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
Saturday, February 7, 2009
February 6, 2009

Yesterday while sitting in the kitchen I heard Philip screech, “FIRE! Mommy there is a FIRE!” I stood up and looked toward the living room and saw a box of newspapers that had fallen against the wood stove which was in flames. The flames were shooting up a couple feet above the stove. I ran and grabbed the box and shouted to the boys to open the front door. As I was running with the box a clump of flaming papers flew by my head, singing my hair and landed on the hard wood floor. When I exited the front door I threw the box into the snow and ran back into the house to put out the fire by the stove. I beat out all the fire in the house with a cardboard box then went outside to deal with the burning box of papers. There were clumps of fire on the porch against the house and against the railing. I was able to put those out easily, however, the box of papers was burning fiercely and there were several pieces flying off that I had to catch and put out so they wouldn't start a fire somewhere else against the house or in the trees. I shouted for Sam to get me a shovel. With the shovel I was able to throw snow on the fires in the front yard. It probably only took a total of 5-7 minutes for all of this to happen, it was very intense.

I'm so thankful that the kids reacted quickly and obediently to my commands. We had a discussion time when it was all over and I praised the kids for obeying right away and for not trying to handle the fire by themselves. Their quick reactions saved our house, and our potentially our lives. I praise the Lord for the way He gives us strength and the ability to handle emergencies.

So, how did the fire start? We keep a box of newspapers and kindling in the corner by the door in the living room. When I started the fire in the morning I had set the box on the wood pile instead of in the corner. It was a safe distance from the fire, or so I thought. Nathan and Philip had decided to unplug the extension cord for the cordless phone and start swinging it. In their swinging of the chord it pushed the box onto the stove. I had just told them to stop and plug in the phone when the box ignited. It was a good lesson for the kids about how careful they need to be around the wood stove.
Wednesday, February 4, 2009
Today we found 5 chickens dead upon entering the barn. We thought another dog had gotten in, you see a few weeks ago we lost 8 chickens and 2 ducks to the neighbors dog. They then got sick because of getting overly stressed due to the dog attack and we lost another 9 chickens. Well, today's chickens were peculiar because they had bite marks on the back of the neck. We were also missing another duck. I thought that we had a fox or raccoon that had found their way into the chicken pen. The boys went out to clean up the mess and saw a “creature” sniffing at the door of the rabbit pen. They threw a bucket at it, which caused a hiss from the animal and it scurried away. By their first description I thought the animal might have been a muskrat, but then they told me it had a long furry tail. We looked up a mink in our encyclopedia and both the boys confirmed that that was what they saw in the barn.

Discovering a varmint solved another puzzle that presented itself this past Sunday. Sunday morning while doing chores Elizabeth found a barrel that had 17 eggs. All the eggs were frozen, most were cracked and ended up being partially empty when I thawed them. Some of the eggs were cracked in half with exposed frozen egg. Phil thought maybe the chickens were so shook up after the dog incident that they were laying eggs while perched on the barrel. I didn't think that would happen. We've asked a couple locals if a mink would steel eggs, and all have said YES! I guess eggs are a favorite of theirs. Our friend had mink killing his chickens through chicken wire. It would reach through the wire and grab the birds by the neck and kill them but not be able to get them out to eat them.

Our plan is to trap and kill the mink. Thankfully one of our friends has a live trap we are using for tonight. Tomorrow Phil is going to stop at the mink farm that is about 2 miles from here and see if they have any traps and if they'd want the mink (maybe even pay for them) once we catch them. If we are successful you just might notice a lovely mink collar on my coat! :-)

Oh by the way. On a very sad note. We started the winter with 70 chickens and 6 ducks along with our geese and turkeys. One of the geese is still healing from the dog attack, the turkeys are safe and getting nice and big. However, we only have about 40 chickens left and 3 ducks. SOOOOO sad!!
I have to tell another story about a conversation that I had with Philip today. This afternoon we went to our Chiropractor. While I was getting adjusted I told Sam to remind me to talk with our friend Mr. Turba about getting Pinky bread to his boar. Our plans were to stop by the Turba's on the way home from town. As we were driving there, Philip, who overheard our conversation said to me, “Mommy, we already ate Stinky Bread and it was good!!” I told him that we ate Stinky ham, pork chops, and sausage but that there wasn't such a thing as “Stinky Bread”. I then explained to him that when we say we are going to get Pinky bread it means that we are going to let Pinky be a mommy. Then he asked me if baby pigs like to eat pig slop. I told him that they only have their mommy pigs milk at first but that they would eventually like pig slop. He said, “Oh, so they get sweet goat milk when they are babies.” I had to try to explain to him that Pinky would have a special piggy milk when the pigs were born and the baby pigs would really like it! He finally seemed satisfied and stopped asking questions. Nothing like teaching the birds and the bees pig style to a 5 year old!
Tuesday, February 3, 2009
It has been such a blessing to read your comments. Blogging is a fun way of journaling our family happenings and my little hobbies. I'm glad that others enjoy keeping up with our family by reading my entries.

Today I spent the afternoon traveling with Thomas to his bi-monthly Therapy review. I am so thankful that Thomas has been able to receive the Wisconsin Autism Waiver which pays for 35 hours a week of in home one on one therapy. If we had to pay out of pocket for these services it would run us $40,000 - $70,000 per year. God is good!

Thomas has made significant progress in his first two years on the program. Some of his big area's of improvement are: language, social interaction, basic learning skills, reading, writing, emotions, and compliance. He has gone from a 18 month old rating in most of these areas to a 3 1/2 - 5 year old level as of March 2008. I'm guessing that this year he will be between a 5-6 yr old in all areas. Thomas will be 8 in May so he is still behind his peers but he is really improving. Thomas has a lot of "quirks" that are unique to him and the autism disability, but even these have decreased.

The other day Phil and I were at WalMart and I purposely went to the checkout line of a "handicapped" clerk. She is usually very chatty, yet as a mother of a child who is challenged it is very evident to me that she is not what most people would call, "normal". I shared with Phil afterwards that I enjoy going to her isle when I'm at WalMart and talking with her. The average consumer would be irritated with her conversation. I look at her and smile thinking that it would be such a blessing if my Thomas were able to have a job some day. It would be such a blessing if others would accept Thomas for who he is now and when he is grown. It would be a blessing to see him independent and caring for himself. I know that the many hours that Thomas' therapists spend with him weekly are helping him to grow and develop into a functional person.

So, why is Thomas at the forefront of my thoughts today? Well, besides spending 3+ hours alone with him today, I learned that some things with his program might be changing. Pray with us that the transitions will go well and that Thomas will thrive in spite of them. I am still hopeful that they won't make the changes that they are contemplating, but it seems after today that they are inevitable and it is just a matter of time until they occur.

I'll end this blog with a funny scene from our shopping excursion today. Thomas and I went to Woodmans, a large reasonable priced grocery store in Green Bay, before his appointment. I needed to buy honey and while I was trying to compare prices he was trying to stop EVERYONE, quoting lines from the "Bee Movie". He was shouting and grabbing at people quoting the lines from the movie when the bee sees all the honey for sale at the grocery store and is outraged. As I was trying to shush him, I laughed and realized.... who cares what people think! At least he was quoting the movie at an appropriate time and place! :-) If there had been children down the isle they probably would've recognized that he was quoting a movie and smiled at his actions. Adults however, roll their eyes and glare and this mom who cannot handle her "bratty child." Oh well......
Monday, February 2, 2009
February 1, 2009

It has been a couple months since my last post. I'm just curious..... did you miss me? I've often wondered how many friends and family members actually read my blog. If you've missed hearing about our family adventures leave a comment or email me and let me know.

There are many things that need some updating but I thought I'd start the year with some praises.

1.We found out this past week that I do not have a chronic blood clot in my leg any more. We have been praying that the Lord would do a miracle and allow both clots to dissolve and Praise the Lord He chose to heal my leg and remove both clots. I will no longer need to be on rat poison and according to the blood labs I do not have the genetic tendency for clotting. We praise the Lord for these specific answers to prayer!
2.We have a new dog. Some friends of ours needed to find a new home for their year old Great Dane, Nina. Phil and the boys met Nina and we decided to adopt her. She is very BIG and very mild mannered. The previous owners did a WONDERFUL job training her. She is starting to enjoy our family and show signs of settling in. She is black with a little white patch on her chest. Her back is about up to my hips. She looks like a black lab on stilts! :-)
3.We successfully butchered Stinky with the help of some friends just after Christmas. We've been enjoying pork chops, sausage, and ham. When the slicer comes in we will be able to slice the bacon. Our summer sausage is sitting in the freezer for 30 days to make sure all possible bacteria is dead.
4.We are all in good health.
5.School is going well. Elizabeth has become quite independent and usually gets her schoolwork done very quickly, which allows her to fill her “extra” time with reading and art. Caleb is needing some extra challenging, and Samuel is plugging along. Philip is wanting to learn to read and write. Thomas is doing great with his sight words and short vowel phonics words. He will start journaling this week. We are thankful that he is in his third year of ABA (Applied Behavior Analysis) therapy. He receives 30-35 hours of one on one instruction from his therapists. Nathan enjoys coloring and cuddling up to Nina.
6.Phil is enjoying his work with Dynamic Campus Solutions. We are thankful that for the time his job is not in any danger of cut backs or lay-offs. I got to meet his co-workers at his companies Christmas party which was held at the Whistling Straights Golf Course Clubhouse. The PGA Championship tournament will be held at this course in 2010, 2015, & 2020.
7.Spring is coming! Yes, I can feel it in my bones! :-) The seeds for the garden have been ordered, potatoes will be ordered in March, and I am anxiously waiting for the snow to soak into the earth so we can begin working on this years planting.
I'll end this post with another of Philip's funny moments. Philip is starting to show more interest in spiritual things. The other night he was having a talk with Phil about Heaven, sin, and hell. He was very curious about why when people are naughty they have to go to the “hotel”. The poor boy must have his ears clogged again... he mistook the word hell for hotel. Out of the mouths of babes! :-) We are so thankful that God's word says, “Suffer the little children to come unto me....” This is our prayer for each of our children that they will come to know the Lord personally and choose to serve Him with their lives.