Thursday, June 26, 2008


Nathanial, Ethan, Noah, and Aidan had their ENT appointments today while Austin was at camp.

Steve and I believed Aidan was not hearing. Well, their is no fluid behind his one ear with no tube and the other ear still has a tube in place. Hmmmm....interesting. Our only conclusion is that we are now dealing with "selective" 5-year-old-boy hearing loss. Dr. B is going to leave in the tube until he can get through one winter with no ear infections, one cold/flu season at school, and learns to pop his own eardrums (we worked on teaching him that today and now we have to practice). Then if it is still in there, she will remove it and patch up the drum. The other one fell out and they are supposed to, but apparently sometimes they do not. Since this one has been in place for over a year, she isn't sure it will fall out on it's own, so that's the plan for now. He will continue to go in every six months for follow ups until either it decides to fall out or she decides to remove it.

Ethan's next on the list because he was also fairly simple. He has fluid behind both drums and will get tubes. Hopefully, once in place, his speech will pick up.

While Noah seems to hear fantastic, his ears were the most fluid-filled and he will also be getting tubes. It isn't affecting his speech as much, which is great. Hopefully after the tubes are in place, it will really pick up.

Nathanial was the most difficult to go through and listen to the ENT because of what she said. So far, the AEA lady and Dr. B (ped) would not give us solid answers and both refered to Dr. B the ENT. Nathanial had the flat line on the tampanogram and did horribly on his hearing test at the AEA. So because of the flat line, I had assumed that his would just be a matter of putting in tubes and he'd be fine. Not necessarily.

Before Dr. B (ENT) checked into Nathanial's ears, she said that most of the time speech and hearing problems are just due to fluid and tubes will take care of any issues. When she looked into his ears today, however, she noticed very little fluid. Then she started asking about any birth traumas, birth weight, speech (non-existent, other than glorified cooing) and any other issues. She did the little hand rubbing thingy and got no response and observed he had no clue when his name was spoken. I told her about the clapping hand thing and no response and she went over his test results from AEA and Dr. B (ped). Then she started telling me about options. This is when I got VERY nervous. She has been Aidan's ENT for the last two years and never said this sort of stuff and she didn't say it in reference to Ethan or Noah, either.

She wants tubes put into all three of their ears as soon as possible, then we are to repeat testing on all three two weeks post-op. If Nathanial doesn't have immediate improvement, then she will refer him to a pediatric ENT in Iowa City. She said either she or they will do an "ARB" (I think) test, which would put sound waves into his ears and measure brain wave responses to see if there are any "disconnects" there. She reassured me that a lot can be done, and even if he has severe hearing loss, he can have cochlear implants at his age now and they are safe and effective. She said they are learning the sooner they get the implants the better they do.

The good news is.....he does have some fluid behind his drums, so we are praying the tubes do the trick and even though it's minimal, it is there. The other good news is that they CAN do things to help his hearing now, if tubes do not help him.

Steve researched cochlear implants tonight and panicked at the prices, especially if our insurance gets bucky (which they've been known to do). I told him he was getting WAY ahead of himself and let's first see what happens with the tubes.

Now we just need prayers that the surgery goes well. For now it is scheduled for July 7, but noone can go with me, so I am trying to rearrange that.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008


Aidan went to a different church for VBS this year and had so much fun! All I heard about all week was Saul and Paul and Australia (it was an Australian Outback theme). They had their program tonight and it was great!

The pictures didn't turn out great, I had three feisty little people who were beyond tired (it got way past bedtime), but at least we got a few. Aidan was in the front row all the way to the left (as your looking at it) in a yellow shirt with his little kangaroo hat.

Buzzed Babies :-O

All the boys needed haircuts....bad. One problem was that their regular barber and my hair stylist (who does Nathanial and Ethan's) were both booked for a while. So, we had errands to run anyway, so I chose to take them to a "quick" place in Waterloo. All I can say is....NEVER AGAIN.

I explained to her that I just wanted "normal, little boy" haircuts for all four. I also explained how Austin's is a little tricky and you have to cut his shorter to get all the colics out or else it all sticks up. Surprisingly, Austin's turned out OK. Aidan's wasn't too awful, but that's because I watched like a hawk and didn't move from his side. Nathanial and Ethan's, on the other hand, were a complete disaster! The ONE thing I told her I DID NOT want was a butch. Guess what they ended up with???

Introducing....Brutis I and Brutis II :

(aka, Ethan)

(aka, Nathanial - please excuse the filthy little face)

And, so he doesn't feel left out, Noah is very pleased with his much so that we just couldn't possibly take any off!

Thank goodness it wasn't their first haircut and that their hair grows super fast or I would really be torked!

Tuesday, June 24, 2008


Austin has an Asperger camp twice this week with his psychologist and a group of kids his age with Asperger's. He went today and loved it. It was meant to teach social skills, work on motor skills, life skills, and also be fun.

They made lunch for themselves. They had pigs in a blanket - Austin just had the "pig"; cut apple slices (they had to cut); macaroni and cheese, and for dessert they made "push cookies." They were given sugar cookie dough and they had to push ingredients into it (ie, m&m's, dried bananas, etc.). I could easily see where all this combined life skills and motor skills, all while being fun.

He had to describe an item that he drew and the group had to draw it while he described it and then guess what it was. He chose to describe his using letters. See if you can guess what he's describing (I couldn't!): It has a "T," a "Y," and two "O's." Are you guessing???

Give up yet??

Now do you give up???

It's a bike!

I am amazed constantly by how his mind works sometimes and this is just one example. Why you would choose letters over it has a seat, handlebars, a chain, and two wheels is WAY beyond my comprehension.

They also had some discussion and made paper airplanes. All in all, he had a great day.

And, I, also, had a fabulous day of eating lunch by myself and finally getting to check out the shops in downtown Cedar Falls without anyone else along!

Monday, June 23, 2008

Dermotology Update

Nathanial had his follow up with the dermotologist and everything was great! It is mastocytoma and it responded quickly to the cream we were using. We now can take him off the daily cream and if we notice it starting to cycle again (blister/rash), then we use the cream until it heals. And, best part yet, we don't have to go back!

Thursday, June 19, 2008

OB Update

I went in today for another appointment. I am further along than I realized! I can't believe sometimes how fast this pregnancy is going, yet it seems to be taking forever for this new little family member to join us because we are so excited. An interesting phenomenon this time around is that I have no clue how far along I am. In every single one of my pregnancies, I have been able to say the exact number of weeks and days (and more than likely minutes and seconds if you really wanted to know!) that I was. Not this time. Now I have to check my e-mail signature. I know my due date, but forget it if you want an answer as to how far along I am. I listened carefully to my doctor and I now know I am 27 weeks pregnant. Wow! It seems amazing to think I am that far! It is also just shocking to me that I do not know how far along I am. I guess my brain just no longer works!

The appointment went, I gained one pound, so that was good. So far, I have just lost weight. I have no protein; yet. Baby's heartbeat was fabulous (168) and moving everywhere. Normally, this baby is very lazy, similar to Nathanial in utero. But when the doppler comes out, watch out. Not a fan, very similar to how Aidan was. I also measured right on for dates. The one teeny-tiny, itty-bitty, smidgen of a problem was my blood pressure. It is rising at a startling rate and was very high yesterday. Not good at all. Dr. H just said 'you can't have toxemia just can't. You got to 36 weeks with triplets!' And, technically, I do not. I have minimal swelling (I think) and no protein. Still, the blood pressure can be a sticking point for OB's. It was 142/102. Ouch! So I told him it was rather stressful to have to get seven people (kids + "the nanny") to his office on time; I could feel it rising on my way in; it's him making me nervous; it can't possibly be accurate. So he let me "rest" and we chatted about our respective teenagers. Yeah, like that's a good idea to bring the BP down! Not so much, it seems. Or I really am starting to have a problem....but that can't possibly be it. It was the exact same the second time. So now, yippee!, I get to go back in in three weeks so he can keep an eye on it. Yuck. I'm fearful he's going to start the dreaded 24 hour urine again.

Plus, next time, I (joy, joy) get to do the puke-inducing glucose test. He told me not to puke, they'd make me do it again. I told him I learned that lesson with the triplets.'s disgusting. OK, normal people hate it. I despise pop...can't stand the fizz of it, the sugar of it, any part of it. If I am going to have pop because I have to, it has to be Coke or Dr. Pepper. Those are the only two I can even attempt to stomach. Sprite? Orange? No flipping way. Guess what the glucose is?? Extremely bubbly, very sugary, absolutely disgusting "Sprite" or "Orange" flavor. Is it really any wonder I want to hurl?? Not really...

With Aidan and the triplets, I failed the one hour test by a few measly points and ended up doing the three hour. I get to drink even more nasty crap AND wait three hours. Only to end up passing the three hour with flying colors. I am hoping to pass just so I don't have to drink it again. Sadly, though, I will not be overwhelmingly disappointed if I do not pass it, because that means I get three non-stop hours of reading and vegging...totally uninterrupted! Is that sad?? To get excited to sit in a lab for 3+ hours??? Ah, well. No matter what, I need to pass it though. I cannot get GD this time...I just can't.

So while I had a very nice chat with my wonderful OB and his nurse, all in all, it wasn't a fantastic appointment. Please pray for my blood pressure...I know it sounds stupid to pray for that, but this little person NEEDS to stay put until September!!!

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Happy Father's Day!

Happy Father's Day to the best Daddy, "Father" (as Aidan says), and husband in the world! Whenever any one of us needs you, you are there. You have been such an amazing example of a man and what a "dad" should be to all of our boys and I know you will be awesome with the new baby, also. Our boys (and me!) are blessed to have an example of what a Godly man looks like. They know that they are loved and you will do anything for them that is in your power to do. They also know, or will know someday, that when you are not able to do something for them, it breaks your heart and you do the one thing you still pray for them. Thank you so much for being an amazing husband and father and head of our family! We love you more than we could ever say!!!

Able to hold three squirmy little guys all at once...

Still able to hold three big boys, and one tired bigger boy...Giving a lift when it's needed...
Or taking a very sleepy boy to bed, when he falls asleep downstairs...
Hanging out with Austin, waiting to go fishing...

Or just hanging out on the dock, enjoying quiet fishing time with Austin...

For all you do for all of us, thank you. We love you!

Happy Father's Day!!!!

Friday, June 13, 2008


We are back from our vacation and we had a ton of fun! We went with family and it was so nice to get time together, with no rushing and just complete relaxation. We went to Valley, NE, which is right outside Omaha. My great uncle and aunt had a house there on a private lake and when they passed away, their children kept the house. Now they let family who wants to use it. A week on a lake is a great way to spend a week when you have so many kids! Plus the bonus was that we had Omaha right near by, so if we had gotten ambitious, we could have done a ton of stuff.

Mom and Shawna and her family arrived on Saturday. We had Shane's graduation party, so we left after that and arrived Sunday around 7 or so. The kids were so excited to see Emma and Cael. Emma and Cael were excited to see our boys, also.

Monday was a nice day, no clouds, so we decided that was the best day to go to the zoo. The kids had so much fun. There was so much to see! I couldn't believe how tired I was so easily already, so I did skip some of the buildings and sat with the triplets instead. I got to see what I wanted, so I was happy as well!

The rest of the week we just relaxed by the lake. The triplets did really well with knowing their limits. We had their pool set up on the patio and they would get as far as the sand for the beach, and turn around. Noah would sit longingly right on the edge of the lawn/beach, but he didn't venture any further.

We went on several boat rides, which was nice. I would have loved to have taken the little boys out, but I really didn't trust them and it would not have been relaxing for me at all, so we usually went after they were asleep.

Steve, Austin, and Chris did a lot of fishing, both off the dock and on the boat. It was nice that Steve and Austin had time together to do "grown-up" boy things that Aidan didn't tag along for. It's so important they get that time and with five kids, three of whom are little, it rarely happens when we are at home. We both are needed to care for the little people, so we took advantage of having others who could help out watching them and helping us.

Chris and Steve also went to Bass Pro Shops one night and enjoyed their "guy's night out." They stayed away until 11! That's late for Steve. I was happy to see Steve and Chris doing stuff together, though, because Shawna and I are so close. It's good to see our hubby's get along, too! (Disclaimer: They have always gotten along, just haven't had an opportunity to do so much together alone.)

Our worst experience was the longest tornado warning of my life! It went on and on and on for four and a half hours! Ugh! Because the basement is open to the beach, we found a small closet under the stairs for ALL of us to fit in as our shelter. We didn't get time at first to get it cleaned out, so we were REALLY cramped at first. Then we did get a little break and cleared it all out, then had a smidge more room. Austin was in the way back with Emma, Cael, and Aidan, then Shawna, me, and Mom, and sometimes Steve, with the triplets stuck in between the adults. Not fun. Plus it came right in the middle of dinner time, so noone had eaten. Mom got smart during one little break and went up and got onion rings for everyone. Everybody was happy with that. Chris and Steve stayed out and "watched the weather." I told Steve to get in, and he did sometimes, but he claims now that he was ready to dive in if it "started to get really bad." I cannot be a widow with six children! Austin liked to tell Emma (who gets very nervous with storms) about all the possibilities and how the very safest spot was a tiny little area under the bottom step....where of course noone could fit. Then he would complain of BO. Ummm, hello....there are 10 people stuck in a little closed in area, 3 of whom have soggy diapers! Then Noah shoved his finger up Aidan's nose and Aidan ended up with a bloody nose. Finally, after we got out, we put everyone to bed and were watching the news. The anchor lady said "The worst thing is some quality time with family." Quality?!?!?! With cranky, sleepy 16 month old triplets, a 2 year old, a nervous 4 1/2 year old, a newly 5 year old, and an autistic 12 1/2 year old?? Seriously?!?!?! I can find better ways to get quality time! We were creating memories...

On a serious note, because of these tornadoes, there was a large one that touched down at a Boy Scout Camp not far from the Nebraska border, on the Iowa side. Four boys died in that tornado, all 13 and 14 years old. Please keep their families in your prayers...all of them. Those boys, leaders, and families lived through some horrific stuff that evening and will not likely forget it anytime soon. They will need our prayers to get them through. We may not have had the time of our lives in that shelter, but we all came out safe, healthy, and unharmed. Not everyone does.

Also please keep all the flood victims in your prayers. There has been massive flooding here in Iowa (and elsewhere) and many of those families do not have flood insurance. In other words, unlike in a tornado where you may lose "things," you can replace them. Not so in a flood. These people have lost everything....and have no financial way to get them back. FEMA is helping, but not enough to recoup everything. It is going to be a long battle for them. New Hartford, which was hit hard by the EF5 tornado has also been hit hard now by flooding, so they are really in a bad place. Everyone is....please keep them all in your prayers.

I have a ton of pictures from vacation, so I didn't have room to post them all here. They are all at ("our family photos" link in my link section).

Friday, June 6, 2008

Happy Birthday Aidan!!

Five years ago today, you joined our family. We waited many years for you to join us and it has been amazing to watch you grow. To go from a tiny little boy who was adored by all to a five year old who is a great little man.

We have watched you go from being with just you and Austin, having fun together and growing together, to becoming a big brother yourself. And what an amazing big brother you have been!

You have shown so much love and compassion to Nathanial, Ethan, and Noah and they adore you for it! When they were itty bitty, you were right there to help them and hold them.

Now that they are older, you are right there to help them do things that they couldn't do on their own.

I also watch the way you adore Austin and look up to him, while also (most of the time) allowing his boundaries and understanding that you can't always be in his face.

You are very loving and can also be very silly.

I have loved watching you grow and blossom into a little boy the last five years, Aidan, and I am looking forward to many, many more. I cannot wait to see what God has in store for you as you get older, and whatever it is, I know it is great!

We love you very much!!!

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Hearing Test Update

The results from the hearing tests were somewhat surprising (Noah's) and exactly what I thought (Nathanial).

I'll start with Nathanial. He had a flat line in both ears again on the tampanogram thingy and also failed all areas of the other ear tester thingy. We let him rest for a bit, while we then tested Ethan and Noah. Then we did an actual hearing test on him to see what, if anything, he IS hearing. Well, he has moderate hearing loss in both ears at this point. She was pretty sure it will get better if he gets tubes because the tampanogram and other thingy indicated fluid behind the drum, so that was our fantastic news as far as that went. I was happy to know she doesn't think it is permanent nerve damage, but we will have to see an ENT to know for sure. This was what I had suspected so I was prepared to hear it.

Ethan also had a flat line and failed the other thingy in his left ear. We could not get his right ear to respond at all to either machine and couldn't see any actual blockage in front of the drum, so he will have to have an ENT recheck it. However, he is also going to need tubes in both ears. We did not do an actual hearing test on him because he was ornery by that point and we know that he isn't hearing by his other tests, so it wasn't really important. It was, but I was willing to let it go...Nathanial I NEEDED to know so I had some idea. And then I can also judge the other two.

Noah was surprising. I thought he heard pretty good and the flat line in Dr. B's office was a fluke. He almost always responds to his name and he repeats things. (Said "yuck" and "ahhh" while opening his mouth today for the first time.) Plus he is super chatty. Well, he flatlined the tampanogram and failed the other thingy in one year, passed in the other but barely. It was a -4; and -5 is failing. So he hears somewhat in his right ear and almost nothing in his left ear (scored the same as Nathanial).

We now go to the ENT in two weeks, with four kids. Aidan has to have his recheck on his tubes, plus the babies for the consultation. I'm thinking all three will need tubes. Nathanial and Ethan need them in both ears, and Noah flatlined in both ears, with the other thingy doing slightly better, so I don't know what they'll do there. I actually hope all three get the tubes just so they all hear "normally" and we don't have to worry. At least I know what to expect since Aidan has had it done, so I am not worried about the actual procedure.