Steve and Angie

Daisypath Anniversary tickers

Monday, June 30, 2014

Yet another health update

I've never been one that has been ashamed of my age.  I believe God has blessed me with each year, and I don't mind everyone knowing that I'm about to turn 40.  However, this last year has been quite a ride with my health.  Maybe that is what all the 40 jokes are about? :)

On our first morning in Florida (yes, the same day we learned that we had almost burned our pop-up down and burned up the bearings in one wheel), I had some abdominal pain for a few hours in the morning.  I had this same pain two other times over the previous month, and although it was quite uncomfortable and made me sick, it went away on its own both times.  After spending some time at the beach that morning, I noticed a rather large lump in my groin area while taking a shower.  So, off to the urgent care center I went.  The doctor quickly diagnosed me with a hernia and wanted to send me to a surgeon.  When he found out we were far from home, he gave me strict instructions to not lift or push and to see a surgeon when I got home.  Obviously the lifting was a big issues with my little Abigail that was attached to my hip most of the time.  I also do quite a bit of lifting while setting up and taking down the pop-up.  But I was pretty good, and I managed to avoid any emergency surgery (another warning from the urgent care doctor).  My kids were (as always) a very big help with both Abby and pop-up duties.

I called a few places today, and Dr. Abbasi was able to get me in on Thursday.  I appreciate your prayers for me and the family.  I called Hannah in to help me lift laundry into the washer today and she is getting a big kick out of teasing me for that.  It is a real change in my way of life to not do any heavy lifting. 

So there it is . . . I'm starting the year of the 40 with a bang! 

Monday, January 13, 2014

My health saga . . .

I've been intending to write a blog and update everyone on my health, but I'm sure it doesn't take much imagination to figure out why I've just been too busy to get it done.  Typing a blog and conversing with a few kids at the same time just isn't one of my multi-task abilities.

So, here is my self-diagnosis and recap of what I think led to my downfall.  It is a self-diagnosis because I really believe I know what the problem is, and I'm just going to wait and see if I can heal without a trip to the doctor.  You may be wondering why I really hate going to the doctor so much, and I'm glad to share!  :)  Since my days in college, I've been to the doctor seven times as far as I can remember (that is of course excluding all OB appointments of which there are too many to number).  Of those seven visits, there is only one that I don't regret making, and that was when I smashed my finger and had to get stitches and a ring cut off.  Other than that I've been misdiagnosed or left without a diagnosis every time.  Not that I blame the doctors (most of the times, anyway).  My life just seems to involve unusual medical situations.  Like when I was a few weeks old and almost died of dehydration because the doctor didn't catch the pyloricstenosis because it is something generally only found in first born males - neither of which (firstborn or male) I am.  It's just that nobody can figure me out; just ask Steve if you doubt this. 

So, the theory I have is that I'm having adrenal function issues.  In retrospect, I've probably struggled with this most of my adult life.  The time I passed out at Olive Garden when I was pregnant with Ruth - probably related.  The time I went to the doctor with pain in the kidney area but left without a diagnosis since there was no UTI - probably related.  My unusually low body temperature and blood pressure - probably related.  My hypoglycemia (self-diagnosed, of course) - probably related.  Even the trouble I had recovering from my C-section - yeah, I'm going to blame it on this too.  :)

Since I was having trouble with cortisol (the hormone secreted by the adrenal gland) levels for a long time, the events of this summer just combined in a perfect storm to shut my body down (at least that is what it felt like to me).  I have a friend that tells me the adrenal gland is the back-up to the heart, so that is why we thought my heart was the issue.  Here is the list of contributing factors in my demise.

1.  The half-marathon training:  I'm going to start with this because I know it seems like the "big one".  I've learned that it takes cortisol to regulate blood sugar, so on my long runs (I was doing a 2 hour run once a week at the time), I was blowing through a lot of cortisol. 

2.  Breastfeeding.  Yes, the amazing bodies God designed for us contains hormones that all work together to accomplish . . . life.  It also takes cortisol to produce milk.  I was still exclusively breastfeeding my 6 month old Abigail this summer.

3.  Donating plasma.  Now, this one I'm not sure about, but when I read that the test for adrenal function is called the plasma cortisol test, I almost groaned.  As far as I can tell, the cortisol is delivered to the body via the plasma, so the plasma I was donating probably contained a good amount of cortisol.

4.  Emotional stress.  And here we have the really big one!  Anne Elliot has a wonderful blog that I've learned a lot from.
Of all the events that drain the adrenal gland, emotional stress is worth more than any other.  Now, I don't usually think of my life as high stress because I don't go around worrying about things.  I truly trust in the sovereignty of God in my life.  I can say this because I have not always been this way;  even as an elementary age kid I was a worrier.  But the sanctifying work of God in my life has grown me to a place where I do have faith in what God has planned, and I don't worry about things.  I guess I've learned that stress comes in different forms.  And I have a stressful life!  Not just the homeschooling with nine kids, but since Steve started working his second job, I just feel like I have more of a load than I can accomplish.  Add to that a summer filled with vacation, camp, 4-H, etc.  I won't dwell too much on this, but I'll just say my emotional stress was pretty high this summer.

I have a friend that has given me some adrenal supplements that I have been taking.  I really do think they are helping.  I've noticed some positive changes (dark areas of skin have gotten lighter - even my C-section scar is lighter, less dizziness, more energy), but I'm still having trouble with emotional stability, ringing in my ears, pain from the adrenal glands, weakness and exhaustion.  I'm trying to rest more, but, well, I don't think I need to finish that sentence.  :)   I'm getting better, it is just hard to realize that this is going to take a long time to recover from.  Steve is right now planning vacation for this summer, and I'm starting to pray already.  The phrase "no rest for the weary" comes to mind.  I haven't run since October, and I'm trying to decide if my body can handle a mile or two now and then.  I haven't given plasma, so we may resort to some creative fundraisers for the kids' activities this year.  I am still breastfeeding well over an hour a day, but that is something that will lessen with time.  My baby is 10 months old already.

I want to thank all of you for your concern and prayers for me.  I know I am loved!  Please keep praying for me, especially regarding my emotions.  I'm a very sensitive person, but I'm not very emotional.  I can usually get offended but not show emotion over it.  I can tell when my cortisol level is too low because if Steve is gruff with me or irritates me, I break down.  I know some ladies are always like that, but I sure don't like it!  I'm sure my husband and kids would really like to have my adrenal glad restored as soon as possible!  :)

I'm just waiting and watching my symptoms right now.  There is a chance that my adrenal gland is severely damaged, and I could have Addison's disease, but I'm going to wait and see how the next few months go before I investigate that. 

Thursday, December 19, 2013

The Christmas letter

Gollner Family Christmas Letter


The Year in Review



·         Sarah starts off our year with a terrible case of mono including two trips to Med One and one trip to the ER.  Josh also had an accident the same week and did a face plant on his floor in the middle of the night (although he has no memory of what happened).

·         Abigail Glory Gollner was born on February 28th at 4:00 pm.  Although the labor was long, we were thankful for a safe VBAC. 

·         Noah participated in his first organized sport on an Upward basketball team. 

·         Hannah, Sarah, Nathan, and Esther participated in our Homeschool Drama Camp in March.  As always, it was a highlight of the year for the kids.


·         We ran 4 mile race at Jackson Morrow Park

·         We had a purity ceremony for Hannah and Sarah at church and gave them rings to remind them of their commitment to remain pure until marriage

·         The family vacationed to Texas.  Here are some highlights from vacation:

1.  Stopping by the Duggar home and accepting a picture from Joy and Jackson Duggar.
2.  Spending time at the beaches of Galveston Island and Corpus Christi, TX
3.  Remembering the Alamo
4.  Riding the riverboat in San Antonio
5.  Proving that we can fit 11 people in our pop-up camper.
6.  Touring an aircraft carrier







·         Steve was the camp pastor for a week at Twin Lakes Camp - and the whole family got to tag along.

·         We had eight children participate in Coyote Kids (the summer running program in the park).  It was our 8th year participating.

·         The oldest five kids participated in the National Bible Bee which included daily inductive study of I John and memorizing 25 passages of Scripture.



·         Hannah, Sarah and Esther played volleyball with the homeschool group.

·         Angie completed her first (and last) half marathon, The Highway Half on the new 31 bypass

·         Steve and Angie ran the Raptor Run 5K at the Creation Museum (along with friends from church).

·         Nathan began his third year of basketball with the homeschool group.

·         We celebrated Steve’s 20th anniversary as the pastor at Mt. Gilead.


Angie has had quite a year!!  What a blessing from God it was to have a safe delivery of Abigail.  That was a great start to the year.  She once again had mastitis trouble while nursing which turned into some cysts that she still struggles with daily.  She decided to jump on the “once in a lifetime opportunity” and train for the half marathon that was held In Kokomo in October.  Things were going well until two weeks before the race when she started feeling very dizzy, weak and faint.  She ran the race (much to the dismay of many people), but she still struggles with a dizzy / faint feeling and exhaustion / foggy thinking on most days.  Other than that, she keeps pretty busy caring for her three little ones and teaching her six older ones.  She also still teaches the upper elementary Sunday School class and the Gopher Buddies preschool program at church and is the leader of the Tayloriffic 4-H club.  She and Steve are also on the leadership team of the local homeschool group.  One of the things she enjoyed most this year was teaching a crochet class for girls in the homeschool group.


Steve gets the hard worker award this year.  He has now worked for the Rescue Mission for a year and Mt. Gilead for 20 years.  He also faithfully donates plasma twice a week.  He leads the youth group, Wed. night Bible study and preaches at the Mission once a month.  He is also the official taxi driver for the kids to most of their practices.  He hasn’t had much time for running this year but did complete a few races.  All Steve wants for Christmas are a few more hours in his days.


Text Box: Quotable Quotes 
Hannah (On her opinion of hummus):  “I had very high expectations of the awfulness, but it wasn’t too bad.”

Sarah  (On Steve hiding the Easter eggs):  He always hides mine really hard . . . really, really hard!  Where I can’t see them but everyone else can.

Nathan:  “Don’t tell Hannah I can crochet.”
Angie:  “Why not?”
Esther:  “She thinks it is sissy.  Most boys do things like play basketball and get muscles.”  
Both of which Nathan is working hard on , btw.
Noah (a week after Abby got her 4th tooth):  "Well, it looks like Abigail is going to need braces."  

Joshua:  "I wish I could make myself into a pie so Abigail could eat me.  I just love her so much."

Joshua :  “I’m wasting my time looking at Abigail.” 
Joshua (while trying to read the word eight before learning the eigh=”a” rule):  “These are weird words.  You see vowels but you don’t work them out.  It doesn’t make any sense to me.”

Ruth :  “I’m not allowed to go out windows or outdoors.”

Ruth:  When I grow up and have a baby I will be a mom.
Angie:  May I be a grandma to your baby?”
Ruth:  “No!”  (laughing) “You are already a mom.”

Mary:  “I do zip line.  Two times.” 
Kid Highlights       


Hannah is turning 16 in March (she just wants everyone to be aware of that fact).  Her garden poster made it to the State Fair again this year and she earned a merit award.  She also took shooting sports, woodworking and wearable arts.  She especially enjoyed her summer of camp fun where she and Sarah attended Twin Lakes Leadership Camp, Camp Hidden Treasure, Momentum Youth Conference and Twin Lakes again. She ran a four mile race in May and placed second in her age division.  She also received the Best Teammate award on the JV volleyball team and enjoyed subbing on the varsity team where she made new friends.  Hannah moved up to Senior division at the Bible Bee and placed second in her division.  She enjoys playing flute, but doesn’t get to do it as often as she would like.


Sarah will turn 15 in April.  She continues to sing with the Kokomo Children’s Choir and sang a duet with her friend in the Christmas concert.  She likes to read and listen to / play music.  Her 4-H projects this year were reading (champion) and shooting sports (blue).  She enjoys her new Spanish class (the class – not the work) very much.  This year in volleyball she was voted “Lady Eagle” by all of the teams.  She played for the Junior High team in the homeschool state tournament and helped the team win third place. She also received first place in the Junior division of the Bible Bee. 


Nathan is our professional gardener (and you should see the weeds he grows).  For the third year in a row, he received Grand Champion on his garden project at the fair.  He also took Legos, foods, shooting sports, and woodworking.  He is playing basketball for the third year and is the tallest on his team.  Once again this year he beat the rest of the family in a four mile race with a time of 38:56. He completed gold for the fifth year in a row in Olympian clubs and placed third in the Junior division at the Bible Bee (and he will proudly tell you there were three in his division).  He continues to play piano and has finally started to enjoy reading, especially the “Mars Diaries” series.



Esther continues to be our child with the most determined personality.  She took eight projects in 4-H including: crochet (champion), bike, foods, shooting sports, sewing, cake decorating, entomology, and garden.  She received the “Best Serve” award for her volleyball team.  She worked very hard to learn her Bible Bee verses this year and came in at an impressive second place in her division.  Daddy also had to come up with extra verses for her to learn for Olympian clubs after she learned all of her gold level verses.  She still plays the piano, but her clarinet lessons have not gone so well since her teacher (mommy) was a bit distracted.  Esther got to fulfill a lifelong dream this year when she played the part of flower girl for the wedding of Audrey Ann and the fireman.  She also got to attend the birth of Abigail and help with Abby’s first bath.


Noah received his first Olympian gold medal at church this year and placed third in the primary division at the Bible Bee.  He enjoyed playing basketball, although he will tell you that he did not enjoy it because they didn’t win enough games – he has his daddy’s competitive spirit.  He is very active and is having a hard time adjusting to the rigorous reading requirements in third grade, but he doesn’t climb up on the desk while reading quite as often as he did last year.  He loves, loves, loves his sister Abby but often has to be reminded that Abby doesn’t quite enjoy wrestling as much as he does.



Joshua is in first grade this year.  We were a little concerned about how he would do with school (because Josh tends to live in his own little world), but he has taken to reading pretty well and is an amazing mathematician.  He is very affectionate and especially loves Abigail and mommy.  He tells us the reason he loves mommy so much is because she let Abigail be born.  He just started his basketball career by joining an Upward basketball team, but he has already started dividing events in his life by before or after he started playing basketball.  Sarah has also been teaching Josh a bit of piano in her free time, and he really seems to love it. He was in mini 4-H this year and completed bike and bugs.



Ruth, our quiet little lady, still loves to suck her thumb, listen to stories, dance and watch princess movies.  We started teaching her some letter sounds, and it looks like she will be more than ready for Kindergarten next year.  She has an amazing memory, which often gets mommy in trouble when she tries to skip parts of a book during story time, but allowed Ruth to memorize most of the Bible Bee passages with the older kids this summer.  She also really enjoyed being a flower girl with Esther this summer.

Mary is a ball of fire, something else, a fart in a skillet, ADHD, busy, busy, busy. She keeps all of us on our toes and provides much excitement for the family.  She demonstrated her daredevil instincts by doing the zip line at camp this summer.  Her favorite things to do are whatever Ruth is doing and “playing” with Abigail (which scares us all).


Abigail has brought much joy to our family this year.  She is growing and learning very quickly and it looks like she will be another verbal child (think Sarah).  She is just starting to walk and entertain us with her new words and cute skills.  She seems to really like music, but her favorite thing in the world is still mommy.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

The problem of mastitis

This is a really long question / story that I'll try to squeeze in before Abby wakes.  I'm hoping someone will have a suggestion for me about how to avoid plugged ducts and mastitis.  **TMI warning** in advance

I had my first case of mastitis with Sarah (#2) and none with Nathan, but when Esther (#4) was born, I started getting what I would call "chronic mastitis", and I've had trouble ever since then.  A friend gave me disposable nursing pads when Ruth (#7) was a baby (I had always used washables until then), and it seemed to help.  Well, I'm currently recovering from my fourth episode in seven weeks with Abigail.  The line between plugged duct and mastitis is hard with me.  I usually don't call it mastitis unless I have the chills really badly, but usually I get very sore and achy and have "infected milk" even with just a plugged duct.  I don't usually get antibiotics, but I have three or four times.  I've wondered if I'm not completely getting rid of the infection, but it switches from side to side, so I'm not convinced that is the case.

I had the worst of my latest plugged duct on Ruth's birthday.  I generally do a lot to make their day special, but I ended up falling asleep while nursing that day, which is really unusual for me.  It is getting pretty hard to have a non-productive day every week or two.  I'm ready to start looking into options that can help.  I've wondered if eliminating sugar from my diet would help (I'm sure it wouldn't hurt), but that would be a VERY big lifestyle change for me, and I'm not sure I'm ready to go quite that far yet.  But I'm sure there has to be something that can help, so if you have advice, or can pass this along to someone that might have some advice for me, I would really appreciate it! 

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Abigail's birth story

I know there are many people that don't live in the world of pregnancy, birth and birth stories quite like I do, and don't enjoy reading birth stories.  This is just for those that enjoy such things, and it may be a little more detailed than the casual reader.  I apologize that this will be long and boring, but there is no way around that when the labor is long and boring!

It all began on Wednesday night, Feb. 27th.  I had been feeling pretty miserable for several days, and just not feeling like the baby had been lying in a good position.  I was having trouble completely emptying my bladder, something I've never had trouble with in late pregnancy before.  At 4:00 pm, I went to the bathroom and noticed some bloody mucus.  This is usually a sign for me that labor has started, but it also usually after I have some serious contractions started.  I had a few contractions, but I just wasn't sure labor had started yet.  I took the kids to church, but I decided to come home with Mary to rest "just in case".  We went to bed at around 10:00 pm, and I probably got to sleep close to 11:00 pm.  I remember looking at the clock at 11:28 and realizing it was the third time I had been awakened by contractions.  I laid there through a few more contractions, but finally decided to get up and walking a bit.  When I went to the bathroom (yes, I do spend a lot of time in there), there was quite a bit of blood, so I knew things were "really moving" now.  I chatted with my friend Jolyn on facebook for a while (getting her all excited so that she couldn't sleep, of course) and took a shower.  The contractions were about 4-5 minutes apart for those few hours, and we had an hour drive to the hospital, so I decided it would best to wake Steve up and get going at around 2:00 am. We had been debating about taking Esther to the birth, and she won in the end, so Steve woke her up as well.  It was snowy and we stopped for some gas just up the road.  Esther went into a big story about a movie she had seen with a snowstorm in it while Steve was pumping gas . . . and I was trying to breath through a contraction and wondering if we should just take her home.  Thankfully, that was the last time I wondered that.  She did a very good job.

We got to the hospital around 3:30 am.  Wouldn't you know, as soon as I walked in the hospital, my contractions lost their intensity and regularity!  In the triage room they did an internal exam at 3:50 am and I was 4 cm that could stretch to 5 cm.  The head was still pretty high as well.  They admitted me and moved me to a birthing room.  They didn't know my GBS results, so they said they wouldn't treat me for strep.  I was happy!  The nurses had a hard time getting an IV line started (just the port for emergency situations).  I guess I should have known how this day was going to go when it took four sticks to get that right.  They said they didn't have to run fluids in the IV if I would drink water, so I was REALLY happy.  I really hate lugging an IV pole around while walking.  Once I was settled in they said I could walk for 45 min and go on the monitors for 15 min. 

So, Esther settled in on the couch while Steve and I walked, and walked and walked.  At around 8:00 am the nurses called the OB office and found out that I was strep positive, and they needed to start penicillin.  They forced it in rapidly though, so it only took 30 min or so.  Dr. Leone came in at 8:00 as well to do an internal exam.  I was 5 cm that could stretch to 6 cm, 90% effaced and the head was still -2 station.  Depressing.  Four hours for one cm!!  So, we began our walking again.  Thankfully, there were only 2 of us int he labor ward at this point (patients, that is . . . there were plenty of staff to watch us circle the halls), so Steve and I pretty much had the halls to ourselves.  The nurses even offered to let us wear their pedometers while we walked. 

At 11:30 am the resident Dr. came to check me, and I was 6 cm.  So, we walked some more.  Now, I was allowed to walk 30 min then went on the monitors for 30 min.  My contractions were pretty good while I walked, but when I would get back in the bed, they would fizzle out.  At one pint the nurse came in to adjust the monitor because "it wasn't picking up the contractions" and I almost laughed . . . or cried.

At around 12:15 pm I started my second dose of penicillin (every 4 hrs.) and wondered just how many doses it was going to take!  While I was doing that, Steve took Esther to the cafeteria for lunch. While Steve was gone, Dr. Leone came in and said he would like to break my water if the head was low enough.  Those of you that know Mary's birth story will understand that we had already made our wishes quite clear that we really didn't want to do that if we didn't have to.  The nurse offered to go down and get Steve while I went to the bathroom.

At 12:45 pm the Dr. did the exam and I was very pleased to hear I was now 8cm, and that the head was still -2 station and could be pushed out of place pretty easily, so the doctor didn't want to take the chance of breaking my water!!  Praise the Lord for a wise doctor that cared about my situation, even though it wasn't going to work out well for him!  Unfortunately, the doctor also had a woman with a breech baby that needed a c-section, and he knew everything was going to happen at once. 

We walked a few more times before the doctor come back to check me one more time at 3:00 pm.  I was now finally 9 cm, but the head was still high, so the doctor had to leave to do the c-section.

We set out to walk again (only 15 min at a time at this point) - and wondered if it would finally be our last walk.  I was having a regular pattern of strong contractions by now and had to stop and breath through the contractions.

When we got back from walking I went to the restroom.  I had a contraction and felt a little "pushy" at the end.  I wasn't certain it was the real thing, but I told my nurses anyway.  The nurse checked me, but she wasn't confident about what was going on, and they were all trying to be careful to not break my water, so she called the resident doctor to check me.  She checked, but I still had a little lip left on the cervix, but the head was finally engaged.  With the next contraction I became certain that I was ready to push, so they called the overseeing doctor and started breaking down the bed and getting ready for the birth.  It was really a bit funny because my contractions were only coming every 8 minutes or so and here I was with Esther, Steve, 2 doctors, a nursing student and 2 nurses just waiting for me.  I tried to provide entertainment, but failed.  :)

I ended up pushing through 3 contraction, which is WAY long for me.  The water finally broke with the second contraction (I was hoping to see a baby born in the cull, but not this time), and the doctor said it was full of meconium.  Four more NICU staff joined up because of this.  At 4:00 pm, Abigail Glory Gollner arrived!  He poor little face was completely bruised, and the blood vessels in her eyes burst.  They say the bruising came from a quick birth, but my gut says maybe she didn't have her chin tucked or was in another weird position causing the extra effort to push her out and the bruising.

So, although I was beginning to doubt whether a long, drawn out, irregular pattern of contractions could really produce a baby, I found out that it could, it just takes a lot of patience.  I felt very blessed to have doctors and staff that were concerned about my concerns and patient through it all.  God's design for birth has always fascinated me, and I'm so glad to have another birth story to add to my collection.

Monday, February 11, 2013

Longsuffering . . . that is the word I've been reflecting on for a few days.  I guess it is the word of the day for the next few weeks.  This surprises some people, but I'm not one of those people that enjoys pregnancy.  Especially the last month of pregnancy.  But, as the Lord continues His work in my life, I've gained a better attitude about the whole thing over the years.  But it is still hard!  Feet in the ribs, heartburn, muscle cramps in unusual places, hourly trips to the bathroom through the night, crazy hormones, backache, inability to sleep . . . it still amazes me that some people say they do enjoy pregnancy!  :)

A friend of mine sang a song at church yesterday that got me to thinking about how crucial longsuffering is in the Christian life.  We need to keep doing what God has called us to in every area . . . ministry, evangelism, and yes, pregnancy.  I just consider it my way of proving exactly how strongly I believe in the value of children. 

I do have this problem with the kids . . . okay, Steve too . . . getting on my nerves at this point.  I'm sure a lot of it has to do with exhaustion, but that explains it - never excuses it.  I've taken up about a dozen crochet projects in an attempt at relaxation.  So, patience is certainly something my faithful praying friends can bring before the Lord for me.

Now, other things going on at home:  We have been debating the value of braces in our home.  Nathan inherited a genetic condition from my side of the family and is missing two of his teeth.  If we don't do anything, he will have large gaps between all four of his front teeth (like my dad had until not too long ago).  So, did you know braces cost around $5000?  It isn't hard to see that Steve and I don't spend a lot of time, energy or money on outward appearance.  Now we have to decide if we want to make that kind of investment in a smile, knowing that some of our other children could have the same condition.

My older reader has finished (I can easily double task while he is reading).  I've moved on to Josh's Kindergarten work which takes a LOT of attention, so I'll sign of for now. 

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

A Year of Change


Most of these changes have involved time commitments, so things are even busier than usual around here.


1)      Steve took up running this year.  Not that he enjoys it (just wanted to clarify that), but he has been faithfully working out several times a week (often with a few of the kids).  He’s lost some weight and brought down his blood pressure.

2)      Hannah and Sarah entered high school and began taking video classes from A Beka Academy (via videos at home).  They are taking six solid (“hard” according to the girls) classes as well as completing hours for gym and fine arts credits.

3)      In October Steve started working for the Kokomo Rescue Mission for about 30 hours a week.


2012 Vacation
We had a wonderful time touring out West this summer.  After spending one night camping just north of Chicago and swimming in Lake Michigan, we headed for Minnesota to spend a couple days visiting our friends the Ensmingers.  Next, we headed to South Dakota where we saw the Badlands, Mount Rushmore and Jewel Cave.  Our next stop was Colorado where we camped at three different state parks.  Highlights included visiting and hiking in Rocky Mountain National Park, visiting Focus on the Family, seeing the US Air Force Academy, eating at Casa Bonita in Denver, camping near Pike’s Peak and spending an afternoon at the Royal Gorge.  On the way home we went up in the St. Louis Arch.
                Despite our usually hectic schedule, we are thanking God for His wonderful provision and blessing throughout this year.  We have been blessed with eight precious children, family members who don’t mind helping to bus our kids around, a loving church family, and all our needs are more than met.  We are honored that God chose us to raise a ninth child.  We know it isn't the politically correct thing to do, but we do believe our children are a gift from God.


The Year in Review



·         In January, Hannah, Sarah and Nathan competed in the National Geographic Geography Bee.

·         Sarah participated in our Homeschool Drama Camp in March.

·         Hannah and Sarah competed in the Word of Life Teens Involved talent competition. 



·         We started watching two little Bowers boys until the end of the school year (their daddy, Andrew, was Angie’s friend in high school).

·         Our family participated in a Couch to 5K running program led by Patty Weitzel.



·         Angie, Nathan, and Hannah ran the Trojan Trot 5K together.

·         Hannah and Esther competed in the Kokomo Kids Try-athlon.

·         Steve was the camp pastor for a week at Twin Lakes Camp - and the whole family got to tag along for some outdoor fun and awesome chapel messages.

·         Angie's Cedarville roomie, Jolyn, and family visited from New Hampshire.

·         The family vacationed out West

·         The oldest five kids participated in the National Bible Bee which included daily inductive study of 2 Timothy and memorizing 25 passages of Scripture



·         Hannah, Sarah and Esther played volleyball with the homeschool group.

·         Hannah and Sarah took part in a calcium study at Purdue.

·         Steve and Angie ran the Raptor Run 5K at the Creation Museum (along with Walt Januszkiewicz).

·         Nathan began his second year of basketball with the homeschool group.

·         Steve, Hannah, Nathan and Esther competed in a 5K on Thanksgiving morning at Highland Park.

·         We hosted missionaries Mark & Becky Sterken and learned of their ministry in the Caribbean.
Quotable Quotes
Hannah:  "Mom, when you are nine months           pregnant, will you weigh as much as daddy?"
Angie:  "What did you say that was funny this year?
Sarah: “I don't know . . . I said a lot of things! "
Nathan: I'm really excited about Christmas, but not for the presents.  I can't wait to get my coupons from mom for "choose a meal", "do a chore", and "make favorite snack."
Esther: "Hannah and Sarah, when you move out I get both of your blankets."
Hannah and Sarah  (at the same time):  "We are taking our blankets with us!"
Noah (about Mary):  "I don't know what she is saying, but I know it is funny." 
Joshua:  "When I was a baby, was daddy a daddy yet?"
Joshua  (on the road to Mt. Rushmore when he first saw the monument):  “That looks like South Dakota.”
Joshua (at Badlands):  “That’s the biggest mountain!  It is dad’s age.”
Joshua:  “I want to marry baby Mary someday.”
Angie:  “She is your sister.  You can’t marry your sister.”
Josh:  “Then I will marry Ruth.”
Angie:  “She is your sister too.  You can’t marry her.”
Josh:  “Then I’ll marry Esther.”
Angie (realizing this could go on a lot longer, just gives up!)
Ruth (while looking at Sarah's dedication picture - Hannah was 14 months):  "Look mom, you had two babies."
Kid Highlights

Hannah is only a few months away from turning 15 (and very much looking forward to that).  Some accomplishments from this year include:  running two 5K's, getting first place in her age category in the Try-athlon, receiving blue on her cake and shooting sports, reserve champion on her wheat bread and grand champion on her garden project and weather at the county fair as well as a merit award on her garden at the state fair.  She continues to play flute and piano and qualified for regionals at Teens Involved.
Sarah became a teenager this year and is playing the part well.  She continues to sing with the Kokomo Children's Choir and play piano and flute.  In 4-H she received the following:  blue on weather, shooting sports and her cake, honor on her tea ring and reading.  She placed first in the local National Geographic Bee and qualified for regional Teens Involved in her voice solo, flute, and piano.  She placed second in her division at the Bible Bee.  She received the best server award for her junior high volleyball team.
Nathan really got into running this year.  He isn't super-fast but he did beat the other family members who ran on Thanksgiving.  In 4-H he won red on electric, blue on woodworking, honor on his muffins, grand champion on garden, reserve champion on entomology, and blue on weather.  He continues to play the piano and is slowly learning the game of basketball.  He completed gold level in Olympians for the fourth year in a row.
Esther continues to have many interests and skills.  She received the MVP for her volleyball team this year, and we finally allowed her (after much asking) to run a 5K on Thanksgiving.  She finished second in the Try-athlon and completed gold level in Olympians.  She placed second in her level at the Bible Bee.  In 4-H she received blue in sewing, honor on cookies, honor in bike, blue in weather, blue in shooting sports, grand champion in crocheting, and blue in garden.  She continues to play the piano and just started learning to play the clarinet this year.  But according to Angie, Esther’s greatest skill is giving back rubs to mommy.
Noah is in 2nd grade and is as active as always.  He just started Upwards basketball—we are hoping he runs off some of his energy.  He is a smart little guy and especially enjoys doing multiplication like his older siblings.  He also completed gold level in Olympians and did a fantastic job learning his passages for the Bible Bee.
Joshua started school this year.  He would rather be playing, of course, but he is starting to
read.  He took his first swim lessons this year and seems to be a little fish like his sister Hannah.
Ruth is mommy's little helper.  She loves to help change diapers and cook with mommy. 
Although she didn't officially participate in the Bible Bee, she memorized a lot of Scripture.

Mary has really grown up this year.  She is starting to say a lot of words, and we have big plans to potty train her over Christmas break.
Abigail is due to arrive Feb. 28th, but daddy's birthday on March 4th is a real possibility.