Monday, August 25, 2008

Our Five Blessings

Photo Sharing - Video Sharing - Photo Printing - Photo Books
Aidan got his training wheels off his bike yesterday. He loves riding it without any!

Lots of Backposts

I have done quite a few back dated posts, so you might want to scroll down to see them all.

First Day of School!

Aidan's first day of preschool is today. He was a little nervous, I could tell, but also excited. This year, they wanted to do a four day preK class. Because of the 3-4 class, a four day could not be figured out. So, they are going longer hours on the three days they are there. I am so excited by his new hours! He goes to school at 12:15 and then can be picked up anywhere between 3:40 - 3:50. The babies will be getting their full naps (yay!) and I can pick up Austin first from the bus, then go get Aidan. Austin's bus gets to town at about 3:35 at the high school, then we just zip over two blocks and pick Aidan up at the preschool.

His class size this year is much larger than last year. Last year, he had 8 kids in his class. This year there are 14! That's a lot for our town and the afternoon class. There is another Aidan in his class, also, so our Aidan is now Aidan C. He had homework to do, so I made sure he knew to put the Aidan C on it. I knew it was coming sooner or later anyway. The funny coincidence is that Austin is Austin C in his class and there is an Austin S. Aidan is now Aidan C and there is an Aidan S! I hope not all of my children go through this, but inevitably, they probably will. I gave up on original names when Austin's name skyrocketed the year after he was born (he's the oldest in his class) and Aidan's skyrocketed the year after he was born (he's also now the oldest in his class). I clearly remember after Aidan was born, being asked to repeat his name, how it was spelled, asked what it meant, etc., etc., etc. Now it's "oh, another Aidan." Ahhh!! Ethan climbed way up the year we named him (I believe it's number 2 or 3). Nathanial is now in the top 100 and so is Noah. The new baby's name has been climbing on the name charts lately, but it is a classic name. I don't even care anymore.

When I asked Aidan if he was nervous about going, he said "No, Lily's going to be there and she'll remind me of Sarah." Sarah is last year's "love." He's still upset she went on to kindergarten without him. He likes Lily, too, though, so I'm sure he will be fine!

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Our "Move" Update

If you have been reading Austin's blog (, then you know that we were facing some changes in our lives. I wasn't ready to post exactly what it was because some people were unaware of the changes and they read this blog. Now we are ready to share our decision. I also wasn't sure that I wanted to post it at all on here, but it is a big part of our lives right now. As a warning, I am going to share some strong opinions here, so if you are offended, please do not read any farther. (I also got a little windy!)

As of yesterday, we left our church. We are going to be attending a new church. After much prayer and discussion, it because incredibly clear that we are not where we need to be anymore. It was really difficult for us to decide this. I accepted Christ at our current church and Steve's faith got even stronger; our last pastor went to Dubuque to marry us and was a large part of our wedding and our lives; all our boys (except Austin) were baptised there; and Steve and I were both highly involved in a lot of areas of that church. For the last year, we have not been happy. We have been praying and praying for something to realize if we needed to stick it out, and we tried. As soon as our last pastor left, several changes took place.

First, the doors to the church were locked 24/7 unless the pastor or secretary were there. The secretary was there more often and she is only there from 8-1 a few days a week. That meant there were entire days and every evening/afternoon that it was locked up. What does that say about our position of faith that we lock our church up so noone who needs it can get in? Just to keep a few "juvenile delinquents" out. (The reason I was given.) And maybe those kids really need to be there. We are not trusting God to protect His own place of worship??

Our contemporary service fell by the way side. It was neglected, I felt, and I got the impression it was not a priority and was looked at as fluff. We merged with another church who also had a contemporary service, but their contemporary was in addition to tradition worship. Ours was our worship service for many in our church. From the start, it just wasn't great. We have chosen the contemporary service because it's our preferred style of worship and it is more relaxed. Austin is much more comfortable in that service and so are we. We do not feel the need to explain to anyone that, while it looks like he isn't paying attention, he's probably getting more out of it than anyone else. He lays down on the pew and puts his hands over his eyes, so that he isn't getting a lot of other input and can just focus on the message. It looks disrespectful in a traditional service, but we know why he's doing it. We also don't have to worry as much about what Austin is wearing and we can eliminate that part of his sensory issues by allowing him freedom in his attire. We were not getting the same sermon the other service was in the beginning because our pastor was assuming we would all be at the traditional service and it just wasn't tended to the same way it had been. Finally, Steve and I overtook it and for the last several months, Steve has written the script, found the scripture, picked the songs, and done everything for the service; while I lead it every Sunday morning. We have been using Nooma and Andy Stanley videos for our sermons. It has very much felt like we were "renting" space to have our own little church. But we were willing to do it to keep the service alive. It has been falling apart, though, and more people have left than I can count. I was told, when I informed the pastor that it was over, that she was told from the beginning of her time that it wasn't a well attended service and was not worth fighting for from our district superintendent. What?!?!! That was our most heavily attended service and what right did the DS have to give it a death sentence from the word go??? That really upset me not just because of our church, but the entire denomination as a whole.

Prior to the triplets, I was highly involved in our children's ministry programs. I spent a lot of time on our Safe Sanctuary policies, which was mandated by our bishop, only to have a lot of members very upset by the new policies. Then it was largely ignored anyway when it came time to implement it. A lot of people felt that I alone had decided these policies and that they were not necessary in a church our size. They were told over and over that it was mandated by the bishop, but did not believe it. I gave up when the triplets were on their way and have not enforced it, yet am still getting remarks about it.

I have fought for over five years to get safe classrooms in our church building. We have rooms in the balcony that are being used, with risers still in them and broken glass panels that are a huge danger. Everyone fought me tooth and nail in fixing any of it, because it is "beautiful stained glass." Yes, in it's day, it was beautiful. But today it is being held together literally by tape in most places and it is an eyesore, not to mention dangerous. We raised money and finally got one room totally fixed up. I thought that would show people that we could do it tastefully and from the sanctuary, you wouldn't even notice the difference. No, it just made people madder that we messed with it at all. Almost all our money was used up after one and a half classrooms, so it has sat. We also had a very difficult time paying the electric bill most months due to people withholding their offerings because of our last pastor. There were times our last pastor and last secretary were not paid, because it was either pay them or pay the light and heat bills. Just in the last two months, $17,000 was raised for a new floor in the fellowship hall (which was not needed). The parsonage has been fixed up beyond anything I have ever seen (our last pastor had to literally buy his own door when the lock was broken and the trustees felt it was his responsibility). All this money suddenly appears from nowhere and is used for things that don't need to be done...while classrooms and our children are still unsafe.

My final straw was confirmation. Our church has always confirmed in seventh grade. I believe that confirmation should have no age...when you accept Jesus as your Savior, then you either become confirmed or are baptized. Whether that's at 10 or 110. However, I knew this was our church's stand and I just decided if my children couldn't honestly tell me by their words and actions that they had accepted Christ by that magical age, they would not be confirmed. Austin is in seventh grade, so it was his year. We discussed it at length and I truly felt he was ready to publicly announce his faith and make a promise to his church. Then the pastor decided to include sixth graders in confirmation. Now, seeing my beliefs (as I just stated), this was hard for me. I decided to go to the pastor with my concerns and I was largely brushed off, being told I could take it to the Ed. team. I did. I would have been OK with sixth graders being confirmed if there was a good reason for it and it was a faith-filled decision. The reasons I heard were that the pastor wanted every other year off because she has no time; one person had three children three years in a row and would need to come back again next year to confirm another child if her sixth grader wasn't allowed to be confirmed with her seventh grader; and "sports/music programs get in the way of confirmation" (was stated that way...I heard "confirmation gets in the way of music/sports"). These were the reasons stated for lowering the age. What?!?!?! Seriously? Nothing about faith, nothing about Jesus Christ. When I mentioned the intended meaning of confirmation is to confirm your faith in Jesus Christ, a few of the teachers looked uncomfortable. These are the people who are teaching my children? I think not.

I went home from that meeting with my mind made up. Steve had made up his mind that he wanted to leave over a year ago, so he was fine with it. When I started to see our church dying several months ago, I was concerned, but willing to try to stick it out. Many people have left...including the Holy Spirit. I have not felt the Spirit in that place in a long time. It is not just me. That's sad to me and I am not willing to sacrifice my walk any longer nor my children's. I have been getting most of my fulfillment lately from my bible study and Steve from various pastors he sees online. And while that's good, that's just supposed to be a supplement to church. It hasn't's been a replacement. I need to grow again and not feel stagnant. I need to feel challenged in a sermon...and a little uncomfortable. I need to think about the message that's been said, by a pastor who's there in the flesh, rather than leave feeling good about myself and what I am doing. I'm not there to get a pat on the back...I'm there to be challenged to grow and to encourage other believers and be encouraged by other believers.

I know our pastor believes that we are leaving because we are finished with the contemporary service. It has so little to do with that. There are so many things wrong and I can't keep being angry at my church. I fight the schools non-stop for what Austin needs...I fight at home with Austin with so many meltdowns....I need church to be a place where I feel OK and not like I have to keep fighting everyone for every little thing that needs to be done. Our family needs a change. And while it is not going to be easy for any of us, it will be a transition we will make together and we are all now very excited about making.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Kutless - Round 2

Tonight we took the middle school youth group to see Kutless and Brad Stine (a comedian). It was a free concert, Steve and I love Kutless, so we figured why not? It was so much fun! We ended up with only six kids going, but that was OK. We left Aidan, Nathanial, Ethan, and Noah home with a sitter because we promised Austin he could go alone. Otherwise, we would have taken Aidan, also.

I was really excited to get to see them again, and for free! We got there an hour and a half early and it was already crowded. The comedian was hilarious and Steve and I really enjoyed him. I'm not sure the kids really liked him....they pretty much wandered and/or texted during him. When Kutless started, almost all of the kids disappeared. I wasn't sure where they went, but they ended up going way up front, so they could be right there. It was encouraging to see that they loved it. I think it's a great thing for kids to know that a Christian rock band can be as good and as fun as a "mainstream" rock band. And they did! I got lots of pictures, but they didn't turn out the greatest. I will upload them to our dropshots page.

Friday, August 22, 2008

18 Month Visit

The boys went in for their 18 month check up. They are all doing great. We discussed their speech...they still do not talk to other people in anything recognizable and I am getting really concerned about the "twin" speak that's going on. Because they just got tubes in last month, we are going to wait another 3-4 months and see how they are doing. If I still have concerns, then we will look into something more. Otherwise, because they weren't hearing for so long, they seem to be doing pretty well. They interact with each other amazingly well and it is fascinating to watch them. They talk to each other and answer each other. They have been comforting each other if someone gets upset about something. They tickle each other...that's hilarious to watch! And they play together really well. Of course, they also fight, bite, push, and hit each other, but I think that's because they have no other way to express anger and frustration. At least I hope so!

As for their stats. Nathanial is, for the first time in a long time, shorter than Ethan. I was noticing in the last couple of weeks that it appeared that way, and I was correct. Nathanial was 32", he weighed 22.8 pounds, and his head was 18". He is about 10th percentile for weight and 20th for height...I think. His head was almost fifth percentile.

Ethan was 32 1/4", and weighed a whopping 23 1/2 pounds, and his head was also 18". He actually went up one growth curve on his weight. I was concerned when I heard that (the boy likes to eat!), but he is still doing fantastic and is not disproportionately heavy. He was almost 5th for head, right around 25th for height, and 15th for weight.

Noah is now the tiniest in weight and in height, but not in head! He was 31 1/2", he weighed 22.6 pounds, and his head was 18 3/4". He was roughly 15th percentile for height and 10th for weight. His head was almost 20th percentile. Still little, but bigger than the other two.

They are doing great with their motor skills and other developmental milestones. Nathanial's third lead level also came back in a normal range, so we are now pretty positive the first high one was a lab error. Nathanial and Ethan's iron levels came back at 10.5 (hemoglobin), so that is also good. They are able to discontinue their iron drops and then we will redraw it in three months. If it stays up, then no more drops. They actually liked them....ewww! At least we didn't have to fight them to get them to take it! They did not receive their MMR vaccine because of the baby. They also do not have to go back in until they are two! That'll be a little odd...going from every three months to six months. I have to admit, it will be nice, also.

Steve and I went on our anniversary date tonight and had a lot of fun. We hit a few garage sales on our way out of town. Didn't really find anything, but it was fun to go without any kids. Then we went to our favorite restaurant, but the wait was almost an hour and we decided not to wait. We went to a BBQ place instead. I am not a huge fan of BBQ, but Steve is. It was OK. I really liked my fries and coleslaw. We both got rib tips. I stupidly (without asking even Steve) assumed that rib tips would be removed from the bone and not have much fat. Wrong. They are still on the bone, just cut into more "manageable" pieces. So I didn't eat a whole lot of them. The portion sizes were huge and we brought home the equivalent of one whole meal. We also got bread pudding and that was really good. Then we went shopping and just generally enjoyed our evening sans children.

All in all, it was a good day for everything!

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Another Appointment

Today we had another OB appointment. Everything looks good and is going well! Little Miss C is growing and I gained three pounds :-O in the last two weeks. My blood pressure is "hanging in there" according to Dr. H. All very good things at this stage of the pregnancy. I have some swelling, but nothing major yet. I have been noticing a bit more the last few days, but it's not severe by any means. I do not have to go back for another two weeks. Yay!

Little miss is definitely developing patterns that are extremely recognizable. She's still very quiet, very similar to Nathanial in there (which would be a great personality to have!). She moves a bit in the late morning, then again in the afternoon, and around 11 every night, she gets hiccups. She also tends to have a ye old time in there at that hour. That is her most active time of the entire day...probably because I'm trying to sleep! Her newest thing is to see just how far under my right rib she can wiggle herself. Ouch! That has not been pleasant! It's not too bad, though....compared to the triplets! I'm really cherishing this time because I know this is our last baby and I want to enjoy every minute of it. Feet/butt in ribs, heartburn, hips aching, little stretches, hiccups, soccer try outs....everything. I cannot believe that in one month and two days she will be here!

Monday, August 18, 2008

Happy Anniversary!

Today is our anniversary. I cannot believe how much has come in our lives in the last several years. I look back on our dating and early days of marriage and am in awe of all God has provided us.

When we were dating, I knew I wanted six kids. Steve was adamant he wanted four. I thought, OK, we'll have four and then an "ooops." Then came the marriage and we immediately started trying for another baby. The heartache of infertility was something we never expected to have to deal with. I knew people suffered through it, but I had no idea it would be me someday.

Steve has been my rock, my best friend, the greatest husband I could have never picked for myself. I truly believe that God set him apart just for me and I am so incredibly blessed to have him. All the trials we've been through the last several years....infertility, an Autism diagnosis and learning to live with that diagnosis, triplets! And all the blessings....infertility, Autism, triplets, all our boys, growing closer with every day in our marriage.

As we look forward to the coming years and a new baby, I can only be excited to see what God has in store for us now!

Thursday, August 7, 2008

We Have a Date!

Today I had my regular OB appointment. Do you know I am now far enough along that I go in every two weeks from here on out??! I was shocked when she told me the date of the next appointment...I couldn't believe I am that far!

Everything was fantastic. My blood pressure was slightly elevated from last time, but compared to my other pregnancies at this stage, it was pretty good. I lost another three pounds since my last visit, but that was from all my carb restrictions, I am sure.

I asked Dr. H about the a1C and he said I did not need to be watching what I am eating...just make sure it's all balanced. I thought my a1C was OK, and he said it was "well within normal limits." If it hadn't been, even though I had passed the three hour, he would not have hesitated to diagnose me with GD. What a relief! I am still not going to go out and eat a huge amount of sugar, but it made me feel better that I am able to eat "normal" and not panic at every morsel of carb I put in. Which, lately, I have been eating almost no carbs whatsoever, just to be sure, so that probably explains the weight loss, also.

I asked him if he had a date in mind yet, as we need to know for childcare purposes. He again mentioned the 19th, which is Austin's birthday. As much as I want to meet this little girl, I am not going to do that to Austin. Birthdays should be special, if at all possible, and not shared. (Obviously, the triplets don't have that advantage, but they're special in their own way!) So his second date was the 23rd. This is extremely close to my actual due date (three days), so if something happens, we may have to go earlier. But I have never, ever, not even with triplets, gone into labor on my own, so I am confident she'll wait also. My body just has no clue how to get babies out once they are in there for so long! As it stands, we now have a scheduled date of Tuesday, September 23 in the afternoon!! I am so excited and cannot believe we are this close to meeting her!!!

Saturday, August 2, 2008

Fair - A Week in Review

First, I uploaded tons of pictures (fair and otherwise) onto the dropshots can check them out at

Sunday, Austin took his Blue Building projects. He took in two pictures and one consumer savvy project. His consumer savvy project was my favorite. We go through a TON of bananas in our house, so he compared bananas bought from KwikStar and bananas bought from our local grocer. The immediate cost difference was 30 cents. However, we wanted to see what the actual cost was once you peeled the bananas. We thought the difference would shrink, because you would lose more actual product with the KS bananas. How wrong we were! You actually end up losing MORE buying them at the grocery store. The true difference was 54 cents! Needless to say, as much as possible, Steve will be picking up our bananas for sure on his way home from work every night. He was considered for state for this project and ended up with honorable mention. For this project area, only one went to state and only one received honorable mention, so that was awesome!

He took two pictures from his birthday party last year that he took with his new digital camera. Both of those were also considered for state. One received a blue and one received an honorable mention. Another great job!!

Finally, he showed his rabbits yesterday. This was our first year using our own stock, so we were curious to see how they would do. They were bred from the excellent breeder stock we use, so we were hopeful until last week. Then they all of the sudden started molting all over the place. Our fair is so last in the year that it is blazing hot by the time it gets here and they were a mess! Still, we tried to pick the best ones available (he only took three).

The senior buck, Bucky, received a blue. His ears were a little long and he was molting, but he met breed standards, so he received blue. One senior doe, Pip, received a red because she was too fat and over breed standards for weight. Steve doesn't agree...he thinks she was right on the line, but there was no scale and she was a hair chunky. She was also molting and pitting from how much hair she was losing. The other senior doe, Dino, we had showed last year and she did really well. She received a blue this year again, but was a little long in body to beat out some of the smaller ones. Again, still within breed standards, though. All in all, they did better than we thought they would and Austin was pleased with how they did. It was a HUGE class this year....larger than last year (13, with two being disqualified right off), so that made competition a little harder also.

Austin didn't want to do showmanship this year, but we made him. It's the one area he can show what he knows about his rabbits and how he handles them. In other words, it's more about him than his rabbits. It's important for him and he learns a lot through that process so we make him. He does consistently well in this area, also, so I don't know why he didn't want to do it. He did do it and ended up receiving Reserve Grand Champion! I knew almost immediately that he wasn't going to get GC this year...there was a new girl there and she expertly flipped her rabbit. Austin didn't support his rabbits butt when he flipped his and that counted against him. But he impressed the judge with how he answered his questions and how he handled the rabbit. He said he knew which kids worked with their rabbits and which ones just showed up at fair without spending time with them and if you work with them, you will be rewarded for that. He was an excellent judge and really did a lot more teaching than I have seen in previous years and also at other fairs.

All in all, Austin had a great experience and did really well all week! And I'm thrilled that we go pick up projects today and it is over again for this year. We all look forward to it, but we are all happy when it's over, also!

Baby's Room is DONE!!!!

Yay!!! Shawna has been here all week and we all finally finished Baby Girl's room last night! We still have to get the crib up and dresser in the room, but it's DONE! It is getting really exciting to see everything coming together for her! Steve did the ceiling for me, since I am a smidge on the short side and don't really want to climb the step ladder this pregnant.
One wall with hooks:
Crib wall:
Wall on one side of the door:

Wall on other side of door:Far wall: