could all learn a lesson in trust from Joseph.

The birth of Jesus is a very special time indeed, but without His death and resurrection, it would mean very little. Jesus died for our sins, for my sins.

And God as Father, giving us His son, the human part of Himself. That is what is really on my heart this year. I cannot imagine purposely putting your own child here specifically to die for everyone else. Watching your only child be persecuted and dying a horrible death upon that cross and listening to him crying out to his Father, feeling abandoned. That would be so hard, and yet, God loves each and every one of us so much that he was allowing this sacrifice. As a mother, I wouldn't be able to give up even one of my children, and I have five. I am very selfish that way. I would much rather have something happen to myself than to my children. If one of my children is hurt in any way, that Mama part of me wants to stand up and get in the face of whoever wronged my child, no matter how minuscule it may seem. Yet, so many people persecuted Jesus and eventually put him to death, and God was willing to not only forgive those same people, but also give them eternal life.

"For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son that whoever believes in Him, shall not perish but have eternal life." -John 3:16

That verse usually seems so "Christian cliche" that I try to avoid using it, but it is such a powerful verse. That one verse sums up the whole reason Jesus came for us. To literally save us from ourselves, if we choose to accept Him and believe in Him. We are so far from perfect, we need Jesus.

On this day, I encourage you to step back from the gifts and hubbub and think about all that Jesus did for us, and God as His Father and our heavenly Father, through His miraculous birth and ultimately, His death and resurrection. If you have not accepted Christ as your Lord and Savior, please take a moment to do so. It means everything to God, He wants to spare us all. And I wouldn't want to miss anyone in heaven!

Santa!!!

Aidan was so excited to discover Santa came last night. He didn't even get up early (better than last year's 5 am wake up call!) and then when he did awake, I made him wait upstairs so I could hit record on the video camera. Thankfully I had it all set up so it didn't take long.

That crazy Santa actually brought Aidan a drum set! He was so excited to see it. It was the one thing he kept asking for over and over. Austin got the Planet Earth series DVD, and his favorite, an iDog. They both got lots of movies and cd's and a few other things. Nathanial, Ethan, and Noah received diapers, wipes, clothes, pajamas, and one toy each. They weren't real excited about opening again, but Ethan loved the tripod for the camera and Nathanial and Noah loved trying to get at the chocolate.

After that, we headed to Steve's family for Christmas. Aidan was a nightmare, but after five days of little sleep and only home for 12 hours then off again, I can't really blame him. I almost left with him, he was so difficult. Austin had his moments, too, so it made for a trying day for me. At least now maybe we can get back into some semblance of a routine. That would be nice. Nathanial, Ethan, and Noah were happy boys, so that helped.

We were home by 6:30 and the babies went right to bed, followed very closely by Austin and Aidan. Aidan kept coming down every 15 minutes, but finally went to sleep when we went up at about 9:30. His schedule is just so out of whack he can't seem to settle down. It will be nice when school starts again!!!

Monday, December 24, 2007

Christmas at Grandma's

We finally got to Mom's for Christmas today. The roads were horrible and we didn't leave until 10:30. We saw so many cars in the ditch, it was horrible. I can understand being out if you came a long distance and had no idea what you were going to run into, but I totally do not understand risking your life on closed roads if you knew what it was like outside.

It took a little longer than normal, but once we got there, it was a nice afternoon. Nathanial, Ethan, and Noah still had no idea about actually opening presents, but loved the paper. They loved Mom's steps, also. They all kept going up and then I would bring them down and they'd head right back up. They thought it was a game and had a blast.

Austin and Aidan had fun, too and were pleased with their gifts. Austin was more than a little disappointed at one of his gifts. It turned out that the reason he found such a good deal on it on clearance was because it required a battery and battery charger that are no longer available due to a recall. And I wasn't willing to buy him one (there are plenty out there for sale) because they were recalled due to starting on fire and/or exploding. Not exactly a safe item in any person's hands, but especially someone who has no clue about the hazards of a fire. But we have assured him that we will get him something different.

We headed home early enough to get half way in the light, which was good. I did not want to drive after Friday night, so Steve drove, which meant he needed light. Due to keratoconus, he doesn't see well for night driving and hates doing it. Some of the drifts on the way home were amazing! They were as high as the Excursion, and that thing is tall!

Tonight, Santa comes and tomorrow we have Christmas with Steve's side of the family. I think I am just to the point of let's get this over with...and I feel horrible feeling that way because that is certainly not what I want Christmas to be about!

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Another Snow Day

By the time Shawna and Chris got home last night, it was turning nasty outside. We were supposed to go to Mom's for Christmas this afternoon and then home, but that is not going to happen. It is so nasty out there. It is snowing, but worse than that, it is blowing something fierce. You cannot see through it and they are closing all the major roads we would need to take.

Chris keeps calling to be sure that we don't go anywhere, but there is no way we are. He had to work this morning and he said he is taking call after call of people stuck, but there is nothing they can do. The snow plows quit even trying until the wind dies down and even the tow trucks can't get through. It is just a mess. Mom was disappointed, but we can't really do anything about it at this point.

We did have fun though! It was actually kind of nice being snowed in with nowhere to go. Steve, Shawna, and I played SNL Video Trivial Pursuit (I suck) and had a blast, while the babies were asleep and the kids watched movies. Then tonight we played Mexican Train after the babies went to bed. Steve and I had never played that and it was so much fun.

The kids were feeling a little cooped up by the end of the day, but all in all, it was a pretty good day.

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Sledding!

We are staying with Shawna and her family for the weekend because we are going to Mom's for Christmas tomorrow. Today we took the kids sledding. It was raining and still foggy when we got up (raining, in December!), so we waited for a while. That was disappointing to Austin because he was so excited to go (not a lot of hills here), but he had to wait.

The hill was huge and everyone was so excited, except Aidan. Aidan, as I figured, was terrified. He did go down, once, with Austin. He started crying halfway down the hill (I did get it on video, though...that's on dropshots) and said he was not going down "ever again." And he didn't. He made snow angels instead.

Austin went down several times, as did Emma. They went down alone, together, with Shawna (Emma) and had a blast. Cael surprised me the most. He was hilarious! He's only two and he would go down the hill by himself! Then Shawna would run down and grab his sled and he'd do it again.

Tonight, Shawna and Chris have their Christmas with Chris' side, so we get to stay home and get everyone to bed early for tomorrow.

Friday, December 21, 2007

To Grandpa's House We Go...

What a nightmare. Today was a day that was meant to be fun and relaxing and it started out horrible. When we first started talking about Christmas, I thought it would be nice to have it this afternoon. Then I realized Austin would still be in school and to get to my dad's on time (two hours away) would be impossible. Thankfully, it worked for everyone to push it back and start at 5. To do so, we would have to leave right after Austin got out of school (early) at 2:00.

We woke up this morning and it was so foggy, we couldn't see our neighbors house. Lo and behold, school was delayed. That means, no early dismissal, which means no getting to dad's by 5 because Austin's bus doesn't even get back to Sumner until 4:00. Never mind the fog. I called Dad and they were fine with it being later.

Austin got home and we immediately left. Wow...I did not realize just how bad the fog was until we started going. Thankfully, most of the roads are very familiar, but it was still treacherous. We had to drive very slow because most of the way I could only see two little dash lines ahead. We stopped 3/4 of the way through for a potty stop and to get a little breather before hitting the worst part of it. Not because it was any worse outside, but because we were about to go on roads we've only been on a few times and they are windy, hilly, and no fun on a clear, sunny day in the middle of July. That part actually seemed to go quickly by, thankfully.

Finally, we arrived at Grandpa and Grandma W.'s house. It turned out to be a great night. The babies' discovered Grandma's cabinets full of tupperware and had a hayday. That was better than any present anyone could possible think to give them. They weren't into unwrapping any presents yet, but loved the paper once it was off.

The best part was being able to relax and be with family. It's so nice when things aren't rushed and we can just enjoy each other's company. I don't see or talk to my dad all that often because everything is crazy busy here right now, so I really enjoy it and look forward to it when we do.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Bummer

Thankfully, school was delayed today due to fog, so Austin was able to sleep in. He panicked when he woke up at 9:00 and saw the time. I guess he doesn't trust that I would wake him up, if he overslept, to be in time for the bus. I was just glad he was able to get a few extra hours of sleep.

Aidan was supposed to have his preschool Christmas program this morning, but it was canceled because of the late start. His teacher did say she is going to try to reschedule it for January and I hope she does. He was so excited and I was so excited to see him, so we were both disappointed.

Christmas Cards!

If you are waiting for a Christmas card from us (like we're so important...yeah, right), I am way behind this year! I just finally got them printed up and sent them out this morning. At least I got them out before Christmas. Doesn't necessarily mean you will get them for Christmas, though. But they are coming!

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Shopping with Austin

Austin had his doctor's appointment in Cedar Falls tonight so we did our outing alone again. I love this time with him because it is peaceful and we get to talk. And he does actually talk to me during this time. It's the only time we get alone anymore, so I look forward to it. I told Austin that tonight and he said he enjoys it, too.

We also had to get all our shopping done since I didn't have any other kids with me (aka, those who believe in Santa). We had a ton of stuff to do and he was pleasant throughout it all. He only asked once if I could finish another day.

It seemed to take forever for some reason, especially because we went really fast through all the stores, but when you add in wait time at every single store, it adds up. We finally got done with Target at 10 pm. We got in line at, I kid you not, 9:30. They only had two registers open at that time, and one was an express lane. Now why you would only have two registers open just days before Christmas is beyond me, but whatever. So we waited and waited and finally got up there. The lady kept looking at Austin and me and finally said to Austin "you must not have school tomorrow." When he said he did, she looked at me, then him, and said, "you better get home and get to bed." OK, I realize it's late, he's normally in bed by 7:30, so this is very rare. But, I cannot stand for a perfect stranger to pass judgement on my parenting. She doesn't know the whole story (we live an hour away, we have four other kids, this is an exception, not the rule, etc., etc., etc.) and she is just there to check out my goods, not comment on the time and Austin's still being awake.

I was ready to head home, when Steve reminded me I needed to stop at Staples for ink. Staples was closed, but Best Buy was open, thankfully. We ended up getting home at 11:15 and I immediately sent Austin to bed.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Daddy's home for lunch!!

Since I had my meeting with the school today, Steve came home to stay with everyone while I went. Lunchtime came while I was gone, and Steve decided that macaroni salad would make a wonderful lunch option. Nathanial, Ethan, and Noah agreed whole-heartedly and loved it. This is what I came home to:
Nathanial:





Ethan:

Noah:

And a meeting...

Austin has done exceptionally well this year with responsibility, turning in his work, on time, and getting things done in a timely manner. In fact, he's done so well, I was beginning to wonder what was going on. He usually does very well the first 3-4 weeks, then peters out and "forgets" stuff. Last week, I got "the call" and e-mails from several teachers. His work wasn't turned in and he was just "out of it." And not until I got home did I remember that last week, they had two late arrival days. That would probably be the main reason for all of this.

So today I met with them. I informed them that he is doing much better this year than he has in the past, considering it's December and almost semester end and usually this sort of work doesn't even make it through the first quarter. I tried to explain the wonders of Asperger's and his lack of organization, but once again all I heard about was how intelligent he was, how well read he was, and how articulate and what a vocabulary he had. Soooo...you didn't do any research on Asperger's, then, is what you're telling me???

His science and social studies teacher has been concerned because he's been a little speed demon again (remember the famous F on a science test of all things???), but when he turned in his last test, he did very well. He was done in 5 minutes flat and he kept asking him to be sure to look it over again and make sure he didn't have any wrong, but Austin insisted he was done and read the rest of the class. Well, sure enough, he got two wrong and got an A on that test. Sometimes I just feel like screaming and wishing he would fail...only to learn that fastest isn't always the best in life!

He's also apparently taken a liking to hiding his coat behind the door of a nearby classroom, instead of putting it into his locker, when he decides to take it off at all. Hmmmm...wonder why that's happening? Wouldn't have anything to do with his locker being chuck-full of garbage, would it?? So he was talked to about that. He also wears his coat and gloves most of the day and they were concerned about that. I did inform them that he wears his coat all day at home. One of two things is happening there. Either he is, once again, not eating and losing weight and can't keep warm, or just as likely, the coat has become part of his "uniform." I sometimes think they must believe that he has only two shirts and one pair of pants and they never get washed. He routinely wears the exact same clothes over and over and over (and I was them every single night). His dresser drawers and closet are filled to overflowing with very nice clothes, but he won't deviate from his "uniform." So, hence, the coat has become an article of clothing that he must wear. This is not a battle I am willing to fight and, in the long run, really doesn't matter, so I told them to ignore it and let him do it.

He got his ITBS test results back today. I haven't seen them, but they did tell me that in two or three, he was once again off the charts (100% accuracy and 13+ grade level). They were ever so proud of themselves as a school...or at least, the principal was. I didn't tell him they have very little to do with it. At any rate, I hope that he brings home the results himself in the next couple of days so I can look them over myself.

I also talked with the principal and he said that he did indeed, punish the young lady to the fullest extent after talking with both Austin and her. He said Austin did admit to saying she liked a 10 year old, but she admitted to saying I got pregnant by Austin. The only comment he couldn't prove was the "gay" comment (because that word is banned) and "noone" heard her say that. They did hear everything else, though. He spoke with several "witnesses" and decided it was a "balancing act" and he decided to trust Austin "this time." And I quote "I just hope I did the right thing." Oh, trust me, you did.

All in all, a pretty good meeting and it seems like Austin is still doing well. They said they could tell that I had spoken to him, because he is buckling down a lot better this week. I warned them that after Christmas break, it would be a nightmare again, and he would take a good 2-3 weeks at a minimum to get back into a routine. Hopefully I'm proven wrong, but I doubt it...

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Bullies

On Tuesday afternoon, I recieved a call from a young lady that goes to school with Austin. She has, in the past, had quite the thing for Austin, but it was unrequited. I liken it to my first crush. Austin is her Corey F... I can commiserate, oh how I can commiserate.

At any rate, she has, apparently, moved on. She has gotten herself a 13 year old "man" of a boyfriend, she so informed me. The reason for the call, however, was to preempt whatever it was the Austin was going to tell me when he got home. She literally called me the instant her feet hit the pavement off the bus. She informed me he was going to say she called him all these names, but she didn't say them, and if I didn't believe her, I could ask "AR." Hmmmm.....then how do you know what he's going to say and how do you know I'm going to believe him??? Interesting, to say the least. But, at the end, she did say that he told everyone that she was in love with a ten year old (how DARE he....she's ELEVEN!!!), but the truth is her boyfriend is 13. Ah, the trials and tribulations of the young...how I so miss it (NOT!!).

So, then my call waiting beeps and it's Austin, near tears. The young lady apparently called him a little B*tch, an f'er, and gay. She's called him these quite a bit the last two weeks (must have started around the time the "new man" entered the picture). I gave him retorts. I told him to tell her he can't be a little B because he's a boy; thank her for saying he was so happy; and ignore the F'er comment. This went much farther, though. The creme de la creme of it all...she told everyone at school that Austin got me pregnant with the triplets. Ohhhhhhh...no she didn't!!!! I told Austin I was on the other line with her and to get home immediately. I went back to her and said that I would be meeting with the teachers on Thursday anyway and I would figure it out then, but for now, I would take her side into consideration and listen to Austin's side and then decide.

I immediately hung up and called the middle school. I try to let Austin fight his own battles, but she has been bullying him for far too long and I am sick of it. The name calling is one thing, to say something like this is quite another. They said they would pull them both in in the morning and discuss it. I informed them that Austin was worried that she would start crying like she always did and get out of it. They said they would take that into consideration. I hung up and still had to comfort my son who at that moment, came flying in the back door.

We talked and I told him I had called the guidance counselor and principal and asked for his side of the story. Apparently, he did say she liked a 10 year old, but that was it. He didn't call her names, but he did when he got home. Oh, boy did he...and I didn't stop him. I felt like he needed to vent.

Austin came home from school today and FINALLY they are putting the bullying policy to good use. She has been given three Saturday Schools (which is exactly like it sounds...Saturday from 7-3) and if she says anything again she will be put on suspension for one day for each word. She is also to sit in the front of the bus and get on after Austin and if Austin wants to sit in the front, she needs to sit in a totally different spot. Since most of the trouble from her seems to come from the bus.

So I have a tiny bit more faith in our schools today, which is a good thing lately.

Am I EVER going to feel better????

So now it's in my chest. Lovely, just lovely. Seems this thing is just enjoying working it's way through my body. And as much as I would have loved a nap today, I couldn't do it. Aidan had his follow up on his hearing and I had a haircut. Try rescheduling that right before Christmas.

Aidan's tube was out of his left ear, but they said his hearing is "normal." They put him in a soundproof booth and tell him to sit very still and not get the wiggles, lest he hear the tones, and then pronounce his hearing "normal." Sure, in a silent room, with noone moving or talking, he hears things. In the real world, he doesn't. So she pulled the tube out of his ear and said she will see him in six months, unless we have more trouble. Well, I guess it's useless to point out that he isn't hearing at home or at school, even though she was told that. Because her test says he hears. So we wait again.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Still sick...

I am still sick so I am not doing the Making Your Home a Haven challenge today or yesterday. I wish I felt better, but I feel like I have been run over by a truck. It started yesterday with a somewhat stuffy head, little cough, and an earache. Today, my whole head is about to explode and my sinus's are just miserable.

Steve keeps reminding me that I never get sick. And he's right...I usually don't. I always say it's because I eat boatloads of garlic in a normal day. I love garlic...I will get it into my body in whatever way I can, normally. But the last week, I haven't had much, and boom! I'm feeling icky. A little more that coincidence, wouldn't you say??? Yeah, I know...probably not considering the season we are in.

We also got at least six inches of snow today and I asked Austin to go out to shovel for me. You would have thought I asked him to go out back and dig up the dead dog that's been under the oak tree for the last four years. So, I gave him "options." I told him he either went out to shovel or he sat inside with Aidan, Nathanial, Ethan, and Noah while I shoveled...even though I'm terribly ill (what's wrong with a little guilt once in a while??). He chose to stay in. I guess it's my own fault for giving him options. It's times like this when you wonder why that big yard with a long driveway was worth it. What's really wrong with just a tiny yard, little sidewalk and no driveway? I'm starting to see the benefits. So I got it done, then promptly got in trouble by Steve for not waiting until he got home.

And now, I'm going to bed to hopefully sleep this thing off....

Monday, December 10, 2007

I Hate Mondays

Am I the only stay at home mom who absolutely dreads Mondays?? The weekend is wonderful, routine is pretty much gone (which is good and bad with an Asperger child in the mix), Daddy is home, and everyone relaxes. And therein lies the problem. The routine is gone, everyone relaxes, and Daddy is home.

Which means the house is a mess, and the babies are out of their 12:30 on the dot naptime (in favor of "whenever it's convenient, whether that's 11 or 1 or anywhere in between), so Mondays I have to clean, clean, clean and restructure our lives. Every single Monday I do this! Ahhhh!!!

Don't get me wrong...I love weekends. I love having everyone home with nowhere to go and nothing to do, most of the time. And if we do have stuff to do, it's usually stuff we want to do and look forward to. That's part of what makes Monday so hard. Everyone is back to their lives and not home and I am here, back to speaking to a 4 year old and three 10 month olds. My speech goes back to a 2 year old level and I long for decent grown-up conversation again. Because, let's face it, by the time Steve gets home, I'm pretty wiped out for any intentional adult conversation.

Today, I'm feeling REALLY icky, so the house is going to stay a mess and I am going to take a nap with the babies instead of cleaning like I should...because I am miserable. And I'm planning on going straight to bed the second Steve walks in the door tonight, too. That's probably why I am feeling even more "Ba-humbug" about the whole Monday thing anyway.

Be gone, cold, ear ache, and stuffy head, be gone!!

Friday, December 7, 2007

Making Your Home a Haven - Day Five

Refresh Your Spirit (5 minutes)

Today I read James 2 -3:12. I really needed that today, all of it. But one verse especially hit me. Growing up Catholic, I have a hard time with my sin being the same as someone who was a murderer or anything "more major" because I was taught that there are "levels" of sin. That has been the hardest thing for me to grasp since switching to a Protestant religion. I hesitate to point out differences, because what matters is that we are Christians, but this teaching is not biblical at all. What makes it difficult is that Satan is always right there, justifying what I would like to believe. Oh, I just gossip. I just overeat. I just have a very hard time with forgiveness. (There's more, trust me, there's more.) That's not at all the same as a murderer, is it??? But of course it is. God sees every sin equally. And whether it is difficult for me to grasp, it's the Truth. I don't even think it is difficult for me to grasp...I just don't like to think about it and don't want to admit it to myself. All this came from a simple verse "...whatever you say or whatever you do, remember that you will be judged by the law that sets you free." (James 2:12) I fall so short of the glory of God, yet I know that I am forgiven...and that is a powerful thing. I still have a lot of transforming for God to do, but that's the wonderful part of Jesus...I am a work in progress and it's within His power to change me.

Take Time to Make a Plan (5 minutes)

Here's my list for today:
Kitchen (Steve was home with the boys last night, so I have some work to do!)
Upstairs Landing
General Pick Up

I have more I want to do, but I am keeping it realistic. We also have Steve's Christmas party tonight, so I know I won't get as much done as I have to get everyone ready for the sitter and go get the sitter.

Do Something:
Seeing as I'm all about efficiency, we're combining today's regular Frugal Friday feature with our current
Making Your Home a Haven Challenge.

Today, instead of the usual challenges we've been doing all week, I'm encouraging all of you participants to make your home a haven by taking some time to spend as a family or spend some time doing something for your family. Have fun with your family! It's one of the best ways to make your home an oasis.

I have eaten breakfast with just Aidan and I this morning. It took half an hour just to eat a bowl of oatmeal, a plate of pickles, and a glass of milk (no, I'm not pregnant...that was Aidan's meal...I just had oatmeal and coffee), but what Aidan and I really enjoyed was having that time to ourselves and not having anyone else around. I think that's why he dilly-dallied so much this morning!

Since we do have the Christmas party tonight, we can't have a family night tonight, so I am grateful that I already had a 'family weekend' planned. This afternoon when Austin gets home, though, I am going to sit with him on Club Penguin (which is an awesome little site) and help him win some coins to upgrade and deck out his igloo. It doesn't sound like much, but I am trying to meet Austin where he is at and this is what he loves to do.

Aidan has requested that Daddy, Mommy, and Austin make colorful cookies for Santa, also. No babies, though, please....we will lock them out of the kitchen. (What he said, not me. I suggested waiting until they were napping; he agreed.) I was not planning on doing a lot of Christmas baking this year...I felt like I didn't have time. But now I see how important this is to Aidan, so I am going to make time. So I guess we're doing that this weekend, too!

Have a very blessed weekend everyone!

Thursday, December 6, 2007

Thank Goodness for Steam Cleaners....

I was bringing in babies yesterday and, as you notice by Noah's hat, I had just gotten in the door when Aidan told me that he "accidentally" spilled half a thing of spaghetti sauce on the floor! No problem for the three of them, they'll just enjoy it right off the floor. Ick!!

Thank goodness for steam cleaners...or Steve would kill me!
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Making Your Home a Haven - Day Four

Today's Challenge (Let's hope I do a better job of accomplishing this today!)

Refresh Your Spirit (5 minutes)

I encourage you to pick a special verse to meditate on today while you're going about your homemaking tasks and write it down on an index card and put it in a central location as a reminder.

Today I read my verses for Bible study tonight. When I was finished with that, I was flipping to Psalms and my Bible fell open to Proverbs. The very first verse that popped out at me was "A wise woman builds her home, but a foolish woman tears it down with her own hands." (Proverbs 14:1) This spoke volumes to my soul today. I don't literally tear down my home, but I certainly don't do a very good job of building it up most days. Our home itself and everyone in it. I can be short with Austin and Aidan, not spend enough time with either of them, short with Steve, and I can just plain not feel like cleaning that day, so it doesn't get done. If I don't consciously think about dinner, it's usually spaghetti because that's easy. I am trying very hard to change this part of my life and be more conscientious about my daily living and make our home peaceful, presentable, and a happy place to come home to. I want everyone to feel welcome here, and most days I don't feel that it is very welcoming.

A verse to meditate on today for myself is:
I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. Philippians 4:13


Take Time to Plan (5 minutes)
In addition to writing out a short to-do list numbered in order of importance today like we did the past few days and thinking ahead to what you'll have for dinner tonight, take a moment to plan some special way to bless your family this weekend. Maybe it will be something like breakfast in bed for your children, or a treat for your husband, or a special family activity. Think of something out-of-the-ordinary which will show your love practically to your family.

To Do List:
Pick up all the toys. (Done)
Spend time alone with Aidan when the babies take their nap. (Done)
Help Austin with whatever he needs when he gets home.

For Supper:
Turkey, mashed potatoes, and broccoli.


I actually get a good one for this weekend, because we already planned it. I am not going to clean at all this weekend, and neither is Steve. We are going to go get our Christmas tree and cut it down. Then we will decorate the house. We are taking Austin and Aidan to see Bee Movie, also, this weekend.I also have been meaning to write a letter to Austin for a long time now, and I am going to do that this weekend.

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Making Your Home a Haven - Day Three

Refresh Your Spirit (5 minutes)
If you have a chance, I encourage you to think of three things you are thankful for. Write them down and express gratitude to the Lord. Focus on the blessings in your life, not on the things you wish you could change.

Do I really need to admit that I didn't read anything again today? But, at least I did do the next part.

There are so many things that I am grateful for, but these are the three that I am most grateful for today:

1. Steve
Having a husband who is loving and Godly is a huge blessing in my life and I am so thankful to God for bringing him into my life. I cannot imagine a day without him. I still get excited and look forward to him coming home every night (and no, not just to help out with the kids, but because I want to be with him). We are very comfortable in our lives and I feel like I truly have a partner in this marriage and neither one of us is doing all the work. We both equally share the load and I am so grateful! His sense of humor can really help to lighten my stress and he knows just when to use it!

2. My boys
I am so thankful for God's blessing me with each of my children. Austin is such a blessing in so many ways everyday, even though we have many challenges. I believe those very challenges are what make our relationship stronger. Aidan is such an enrichment in my life and brings such joy and humor to it, even when he is being strong willed and ornery. Nathanial is such a peaceful little man and makes you feel peace every time you hold him, even when I have to chase him down. Ethan is so sweet and so funny to watch, even when he's stealing all his brothers' toys. Noah is so loving and cuddly, even when he's needy and whiny.

3. My Bible Study Group
I have needed to get out of the house for so long now and just spend time with other women, without children and discussing and challenging my faith. This prayer was recently answered with the start of a new Bible study group with women I know. Thank you Kasey for inviting me and thank you Deb and Taunya for starting this!!


Take Time to Plan (5 minutes)
In addition to writing out a short to-do list numbered in order of importance today like we did yesterday, I encourage you to plan what you are having for dinner. Make it your aim to have dinner completely made or almost completely made by lunch time. This will make for a much more peaceful afternoon and evening.

To Do List:
Clean:

Living Room (done)
Dining Room (done)
Kitchen (done)
Bathrooms (done)
Our Room (not done)
Babies' Room (not done)
Playroom (not near done!)

Since I knew I would be cleaning all day and I knew I wasn't going to be in the mood for making supper, tonight's dinner was Casey's pizza. And, it was free! I had enough coupons to have our free pizza!!

Do Something! (15 minutes or so)
Today we're going to focus on the laundry and laundry room. Your goal by the end of today is to have all of your laundry finished, folded, and put away.For those of you with a laundry room or laundry area, take some time to organize and clean up this area. Wipe down your washer and dryer, check for socks and other articles of clothing behind and on the sides of your washer and dryer, and clean out your dryer lint.

Hahahahahahahahahahahaha....THAT is hilarious!! Right, well, I think not. First, 15 minutes would not get near what needs to be done in that room. And after everything else I did today, the laundry room was the last room that I had time for. So, on to tomorrow's list, I guess. I hate putting stuff off, but I really don't have a choice with this one!

Away I Go...


See If Mommy Can Catch Me apparently is a new game that Nathanial loves to play. He climbs the steps, and he is getting fast. He thinks he's hilarious playing "where am I?" Today, I left the living room for a few seconds to get Aidan peanut butter toast (I hope they aren't allergic to it, because Ethan got a bite), and I thought I heard noises in the babies' room through the monitor. I run out to the living room, and sure enough, Nathanial's missing. I ran upstairs and he came out of their room, threw his hands up in the air, and giggled.


I grabbed him, took him back downstairs, put an excersaucer in front of the steps (no time to get the gate back in place) and went back to Aidan's toast. That took maybe 30 seconds and I returned to, again, no Nathanial. What?!?! He pushed the excersaucer out of his way, then continued up the steps. He was halfway up the second set (we have a landing) when I caught him and he started giggling again and the moved even faster. Apparently, the other new game is How Fast is Mommy? Not fast enough obviously.


So, then I moved the humidifier in front of the steps...that's a little heavier. I guess I have to make time to get the gate back in front of the steps.

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Making Your Home a Haven Challenge - Day Two

Refresh your spirit (5 minutes)

Again, late start, so I didn't read much. I did pray quite a bit today, but I always do that. I need to get better about setting time aside for myself, which is part of why I wanted to do this in the first place.

Take Time to Plan (5 minutes)
Do you have a plan for today? A few minutes of strategic planning before you begin your day can not only help you to be much more productive, but it can also save you a lot of time. If other things come up which are more important, be cheerful and flexible.

To Do List:
Go to Waterloo early in the morning. (Didn't happen - we didn't leave until 10!)

Pick out fabric for the boys' blankets for Christmas from Granny and Grandpa Charlie.
Target - general neccesaties (diapers, wipes, soap, etc.); Christmas presents for nieces and nephews.
Lunch
Home for naps. (Didn't happen = VERY grumpy babes)
Pick up Austin from school (Got home just in time to meet his bus and pick him up.)
Clean living room. (Again, didn't happen.)
Time with Aidan alone while babies take naps. (Obviously, didn't happen.)
Get supper made and eat together.


Do Something! (10 minutes)
Since we tackled our entryways yesterday, we're moving on to our living rooms today.

This clearly didn't happen today, with everything else we had going on.

Oh, well...there's always tomorrow!

Monday, December 3, 2007

Making Your Home a Haven Challenge - Day One

First, I wanted to thank Gina (Everyday is a Precious Gift) for posting this on her blog. I have felt that our home and life is chaos lately...well, not even lately, since the pregnancy and birth of the triplets. I am so ready to get into a schedule in my life and feel more in control of things. Gina is a true blessing and her posts couldn't have come at a better time! So, for the next while, I will be doing the challenge with Gina and the women at Biblical Womanhood (www.biblicalwomanhoodonline.com/blog.htm). Here goes!
(All italics are Biblical Womanhood's words.)
Day One of the Challenge
Refresh Your Spirit (5 minutes)
Take five minutes, brew a cup of tea or coffee, and sit down and be still before the Lord. Pray, read a Psalm, thank the Lord for His goodness and blessing in your life.
Not that this is an excuse, but I didn't start the challenge until a few days late, so I unfortunately did not do this.
Take Time to Plan (5 minutes)
Today's planning project is centered on a morning routine. Write down five things you want to do in the same order every morning. Keep it simple and only stick to five things. If five things seem overwhelming, start with three. Starting somewhere is better than not starting at all!
My Morning Routine:
1. Take a shower!
2. Coffee and spend time with the Lord.
3. Breakfast for Aidan and the babies.
4. Get supper planned and meat out to defrost, if needed.
5. Put in a load of laundry; fold and put away everything in the dryer.
Do Something! (5 -15 minutes)
Each day I'm going to be giving you a simple organizational task to complete in your home. And today we're going to start at the very beginning - a very good place to start! Then go to your front door and pretend you are a first-time visitor to your home. Walk in and take a look around. What is your immediate impression of your home? Is it calm and clean or cluttered and chaotic? Take five to fifteen minutes to clean, de-clutter, and beautify your entry area.

This is the view as you walk in looking straight ahead.
Before:


After:
The view to the right of the door.

Before: After:


This is the view to the left of the front door.
Before:
After:


It is bad enough posting the before pictures, but it really does make me feel better and feel like I actually accomplished something. That's rare these days.

Saturday, December 1, 2007

Whew...

Aidan got his speech results back and his speech is within normal ranges. Yay! So we don't have to do anything about it and his funny little sayings can remain funny. He also brought home a little Santa countdown and is getting very excited for Christmas to come!

Ethan seems to be getting better...very slowly, but there is improvement. Nathanial is a little worse, but nothing like what he was a week ago, so still overall better. Noah has still not gotten the nasty cough...still has a runny nose and is very whiny and his ear still hurts, but better overall. They all seem to slowly be getting a little bit better thankfully!

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Ethan's Jealousy


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An example of Ethan's stealing. This was Nathanial's cow lovey and he was dragging it around, so Ethan had to have it. Ethan has a teddy lovey exactly like this, but that wouldn't do. Nathanial eventually gave up, long before Ethan would have, and Ethan ended up with his lovey! This went on for two or three minutes before I thought to video it.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Another hearing test

Aidan had a massive ear infection in July. His first ever and it was nasty. When we took him into his ENT to have a look, we found out he had a lot more going on than "just" an ear infection. We got it all straightened out and still felt like he wasn't hearing well. She looked and both his tubes were still in place. So we decided to wait until he started preschool and then do the speech and hearing evals through AEA.

He had his hearing evaluated in October and didn't do so hot. I got a letter home that day that said he had failed in his left ear and if we wanted to take him in before we got the formal evaluation report back, we could. We decided to wait until we got it back. We got them back today and they were not good.

The audiologist says that he has "significant hearing loss" in his left ear. He is not at a "learning level" with that ear. The formal recommendation from AEA is to get him into his ENT asap and have him sit with his right ear towards the speaker and other kids. That was a little overwhelming. I knew he wasn't hearing, but I had no idea it was that bad. So I called his doctor and he goes in December 12. Hopefully it is just that he needs tubes again and this is permanent damage.

Tonight, Steve was talking to him and he kept saying "What?," "What did you say?," like always. So I told Steve to try talking near his right ear. So, we turned Aidan and Steve told him in the same tone of voice what he had said and he got it instantly. It was interesting because Steve was NOT facing his left ear, he was standing directly in front of him, and he still couldn't hear until Steve stood near his right ear. Explains why he sits on top of the TV, with it jacked way up and why he can't hear me. We went through all this before, but since he was hearing some of what we were saying, I didn't think it was so bad.

He had his speech evaluation done a couple of weeks ago and we haven't heard anything back yet on that. The audiologist said that his speech would more than likely be affected by his lack of hearing in his report, so I guess we'll just wait and see what the SLP said. If she takes as long as the other guy, it will be a while before we hear back.

Ethan's Turn

Last night, Ethan started having more and more problems with wheezing. His wasn't as bad as Nathanial's, so we spent an hour steaming him and then put on the Baby Vicks and put him to bed. It was another night of little sleep for me, as I listened closely to him to be sure he wasn't getting worse through the night. He didn't get worse, but he didn't get better.

He woke up this morning to a lot of wheezing, so I did the shower and Vicks again and it didn't seem to help. I decided to call the doctor. He called back and wanted to see him. I wasn't too thrilled about that and he knew it, so he asked when Steve got off and if I would have to bring out everyone. I said I did, so then he asked if it was similar to Nathanial. After much thought on his part, he thankfully said he would try a prescription of the same meds as Nathanial and see if it helps. If it doesn't, then I will take him in. So far, it isn't helping a whole lot, but he needs more than one dose to help also. If he isn't better by tomorrow, I'll call again and take him in. I just hate the idea of dragging everyone in. Steve took off Friday then took off 1/2 day on Monday so I could take just Nathanial and Noah in, so I don't want to ask him to take off more time to come home again.

Speaking of Ethan, he is now stuck under the table (can't figure out how to get out after he got in!), so I need to get him out!!

Prayers for everyone to get better fast would be much appreciated!!

Monday, November 26, 2007

Another Doctor Visit

Today we went back to our doctor for a recheck on Nathanial (what the ER doctor wanted us to do) and took along Noah. He has been very cranky and whiny. A different kind of whiny than normal...he just is miserable. Then he'll put his left ear on the floor and stop crying and just lay there like that for a while. So, he went along.

Our doctor felt like Nathanial is getting better from the prednisone (I agree) and we will just watch him. He has his last dose of prednisone tonight, so he might have a little revert in the breathing again. If he does, then he will just add a few more days to the course.

Noah has a little redness and fluid in his ear, but nothing major. We are just going to watch that and continue to use his numbing drops. If those quit working, or if he is still running a fever in a couple of days, then he wants to recheck him.

Ethan, Aidan, and Steve also have nasty colds. Here's hoping and praying everyone gets better soon!! (And I don't get it!!!!)

Saturday, November 24, 2007

ER Visit

On the way home from my sister's, I woke up to Nathanial barking in the back seat. When we got home, he was very hot and really barking and seeming to have some difficulty breathing. So, we slathered on the Baby Vicks and headed to the shower after getting Noah, Ethan, Austin, and Aidan to bed. We spent an hour in the steam filled bathroom, and he seemed a tiny bit better, but not a lot.

Steve wanted to try to put him to bed and see if sleeping would help him feel better. We laid him down while we unloaded the car and put everything away. Then I listened to him through the monitor and it sounded like he was now barking with every intake of breath. I decided he was going, because he didn't sound well and I wasn't going to sleep anyway. I went in to wake him up and was very glad that I did, because he was having a lot of difficulty by that point.

By the time we got to the ER, he was having retractions and just not breathing well. He loves blowing raspberries, but he was doing it every single time he would take in a breath...like he was trying to get more air that way.

Unfortunately, we had the doctor on call whom we have philosophical differences with. But, what are you going to do? She gave him a breathing treatment and that didn't help at all. Then she waited a while and finally decided that she would put him on Zithromax, prednisone, and a cough medicine "so I could sleep." She gave him the Zithromax and prednisone in the ER. He threw most of it up, but we tried. I was frustrated because I don't want my kids to have antibiotics unless they are clearly needed. She didn't even have a diagnosis for him!

We went home and he did sleep well. I kept the monitor on loud and barely slept, trying to listen to him. I did go back to bed this morning and Steve kept an eye on the boys for a few hours.

Friday, November 23, 2007

Black Friday and another Thanksgiving

Am I insane??? I do believe so! We spend the night at my sister's. Shawna and I got up WAY too early at 3:30 to go Black Friday shopping. There were some great bargains, though, so I was willing to do it. We had a lot of fun, too. Steve and Chris took care of all seven kids while we ran from store to store picking up bargains and waiting forever in lines.

Then we came home around 12 and got ready for Thanksgiving with my dad, stepmom, and little sister. I felt really bad because I was having issues with the babies and Aidan, so I was very little help in the kitchen.

It was another wonderful meal and very relaxing. It is so nice to not have to worry about going anywhere else and just enjoying the company you are with.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Thanksgiving

This year we had my family Thanksgiving. This has been pretty stressful in the past because we have to have two huge meals in one day and everyone gets ripped off. My sister came up with a brilliant idea. We had Thanksgiving with my mom's family at Grandma's today and tomorrow we will have Thanksgiving with my dad at my sister's.

Today was a wonderful day! We were all so relaxed and we actually got to enjoy the holiday. There was no stress, no rushing around, no worrying about how much to eat (or not eat), and we didn't feel like we were cheating anyone. I loved it! It helped a lot that my boys were actually pretty good, too!

A little sad is watching my grandma. I have always been very close to my grandparents and that has been one of the hardest things about moving away from home. My grandmother has Alzheimer's. I used to not notice the slight differences in her when we would visit. It is becoming more and more obvious every time we go back. She did not make any of the food this year and that was hard to see. She has always been an amazing cook. Grandpa made a fabulous turkey, though! (He has always made the meat and it is always awesome!) Grandma asked one of the kids, in a joking way, what his name was. But it was very clear she had no idea which child he was. That was heartbreaking to me. I knew it was coming and I know my younger kids will never know the grandma I know. She used to play baseball with us and run around. She has always been so much fun. She is still fun, but she is quickly forgetting more and more. I know that I am lucky to have any grandparents alive, but this is still hard...

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Six Years Ago

Was a day that greatly impacted our lives as a family. It was the day Steve became Austin's father...legally.

All the way back at the beginning, way before Steve, and even Austin, I made a choice. The choice of person wasn't great, but the outcome has been worth every single hardship along the way. Austin definitely wasn't a mistake...God has great things in store for that child, I know it.

I remember going to BirthRight and taking the pregnancy test. There I sat with my best friend, while the lady told me I was not pregnant after about 5 seconds. Sara then ensued in telling the nurse that it might not show up that fast and while they spoke, slowly the negative began to turn into a positive. I thought I was prepared for that eventuality, but as it got more and more positive, I got more and more scared. I was only just 19, what was I thinking??? How was I going to raise a child on my own??? Because I think even then I knew I would be doing this alone. The nurse then said that it could be a false positive because it wasn't very dark, but to get checked anyway.

I went back and told his biological father, "JR", that I was pregnant and his response was "Can I go finish my game now?" For, with my news, I had interrupted a very important Dungeons and Dragons game. He did and I was left alone to think.

I was very, very sick. I finally broke down and told my little brother what was going on. He told my sister who told my father, who told my mother, who called me. That was a nightmare. I wasn't yet ready to face that, but now I had to.

I ended up in the ER due to the morning sickness after being in urgent care, then the OB's office, then finally the ER to receive fluids and be sure it wasn't a tubal pregnancy. The relief I felt when I saw that tiny little baby with his little heartbeat, just fine, right where he should be, was overwhelming. In all of this, JR dropped me off at each destination and took my car with him. So my mom finally came to the ER with me.

Fast forward a few months and I knew I was ready to leave. I moved back home to raise Austin alone. I knew I would be eventually doing this, but I didn't realize I would be alone for the remainder of my pregnancy and birth. It really didn't matter that I was alone. It was better to have family that actually cared around me than JR who didn't really care and didn't want anything to do with me or this child.

For the first year of Austin's life, I begged JR to come visit Austin. He did three times. Each time, he said he didn't want anything to do with Austin if he couldn't have me, also. Sorry...it doesn't work that way. I was finally OK with being a single mom, I was not going to let him manipulate me any longer.

We saw each other occasionally in court, but otherwise our paths never crossed again. I attempted a termination of parental rights when I was single and Austin was three. That drug on for several months, with the final ruling not only with his rights not terminated, but he suddenly had visitation. This person who had not seen Austin beyond six months of age was now allowed to visit him? He did one time. When he failed to follow through with that, we went back to the sole custody agreement and all future supervised visits ceased.

Then I met Steve. Austin was four and I had just bought my first house. I was finally in a place where I accepted being alone, being a single parent, and I knew I could take care of myself and we would be all right. I think that is why things with Steve went so well....because I no longer needed someone, someone to take care of me, but companionship was nice. It was nice to have someone to talk to about anything.

Austin and Steve had a very rough start. He hated Steve. Steve did everything right, but Austin did not care. He was an invasion in his routine and someone new. We now know that the struggles they had the first 18 months were due more to Asperger's than anything else, but it was very trying during those times for me. I loved Austin so much and I loved Steve so much and Steve loved me and Austin, but it didn't matter to Austin. I am not sure any other man would have been able to go through those struggles and been a better person for it. Steve learned how difficult Austin could be, but it did not change how he felt about Austin, or me for that matter. He understood Austin needed his boundaries. Steve never, ever tried to parent Austin...they were just "friends" during that time.

When we knew we were going to get married, we started talking about adoption. Steve wanted very badly to adopt Austin, but we also both knew that since there was one failed attempt at termination that JR fought, it could very easily end that way. Steve said he didn't care...he considered Austin his son and if he could never legally adopt Austin or if Austin never had his last name, that didn't change anything.

The Monday after we were married, papers were sent to JR to relinquish all rights. He had 30 days to do so, without a court hearing trying for a termination. He waited that entire 30 days, also, but in the end, he signed off all parental rights. Whether he realizes it or not, that was the greatest gift, besides Austin, he could have given us. The papers were signed on September 18, one day before Austin's 6th birthday. And on November 21, 2001, Austin was officially adopted by Steve and became his son legally. That was the first day Austin called him "Dad" also. It was one week before Thanksgiving...we had a lot to be thankful for that year.

All the heartache of the past no longer matters...Austin has a father that knows and loves him very much. He has never had to worry about where he stands in our family. He has not had to have "visits" with another person, and for that, I am so thankful. He has not had to divide his time between parents. He has not had to worry about his brothers being "step" or "half." They are just, simply, brothers.

God works in amazing ways. I never could have imagined at 19 where my life would be today. I did not see God's plan then, nor did I even realize that God had a plan for my life. That he could use my trials and my sins for good.

Austin does not know all that I went through with JR. He has no idea the struggles we had and I will never share that with him. If he chooses to meet JR someday, he will be able to draw his own conclusions about him.

This year, our family has even more reasons to be thankful. We did not know that day in November 2001 the struggles we would have to add to our family. We were just beginning the journey. And now, six years later, we have five very healthy boys and a loving home where they are all safe and loved.

Thank you God for all the blessings you have bestowed upon our family....we are eternally grateful!

Monday, November 19, 2007

Two Steps!!!

It has happened....way too soon! Nathanial took two steps!!! Very wobbly, but two steps nonetheless. I believe Ethan and him are competing to see who will walk first. They both stand for several seconds without holding on to anything. Lately, I have been beginning to think Ethan will walk first, but maybe Nathanial will pick up the pace and do it. I cannot believe that at only 9 months they are even attempting this stuff!! Austin walked at 10 months, 10 days and Aidan didn't even try until he was 15 1/2 months old. I was kind of hoping they'd be closer to Aidan, but it appears they won't be. Noah is still very nervous. He will cruise right along beside them and stand up with them, but he never lets go and clenches on to me or Steve very tightly to be sure we don't let go. But, he does follow them pretty closely, so if they walk, he probably will sooner rather than later.

I know I keep saying it....I am sooo not ready for this!!!

Sunday, November 18, 2007

From the Mouth of Aidan...

Aidan can be very, very funny unintentionally. And I probably shouldn't even laugh about this, but it had me rolling.

Austin repeatedly tells Aidan "I am not your slave" when Aidan asks for something. Apparently, Aidan has been paying attention.

The other day, Aidan looked at Austin and said, dead serious, "Get me some milk, slave."


I know I should not laugh, but it was hilarious.

Friday, November 16, 2007

Time Alone With Austin

Austin and I have been going to his afternoon appointments with his doctor alone the last couple of times. Steve comes home from work and then I go pick up Austin and we go. I have come to cherish these times in just the short amount of time we have done it.

He doesn't generally talk to me much about anything anymore. He talks sometimes, depending on his mood, but it's usually just little tidbits here and there. Getting him to expand on anything is like pulling teeth.

When we are driving to these appointments, however, he has began to open up to me. He talks the whole way there and back. So much so that I almost long for the silence, but not quite. I love that he is talking to me. It isn't anything profound or deep, it's just real conversation, which is becoming increasingly rare lately. It is nice to have this window into his world and have him telling me what is going on.

We even had to do a little grocery shopping this time and, even though he really didn't want to, he was pleasant throughout it.

I'm getting a lot less "I'm just going to read my book now, OK, Mom?" on these trips than I have in the past or even when others are with us. It's really nice because I know the silence is only going to get worse long before it gets better...and I'm cherishing what I have right now.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Honor Roll

Austin made the honor roll for the first quarter and got in the newspaper. We are very proud of him. It was disappointing for him because he was so close to all A's and just didn't quite make it.

Academically, this year is still going very well for him. I am relieved because usually after the first few weeks, things start to slip, he doesn't do his homework, he just stops caring, but that isn't happening this year.

All we ask is that he continues to do his best and earn the grade he gets.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Let there be light!

Finally, after 6 years without an overhead light in our kitchen, we have light! About a year after we moved, our light went out in the kitchen. We tried new bulbs, new fuses, everything. I decided I was going to hold out on a new light, because I wanted a new kitchen. The lights above the sink and stove still worked, so although it was a little dark, it wasn't bad.

Then Aidan came along and I knew I probably wouldn't get a new kitchen for a little while and I didn't really have time to worry about it.

Then the new roof came and all that entailed. At that time, I wanted to put in french doors on the dining room, but our contractor actually advised against doing that until we redid the kitchen and could close up the door there along with putting in the new doors. So I waited and dreamed some more...

Then I got pregnant with the triplets. Well, now it's obvious I am not getting a new kitchen any time in the next, say, twenty years, so I started working on saying something about the light. But, still, there really wasn't too much time to worry about it. And after six years of having none, who really notices anymore?? Not us, that's for sure.

And, then, two weeks ago, it happened. The light above the sink, our "main" light, fizzled. It was now officially time to call in the pros...The Electrician. I had to make time now, because now my lamp from my living room is being used to light our kitchen.

The Electrician informed me that I needed to go buy a new light and then he would install it. Isn't there a way I could pay him to do it...rather than taking five ornery kids out to do it?? Besides, this wasn't in the schedule and Austin is going to be rather torked to have to go out.

Then, a brilliant solution. Leave Austin home and try to find one in town. It made us all happy. I'm happy to find it here, without taking everyone everywhere to find one; Steve's happy about the gas; and Austin's thrilled he doesn't have to go to Waterloo. I did find one light for the ceiling and one for the sink all in one stop here in town. It isn't as beautiful as I would have picked elsewhere, but, hey, I'm still holding out for The New Kitchen.

I called The Electrician back and he came to install it. Lo and behold, the #$%@ thing wouldn't work! So, he got the sink one in fine and it worked, then decided to try a new switch. That worked. Twenty minutes and he was done. This is why we hire professionals. Steve and I would have been there all day, hollering at each other, both torked, and still would have had to have called anyway. At least we both know we can't do it alone!

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Aidan's Performance

Aidan sang in church today with the Cherub Choir. He was so cute! These two videos are his favorite verse and his favorite song that I have been hearing for weeks. You will have to scroll down to the bottom of the page to pause the music first, then listen to these. If you can't get them on here, they are on the dropshots page (link under "Our Family Photos" on the side).


Aidan singing his verse (Christ is the head of the church. Ephesians 5:23)
video




The second is his song:
(He is Lord)

video




Friday, November 9, 2007

Busy Day

Today we had the babies’ nine month check up and Aidan's conference.

I can’t believe they are nine months old!! They are doing awesome! Everyone is right on track to where they should be. They are definitely not behind in anything! Yay!!

Nathanial was 17 lbs, 15 oz and 29 ¼” long. His exam was perfect. He’s still the easiest of the three by far.

Ethan was 18 lbs, 4 oz and 28 ½” long. His head is taking a bit of a drop on the percentile charts, but Nathanial’s was also on the small side, thankfully. He said that he would be more concerned if he wasn’t keeping up developmentally, but since he is, someone has to be in the bottom 5th percentile, right? He has really, really dry skin but that was his only “issue.”

Noah was 18 lbs, 14 oz and 27 ½”. He has been having some issues with dairy, so we talked about that and we are just going to lay off all dairy with him until he is 12 months old and then try again. Since having their colds, he has also been extremely ornery lately and pulling on his right ear, so I mentioned that. It is a little red, but not infected (whew!), so we are going to try some numbing drops. If they help, then we know his ear is bugging him. If it doesn’t help, then it is something else. I hope it helps because he is exhausting lately!

We are having horrible jealousy issues, especially with Ethan, but also with Noah. Ethan gets very jealous whenever anyone else is being held or getting attention. He can be playing peacefully, but if he sees someone else get picked up, he hauls a$$ and moves over to wherever I am and whines or all out cries until he gets picked up.

Also, toys…they are become a huge issue! When someone has a toy, someone else will steal it, it’s guaranteed. Never matters how long they have had it, someone will find out and will take it. Then, they fight over it for a while and then someone gives up by throwing themselves backwards and throwing a temper tantrum. Nathanial is the worst about stealing toys. He wants what ever his brothers have!

I had Aidan’s conference this morning for school and it went really well. He’s doing great for his age. He’s a little behind with his motor skills and attention span with his classmates, but for his age, he’s doing awesome. All in all, very good. I have finally talked Steve into letting him start school when he is 6, instead of 5. All it took was seeing the age of the other kids in his class and he agrees it isn’t fair to send him. Our school district is insane with how early they cut off kids, so there are kids in his class who will be 6 in January and February and not in school yet! That’s not about to change, so we will just hold Aidan.

It was a great day. The babies finally took a nap when we got home (man, were they ornery after holding it off for three hours!) and are now getting up and happy.

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Not So Bad

OK, so it wasn't as bad as I thought it would be. In fact, all went pretty well. This dentists office has a place on their sheet to write if you are nervous about visiting the dentist. It actually has a ton of questions, but that was one. I wrote yes; as if it wasn't obvious by the fact that my last dental exam was dated a little while ago, in another city, before we relocated, before Aidan and the babies, etc.

The hygienist was, of course, someone I knew and when she was starting x-rays she asked if I didn't like dentists and I told her I hated it and didn't like being there at all, but knew I had to go. She said that at least I didn't let that impression color my boys' thoughts because they were great patients. Made me feel better, but they also have no idea how terrified I am of going.

So I'm thinking the worst....there will be 50 cavities (OK, maybe you don't even have that many teeth, but you get the point), I'll need a root canal, or some other horrible oral problem. My jaw kept popping when she put in the x-ray thingies, but that's normal for me. She heard it and commented on it.

Back to the little room we go and I get in the chair. She said she was just going to clean my teeth first. When she started she said there was an obvious advantage to my fear because my teeth looked fabulous and she never would have guessed I hadn't been to a dentist in...ahem...7 years. So she cleaned them and said all looked great and the dentist came in. This particular dentist has 5 year old twins, so at least we have multiples in common.

She looked over my x-rays and said they looked really good. I thought, yeah, right...she's going to wait to tell me the horrible stuff later. She did the exam and found a tiny cavity on one tooth near the back, so I have to get that fixed. She said it was nothing major and looked pretty new, probably caused by my last pregnancy. It was so little it didn't even show up on the x-ray. The shooting pain on the one tooth that I am feeling is caused by a "tiny" chip in it. She didn't think she could fix the chip, but she'd try if I wanted her to. For now, she put a desensitizer on it and said if that works, I don't have to get it fixed. It's working great.

That's it...that's all there was! I go back in next week to have the cavity fixed, and if I survive that, then I'll be doing great. I told Steve he ought to write my dad a thank you letter for the thousands of dollars he put in my mouth with sealants and braces and every other thing when I was little, because now, at my advanced age, I have two cavities, which apparently isn't very many.

So, it wasn't very bad...I'll admit it. I still hate going, but I will go more regularly now again. Thank you, Dad, for the offer of holding my hand. I knew you didn't enjoy holding me down, but I'm also thankful that I did have the advantage of excellent dental care when I was young because it apparently pays off your whole life. It's why I make sure my boys' teeth are well taken care of.

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Absolutely Terrified...

....of the dentist. I cannot stand going and therefor, have not gone in over seven years (please, do not let my dad be reading this!!!). I have graciously allowed Steve and the boys to go, since we do not have dental insurance and use flex spending funds. But Steve is increasing the amount in January (five kids now and all), so that little plot has failed me and I knew I would have to go in January. I figured I could psych myself enough that I would go. My mouth, on the other hand, had other plans.

For the last month, I have had a dull pain on the right side of my mouth that has gradually gotten worse. It is now to the point where I have shooting pain any time anything goes near it or touches it. It is awful. So I knew it is time I have to go...flex spending money or not. I have something that doesn't feel quite right on the one tooth, also. Not sure what that's about, but it makes me nervous.

This all started when I was little. I didn't like the dentist to begin with...always thought they were evil people. I had a brace put on the roof of my mouth to separate that bone and my parents would turn the freaking key twice a day to "gradually" break it, to make more room. One would hold me down, the other would turn. They claim I wasn't that old when I had it done, but I remember it vividly. And, in my ensuing fear of dentist, it might be even worse now than it actually was, but I highly doubt it. I'm just saying...to be fair.

Then came four years of braces in high school. Thankfully, I had the clear ceramic kind, which was a blessing and a torture all rolled into one. They had just come out with them, so they may have perfected it a bit more now, compared to the dark ages, but I was constantly breaking them and saw my orthodontist far more often than anyone should. Which meant another tightening and more pain.

I went when I was pregnant with Austin because my wisdom teeth were coming in. Couldn't do anything about it...I was pregnant. So, I waited until he was born and they were thoroughly impacted, and had them removed. Surprisingly, they didn't do too much damage to my straight teeth. More on the bottom than the top and even that is fairly minor. That was bad enough, but then after they removed them, they discovered I had my very first cavity...pregnancy seems to bring them on. So I had to get that filled and that wasn't pleasant at all.

I skipped a couple of years and then, out of a sense of duty, went back. They found some minor damage and did a "sandblast" thing on them. That's honestly what the dentist called it. He said it wasn't a big deal. Bull $h*t it wasn't a big deal!!! I expected it not to hurt. I couldn't eat for three days I was in so much pain after that!!! And, supposedly, I had no cavities when he did it, so there was no drilling involved! That was the last time I went.

So now it's seven years, two pregnancies, and four kids later, and I am truly terrified. I have built it up and built it up to such a frenzy in my mind I can barely calm myself. I hate, hate, hate dentists. So much so that I wanted to go all the way to Waterloo so I could have a dentist I didn't know who wouldn't think I was a wuss. But, in the grand scheme of things, that wouldn't work. The drive back and forth would take two hours, plus the time in the dentist office, and it isn't feasible for Steve to take that much time off work. So, it was between his dentist and the kids. The kids dentist is in town, but I didn't really want to go there...them knowing me and all. But I caved and am going there tomorrow morning. I suppose after all is said and done I better just start going every six months like a "normal" person.

Friday, November 2, 2007

Day Off

Today both boys had school off (eick!!). They got money from Grandma and Grandpa C., Uncle Kevin, and Grandma and Grandpa B for Halloween, so I loaded everyone up and we headed to McDonald's "Playhouse" (as Aidan says). They haven't gone since last winter and I felt like we could do this.

Aidan decided last night that he needed slippers and his old ones didn't fit anymore. So we stopped at the store first and he bought himself Spiderman Slippers with his money. He got lucky and they were even on sale! He loves them and immediately changed into his pj's when we got home so he could wear them. Thanks everyone for the money!

Austin received a gift card to a bookstore for his birthday from "Uncle Michael Michael" and they have a great sale going on right now, so he is adding his Halloween money to the gift card and getting some great books with his money. Both of them have decided what money is left will go to their respective savings accounts.

Austin found out that for a mere $500, he can put his money into a CD and earn higher interest. He's about $50 from that goal, so he's getting really excited. He has to have some money still left in savings to do that, but I think it's a great idea. He's saving for a laptop and we've been trying to convince him to wait until at least high school to buy it so it's still relevant in college. He's finally seen the wisdom in this and decided that he will wait until his senior year and buy a really nice one. I said that way he may also have some money left over for "fun money" in college.

The babies' money is being saved. They don't need anything and it's the best idea for them. They did have their very first McDonald's hamburger. I was grossed out because I put it in a napkin to try to get the grease off it. I really thought there wouldn't be that much. There was so much I went through about 10 napkins before there wasn't anymore! Ewww!! They downed it and the bun entirely and probably could have eaten at least two of them, if I let them. I cannot believe how much they are eating lately!! Wow! They love table food and they love feeding themselves!

They are now sleeping, taking a late nap, so I need to get some work done!!

Thursday, November 1, 2007

Parent Teacher Conferences

Austin had his parent teacher conferences tonight. I was looking forward to going because we haven't had as consistent communication this year as I have in the past. When I need something or there has been a problem, the teachers are great about e-mailing me. It's harder, though, because there are so many more of them.

We were scheduled to meet with his language arts/lit teacher and PE teacher. I called and requested that we meet with all of them.

We started with his math and his teacher said that Austin has been really solid this year. He is doing incredible in math this year and it is great that he has a teacher who is willing to explain something a dozen times if a student isn't understanding. He said that he has called on him several times when he has thought he wasn't paying attention, but he instantly had the answer. Austin has a tendency to "look" like he isn't paying attention, when he really is. Because of all the sensory input in a classroom (lights buzzing and bright, other kids bustling about and making noise, the hard seat, etc, etc, etc), he crouches on his feet in his seat and generally puts his head down on his desk to block it all out. Hence, teachers think he isn't paying attention, but he is. He is getting a B+, right on the verge of an A- (89%). That is awesome for him!

Next we went to the PE teacher. Austin has dressed every time and is getting an A in PE!!! I was thrilled with this when I saw it on his report card, but he explained it to us. He said that it is a very subjective class (no kidding!) and Austin is trying his best, has a positive attitude, is dressing and showing up on time, and has gotten all A's on written tests. He said that's why he's doing well. The skills don't matter, as long as he is giving an honest effort. I wish every PE teacher would be this way...he's consistently done poorly in PE because of his poor motor skills and we finally have a teacher who doesn't judge on the final product, but the effort!!! I loved it!

Then we met with his Lit/Language arts teacher. She said he's doing well (A-), but could be doing much better. I agree 100%. He does the least amount of work to go squeaking through, but if he applied himself, he could do a lot better. So, we discussed it and I told her what worked last year was to MAKE him spend X amount of time on a paper. If most people got done in 15 minutes, he HAD to take 15 minutes to do it. If he got done sooner, he needed to scrutinize his work and redo it. That really helped and forced him to slow down and he did better. So, she said she was going to buckle down on him and try this option.

Next was his science and social studies teacher. Same as his lit teacher...he wasn't applying himself fully. Still getting a great grade (A-), but could be doing better. He said that very morning he had gotten a test back with a D, and Austin immediately put it in the recycling. I made him get it out and show it to me. For crying out loud, the kid got questions about dinosaurs wrong! He said that it took the entire class 30 minutes to do and Austin was finished in 6 minutes!! So we talked about the option again and he is going to do that with him. He asked if it was OK to hand it back to him and say it needed to be looked at carefully, I said you betcha.

All the teachers said it looked like he wasn't paying attention, but when he was called on, he had the answer. They all said he is a great pleasure to have in class because he is more on "their level" than his peers (they don't see this as a problem). All in all, it was a great conference and I felt like we had gotten through the first quarter well and hopefully he'll do even better next quarter.