The Gang

The Gang
October 2008 Sweet Potatoe Harvest

About Me

I am a busy mommy of 6, seeking to be a loving, godly helpmeet to my husband and a biblical discipler to my children. God has blessed us with a child with Autism. May the lessons that the Lord is teaching me and our family be a blessing to you and yours!

My Favorite Books

  • Bible
  • Created to be His Helpmeet by Debi Pearl
  • Four-Season Harvest by Eliot Coleman
  • Having a Mary Heart in a Martha World by Joanna Weaver
  • Home Cheese Making by Ricki Carroll
  • Nourishing Traditions by Sally Fallon
  • Shepherding a Child's Heart by Tedd Tripp
  • The Excellent Wife by Martha Peace
Thursday, September 20, 2007
Elizabeth and I were cleaning the kitchen tonight when Nathan started to scream. He had tried to open a folding chair and sit on it. Well he didn't get it opened all the way and when he sat down he pinched his ring & middle finders in the fold of the metal legs. After icing it they are still quite red & swollen. I think he will be ok. It may break him of sucking his fingers when he sleeps because it is the two fingers he sucks at bedtime. We'll see what happens tonight!

You may be wondering why we had a folding chair in the kitchen. Well our dinning room set is a severe eye sore! We have been given or purchased for VERY cheap (like $25 dollars) FOUR dinning room sets since we got married. The four tables have survived and are still in used in various rooms of the house or have been given away to others who needed a table. The chair situation however are very sad!! We have 2 matching from one set, another 3 from a different set, and two lone chairs from two different table sets. If you ad that up we only have 7 chairs and 8 in our family. So we have to use a folding chair for the 8th person. It is quite a sight seeing us eat dinner because we have a table that only seats 6 and all 8 of us squeeze around it at breakfast and dinner. We keep saying that once Phil gets a job one of our first purchases will be a dinning room table set that can easily seat 8 or more! If you know of anyone giving away a new/barely used table and 8 chair set pass them our name! :-)
Today Samuel got his stitches removed. The cut looks quite nasty still but it is sealed up! I was reminded of all the amazing ways that Samuel has found to get blood out of his fingers:

1. Easter Sunday's 2006 episode with the whiffle ball! For those who haven't heard this story I will share it! Easter Sunday we were all ready to go to church when Sam came into the kitchen crying because he couldn't get his finger out of the whiffle ball. He had decided to take his pinky's and stick them into holes on opposite sides to see if they could touch. Well Sam's fingers are a bit on the pudgy side so they got STUCK! Phil managed to pull one of the pinky's out but the other was VERY stuck and started to swell. We tried, cold water, ice, oil, and butter with no luck. So Phil took Samuel to the hospital hoping they'd have something that could cut it off. At the hospital, I'm sure it was their most interesting Easter Accident, they had to numb up Sam's finger and pull the ball and deep groves of skin off his finger. Sam couldn't feel a thing. Later that day of course his finger throbbed quite nicely. I had hoped he had learned his lesson about shoving body parts where they didn't belong only to find him on the deck a few days later crying because he had decided to stick his knee's through the side panels on the deck and was stuck there. I was afraid we'd have to saw him out but thankfully I got him to relax enough so I could pop his knees back through!

2. The Serrated bread knife to the finger which needed three stitches. He decided to cut the end off a piece of celery by using his hand as a cutting board.

3. Stapling his finger. This just happened a couple days ago. The story: I called Phil on the phone while I was in town grocery shopping and all of a sudden heard Sam screaming. He was loading staples into his stapler and put his thumb over the area where the staple come out and pushed to close it not realizing that it would staple right into his finger. The staple was all the way in his thumb! The staple bruised him pretty good.

Someday I will have to post other of the past adventures of Sam..... like the time he ran through the garage door in Phil's car, the time he stepped on a nail that was sticking out of a board just to see what would happen, and the time he decided to kill flies with a broom..... the flies were on my living room WINDOW!! So, look for more adventures of Samuel in the future. I'm sure there will be many new stories . I often wonder if he will survive until he becomes a teenager!!
Tonight at dinner Thomas was complaining that his tummy hurt because he ate to many meatballs. He was saying he wanted to go to my bed to sleep because he was sick. Philip said, "Don't you want to go to your own bed Thomas?" Thomas said, "No, I'm sick" Philip said," But your bed is so cute!"

Elizabeth and I just cracked up hearing Philip say so sincerely that Thomas' bed was "so cute."
Wednesday, September 19, 2007
Today Caleb had a Doctors appointment at the Children's Hospital and we are very excited to report that the Doctor is pleased with how Caleb's eye is healing. Caleb is able to tolerate more light and is was able to see some letters with his left eye. He is no longer on bed rest so he will resume going to school with the exception of recess & gym class. Caleb will not have to wear the eye patch 24/7 anymore. He will be able to wear special sunglasses or an eye shield. The doctor wants the eye protected and he is still sensitive to light so the sunglasses will be worn most of the time. The eye shield requires medical tape which irritates Caleb's skin, so we will try to do the sunglasses as much as possible. I'm sure there will be times when he will wear his pirate patch too but he will not be wearing it as much.

Sorry to not be blogging much lately. I was down with a head cold Sun. & Mon. and yesterday I played "catch up" on the house and laundry. It is amazing how many things go undone when mom is sick. Thankfully I'm feeling much better, however, Philip has an ear infection. Since we don't do the "doctor" thing much we are using all the homeopathic treatments and Motrin for the pain. He will most likely have to miss school tomorrow if he isn't feel better.

Will try to write more later about all that has been happening here.
Thursday, September 13, 2007
Phil and Caleb got home at about 9:30 last night. Caleb went straight to bed. Today we started his eye drop medicine which brought some whinning and tears from Caleb. Thankfully I was prepared for that since there is a dear friend of ours, who lost an eye many years ago before there was the technology available to save her eye, shared with me how painful the drops were and how difficult it was being on bed rest for so many weeks. Her experience has made me more simpathetic to Caleb when he fusses about the eye medicines.

Today Caleb is simply exhausted. He is laying in bed with his eyes covered. I haven't seen him attempt to open his good eye yet. He just wants to rest. We are thankful that his head is not hurting him.

Please pray that he will start to eat. Yesterday he had one bowl of cereal, today he still doesn't have an appetite. He is a skinny boy and I don't want him to get too weak from not eating. He told Elizabeth that he has the stomach flu. :-)

We are thankful that he is home. His next doctors appointment is scheduled for Sept 19th.
Wednesday, September 12, 2007
I just spoke with Phil and Caleb struggled with head aches through the night and vomited once. So they have all the lights out in the room and Caleb is resting. His appointment is at 4 this afternoon so Phil and Caleb will stay one more night at the RD house and leave for home sometime tomorrow morning. Phil is planning to get a hold of some Tylenol or Childrens Motrin sometime today to help Caleb with the head aches. Pray the head aches will subside until Phil is able to get him some pain reliever which probably won't be until they go out for the doctor this afternoon since he doesn't want to leave Caleb alone to go to the pharmacy and Caleb isn't up to go out yet.

Phil said that at this time Caleb does not have any meds because the Dr. wanted the patch on until his appointment at 4 today. After the appointment Caleb will be starting on some medicines for his eye. Last time he was on oral and topical antibiotic along with other drops to help the eye. I'm not sure what his medicine protocol will be this time.

Thank you for your prayers and encouragement. If you would like to send Caleb a card or something he can do while on bed rest (he loves transformers - the auto to robot ones, Lego, Magnetics, Knex, dollar store toys, and coloring). You can mail any cards or packages to:
Caleb Reese
PO Box 141
Pembine WI 54156
Tuesday, September 11, 2007
Caleb was in surgery this morning for about 4 1/2 hours. As suspected they found a few things once they got in there that needed to be taken care of. Below is a list of all that was done in the surgery:

1. Removed/released part of his Iris - it was bunched up making his eye look funny & I'm sure it effected the eye in other ways too.
2. Removed 90-95% of the fluid/blood in his eye and replaced it with a special oil.
3. Repaired the retinal detachment with a lazer treatment and placed a band on his eye to hold the retina in place. This band will be a permanent band. The band and the oil serve as inner and outer splint for the damaged retina.
4. Fixed the pressurization problem.
5. Removed the Cataract.
6. Removed the stitches.

Of course this list is not in order, it is just a detailed list of all that they did in the surgery.

Caleb is an outpatient and will be released some time this afternoon. Phil and Caleb will be staying at the Ronald McDonald house right across from the Childrens Hospital. Caleb will be seen by Dr. Connor again tomorrow. Depending on how Caleb is feeling Phil may need to stay with him tomorrow night at the RD house too. Caleb will be on bed rest for at least a week, Phil will find out tomorrow if it will be longer than a week.

There will be future surgeries. They will have to go in and remove the oil eventually and once everything is healed he will also have to get the contact lens.

We are very thankful that God has allowed us to be here in Wisconsin so that Caleb can be treated at the Childrens Hospital. It is amazing what damage a little stick can do to an eye! We are very thankful for the Doctors Caleb is seeing and for the Ronald McDonald house too!

This is going to be a long process of surgeries and doctors visits so please pray that Caleb will be able to handle all this with a sweet spirit and that he won't be disappointed about the results of this surgery. We were thinking that this surgery would get him to the point where he would be able to see and not have to wear a patch any more. However, the damage to his eye was much worse than were were expecting. God knows the end from the beginning and we are praying that this will be used in Caleb's life to allow him to learn at a young age how precious it is to trust God with everything, for His grace is sufficient and His strength is made perfect in our weakness.
Monday, September 10, 2007
On Saturday evening we had a bit of excitement. Phil came into dinner from the garden with a great big grin on his face. He told me to look out the window where the cat cage was sitting on top of the refrigerator. I smirked and asked, "What'd you catch? A rabbit?" He laughed and said "Yes!" This of course started and erruption of excitement from all the kids as they wanted to see it and hear how daddy caught the rabbit. We tried to get them to settle down so we could pray then daddy would tell his story. That didn't work, so Phil shared how he caught the bunny.

Phil was out in the garden and heard a squeel from an animal in pain. He turned to see a stray black cat with a baby bunny in his jaw running out of the garden. The cat ran toward the neighbors yard where he was greeted by two barking dogs. Startled he dropped the bunny and dashed away. The bunny scared by the dogs too ended up cornered in a section of the fence. Phil ran to get gloves and the cat cage. He put the little guy into the cat cage.

That evening we fed him some carrots and Phil did some research online about caring for a bunny. He was very young our guess was about 8 weeks old or so.

The next day after church we let Elizabeth hold it and the others pet it. Phil will ad some pictures of the bunny to this post, later. Sadly, Phil discovered on the DNR site that it is illegal to keep a wild bunny. So he and the kids let the bunny go less than 24 hours after he had saved it from the cat.
Last week Tuesday was the first day of School for Elizabeth, Samuel, Caleb & Thomas. I was able to get a picture of the four of them in front of the school before they excitedly rushed in! God provided almost all their school supplies via gifts from family and friends. That was such a blessing!
Since Philip didn't start until today, Phil took him fishing for a couple hours! However, since they didn't catch any fish Philip says, "Ackshey (thus translated Actually), I didn't go fishing." When I asked him why, his response was, "I didn't get a fish!" He was quite sad! :-)

Below Phil will ad pictures of the kids on their first day of school. Philip just started today so he was all alone for his picture. Today he was quite sad that the rest of his class got to get on the bus and he had to walk home! He was so excited them morning that I left him with a great big smile on his face. However, there were bitter tears all the way home because he couldn't ride the bus.
Sunday, September 9, 2007
Sam is on his way to the hospital with Phil. We were about to sit down to eat dinner after church tonight and Sam decided to try to cut a piece of celery with my good Pampered Chef serrated bread knife. Of course he was NOT practicing safe knife usage and was cutting toward his own finger instead of away or on a cutting board. He started to scream and I grabbed his finger shoving it under the water. It is a cut about an inch long, as I was holding it under the water I released my squeeze on it and it spread to about 1/4 inch when I put it back together a bunch of tissue oozed out. Phil just called and I guess it has stopped bleeding so I don't know if it will need stitches or not. I was freaked out by the fatty tissue oozing out. We'll see what the doctor has to say when he looks at it. Boys will be boys!

Update: Samuel did have to get three stitches in his finger. They will come out on the 18th.
Wednesday, September 5, 2007
Thank you to the many friends and family who have been praying for Caleb over these past weeks since his eye injury. His surgery has been scheduled for September 11th at 7:30 at the Children's Hospital in Milwaukee WI. The doctors will be removing his lens because the damage and cataract are too severe to be corrected. They will be putting a contact lens in that will allow him to see until he is old enough to get a lens transplant. They will also be correcting the problem with his eye pressure. The eye is still too soft which indicates that he eye is not pressurizing properly.

Please pray for Caleb and the doctors on the 11th and for us as we are with Caleb. I say "we" in a very prayerful tone. As of yet we have NOT been able to find anyone to stay with our children so that I can go down to the surgery with Phil & Caleb. Please pray with us that we will be able to find someone to be here so that I can be there with Caleb. My mama's heart is struggling with having to be hours away while my baby is having a major surgery.

Thank you for praying!
WHEW!! After several hours we have FINALLY finished the boys room and moved them in. Below you will see pictures of the completed room. I'm sorry that I didn't take any before pictures. Try to picture in your mind a room that was completely white with several nicks, crayon marks, and stains on the walls and trim.

Yesterday we fought with the border for a LONG time. We learned after our first failed attempt that borders are NOT supposed to be put up over textured walls. The walls in this room have that rough sand finish (which we HATE). Phil had to pick up border paste and it took both of us and 1/2 a bottle of paste to get this self adhesive border to stick to the wall. Not to mention a lot of sweat & some tears/tantrums. Tee Hee!

For those of you who don't know me well. I am NOT a painter! The only thing I've ever painted in my life is my finger and toe nails! So painting this room was quite an undertaking. It was also my first time using faux glaze and sponging. I'm hoping that the textured look will help to hide the finger prints. Wishful thinking hey??

None the less the boys have a new room and I think they will enjoy being away from the three little boys!

Many of you know I love to cook and bake. I am a huge advocate of healthy snacks for my kids, however, often our budget or lack of time to shop does not allow me to always have enough fresh produce for fruit for their afternoon snack. So I usually try to bake something healthy at least every other day for their afternoon snack.

Yesterday we had gluten free Blueberry cake and today we are having WW Chocolate Chip Banana Bread.

Here are the recipes:
WW Chocolate Chip Banana Bread
3/4 cup sugar (organic sucanat)
1/2 cup raw organic butter
1 cup (2 -3 ripe) banana's
1/2 cup sour cream
2 eggs
2 cups WW pastry flour
1 TBSP flax meal
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
3/4 cup miniature or 1 cup regular chocolate chips
1/2 cup chopped nuts

Beat together butter & sugar until light and fluffy. Add bananas, sour cream & eggs; blend well. Stir in flour, flax, bk soda, & salt; blend well but don't over mix. Fold in choc chips and chopped nuts.

Bake at 350 degrees for 55-65 minutes in a stoneware loaf pan (you can use a regular pan too just watch for too much browning). If using a regular pan be sure to grease and flour it, no need to do so if using seasoned stoneware. Bake until tooth pick or cake tester come our dry in the middle of the loaf. Cool in pan for 15 minutes then remove to rack to complete cooling.

This same recipe can be used in mini loaf pans. Put 1 cup of batter in each mini loaf pan and bake for about 45-55 minutes. This recipe freezes very well if you wrap it in saran then put it in a freezer bag.

I'll put in ( ) what to use if you are able to have gluten and casein.
GF/CF Blueberry Cake
2 cups all purpose gluten free flour mix (2 cups all purpose flour or WW pastry flour)
2 tsp Xanthan bum
1 cup sugar (organic sucant)
1 TBSP flax meal
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1/2 cup CF margarine (1/2 cup butter or margarine) -- softened
1 cup rice milk (1 cup milk)
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
2 cups fresh or frozen blueberries (do not thaw)

Combine flour, Xan gum, flax, sugar, bk powd, & salt in bowl. Use pastry blender to cut in margarine until it is in course crumbs. Add milk, eggs & vanilla, stir until well blended. Pour 3/4 of batter into a 9X13 pan. Sprinkle on blueberries. Spoon remaining batter over blueberries.

Bake at 350 degrees for 35-45 minutes or until toothpick in center comes out clean.

You can put a glaze on this cake if you want but I usually don't because it is just adds extra sugar.
Tuesday, September 4, 2007
Today is the first day of a TV Fast for our family. Last year our school rule was not TV on school nights and we don't allow TV on Sunday's either. However, Thomas (our autistic son) watches TV when he needs to escape from the "stress" of living in this crazy house. So he would be allowed to watch TV as needed on weeknights which made it is struggle to keep the older kids away from it.

Phil and I decided to fully remove the TV from the living room so no one will be able to watch it. I'm excited about what this will mean for all the kids. We have only been allowing approved DVD/VHS's since we don't have satellite or cable, however, they really don't need the TV. I call it "dead head" time since it does nothing to challenge them creatively or intellectually.

I'm sure it will be challenging when the little ones are underfoot and I'm trying to get stuff done, but they will learn to play better and I will learn to include them more and use it each opportunity as a new training experience for them.
Monday, September 3, 2007
Our home is going through some changes these days. We found out last week that the person we thought was going to rent for a couple months is not going to. That started us thinking on using the apartment space for our family since currently we have three bedrooms for 8 people.

In our basement we have a very nice newly remodeled efficiency apartment that has one bedroom, a large living room, large kitchen/dinning room, and a bathroom. Usually we rent it for $400 a month which includes all the utilities. We prefer to rent it out to NBBC college students, however, this year we don't have anyone interested in renting.

Many of you know that Phil has been without consistent work since January 2006. His last month at NBBC was December 2005 where he mutually agreed to leave as a result of our desire to head to Canada and NBBC's need to make cuts in his department. We made the decision to leave NBBC in Oct of 2005 and we found out in November that Thomas qualified for the Wisconsin Waiver for Autism which provides in home therapy FREE up to 35 hours a week for 3 years. When we found that out we decided that we would stay in Wisconsin for 3 years to give Thomas a chance to improve with the aid of this therapy.

I know this is backtracking a bit in the history of our family but it helps to explain why we have decided to use the apartment for our own family living space. When Phil left NBBC he decided to start his own Computer business. It has been very slow going over the last 1 yr and 9 months. Some months are ok others are extremely low in business. One of Phil's difficulties is having a place to use for an office that offers quiet and privacy. It is hard for him to make business calls when kids are screaming the the background or pounding on his locked door because they want to talk with daddy. Currently Phil is trying to work his business while applying for jobs all over Wisconsin and in Kitchener/Waterloo & Kenora Canada. It also does not give a good impression to a potential job interview when there is total chaos in the background of a call.

So, in light of his need for an office and our need for another bedroom (currently all 5 boys share a room). We have decided to no longer rent our apartment and use the space for our room and for Phil's office. It is really quite nice!! Phil and I have a "master bedroom suite" and he has a very nice sized office.

We moved out of the small bedroom that is off the living room and have spent the past few days painting it for Sam & Caleb to move into. We are doing a sports theme with the room since they have bedding in that theme and I had matching border in the closet that I had never used. I'll post pictures of the room when we are finished and have the boys moved in. Our goal is to have it finished today and the boys moved in.

The little boys will be upstairs and we will move all the toys up to their room. This will allow Phil to have a little more quite since right now it sounds like drums above his head as the boys walk/run around the living room playing. Eventually I want to paint and finish the little boys room too. As we've been painting Philip keeps asking me when I'm going to "color" his room.

Phil is getting settled into his nice office space and we are really enjoying having a private room and bathroom.