Thursday, December 24, 2009

Merry Christmas!

From our family to yours, we wish you a very Merry Christmas!  We want to thank you (again) for following along with us; for all your prayers, phone calls, emails and support.  We appreciate each one of you very much!

We hope that you enjoy a safe, peaceful and blessed day, as we celebrate the birth of Jesus.  Let that never be lost among all the gift giving, receiving, turkeys and naps!

We dressed up our kids tonight so that we could share some pictures for Christmas - Teddy, Joshua and Emma received their first Christmas gifts from Mommy and Daddy tonight!  Thanks to BB and JB for the outfits!  We do not intend to dress our kids alike, but we'll make an exception now and then!

Oh, and before I post the pictures, Mommy told the kids that Santa doesn't come until all the little boys and girls were asleep.  So, like good, obedient children, they promptly went to sleep, and didn't even wake up to have their pictures taken.  Oh well.  I suppose their bottles didn't help either.


Monday, December 21, 2009

A Few More





More Pictures!

I'm hoping the comments are working again - I've been switching this blog around too many times trying to figure out what's wrong - hopefully it's all fixed up again.

Everything continues to go well - not much has changed since yesterday, except they are eating more today (I guess I should get used to the pattern....)

They're working hard to bottle/breast feed - we can tell that it's pretty exhausting for them, but they're working at it.  I figure they'll do pretty well with a week of practice!

Anyway, on to some new pictures - thanks Adam for taking some really nice quality photos!


(From left to right: Joshua, Teddy & Emma)



Yeah, it's going to be a little crowded, kids.  Get used to it!
(Teddy, Emma, Joshua)

Sunday, December 20, 2009

No Creative Titles Tonight...

This has been an exciting weekend for our family! Our kids no longer need Level 3 care at Mac, so they were transferred to Level 2 at St. Joe's. St. Joe's is a much different hospital and the whole NICU functions differently. I suppose that is to be expected - different hospital, different level of care, etc., but it still threw us off a little.

It does put a little pressure on us to be a little more "hand's on", which is really good for me - I learn best when I'm put in situations where I have to do it on my own. 3 days in, I'm feeling very comfortable - I've got pretty good bundling, bathing, burping and diapering skills. I anticipate it getting a little more challenging as they grow - at least in some respects - but I'm getting a good handle on things, and Kristin has been very encouraging!

Yesterday, both sets of Grandparents got to finally meet and snuggle the new additions! Everyone was very excited, and it was an emotional time for all of us, I think. Pictures to come! Hopefully some of the Great-Grandparents will be able to visit soon!

Teddy, Joshua and Emma continue to do very well - they had the heat turned off in their isolette's today, and are holding their body temperatures well. If they can maintain good body heat for another day or two, they'll be transferred into little cots - another step closer to coming home!

Another big milestone was the introduction of bottle and breast feeding today! For most parents this happens almost immediately, but because our little one's are so little, we weren't sure they would be able to master the suck/swallow/breathe technique. Our nurses told us that premature babies don't usually get that skill until 34/35 weeks (gestational age). Our trips hit 34 weeks today, and the charge nurse was immediately encouraging us to give it a shot - and wouldn't you know it - our babies went right for it! All 3 took pretty well - we'll see how they manage over the next few days - sometimes there is a little regression because it takes a lot of effort for a 4lb baby to drink all that fluid so many times a day - but so far they're doing wonderfully!

There are only a few more hurdles before we'll be able to bring our family home, and we're sooooo excited! They're still so little - each have gained about 4oz or so above their birth weight (babies tend to lose some weight after birth, and then begin to gain again) - but they are steadily climbing. How blessed we are; God is SO GOOD!

I'll try to update again tomorrow with some new pictures! We're busy getting the nursery ready, so it's back to work!

Thanks for checking in (by the way, is the comment function working again?)

Friday, December 18, 2009

Update!

Hi Everyone,

I was just informed that the comment function was not working! SO SORRY!

... I was wondering where all my comments were ...

Anyway, I've changed the background again - can't find a Christmas template that I can be sure the comments will work on, so I'll use this as a default, for now.

As a quick update - our kids are doing sooooo well! So well, in fact, that they have been moved from Level 3 at Mac, to Level 2 at St. Joe's. We much prefer the surrounding of Mac (and the staff!), but it's nice to know that we don't need that intensive care at this point.

At St. Joe's, we'll have a little more freedom, and we're one step closer to our babies coming home! That'll still be a few weeks, to be sure, but it's encouraging!

More cute pictures to come - it's late, so I'll be brief... (story of my life these days...)

Monday, December 14, 2009

Picture Post!

Here are some pictures for our little babies! As a quick update - Teddy and Emma are doing very well - better than expected. They are increasing how much they eat, are stable without breathing machines and generally pretty peaceful. Joshua still needs a little help breathing - not much - but enough to keep him hooked up... and I don't think he likes it! He barely went over the threshold for jaundice, so he also needed some photo-therapy, which meant he couldn't be bundled up - he had to be exposed to the lights. Overall, he's doing pretty well for 32 weeks, and is making progress.

Kristin is doing well - still very sore - but is moving around. We expect her to come home tomorrow (Monday - wait, it IS Monday, I believe... so ... today).

Here's some pictures - more updates to come!

The first two are Emma...


This is Joshua, "bean". Kristin calls him her Pilot because of his headgear! So, Pilot Bean, I guess... Hopefully he won't need it much longer!



And here's our Teddybear...


...he sleeps like his Daddy...

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Thank You, Thank You, Thank You!

Thanks everyone for the comments, phone calls, visits, flowers, prayers and well-wishes! We are soooo thrilled! I'm testing out a new background for the blog, and it works well on one computer, and not well at all on another... how does it look?

I'll keep toying with it when I have a second....

It's a little after 1am Sunday morning - more pictures will be posted ASAP. I had to go through them tonight to properly label them (if I don't, I'll forget which baby is in the picture!) They are already becoming a little more distinct, but at delivery, it was hard to tell! Good thing they had different wool hats!

Kristin is doing very well - still very sore - but she has been slowly walking... starting to feel a little better. I'm sure she will feel better every day.

She has been able to hold all of the babies, much to her delight! I have held Teddy and Emma, but Joshua was a little too tired to be passed on after Mommy, so back to the toaster he went... our little Bean, he's needing some photo-therapy at the moment (for jaundice...). Joshua is still on CPAP (breathing machine), so keep praying! Teddy and Emma have done very well and have not needed CPAP or photo-therapy. All of them are increasing their food intake, which is very positive.

Thanks again for your comments and especially your prayers. God is good, and we are so blessed! Our hearts could not be fuller!

We hope that Kristin will be home mid-week, so keep her in your prayers as well, for a speedy recovery.

Pictures tomorrow - I promise!

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Happy Birthday, Babies!

Kristin and I are sooooo thrilled to announce the safe arrival of our children!

We are completely overwhelmed with joy - God has been so good to us!

Without further ado...

Edward (Teddy) John arrived first at 9:37am, weighing 4lbs, 0.5oz.
He was quickly followed by Joshua Paul at 9:38am, weighing 3lbs, 6oz.
Last, but not least, my little princess, Emma Caroline at 9:39am, weighing 3lbs, 12oz.

This post will be brief - I'm home just long enough to put up our announcement with some pictures, and have a quick bite to eat before getting back to Kristin (who is napping at the moment) and our kids in the NICU.

All the babies were able to breathe on their own, and each let out some small cries (of joy!), which absolutely overwhelmed us! We fell in love with these babies the instant we saw them! They have since been put on machines that help their breathing - it takes a lot of energy for these little ones to breathe, and the machines will help ease that strain. They're also hooked up to IV's and other monitors - they're about 8 weeks early, so they need a little extra help, but they are in good shape!

Mommy is doing well - she's very tired and anxious to get to the nursery to visit with her little ones. I hope to get her over there tonight, if she's feeling well enough to make the short trip.

Before I post some pictures, please continue to pray for our little babies, and that the new Mom will recover quickly and without complications.

We praise God for a safe operation and for the blessings that He's given us! God answers prayer, people!

More updates soon, keep checking in!

Welcome Teddy!

Welcome Joshua!

Welcome Emma!

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

The Time Has Come

In less than 24 hours, Kristin and I will welcome 3 new humans into the world. How's that for a sobering thought?

My thoughts about tomorrow - how everything will happen - how our lives will change forever - how we will be responsible for 3 new children - come in waves. There have been a few times where a wave of emotion will wash over me - not at controlled, predictable times, but out of the blue - while driving, while listening to music, while working.

Two and a half years. For two and a half years Kristin and I prayed that God would see us fit to parent a child. For two and a half years, we dreamed that we would be able to hold a newborn baby; that we would be able to have the joy of wet kisses, warm snuggles and little laughs. We dreamed of reading bedtime stories, bandaging scrapes and bruises and watching a little tummy go up and down while sleeping snugly in a crib.

Almost 3 years later, God has heard our prayers, and has answered. Tomorrow we will get to meet God's answer to our prayers, and not just one child; He's deemed us fit to parent 3, all at the same time. What an amazing God we serve! What an honor, a joy and a privilege we have been given.

Today my heart is full. I'm sure tomorrow's feelings will exceed today's, but today my heart is full of joy and thanksgiving. We are so blessed.

Over the last few months, you have joined us on our journey to parenthood, tomorrow the journey of parenthood begins. We can't tell you how much we appreciate your prayers and support - it has meant so much to us - and it would have been a very different journey without you. Thanks.

Kristin and I hope you'll continue to journey with us! We will appreciate your prayers tomorrow morning at 8am. Please pray that these new lives arrive safely, that God will grant our team of doctors wisdom and steady hands. Pray that God will soothe our nerves, and watch over Kristin as she endures this operation. Please pray that God will continue to hold Kristin's heart in His hand, and that He will see our family through this operation and recovery safely.

I will post again as soon as I can! Please be patient as we try to update everyone as quickly as we can! If possible, I'll update the blog from my phone at the hospital, pictures will follow as soon as I can get them uploaded to the computer at home. Stay Tuned!

Saturday, December 5, 2009

The Rumors are True!

Our babies are coming on Thursday!!! That's right, THIS Thursday! Yeah... pretty crazy!

This post is going to be pretty short, because it's almost 1am, and I'm tired from getting slaughtered in hockey tonight (I have a sweet bruise on the back of my leg from a slap shot, and a bruised elbow from... well... hockey).

The "man's version" (as Kristin calls it), is that everything is alright, but the babies are getting bigger, and Kristin is running out of room. They're growing a little slower than they should, but the doc is happy with how much they weigh, and 2 of them were seen "practice breathing" on Thursday, which is a good sign!

So, at 8am on Thursday, they'll make their entrance into this world, a little earlier than planned, but Mom and Dad are sooooo excited!!!! As are the Grandparents, Aunts and Uncles, and...

Try to keep this post brief Paul, seriously, everyone's sleeping but you....

Please be in prayer for us, especially on Thursday that everything goes well with the C-Section, Kristin's heart, and that the babies all enter our world healthy and happy (well, I'm sure they'll cry, but it'll be an "awesome! I'm out of the womb and into the real world!" kind of cry... probably followed by a "whoa, it's cold out here" wail... )

I have a lot of things to write about this coming week, and will try to put something together over the next few days, in between hospital visits, work and pets...

AND - By the end of next week, you'll be able to see the VERY FIRST PICTURES of our BABIES! How exciting!!! This has been quite a journey to parenthood - now the real journey begins!

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Just A Quick Picture Post


This picture is courtesy of Sarah! Thanks for snapping a good one!

More updates to come soon - ultrasound is happening this afternoon...

Kristin is growing rapidly! We've been measuring, and her belly grew 1 inch in 3 days! Yikes!

Stay Tuned...

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

I Tried To Smuggle Her Out...

... but she was too big to fit in the car...

52 Inches! ...and only getting bigger! Not really enough room in my little Sentra for her... oh well, heh heh.

Inquiring minds wanted to know... and now you know!

We're getting very excited, only 3 more weeks to go!



In other news, we discovered that Kristin has some sort of ... ... ... disease... disease seems like a scary word, but this isn't too worrisome. We discovered that the itchiness Kristin has experienced isn't just the dry air in the hospital, but what is known as Cholestasis. (<--- click the word for wikipedia)

They'll put her on some meds to help ease the crazy itchiness, which can be so intense, that she'll actually wake up in the middle of the night with the urge to itch!

We'll keep you posted as the week rolls along!

(OH! AND - important news coming - the Lions play the Packers tomorrow afternoon at 12:30 - a weird time for NFL, but it's American Turkey Day ... it's a long shot for my Lions, but here's hoping the Packers are sleepy after a big turkey lunch!)

Sunday, November 22, 2009

What A Day!

The LIONS WIN! Oh yes, you heard correctly! The 1-8 Detroit Lions beat the 1-8 Cleveland Browns, making it 2-8!

Matt Stafford, our rookie QB threw 5 touchdowns, the last one with 0:00 time left on the clock, and with an injury! The field goal put them 1 point over the top.

My brother, who graciously cooked me wings, even after I invited myself over, enjoyed the game - I know he pretends to be an Eagles fan (and his act is quite convincing at times), but today I realized that he's probably just a closet Lions fan, scared to show his true colors because of our 5 year record...

Calvin Johnson (WR) dunks the football through the arches after one of our 5 (count 'em, FIVE) touchdown's today!

Okay, on to more important things...

It's pretty shameful that it's been so long since my last post. I suppose it's a testament to how busy my life has been - running back and forth from the hospital - trying to put in a full week at work, and tending to everything else that life throws at me. If any one is still reading this, I applaud you. heh.

We are 30 weeks at this point, and these babies are getting ready to make their entrance to the world, and into the arms of new parents. Only 25 days to go!

We did get some news this week though, both good and ... not so good. The good news is that Kristin's heart is doing well - not growing bigger at this point, so that has been very encouraging. The not-so-good is that Baby C is not growing as quickly as the other two. At this point they've run some tests and it's not tooooo concerning, but they will keep an eye on it. It seems that the blood flow to Baby C is a little hindered, but his growth is still even - just slower. Sometimes when this happens, the baby's head grows bigger, and the body doesn't, because the nutrients go to the brain, and there's not enough left to fatten up the body. This isn't the case with our little one, but they want to keep an eye on things.

Over the next week they'll do a few more tests to monitor the blood flow from the placenta - there's nothing else they can really do to improve the blood flow. They measure growth every two weeks, so unless something more concerning comes up during the tests, they'll re-evaluate the situation next week (the week of the 30th). The only other option is to take the babies out earlier and feed them outside of the womb, but for the most part they want to keep them in as long as possible. So... I hope that's a clear picture of what's going on (It's clear in my head, I'm just not sure if I have described it adequately).

So we ask that you continue to hold us in your prayers, especially little Baby C. God has blessed us in so many ways, and we have had a lot of help, visitors, meals and support, and that has really kept us afloat; physically and emotionally.

I will try to post more often, with more pictures, because I know I haven't posted enough pictures!

For now, I'm off to the hospital... I'll post again shortly! Thanks for continuing to check in and journey with us!

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

8 Years

It's hard to believe that it's been 8 years since my father passed away. Time flies. 8 years since that cloudy, cold afternoon that we stood by his graveside, silently, with tears in our eyes, and sadness in our souls.

My brother, sister and I made our annual trip to Park Lawn, in the big city, a trip we try to take every year. It hasn't always worked out, but I'm glad it did this year. It's pretty special to have the 3 of us there to reminisce and spend a quiet moment together.

Last year was different. After 7 years, I didn't feel the tears come easily. I silently berated myself; how could I not feel the same intense emotion I have in other years? I wanted to cry - I felt that I would be betraying my Dad's memory if I didn't - that somehow he would be less significant if I didn't feel the pain so intensely.

In the days that followed, I realized that God has, in many ways, healed my heart. It's not that I don't remember - it's not that I don't feel the pain - it's just that I've realized that ... it is what it is. It happened for a reason, and God designed it to be this way. And I'm okay with that.

It was dark this year; we didn't get there terribly late, but the sun had set, and the cemetery was dark and eerie. My sister took this picture; it seems to reflect how eerie the deserted cemetery was.

Sorry for the quality - we had a flashlight and a cell phone camera! It you can't make it out, it reads:

STIMERS
In loving memory of
a beloved husband
and father
ALLAN EDWARD, TED
Dec 24, 1953 - Nov 10, 2001
You will fill me with joy
in your presence, with eternal
pleasures at your right hand.
Ps. 16:11

This week, Kristin and I were blessed with a visit from my Grandparents, and when they left, my Grandpa gave us a business card, as he often does.

On the back of that card is a prescription; he had written a verse from my Dad's favorite Psalm - 16. His Rx read: "Lord, you have assigned me my portion and my cup; you have made my lot secure."

What an encouragement!

The last verse my Dad ever shared with me was verse 8, and I had the reference tattooed on my left shoulder: "I have set the Lord always before me. Because he is at my right hand, I will not be shaken."

The Psalmist continues, "Therefore my heart is glad and my tongue rejoices; my body also will rest secure, because you will not abandon me to the grave, nor will you let you Holy One see decay. You have made known to me the path of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence, with eternal pleasures at your right hand."

Tonight the tears come easily. Tonight my eyes are filled with tears - I am incredibly sad that my children won't get to meet their Grandpa Stimers in their life. I feel pain because my Dad won't get to hold his grandkids. He would have been an amazing Grandpa, and would be so proud to hold his grandbabies.

But he hasn't been abandoned. Jesus has not left him alone in death - he has not abandoned my Dad to the grave, and in that, I take much comfort!

And, through my pain and tears, I can rejoice - I can rejoice because I know my Dad is enjoying the eternal pleasures that are promised in the Bible. I pray that I will raise my kids to know Jesus - to know and walk with Jesus in a profound way, that they may enjoy the amazing gift that awaits them. I pray that I can, and will, raise my kids to follow Jesus - even when it's hard - even though it's not popular or easy - I pray that they will follow the legacy that my Grandfather left me, the legacy that my father carried, and the legacy that I intend to leave for my kids.

Milestones are hard. Graduating college was hard. Getting engaged, and marrying the most amazing woman in the world was hard - knowing she won't get to meet my Dad until Heaven. And having my Dad's first Grandkids... is hard.

I miss you Dad.

Thank you all for sharing this with me; thanks for letting me share this with you, because it's important to me. For those of you who knew my Dad, who shared time with him, prayed with and for him, and supported him in ministry, thank you. Thank you for supporting, praying for us kids as we went through a difficult time of mourning, and thank you for those of you who don't let my memories fade.

His hair was going to fall out, so he asked me to shave it off. I took great pleasure in doing so!

Monday, November 9, 2009

Parking Wars... oh, and an Update too...

I try to be pretty laid back. I'm not sure if I always (or even sometimes) achieve that status, but I do try. When it comes to on-street parking, however, I get all rattled.

Our neighborhood consists of elderly folk who have been here for 40+ years, some families, and an assortment of those middle-years-empty-nesters. There aren't a lot of renters on our block, but there have been a few more recently. Too be honest, I'm not a big fan of renters. I find that they, as people go, are usually quite nice and amiable, but many (in our neighborhood) don't take care of their property, and seem to have little regard for others on the block.

I know I'm stereotyping, but this is my experience with the two houses that are within spitting distance (not that I would spit at them, mind you...)

My big beef isn't un-mowed lawns or recycling bins that are left on the driveway 5 days a week, my beef is parking.

Our street is small, not a boulevard or main thoroughfare, just a quiet residential street. That's why it bugs me when my renting neighbors park illegally, and tonight, he really turned a screw.

The guy that rents the basement across from us has 2 vehicles - a mid-sized sedan, and a pick-up truck, but no parking in the driveway at his home. The other people that live in the home have cars as well - 3 more. They have a garage (which has never housed a car) and room for one car in the driveway. That means that 4 cars end up on the street, two of which end up at my house, rarely leaving a spot for our guests.

Last week, our neighbor parked his pick up on the street - attached to the hitch was a 12 foot trailer filled with chain link fencing. Annoying, because it takes up so much room on the street, but not the problem. The problem wasn't even that he was parked facing the wrong direction - it was that he was parking in the intersection! So... I called the municipal parking enforcement, and 30 minutes later he was ticketed.

I hoped that this would help solve the problem - that he would quickly learn to park legally on our street. It didn't work.

I arrived home tonight, from visiting my wonderful wife, just before 10pm. I feigned surprise when I came across the illegally parked pick up... again. He was loaded up again with his 12 foot trailer, this time with a bobcat on top. This time he decided to park right in front of our fire hydrant! But that's not all - he collected several construction pylons (the 4 foot tall ones) and put them all around the fire hydrant, effectively (or ineffectively) hiding it.

What a guy.

So, I called in, again. I guess I'm not so good at being laid back.

Kristin and I already endured a flooded basement this summer; we really don't need to have our entire house burn down because someone parked in front of the hydrant. Sigh

Ah, here's my parking enforcement buddy now - I love the look of his white SUV!

See you next week, my friend....

----

On to more important matters! Kristin is doing quite well - fighting off the boredom as best she can. The many visitors that she has enjoyed make the days pass quickly, and she very much appreciates them! Only 38 days to go! Kristin is feeling ... enormous... and gets tired of lugging that big bowling ball around, but we're in the home stretch! The end, er... beginning, is near!

We have much appreciated the steady stream of meals and snacks - Kristin especially enjoys some of the goodies that give her a break from the salty hospital food! They have made my life easier as well, cutting down on food preparation time so I can get to the hospital, so THANK YOU!

We'll have more updates this week as we have cardiology appointments and ultrasounds, so check back often, and I'll do my best to keep things updated. We've learned that they believe the babies to weigh well over 2lbs each, and we're very excited about that!! Way to go, babies! The heart beats have been steady and normal; baby "c" has had some irregularity that comes and goes - the don't believe it to be anything serious - most likely just an immature electrical system that will correct itself. More on that later!

Thanks for checking in! Please continue to hold all 5 of us in your prayers - we appreciate it very much and we are constantly aware of God's goodness and provision towards us!

Oh - more pictures coming soon!

Saturday, October 31, 2009

47 Days to Go!

Well, tonight marks the end of October, and that means that there are only 47 days to go! These babies are coming quick!

Today Kristin was moved to a window bed - a huge difference! Now she can enjoy the sunlight, a bit of a view and extra visiting space! It also means that her extension has changed - if you had her previous extension, please try to avoid using it, otherwise you'll disturb her new roomie! Please contact me if you'd like her new number (email, home phone or cell)!

Also, due to the concerns about H1N1, they are cracking down on visitors. This means that as of yesterday (October 30), no children under 16 will be allowed to visit. They are also enforcing the 2 visitor limit, which they used to be a little more lenient with. Please call ahead so that we can plan who is visiting, so that we don't have people waiting or have to ask people to leave early, etc.

We also ask that people assess their health prior to visiting - the hospital staff are being fairly vigilant about people with cold or flu-like symptoms; so if you are feeling flu-ish or have been around people who have been sick (co-workers, family, children, etc) please wait a few days before visiting so we know everyone is healthy! We're told that people can be contagious for a day or two before they're symptomatic, so please be extra cautious - for our sake, and for the sake of the other high-risk women, new mom's and new babies that are on the ward. Thanks!

To answer a few questions from the last post's comments:

1. Of course there will be more belly shots! See below!
2. Visitors - as noted above! Also, Kristin can have meals/snacks brought to her, and they can be stored in a fridge and microwaved. Please speak with us before bringing food to make sure we have somewhere to store it!
3. Gus is okay for now - I'm giving him as much attention as I can.... I'll get in touch if I need a play date or some help! Thanks!

Finally, since it's halloween we decided to take some pictures - I had intended to paint Kristin's belly into a giant jack-o-lantern, but the city of hamilton doesn't have enough paint, heh.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

The Dreaded "A" Word...

"...we're going to have to admit you today..." Sigh. We didn't want to hear that a-word...

That was the bottom line at today's appointments; Kristin's cervix continues to shorten, and they would like to monitor her more closely at the hospital. I think Kristin and I would agree that we expected it at some point, but we always hope for the best, trying hard to be optimistic...

Nevertheless, in the hospital she goes, on strict bed rest - she can walk to the washroom and shower, that's it. Poor woman is going to go stir crazy with all that boredom!

We would also agree that it's comforting to have such a thorough medical system so close to home - we're fortunate that one of the leading children's hospitals is so close to home. They take good care of us, and we're confident in their judgment and recommendations.

We also got some news about gestational diabetes; Kristin's sugars are high, which happens to most mothers of multiples (or so we were told). They'll modify her diet and consider using insulin if necessary.

So the house is quiet as I type... I can hear the cat pawing at his food and the dog is snoring on the couch beside me. The house won't be quiet for long...

I've chatted with a few people today who asked for things they can pray for, so I'll leave you with a few of our prayers that you can add to your list if you'd like.

First, pray for Kristin and the babies' health - hospitals are good places to be, but it's also where sick people go, and H1N1 is the talk of the town these days. Pray for good health, and pray that those babies keep 'baking' for another 6-7 weeks!

You can also pray for me, if I may humbly ask... I work with lots of kids and families, and the flu is going around in many schools in the area. I've been feeling well until this evening - just within the last hour I've been fighting the urge to cough. I've been taking every precaution I can (and am getting quite paranoid as I do so); I take my temperature at obsessive-compulsive frequency, a bottle of hand sanitizer is never more than 10 feet away, I'm poppin' Vitamin C like nobody's business and even using a Neti Pot (it's a weird idea, but I'm told it's effective... google it if you're so inclined...). I also gargle Listerine several times a day... all these measures to try to keep the germs at bay. I started hockey last week (which is a story unto itself), so I'm hoping my urge to cough has more to do with all the exercise at the rink (breathing in all that cold air) than the swine flu.. time will tell, but so far no fever or other symptoms... pray please!

Pray that Kristin's doesn't lose her marbles in the hospital; while it's a good place to be medically, it's also a boring place to be. Her new roommate has been very amiable today and is helping by sharing magazines and letting Kristin know what the routines are, where to get juice, and so on. It can also be a noisy place because, after all, it is a maternity ward; we're told it can be hard to get good sleep because of crying babies...

One more (I'm alternating here, if you've noticed the pattern...), pray for stamina - I need to balance time between hospital, work and home - I need to be with Kristin, but have to earn my paycheck and save my vacation and sick time for when the babies' are born; we also have pets that need attending, and keeping poor Gus caged up all day and all evening is hard... pray that I can find a good balance and that I can get good sleep and eat well (which is increasingly hard to do when there are so many places to be...)

Thank you, thank you, thank you for all your support, prayers, phone calls, and encouragements. You have all been so helpful and supportive, and this experience would be soooo much more difficult if it weren't for friends and family.... we can't express how truly blessed we are.

We enjoy the comments, so please keep 'em coming! Goodnight....

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

25.5 Weeks!

I apologize for the lack of updates recently - I know - you've been on the edge of your seat waiting for another post....

...but you know what they say, no news is good news right?

Things are rolling along quite well over here at the Stimers' residence! We were at the hospital this morning, and aside from Kristin's cervix opening, everything is moving along quite well! Good thing they put that stitch in....

We were advised to pack a bag though, if anything "dramatic" happens, they'll admit her. I don't think this includes the interpretive dancing that our babies seem to be doing during ultrasounds and heart monitoring. Their kicks are getting stronger though, and it's pretty exciting!

And now, since I have no further exciting news or stories to share, I'll put up a few recent pictures so you can track the baby belly as it expands. I must say, though, it's harder to notice in pictures (I think), but in person, it's pretty surreal. Kristin's a beautiful pregnant woman though, if I do say so myself, and has a wonderful glow about her.

See? What did I tell you about that glow, eh? Kristin's made a comment that I don't know what it's like to walk around with a huge, rapidly expanding belly, so I did my best to recreate it. She's right, that stuff ain't easy!

Alright, so the pumpkin didn't quite compare, but it gave Kristin a good laugh, so it did the trick. I'm just trying to be a good husband and empathize...

Getting bigger every week!

Until next time....

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Not One But TWO Pink Lines

Ever wonder to yourself "What is it like being pregnant with triplets?"(men...don't feel like you have to answer that question). I never once had that thought cross my mind. Seriously. When Paul and I decided that we would start trying to have children in 2007, my mind and heart was only thinking about having ONE baby...at a time. My outlook on having multiples (twins) was that the Lord was robbing me of the experience of being pregnant more than once. Throughout our journey, my once stone cold heart towards multiples slowly turned to mush and was more accepting of the idea of multiples (twins). But why...

I thought I would write a few entries about our exciting journey from the women's perspective (That being me - Kristin).

Looking back I thought I had my whole life planned out (well only up until I had children). I would pray daily that I would get married at the age of 22 and have my first baby at the age of 25 (I wanted to be a young mom and have all my children by the time I was 30). I thought my plan was going well when I married the man of my dreams and prayers in 2005. On a side note, I have to say the Lord definitely knows how to choose them when you let Him. I couldn't have choosen a greater husband and best friend!

My plan was moving right along schedule. Paul came home from work one day, after one of his co-workers came in with her new baby boy, he said "I think I'm ready to be a daddy". Perfect, if we started trying now I was certain we would have our first child by the time I was 25. We had planned a lovely vacation in Cuba at an all inclusive resort as kind of our last horrah with just the two of us before we started have children.

At the start of our journey, I never thought that it would be difficult to get pregnant. Always, in the back of my mind, I thought it would be fairly easy. I come from a big family with lots of kids, cousins, grandkids etc and I've always had a longing deep within to have children and to be a Mom. I never heard anyone talk about the difficulties of getting pregnant just how easy it was for them. Part of my daily prayer would be "Lord, I only want children in your timing as your timing is perfect." and "I will praise you regardless of the pregnancy test results".

The first few months resulted in negative pregnancy tests. I was a little discouraged however I continued to praise the Lord and thought, of course it could take a few months...My body needs to adjust. Around this time most of our friends told us that they were trying to get pregnant as well. Wonderful, we would have children around the same time.

As the months passed, one by one ALL of our friends (and I mean ALL of our friends) started telling us that they were pregnant. Everytime one of our friends invited us to come over for dinner or dessert, I knew exactly what they were going to say "We're having a baby". I was devastated and heart broken everytime I heard those words. I would smile and truly be excited for them, but when I got home and was alone behind closed doors (even though Paul could hear me), the tears would come and I remember asking "When is it going to be my turn?".

As the months continued to pass, our friends were having their babies and my at home pregnancy tests continued to show me only ONE solid line (indicating "Not Pregnant"), through tearful praises to the Lord, I slowly realized that it isn't about MY plan for MY life, but the LORD's plan that HE has laid out for ME. That is the plan I want in my life. HIS timing and plans are PERFECT, even if that meant that we would never have children. Don't get me wrong, this was a hard truth that took me a long time to not only accept but to understand which didn't come overnight. I gradually became content in knowing that the Lord blesses some couples with children as well as without children. Both are of equal blessing from above.

Paul and I were enjoying our days together in our quite home with our little dog Gus, times when we could just pick up and leave for the weekend and the times we spent with our friends and their children. Alright who's kidding who...we also enjoyed coming home from those times spent with our friends and their children to a home with no children, just relaxation. Throughout these times (now one year of being infertile) we decided to go through some testing to see why we couldn't get pregnant. Curiosity always gets the better or you! After all the preliminary testing and obgyn visits, the main conclusion was I don't ovulate on a regular basis, therefore making the chance of getting pregnant slim to none. They discussed our options being 1) Lose weight and see where that takes us as sometimes weight gain could impact ovulation or 2) Clomid - for those of you who don't know what Clomid is all about, it is a commonly used fertility drug that helps with ovulation by giving your ovaries a little kick start. I thought to myself "I'm in no rush and content with where we are at, so lets try and lose some weight."

6 months after making that decision (now two years of being infertile) we had another obgyn visit. I had lost 10 pounds...Yipee but I wasn't pregnant which was fine. The next step was Clomid. The obgyn had informed me that by taking clomid it could increase the possibility of having multiples (more so twins than anything else) however because of my situation, the possibilty of multiples was slim. Still I felt it necessary to discuss with Paul the pro's/con's of taking clomid. Those that we spoke to who had taken clomid or knew of people who had taken clomid to help them conceive only had one baby. We felt it was pretty safe and decided to go that route.

The obgyn started me with the smallest dose and after the second month of being on this pill I saw for the first time not one, but TWO pink lines on a pregnancy test. Paul and I were going to have a baby...

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving!

It is absolutely shameful that it's been a week and a half since my last post! How embarrassing.

At any rate, this weekend is our Canadian Thanksgiving, and I couldn't be happier! Kristin and I have so much to be thankful for, and this is just another opportunity to reflect on all the incredible blessings, most of all, our 3 little babies, who are just kicking with excitement this afternoon! (In anticipation of turkey, I would think...)

Our appointments went very well this week - all the heart rates and growth rates are good, Kristin is gaining weight and her heart is doing just fine. After several concerning appointments, it's nice to have shorter visits with good news!! This week well be at the hospital quite a bit - they're going to give Kristin some steroid shots to help the babies' lung development - just in case they come earlier than planned. We'll have to be at the hospital for those shots 4 times in 2 days (every 12 hours on Tuesday/Wednesday) and then back on Friday for ultrasounds and clinics. I have to get my ear checked on Friday as well, so Kristin's not the only one with appointments! They might have to put a new tube in my eardrum on Friday... ugh.

Anyway, back to Thanksgiving! October is my favorite month - not just because my birthday and Kristin's birthday are in this month (as well as Dave & Bryna, Brett, and several other family and friends), but the landscape just turns so beautiful. One of my favorite October activities is a chilly fall camp, which I opted out of this year to be home with Kristin - there was mixed feelings about that decision, I'll honestly admit... but Kristin needs me at home, and Grundy Lake will wait for me until next time...

These pictures are from last year - oh, how I miss my fall camp...

This time of year always reminds me of change - the leaves and temperature changes help me reflect on life's changes and God's goodness to us. This morning at church, we had an opportunity to write something we're thankful for on large pieces on paper around the church. It was quite an experience to see people jump at the opportunity to write on these pieces of paper; I decided to write the first thing that came to mind, I'm thankful that "God Answers Prayer". We had been trying to have children for two and a half years, and God heard our daily prayers, and has answered in such an amazing way! We couldn't be more thankful!

I don't know if it's just the realization that I'm going to be a Daddy in 10 weeks (or less), or I'm just a sappy guy, but I'm overcome by emotion this Thanksgiving. God has been so good to us, and has worked through many of you to bless us in so many ways, and we are so thankful to God, and to you.

We are thankful for the encouraging phone calls, letters, emails and prayers, for the help around the house - vacuuming, doing our dishes, putting up shutters, painting and putting up a border in the kitchen, mowing our lawn, and helping me move larger items around the house (I can always count on you, K - thanks for that...), bringing us frozen and fresh dinners (and pies! Yum!), movies, shows and books to keep Kristin from going crazy, and even walking Gus. There are many more ways that we have been blessed; we are so thankful!

Kristin and I pray that each of you are able to spend time with family and friends this weekend, taking time to reflect and be thankful.

We truly value and appreciate each one of you - and even though we might not be the best at letting you know - you mean the world to us, and this journey to parenthood would be much more difficult... so thank you.

We would be thankful if you signed up as a 'follower', if you haven't already! We know there are many of you who check here often, but haven't signed on - it would be a big encouragement to see a few more people sign on! Feel free to leave a comment with something you're thankful for!

Also, check back this week, as my wonderful wife makes her first attempt at blogging! "A Day in the Life of Kristin" is coming soon!

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Good News and Mixed Messages

Our visit to the cardiologist went very well today, thanks for asking!

Kristin's aorta has grown just a little, but that's to be expected. The doctor expects that it will continue to get a little bigger throughout the pregnancy, but he didn't seem overly concerned.

What?!

Just 7 weeks ago he was instilling horrendous fear into us and talking about "selective reduction" and heart surgery. Now? He seems pretty happy with how things are rolling along.

Not to say that it's not serious - it is serious - and there are many concerns, which he reminded us of (including going through a what-to-do-in-case-of-emergency mini lecture). He also reminded Kristin that she should be relaxing with her feet up, staying in the house as much as possible and having hubby do all the lifting (like I haven't been doing that for 4.5 years...)

So we feel like we've been getting some mixed messages, but we're incredibly thankful that God has answered our prayers - her heart is doing okay and there are no surprises this time!

When the conversation turned to surgery he wouldn't rule out the possibility, but was a little more optimistic this time around. He told us that Kristin would be monitored after the babies are born, and if her aorta doesn't shrink down, they'll prepare her for surgery. If it goes back down, they'll just keep monitoring, he says.

"Unless you're planning to have more kids..."
We laugh. "Hah, I think we're all done..." I say, "three will be plenty!"
He smiles, "Well, you never know... but if you were planning on having more, I'd recommend the surgery, then you'll be okay to have another pregnancy."

Uh-huh. See you in 6 weeks, Doc...

----

Thank you for your encouragement and prayers, as always we appreciate them! Our next appointments are on Friday for our now routine ultrasound and clinic morning.

Oh, more good news today - La-Z-Boy just called... our replacement recliner is ready to be picked up! Yahoo! Now Kristin will be able to recline her days away... and the freezer comes tomorrow afternoon!

More updates in a few days! We're almost done renovating the kitchen and the nursery is almost ready to be photographed and displayed! Stay Tuned!

Friday, September 25, 2009

All Stitched Up!

After many delays and mediocre hospital food, I'm happy to announce that we're home! Finally, real food again. Oh, and comfortable places to relax.

Not that hotel McMaster was all that bad, but... let's just say it's not home. The staff there are top notch though, they were so wonderful to us during our brief stay!

We arrived at the hospital right on time yesterday, 9am, for Kristin's 11am procedure. After going through the pre-op warm-up (read: hospital gown, IV, meds), we waited in our white walled cell until they called our number.

Not that it was the first time Kristin has spent several hours in a white room, except that other one had padding....

Anyway, our 'number' was not called... the procedure was delayed... 4 grueling hours. Good thing I brought lots of books and my laptop to watch movies on! She finally went in around 3pm.

The docs were really pleased with how everything went, and Kristin has had no side effects at all! Amazing! I'll spare you the gory details of the surgery (not that I was there... they didn't have an extra pair of scrubs.. oh well), but once the freezing wore off, Kristin was pain free and ready to eat! She wasn't allowed to eat the night before, or the morning of, so the babies were hungry!

It was an uncomfortable sleep at the hospital for Kristin, so she's even more happy to be home!

Babies' heart beats are all strong and there are no signs of infection or pre-term labor, so we were all set to come home!

Thank you all for your prayers, phone calls, visits and emails - we continue to appreciate them!

----

On another note, we have been going back and forth with our insurance adjuster since our basement sewer back up in July. We've been waiting a long time; there have been almost 7,000 claims in our area of Hamilton, so everyone is really busy. We were given a little bit of money to get a washer/dryer, new furnace and some plastic storage bins, but were told we'd have to wait to replace anything else.

We've been without a lot of our 'stuff', but we're trying to be patient, recognizing that our insurance company is extremely busy trying to place value on everyone's contents and restoration costs.

He told me a few weeks ago that he wouldn't be issuing us any other advances - he would have a look at our content list, assess value and then we'd discuss replacement options. We've been patient, but this week I contacted him about a few items - our La-Z-Boy recliner and our deep freezer. To my amazement, he said I could get some quotes and we'd work it out! Hooray!

The "work it out" part is a whole other story, but as of last night he's approved the items and is mailing a cheque! Finally, we'll have a recliner that will be much more comfortable for Kristin, and a deep freezer to ... well... put food in. Obviously we're really looking forward to that though - our little freezer above our fridge fills up fast! We should have both of them on Thursday!!

So we're very thankful this week - we've seen God answer several prayers - and feel blessed to be back at home. Our next appointment is not far though - cardiology on Wednesday to check on Kristin's heart, and Ultrasounds and Clinics on Friday. Continue to pray with us!

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Elevators and "I Felt it!"

A small crowd had gathered around the elevators in the yellow section. There's a distinct odor about the hospital; having spent a lot of time at Mac, I'd recognize it in an instant. I'm hungry, it's about 10:30am and we've been up for several hours.

Just a quick trip to the car in the parking garage, then I'll meet Kristin at the cafe for a bite.

I evaluate my potential elevator companions. Who looks like they're waiting for the 'down' elevator....

Hospitals have a weird effect on me. If I'm just walking around, I'm always wondering about the people around me. It's not hard to discern who works at the hospital, who's visiting and who's a patient; at least, it's not hard for me.

I look over my left shoulder. Two beefy looking guards from the local jail sandwich a smaller guy in an orange jumpsuit. His hands are in front of his chest; a padlock between his wrists. Weird.

It's not weird to see someone from jail at the hospital; I've seen that several times. Weird because he's keeping his hands up by his chest, instead of letting them fall in front of his waist. I wonder if he's been instructed to keep 'em up, or if he's just ... weird.

I try not to stare - people in orange jumpsuits tend to not like that very much.

I look back at the elevators. The white arrow finally lights up and the doors open. Turns out, more people are waiting to go up, so I enter with two other people. Just before the doors close, the guards and my orangejumpsuit friend walk on.

I'm not the least bit scared or intimidated. Orangejumpsuit isn't a big guy - significantly smaller than I am. He does look significantly crazier though. Seriously. Unkempt shoulder length black hair, thin face... he looks wily. Probably been in more than a few scraps behind bars.

I wonder what he's in for. Why he's locked up, why he's in the hospital...

It's a quiet ride downstairs. No one says a word. No one looks at each other.

Orangejumpsuit and his entourage step off at the first floor. The rest of us are going to the garage. As the doors close, I sense the female rider let out a deep breath. She looks relieved. She turns to me, "I thought that only happened in the movies...", she lets out a nervous laugh. I'm not sure how to respond, I laugh and make a comment about how it happens all the time. The doors open before I can say anything else, and we make our way into the garage.

Hospitals are weird places - you never know who you're going to see...

----

Anyway, Kristin is scheduled to have a stitch put in tomorrow. Her cervix is 'dynamic', which means it opens and closes. They don't want to risk it opening further (which would bring on early labor), so they're going to put a stitch in. It's a common procedure, but with any procedure there are risks. So, we ask again for prayer, that everything will go as planned and that her visit will be short. They will keep her in at least 24 hours, hopefully not much longer than that.

----

Last night I felt the babies for the first time! WooHoo! Kristin has been feeling them move with some regularity now, but last night was the first time I was able to feel them! What an exciting experience that is... it makes everything even more real....

Here are the picture from Friday's ultrasound. Thanks to DS for letting me scan them during Monday Night Football and for feeding me snacks!


Okay, so I have no idea why 2 of the ultrasounds turned sideways. When I pull them up on my computer they are fine, and I've tried re-sizing and re-saving no to avail. I guess you'll just have to tilt your head. Or your monitor... whichever...

I'll update when I can - I expect to be at the hospital for the next few days, but I'll try to leave a short late-night update tomorrow about the procedure.

Thanks for your prayers and encouragement!

Friday, September 18, 2009

Never A Dull Moment

If I thought our life's adventure was becoming stale and ho-hum, I can thank God for keeping things interesting!

We had two surprises today at Mac... we're having TRIPLETS! Whoa!

...okay, we already knew that, but it still seems surprising. Ultrasounds have a way of doing that to a guy.

Seriously though, there are two things that we discovered... the first is that 'Baby C' had a bright spot in his small baby bowel. It could be nothing, and is often discovered to be just that, nothing. It could also be a few other things, an infection or a sign of more serious things (Ie. cystic fibrosis, or other things...) The docs decided that we should do some blood work to try to rule some things out - just to be sure. The chances of the 'brightness' being something serious is small, but there's always a chance....

The other thing we discovered is that Kristin's cervix has started opening at the top, which isn't a great thing at (almost) 21 weeks. We're back to the hospital on Tuesday for another check - if it's opening, they'll admit her for a short procedure to stitch the cervix shut, so that it remains long. The risk of it opening - if you must know - is that it would bring on labor much much too early. There's nothing Kristin could have done to prevent it, it just happens.

So there you have it. There we have it. Neither of these things has us too nervous, it's just part of the process. It does give us a few more things to add to our list of prayers though! If Kristin needs to have the procedure done next week, she'll be in for a day or two, but then should be back home.

She has been given her ticket out of work though - a little earlier than we expected, but ... to be honest ... I'm a little relieved. I like the idea of her being able to take it easy and be home, instead of driving to Oakville and working 2 or 3 days a week.

That being said - if you have any tv series' on DVD that you'd like to lend her, a few girly movies that she might not already have, or a good book - you might want to email or call! I'm sure she'll be looking for ways to fill her couch time!

We're in good spirits and feel buoyed by your prayers, emails and phone calls! Kristin is looking beautiful at (almost) 21 weeks, and here's proof!That's all for now... we did get more ultrasound pictures to share, but they'll have to wait until I can get to my brother's to scan them onto the computer. I'll see what I can do!

Dave, maybe a little Sunday Afternoon Football/Picture Scanning? The Lions play at 1:00....

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Just a Little Flutter....

Exciting news!

Yesterday (September 16) Kristin felt the babies for the first time! WooHoo! How exciting to finally feel them move! I'm sure she'll be telling them to stop kicking her in the ribs pretty soon, but for now, it's pretty cool that she felt one move!

Having been absent minded this morning, I forgot to upload the picture I took of her baby belly, so I'll have to post that another time. For now, we again ask for your prayers as we head to Mac again tomorrow morning for ultrasounds and meetings. Kristin's getting a little more uncomfortable these days, especially when trying to sleep; you can pray that she finds some comfortable solutions/positions, so that she can get good rest at night!

This is short today, but we'll have more updates and pictures this weekend! Thanks for your prayers, comments and support!

Monday, September 14, 2009

Defensive Strategies When Outnumbered

This past week marked the beginning of an exciting new season.

No, not your favorite fall tv programming.

No, not the cool air and orange leaves of fall.

I'm talking about Thursday's 2009/2010 NFL Kick-Off!

Sooooo exciting! For me, that is, not so much for Kristin. I've contemplated making her watch copious amounts of the sport - you know, so my babies can get a feel for the game in utero, but so far she's managed to avoid week 1 (as did my Detroit Lions, I think the defensive line forgot to show up... more on that later).

I had the privilege of joining my brother and friend AJ to watch the first game of the season on Thursday night, surrounded by spicy barbecued chicken wings, salty chips and dip, and sugary sweets for dessert. Seriously, you guys missed out!

As we watched the game, we discussed strategy. We commented on plays, missed opportunities, turnovers, penalties and formations. It occurred to me that my playbook as a parent will have to be much different than most.

There are a number of defensive strategies that a team can employ during a game. I'll try to make it easy here, for those of you who aren't football - or sports - fanatics. (I'm referring to you, Mom - but take comfort, I'm sure you're not alone!).

For most parents, you'd start off with double coverage. A team would use double coverage when they feel a little threatened by a player - like Calvin Johnson who failed to score this weekend.

Ahem, anyway....

The parent team has good odds of handling most situations with (relative) ease due to the 2-1 ratio. At times, for parents of one child, double coverage is unnecessary, and the team can safely implement man-to-man defense. Just as it sounds, Mom, this is 1 on 1. The parent, being bigger, and usually wiser, can do just fine managing situations - unless you're a first time Dad trying to change a diaper.

It occurred to me during that game, that Kristin and I will have to employ another type of defense, right out of the gate. Zone.

Zone defense is a little more complicated - man-to-man isn't an option - so we'll have a totally different formation. It's going to take a lot of focus and determination. Zone defense can be hazardous - one man can be left open for the long pass if the defense is caught unaware.

On the bright side, Kristin and I won't be used to playing man-to-man, so it might not feel as reckless.

This weekend, in the season opener, the Detroit Lions defense forgot to play and were embarrassed by the Saints QB Drew Brees (much to my brother's delight). The lions are 0-1 early in the season (but there's still hope!)


Kristin and I better get to work on our playbook...
Go Lions! ...er, Stimers!

Thursday, September 10, 2009

19 Week Ultrasounds!

At last! They are scanned and ready to be shared! We apologize for the delay....

Mom and babies continue to do well - moving a little slower, but doing well! Babies are growing normally and all the 'structures' (ie. bones, organs, etc) look good, so we're very happy!

The first picture is of all three babies - it's a little hard to make out (they're getting to big to fit on one scan!), but you can see them! Baby B's head didn't make the photo though (sorry baby b!)




Sunday, September 6, 2009

A little late....

...but better than never hunh?

I apologize for not updating sooner, but it's been quite a weekend!

Kristin and I want to thank all of you for your notes, phone calls and prayers; our appointments on Friday went very well! All 3 babies are growing at the same rate and all the anatomy looks fine!! There were a few things they would have liked to check more thoroughly, but one of the babies was content just doing somersaults and back flips. They'll check the few items they didn't get to next time.

Our meeting with the doctors was (thankfully) brief. They're happy with how things are progressing, so they didn't keep us long. We spent about 4 hours or so at the hospital - not bad! Since I wasn't allowed in the ultrasound room until the end, I spent the morning sipping coffee and watching a movie on my laptop; Kristin tried to have a little rest, but found it a little hard with all the poking and pressing. What a trooper.

Anyway, I'll have more to post soon: ultrasound pictures and pictures of the bigbabybelly coming soon (have to get the ultrasounds scanned on Tuesday), so stay tuned.

We hope everyone is enjoying their long weekends! Thank you again for your comments on the blog, your prayers and well-wishes, they mean so much to us!

More to come soon!

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Ooooh, it's been almost a week!

Oh, how time flies!

You're probably thinking, "Gee, Paul hasn't been writing about bees or other adventures this week - they must be laying low and taking it easy!"

Not so.

Well, it's partially true; Kristin is taking it easy. I, on the other hand, have been working hard with my father-in-law on a kitchen renovation. It's complete chaos around the Stimers Sty, but it's only temporary.

Or so I tell myself.

When we moved into our home in Hamilton about 4+ years ago, the kitchen was green and the tile black and white. The stove, light fixtures, dishwasher (which has never worked properly) and fans all black and white. It was very... ... well... 80's.

Not that there was anything wrong with the '80's... there were a number of excellent cop shows and cheesy sitcoms to make up for the trends in home decor...

Anyway, this weekend we successfully installed a new counter top, cut a hole in it - inserted the sink, and began working on the walls - preparing them for new tile. We hope to have some pictures to post at a later date!

This weekend we hope to finish up with the walls, trim a window and prepare for our painter to come (thanks Mom!)

You'll be happy to hear that Kristin is well - taking it easy and eating peaches (and delicious peach pie!) from the Winona Peach Festival - YUM!

On Friday we will be having a marathon ultrasound - the tech's will be slowly checking each baby's anatomy. We appreciate your continued prayers, as you join us in praying for our babies' health and growth! We hope to have more ultrasound pictures to share with you next week - babies are growing so fast, and we're so excited!

We ask that you pray for Kristin, as she endures over 3 hours of poking and prodding with the ultrasound machine, and for the tech's that have the challenging task of analyzing ultrasound pictures. They tend to get nauseous, or so I'm told.

I'll be patiently waiting in the boring white-walled room outside, as I'm not allowed in for most of the time (it's a small room - no room for a chair for me!) I get to join them for the last few minutes to check on our babies and watch them wave at me!

If you're in the area, feel free to bring me a coffee - just look for the sleepy, bored guy. I take cream ;)

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

I Really Didn't Think It'd Bee a Problem - Part 6

The Finale...

I return home the following day. The furnace will be repaired today - finally we'll be able to turn on the air conditioning and get a little reprieve from the heat. Our house was over 30 degrees, making it very uncomfortable for pregnant women... and hunters.

As I pull into the driveway, I wonder about our wasp situation. I'll have to to decide whether or not to hire someone to fix this mess soon, before things get really out of hand.

I quickly get out of the car - it has no air conditioning either, and it's 10:30am and hot. The street is busy and I take a minute to look up the street. Work crews have been fixing water mains all summer. Or so they say. I can't say that I've ever seen a water main being installed; just a lot of trucks, heavy machinery churning up pavement and sweaty tanned men in reflective clothing. And no, ladies, not the kind of sweaty, tanned men you'd like to find on the beach.

Anyway, I watch these guys pretend to earn a paycheck for a minute before turning my attention to the vinyl window. No activity. No wasps circling. My heart starts to beat faster. Could they be gone?

I unlock the door and immediately head downstairs. There are a few wasps, but not many. I had cleaned up most of the bees before I left the day before, but there are 30 more on the window sill. The poison must have kept working after I left, killing whatever wasps went towards the window. Excellent... I think to myself.

I listen carefully to the wall. The buzzing has gone. No wasps! I practically jump for joy.

I call Kristin at work, eager to share my victory. No need for professionals, I say, I am the only professional wasp killer you need! She's proud, her hubby has won the war.

I caulk every hole I can see outside, attempting to prevent any more nests. I smile to myself, excited to have this adventure drawn to it's end.

I decide to take a few minutes to educate myself about wasps and bees, information I should have acquired long ago, but I reason that it's never too late for information... most of the time...

Wasp nests tend to disintegrate after inactivity, I read, so I became less concerned about the clean up and removal of the nests. I'm still intrigued about the size of it though...

I estimate, conservatively, that Kristin and I killed several hundred wasps. I estimate that many more died inside the walls when I sprayed the nest. It must have been big. But how big?

Maybe it's just a "guy thing", but I have to know.

I head back downstairs, weaponlight in hand. I need to find something to pull out the nest. I decide to try some pliers.

With my light carefully trained on the nest, I gently attempt to pull out the nest. It's extremely fragile and it tears into pieces easily. This isn't going to work. I decide to use a piece of a cedar shim, for lack of a better tool.

I begin to bring out pieces of the nest. The hole isn't big, and the nest is, so it's hard to bring out big pieces intact. The nest is squishy, like trying to pull out a foam sponge.

I carefully watch for any more wasps that might have been hiding deep in the nest, unaffected by the spray. Pieces of the hive fall out as I toy with it using the wood. After 10 minutes, I've pulled out enough nest to form a softball. And there's more.

I decide to stop for the time being; I see a lone wasp crawling around inside the wall, so I spray again, hoping to get the rest of the nest. I can still see honeycomb inside, but they're in tough spots to reach.

I sweep up the nest and take it outside. I'm intrigued by the white plasma that fill the honeycomb. Kristin tells me that it's "baby bees", worker-bees waiting to be born. Yikes, there's a lot!

Glad to have poisoned the nest before they "hatch", I go back downstairs, too curious to leave the remaining nest alone. I manage to pull out a little more honeycomb before giving up. The block wall is somewhat hollow - I can't get any further without taking apart my wall. I decide that it's as far as I'll get.

All said and done, I pulled out enough honeycomb to make a nest about the size of a cantaloupe, but I'm sure there's more in there.

----

And so we reach the conclusion of the adventure. What do we learn from such an experience? I thought of a few things:

1. Escaping two wasp nests without a single sting is a challenge, but possible!
2. I can hunt bees with the best of 'em, just give me a plastic zapper, some duct tape and a weaponlight.
3. Raid is expensive, but much cheaper than a "professional".
4. Homeowners should check the outside of their homes for holes each spring, unless you'd like your own adventure.
5. Wasps were especially bad this year, according to the Hamilton Spectator, and multiply quickly!
6. My wife is every bit a wasp hunter that I am, I just wouldn't let her in on the action.

----

Thanks for joining me (us) on this adventure. I hope you've enjoyed reading along! I know I rant, and these get long, but you've persevered, and I'm grateful. This has been a roller coaster ride - with laughter, adventure, frustration, aggression and romance. Well, I didn't write much about romance...

Two causalities of war, killed by my brave wife!