Monday, December 13, 2010

No Title

Well it has been 5 weeks with give or take 4 hours of sleep a night and I think exhaustion is setting in.   I hate getting out of bed and have so much work to do.  Work home name it and I'm behind on it.   Oh well, I guess that is why most people take 6 weeks maternity leave.   Things have been a bit crazy around here - all 5 of us now have a cold.  At least its not the flu I guess.   I spent the last 15 mintues reading all of last month's blog posts and they were just the thing I needed to remind me not to worry so much about Tanner.   I can't change the fact he has a cold, and I needed to remember that God certainly has a purpose on this earth for him and that He will take care of him.   Far better care than I could ever give.  

 I also realized that somewhere along this Autism journey with Andrew..... likely during the first 3 years when I shut down in every way except what I needed to survive.....I have become very matter of fact and have little emotion or attachment to things.    I can't really explain it - but I recognized in Eric's birth story post how much more he wrote, how much more he expressed about how he felt and handled the situation.   I mostly stated facts and outcomes.   I don't think I have always been this way, but I always feel the need to be in control - of my actions, emotions and surroundings.   I know, I sound like a control freak and maybe in some way I am - but both Eric and I are also super spontaneous and I don't care if I always get my way. Maybe I just want to control what others think of me.   I don't let others see whats going on on the inside.  I do have an image to uphold you know - from childhood I have been the responsible one and I don't do things I don't/can't do well.    I suppose a counselor would have some answers in this department - but who has time for that.   Well enough introspection for one night.  Tanner is sleeping now and so must I.  

Prayers for 5 cold free Skills would be appreciated.

Monday, December 6, 2010

1 Month Old

Well last Thursday was Tanner's one month visit and the unfortunate experience of being circumsized.    He has gained 2 lbs and has finally seen a slight reduction in biliruben so we have been cleared to keep him off the lights.    I am exhausted - but love to sit and look at his beautiful face during the day :)    It is finally sinking in that I have another baby....after having decided long ago that we were done, it still wasn't quite reality even being pregnant.   Now that I am up all night and feel like a milk cow - it ha finally set in!

The other kids are loving on him and always wanting to hold him.   Hopefully they feel as joyous about his joining the family after he starts to talk and take away their things :)   Anyway, here are a couple 1 month photos as well as one of all three kids....Tanner is definatly a Skillestad and fits right in.   I am excited to see what is in store for our new little man.   Crazy....there are 5 of us!

Friday, November 19, 2010

Most Amazing Husband Ever

We decided earlier this year to do a partial day sponsorship for Praise FM and chose Eric's birthday as our date.   He sent this to my email this afternoon as our sponsorship message:

This 1/4 day sponsorship is in honor of my wife Amy Skillestad who just welcomed our third child Tanner into the world on November 4th. She is selfless in her actions and is the glue that holds this family together. We would also like to take this time dedicate our son Tanner to the Lord as it is only by His grace that Tanner is here. We ask that Tanner would do great things for you and bring you glory. Thank you Jesus for this wonderful gift!

Need I say more!  Eric, you are such an amazing man, husband, and father.   I was blessed far beyond what I deserved when He gave me you as my husband.   I could not ask for anyone better - you make me feel safe and so very loved.   I love you!

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

More Lights

Well - I pride myself on not being the type of parent that has her kids at the Dr everytime I suspect they may be coming down with something.   But....I forgot what it is like to be the mom of a newborn.   AHHHHH - there is so much to worry about with this little body that can't tell you whats going on.    Anyway, mommy intuition told me that he was lookin mighty yellow again after being off the lights for several days - so we took him in to the Dr for a biliruben check and sure enough it was elevated above where we started the first time.

So back under the lights he goes until Thursday.   The Dr ran some extra blood tests today to see if they could figure out what was elevating his biliruben at this late stage....but they all came back normal so apprently its just my breastmilk.

This whole last two weeks has been really a challenge for me emotionally.  Between the whooping cough - the elevated bili counts - lack of sleep and Andrew issues it has been kinda crazy around here.   But, in between my few crying spells I am remembering to repeat "I trust You, I trust You."   And it helps that Eric is my rock - my reminder that God is in control.   I have the most amazing husband ever.  I love you Skills!

Thursday, November 11, 2010


This week has been a tough one.   I am starting to feel the effects of hormone changes and emotional mood swings.  It's amazing how easy it is to worry about this teeny tiny life that has recently come to be.   I was afraid during my pregnancy that if it was a boy I would be constantly worried about his developing Autism at some point.   Not that it hasn't crossed my mind - but I actually feel quite at peace about that for now.  However, on Monday we took Courtney with to the Dr and had her tested for Whooping Cough since she had a nasty cough and we had been keeping her away from Tanner.   Well her test came back positive on Wednesday.   I'm not at all concerned about her well-being, she is fine but for a cough,  but infants that catch whooping cough almost always end up hospitalized.  Now I was worried.  "Lord, we just got home - we just got him recovered from his jaundice and now this."   Eric was quick to remind me that obviously God has a purpose for him here - he is alive and with us despite his rough beginning.  And that He would take care of him.    I kept thinking, "That is easy for you to say - you don't have these crazy hormones running through your body.  You don't have him literally attached to you 8 to 10 times a day."    All I could think to myself was that if something should have happen to him, I could have handled it at birth.  But now I am attached, and I can't imagine our lives without him.  

Courtney has had a mask on since we arrived home from the hospital and will finish her antibiotic treatment tomorrow making her not contagious anymore - and all 5 of us are required to go on them so as to eliminate it before it can take effect if we had been exposed and Tanner and I have been in quarantine in the bedroom.  I am doing my best not to fear, not to worry, to trust Him to take care of our baby.   Some times are better than others - since the very beginning of this pregnancy I have been having to repeat "I trust You, I trust You" over and over to remind myself that I am not in control and that I need to let God have control.

So....tonight I ask for a few prayers.  One for Tanner to remain whooping cough free - and two that I will put my total trust in the One who made him.   That I will not worry or live in fear - but do the best I can to keep him safe and then keep repeating "I trust You, I trust You".

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Skills point of view

Well Amy asked if I would also post, recalling my experience from a few nights ago, so here goes...
Wednesday morning Amy had started having some signs of labor and had called the midwife to see what could be done to slow things down until Saturday, the first day the midwives could deliver the baby.  I got home around lunch and she was having contractions, but they were far apart, and not too strong.  Throughout the afternoon and into evening they started getting faster and about 9:30pm Amy called the midwife to come check on her.  About 10:45 she showed up and calmly started administering some checks on Amy.  Baby's heartbeat was good and though Amy was having contractions, the midwife determined the uterus was not contracting strong, showing she still had a ways to go before she would be ready.  They tried having her take a bath and other calming techniques, but things then just started going superspeed.  While the midwife was on the phone with the other midwife who was out of town (they always deliver babies in pairs), Amy started yelling in pain which is unusual for her.  Jen (midwife) came back upstairs and I told her, "Amy never screams like that, so I know she's in a lot of pain.  The midwife said to Amy, "Can I check you here because even when we go to the hospital they're going to do the same when we get there and at least we can know where you are at and check the heartbeat.  Amy had a couple strong contractions and was able to be checked in between.  The heartbeat was normal and when she checked Amy, looked up at me and said "You need to call the paramedics, this baby is coming now."  I dialed 911 and got them on the phone and they said we'll be there in a few minutes.  Jen noticed that Amy was pushing and said, "Hey, are you pushing?  Not yet!"  Amy said, "I'm not trying!"  Jen then had me round up a bunch of supplies (oxygen, pads for the floor and bed, etc).  I saw at that point the ambulance coming up to the house and then saw them drive right past the house...argghh.  A few minutes later they found the place and came up to the bedroom with additional supplies.  I got out of the way and let them take over the position of assistant which was good as I was a little shaky.  (Guys, think of the feeling when you're in your deer stand and you first spot the buck approaching).  Jen checked the heartbeat again and could not find it, or it was very weak.  She said, "Amy this baby needs to come out now". Amy pushed over the course of 10 minutes and the baby came out very fast, necessitating a few new bedroom purchases :). 
When Tanner came out his color was gray and he was non-responsive.  The midwife asked me to run and grab a breadboard or something hard to put under him so they could start chest compressions.  They were pushing him around and rubbing his chest, hands and feet trying to get him to breathe.  They started chest compressions and administered oxygen, squeezing it into his lungs.  Nothing seemed to work, and at that point I dropped to my knees.  I prayed, "Jesus please breathe life into his lungs.  Bring him back to life."  More minutes passed and no progress was being made.  At that point I struggled with faith.  As I prayed, I would look up hoping, praying that he would start taking breaths.  With each check I wondered, 'Is my faith lacking?  Am I just not believing that the Lord will save him?'  Because we conceived on faith, part of me wondered, 'Is this our Isaac story where God has provided a son, and now is saying, 'I gave him to you, and I can take him back at any time'?'  I was mentally prepared for it to happen and said, "God I know you can take him back at any time, but if it is your will please bring my son back to life".  A couple more minutes followed and he started to take short breaths, but not enough to continue on his own.  Gradually, over the course of the next 20 minutes both at home and in the ambulance his breathing became a little more regular.  His heartrate during this time was slow, but never really dropped below 50 beats/minute (normally in the low 100s).  The midwife said because the cord was not cut during all the compressions and cpr that he was still receiving the vital oxygen he needed from Amy and should not have suffered any ill-effects from oxygen deprivation.  If we had been at the hospital when this happened, they would have cut the cord immediately and began working on him, which would have cut off that necessary oxygen supply.

By the time we got to the hospital there were about 8 people in the ER ready to go and started examining him.  The doctor said shortly after that he looked great and thought he would be ok.  They transported him up to the level 2 nursery and got him under the heat lamps.  Because of all the cpr and a cold ambulance ride, his body was at 94 degrees so he needed to be warmed up.  It was an odd feeling being there next to my son without Amy there.  I knew she still needed to finish up at home and recover slightly, but I guess I never thought about the fact Amy wouldn't be following me to the hospital immediately and that I would be doing this part alone.

Things have calmed down, and for now we are home, assuming his bilirubin levels stay where they are supposed to.  It was just nice to have had everyone in the right spot at the right time and that under the circumstances it went about as good as it could have.  I would not want to re-live that evening again, but know that it was a faith test for Amy and I...just a reminder that God is in control of everything and that His timing is best.  Thank you to those that were praying during this.

Here's a shot of our new buddy lying in the sun to try and get rid of those extra red blood cells and bilirubin:

Friday, November 5, 2010

God's Divine Intervention

So reflecting back to Tanner's birth will be a bit tramatic for Eric and I for a while I think.   I never in a million years expected to be that family that you see on TV or hear about in the news.   I always wondered how you miscalculate so badly that you could end up delivering in a car.   And even though I didn't deliver in the car that is just one scenario that could have happened and could have drastically altered the outcome of our baby being with us today.

I know that especially our parents were a bit concerned about our plan for a homebirth.  Honestly, I was only apprehensive about the pain area since I had had epidurals with the first two.   I guess in the end I did get my homebirth, but certainly not as planned - or as the midwives had planned.   I believe this area is just the first of many that God had his hand in.  If I had been planning to deliver at the hospital instead of at home Tanner very likely would have been born in the car....and since our midwife and Paramedics spent over ten minutes doing CPR upon his arrival - there is no way he could have recieved that from me in the back seat of our van.  The fact that our midwife was with us may very well have saved our little boy.

I also had a remarkably long umbilical cord which stayed pulsing for most of the time he was unresponsive.  Only God could orchestrate that anatomy to keep oxygen circulating despite his distress.

The one other major area that is remarkable is that I had very very little bleeding.   If I had had complications and they were trying to get Tanner to breathe, I could have had serious issues as well.  

For all the crazy, painful, scary things that occured that night - God has brough to our attention all the little miracles that were present as well.   We have said from the very very beginning of this adventure that we would trust Him and He has certainly proven himself faithful to us. 

I've asked Eric at some point to post his perspective about the birth - as I'm sure it is very different from mine.   So there will likely be one more blog entry about our crazy ride - but I want him to write it down, to express what his experience was and to help him have a reminder of God's faithfulness.

Tomorrow is either go home day - or go under the bili-lights day.   I'm hoping for the first, but won't be suprised if its the second.   Thanks again for all your prayers and support.  We are looking forward to showing off our little man very soon.


OK - so these photos aren't the most flattering, but it was 4AM and I was a bit out of it after our ordeal.   But this is the first time I got to hold or touch for that matter Tanner.

I talked with the Neonatologist this morning and assuming his cultures are negative - which they are thus far - tomorrow morning, he should be able to go home.    I know that Andrew and Courtney are very excited to get to meet their new brother and I've heard rumors that my sister-in-law and sister have cleaned my house so that will make it even more enjoyable to head home tomorrow.

Tanner is doing great - he is nursing really well and is such a cutie.   We are praying Courtney (who has a cold) will heal quickly so she can spend some quality time with him.   I know that the next couple months will be a challenge for me, but after watching him struggle so the first 10 mintues of his life, puts in perspective the fact that he is here with us and healthy and beautiful.

We have been blessed with 3 amazing children and I am excited to see what God has in store for each one of them!

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Meet Tanner Bryan Skillestad

Well - we had a rather eventful night last night.   Our original intent was to have a homebirth this time.   I needed to make it to 36 weeks in order for that to happen though and I had 3 more days I needed to make it to that point.   So, when I started having contractions yesterday morning we did our best to lay low and try and get them to stop until Sat.   Well - no such luck.   I called the midwife at 9:45pm and told her the contractions had started coming about 5-7 min apart.   So the midwife arrived at 10:35 to assess what was going on with me and prepare us for transport to the hospital.

I had a few pretty hefty contractions right around the time she showed up - but she said my uteris wasn't contracting that hard so they weren't that strong.   Within about 20 min they were stronger and I headed to the tub for some relief.   That didn't help and once I got out they were SOOOOOo bad.   They were so close and strong and I was starting to lose it.   She wanted to do vitals before we headed for the hospital.   She got the heartbeat and my blood pressure and then checked me quick.   I was so afraid she was going to tell me that I was only at a 5 or something.   But her first words were "Eric, call the paramedics - this baby is coming now."     And sure enough it was about 2 more contractions before I was pushing and baby's head was right there.   Not that you need any more of the gory details - but I had a good 15 min or so of pushing - and yelling - and pushing - and yelling - to finally have Tanner Bryan Skillestad arrive at 12:10am November 4th.    He needed 5 to 10 min of oxygen and chest compressions to get his breathing going, and left shortly thereafter for the hospital with Eric.

He is doing great now - but will be in the hospital for observation until Saturday.  I am doing well and we are so thankful that our new little man is doing well.

He is 6lbs 5ounces 19 inches long with blond hair and bushy blond eyebrows.   This isn't the most great picture of him, but all we have for now.  So meet our new son, Tanner....
We will post better pictures when we are able to take some.   Thanks to all of you who were praying for us - we needed it and are so thankful for you.

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Almost there....

12 pack of toilet paper every week.....
2 trips to the chiropractor every week....
Eric picking up dinner every night.....
No more than an hour in the car before cramping sets in....
More Braxton Hicks than I can count....

Almost time to welcome our new little family member....Worth It All!

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Home Visit

Last night was my Midwife Home Visit and I think she was a bit overwhelmed when she showed up to 4 other women hanging out ready to participate.    Though I am fairly certain  only half of them will actually be available for the birth, it was still fun to hear all their questions and let them be a part of this adventure.

I have all my supplies purchased, my helpers assigned their jobs, and most everything else that is truly necessary taken care of.    So long as baby stays in until November 6th, all shall proceed as planned.   Though, as I've been asked what my expectations are, I have realized that I don't have many.   Having attended 8 births - the one thing I have learned is that it never goes the way you think it is going to and I don't want to be disappointed.  So.....all that being said - I'm hoping for a quick, no back labor, no cord wrapped around the neck, healthy baby to be born, delivery.   But I shall just embrace this new experience as best I can and relax.

Friday, October 15, 2010


Well yesterday we had Andrew's conferences.   Though I don't love his regular classroom teacher, we really love his Sp Ed teacher.    Everyone loves Andrew at school and we found out he is in the top math group of his typical classroom.    We are so proud of him and though he struggles like crazy with reading comprehension - he is maintaining pace with his peers.  YAY!   

Wednesday, October 13, 2010


 Well Friday I will be 32 Weeks and 6 Days.   That was the amount of time Andrew spent in the womb.   I remember that day being so petrifiying and so exciting at the same time.   We were soooo excited for our first child, but I was totally unprepared for such an early arrival.  
Our birthing classes were the next day, I had to take an ambulance to another hospital, and I wasn't even sure if what I felt was my water breaking or not.    In some ways it feels like it was just a couple years ago.....but almost 10 years have gone by.   He is such a special kid.   Sometimes its tempting to wish for no Autism, who am I kidding, I've cried for no Autism on multiple occasions.   But there are times that I am grateful and I know there will continue to be times of both difficulty and joy related to this disability.
I have a feeling with this new baby many tucked away memories will return.....some I will be grateful for and some I'm sure I would rather not remember.    Courtney's infant/toddler years were an especially difficult time for me.   Andrew was at a really hard stage - the things we went through those two years have mostly been tucked away hopefully never to be thought of again, but I feel like I tucked away her infantcy and toddler years along with all the pain.   Only God knows why his plan was for us to have another child, but I look forward to meeting him/her and I look forward to being more emotionally available this time around.   Who knew being a parent was so difficult.....our parents I suppose.   Though even they forget the hard parts and think we were wonderful by the time we have kids!

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Midwife Visit

Had another nice visit with the midwife today.   I always look forward to seeing the midwife so I can hear the heartbeat and see how our little one is growing.    I was told today that baby is "well grown" which I take to mean on the large side!    Everything looked good - baby is head down and the heartbeat is strong.   Crazy to think that I will be giving birth again in the near future.   My goal is to make it to at least 36 weeks (6 1/2 weeks from now) so if you think about it you can add that to your prayer list.   We are planning on doing things a bit different this time - so always a new adventure in the Skillestad home. 

I have started making lists of things I need to yet aquire - which is most everything.    However, being its the 3rd time, my list includes a much smaller amount of items.   I guess I just realize there are so many things that are out there that you just don't NEED.   Well it is also a bit of a problem that we don't know what the gender is.....guess I will get to go shopping after the baby comes!   Anyway - been a while since I updated  anything relating to baby so I thought I would share.   You can be sure that I will have some amazing posts welcoming our new little one to the world when that blessed day arrives.

Thursday, September 9, 2010


Wow....I forgot what it was like to have so much alone time!   Yesterday I kept wondering where the kids were and why it was so quiet.   I did accomplish alot of work - but kinda missed them at the same time.   I figure I better enjoy these last couple months of quiet cause it will 5 more years before it happens again.

So I have been getting caught up in filing and doing some cleaning around the house.   Shopping for all the birth supplies I will need and generally just starting to think about what we are going to need for babysize.   I don't think I fully comprehend the life changes we are about to encounter.   Back to diapers, wipes and bibs - I know it will all be worth it and after it comes I wouldnt change a thing.....but I am a bit afraid of losing all this freedom and at the same time doing my best not to be afraid of all the unknowns that come with our children.

God knows all about him/her and I guess I just have to trust that.   Off to nap - I have to say I am excited to get this pregnancy over with and be able to have a little bundle of reason why I'm not sleeping.  

Monday, August 30, 2010

I have....

So today we started our morning with some errands.   I went to the office for an hour, Andrew had violin lessons, and then we headed to Walmart to get picnic stuff for a picnic at the beach with my sis and her kids.   In the car the kids were having their usual "discussion" about something or another and Andrew responded to Courtney in a peculiar manner.   Courtney stopped and asked Andrew why he would say that.   I interupted the conversation and said "Andrew sometimes says things differently because his brain works differently."   Then Andrew said in  quiet voice, "Yeah, I have Autism."

This is the first time I have ever heard Andrew say anything about his Autism or even acknowledge why he may do something different than others.    Just another reason why my little boy is no longer so little.   He's growing into a young man and I am so proud of him and all the hard work he has put into helping himself succeed.   10 - the big birthday into double digets this year.  Crazy how time flies.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Summer 2010

Since I usually really dislike school photos of the kids....I decided last year to start taking them myself in the fall.   Here is this years best.   The only bummer is not one of the like 75 I took of the both of them turned out nice......try try again I guess.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Things I learned about Eric thru the kids....

These are some things I have learned about Eric since we had children.

1.  He had absolutly terrible eyes as a child.....and unfortunatly passed that onto our 2 beautiful babies.

2.  He had large sickly tonsils removed at age 4....also passed on to Courtney!

3.  Apparently quoting favorite movie lines in everyday conversation is genetic.....

4.  Sleeping spread eagle is also genetic...he...he...

5.  He is an amazing father!

Monday, August 9, 2010

So tired.....

Well its 12:20am and I've just had another battle with Ms Courtney over her medication.    I finally lost it tonight.  This every 4 hour - waking her up - to take stuff she hates - with all the insuing crying and drama has left me in a rather broken place.   I've had 5 months with no more than 3 hours at a time of sleep and the last 7 nights with virtually no sleep whatsoever - and what that has created is an emotional basketcase who is wishing for all this to be over RIGHT NOW!   I can't stop crying because it feels at this moment like this is never going to end.....     I know that this is a culmination of hormones, no sleep and maybe even PrePartum depression but I just want to be an understanding, patient and caring mother and right now I am none of those.

Lord, give me the patience to be the support Courtney needs right now - to be loving and gentle and slow to anger and please grant me some desperatly needed sleep.  I cannot continue in these circumstances on my own - for I am failing and making this a more tramatic experience for her.   Please give me a giant dose of peace and grace and as I accept your help may it overflow to every tough interaction I have yet to come with her.  Please bring healing to her body quickly and draw us both closer to you as we realize what little control we truly possess.   Amen

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Courtney's full of big things!

Well we are still waiting for our little munchkin to wake up from her surgery.   We started with her tonsils and adnoids.   Dr Cox came in about 20 minutes after he started and said everthing went great and that he took out some big huge tonsils.   We both chuckled and said thank you.   Then we waited another hour and Dr Feltis joined us to say her gallbladder came out just fine and didn't forsee any complications - but also that her gallbladder was large.   Again I chuckled - sounds like she's full of extra large parts.  

Then he went on to show us a picture he took of the rest of her abdominal cavity showing us a larger hernia on her right side and  a smaller hernia on her left.   Apparently it isn't super uncommon, but we decided since she was already out and going to be in the hospital for a time to have them repaired today at the same time.   So, off he went to repair her hernias.   Apparently the right one would have become symptomatic within a year and have needed to be fixed soon anyway, and the other one would likely have become symptomatic before she was a teenager.  

We are so thankful for all the prayers and support we have recieved and Courtney would love to have any visitors who wish to come hang out at Children's in St Paul while she is here.   Depending on her pain situation - she will be here till tomorrow afternoon or possibly Thursday.    It has been a stressful day....but we are greatful to have had such skillful surgeons and look forward to Courtney being able to enjoy life without stomach pain and sleep better without the big huge tonsils!

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Ready for Home

So we are spending an extra four wonderful hours in the Dallas/Ft Worth airport......I miss the kids and just want to get home.    The trip to Mexico was wonderful - we ate truly amazing food - slept on a king sized bed with a pillow menu we could request any pillow from - with our own butler at our beck and call.   We also had a free mini-bar so you know Eric went through the candy and sparkling water like it was goin out of style.    We both decided however, that we were ready to go home and get back to our life.  

It was a fun time to be away one last time before we have the baby - and it is always nice when it is totally paid for by someone else :)    Eric worked hard for this trip and it was fun to go and celebrate his hard work with others who did the same.  I will post photos of our grand adventure when we get back.

Now....back to reality..... late flights - crabby kids - Court's surgery in a few days - and me trying to figure out what to make for dinner!   Ahhhhhh.... will be nice to be home.

Monday, July 26, 2010


So Skills and I are in a beautiful resort in Mexico - truly amazing place.   But.....I woke up missing the kids a bit.   Eric decided to LogMeIn to Andrew's laptop and noticed that he was on it.   Everytime he tried to open Notepad and tried to write him a note, Andrew would close it and continue his train video viewing.   Then I decided to try and he was searching on Google.   So I kept typing things in the Google search bar things like "Hi Buddy, this is mommy"   "Andrew, we miss you".

It took about 6 tries, but he finally figured out I was trying to talk to him.   Though our conversation was short and sweet - he said hi and that he missed us.  Then said I'll see you on Thursday.   Even though it was only about four exchanges....I was so proud of him for figuring it out and it was fun to have him communicate with us.   I will enjoy this time away and relax - but I do miss my little man.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Eric's New Favorite Dinner

So....our favorite restaurant is Kami Japanese Steakhouse in Apple Valley.   It is by far the most expensive place we eat - but have found out that Wednesdays are buy one dinner get one free for the summer!   Anyway, a fun date night for us is always the Hibachi grill and we love love love the food.   So, since we have a new family member joining us as well as lots of medical bills for Ms Courtney I decided to find a few recipes of my own and try and recreate our favorite things from Kami.

Eric asked what was for dinner tonight and I said "It's a suprise!" and continued on with my madness.   First I made the amazing dipping sauce that we eat with everything, then I made the fried rice, stir-fried veggies and lastly the chicken.   We actually always eat the steak there, but chicken has been marinating in the fridge for a few days and needed to get chicken it was.

I set the table - laid out all the food - and held my breath as he tried each of the items!   SUCCESS....he ate and ate and ate and ate....just like he does at Kami.    So, if any of you have joined us for dinner there - I shall put the recipes up here so you can have your very own yummy Kami food at home.  ENJOY!

Japanese Steakhouse White Sauce - Chuck's Easy Recipe  (to dip everything in)

1-1/4 cup Hellmann's mayonnaise *
1/4 cup water
1 teaspoon tomato paste
1 tablespoon melted butter
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon sugar
1/4 teaspoon paprika
dash cayenne pepper

Using a fork or a whisk, blend all ingredients together thoroughly until well mixed and the sauce is smooth. Refrigerate overnight to allow flavors to blend. Bring to room temperature before serving.
The sauce will NOT taste right if you don't let it sit overnight. And please don't try to substitute ketchup for the tomato paste! The water is needed to bring this to the right consistency.

I don't know how long this keeps in the refrigerator; I've kept it 7-10 days, but I always wind up eating it all before 10 days so after that - anyone's guess.
* Hellmann's is called "Best Foods" west of the Rockie Mountains. Use other mayos at your peril - many cheap brands make the sauce taste too much like mayo.

My Stir-Fried Veggies:
Start with a Tbs of butter and some olive oil in a med/hot pan.   I used my cast iron skillet and it was perfect.  then throw in your veggies - any fresh veggies will work but I had fresh Carrots, Green Beans and Shallots direct from the garden.   Sprinkle with some salt and cook, stirring occasionally till they are cooked but not soggy.   Then if you have any, I added just a small amount of Trader Joes General Tsoa Stir Fry Sauce.    They were amazing.

My Fried Rice
3 Cups Cooked Rice
Some Butter
1 Small Onion
1 Egg
Soy Sauce

Cook some white rice so it is slighly harder than you would normally make it.  Let is sit. I used enough for 3 servings. Then add some butter to a hot pan and saute one small onion.   Once cooked add the cooked rice and mix with the onion.   Then move the rice to the outside of the pan making a hole in the middle of the pan and put the egg there - scramble it and cook the egg - then mix it into the rice.   Now take your soy sauce and just drizzle once back and forth over the pan - not too much - but enough to make it light brown.

Eric's New Favorite Chicken
2 Lg Chicken Breasts
Italian Dressing
Oil for the Pan
Trader Joes or other favorite Stir-Fry Sauce

Marinate Chicken at least over night in your favorite Italian Dressing.   Then slice the raw chicken into strips for better cooking.   Put some oil in a pan and saute the chicken until cooked then add some of your favorite Stir-Fry Sauce for some extra flavor.   

Monday, July 19, 2010

Court's Big Day

Well - its official - Courtney will be having her tonsils, adenoids, and gallbladder removed on August 3rd.  Though I am really not looking forward to all the pain and fear she will experience with some major surgery, I do look forward to her being able to eat again without stomach pain and to be able to sleep in the same room as her and not want to strangle her for snoring.    My prayer requests would be that she would feel peace about it as she is quite scared right now, and for a quick recovery.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Andrew's New Toilet

So yesterday was a long day.   We spent a good part of the evening painting, hanging curtains, disassembling furniture, and cleaning out Andrew's room.   He still had the paint in there from before he was born and wanted a "new room" like Courtney.  Anyway, picture of that finished project will come later.   I was feeling a bit yucky after such exersion and was laying in bed around 11:30 when Andrew come walking in my room....stands in front of the rabbit cage which was temporarily in my room while we finish his...pulls down his pants and starts peeing.   I sat up and yelled "Andrew that's not a toilet!"   He ignored me.  I jumped out of bed and said "Andrew, stop peeing.  You're peeing all over my dresser."  I grabbed him by the shoulders and steered him to the bathroom.   He was totally oblivious.    He had peed all over the rabbit cage and overshot into an open dresser drawer sitting behind the cage.   Aaaaaaawwwwww - this is not a toilet I yelled.    I have no idea what he was thinking.....but I'm a little afraid to put the rabbit cage back on the floor in his room now!

Monday, June 7, 2010

Not Yet

So when we pray with the kids at night - they keep praying that the baby will come out soon so mom feels better.   I have to keep telling them NOT YET!

Saturday, May 15, 2010


Andrew was playing at Grandma and Grandpa Israelson's house tonight with his big toy train..... here is what he was saying next to us as he played.

"Oxnard, CA....after experiencing an accident at these two cross streets, a man sets up two cameras to support his claim that this intersection is dangerous.   This busy intersection has a railroad crossing, warning lights, bells, crossing gates, and a stop light.  He claims these things are not only confusing but dangerous.    So far the man has yet to find any evidence supporting his claim.  But that's about to change.  At the railroad crossing, bells ring, warning of an oncoming locomotive.  The crossing gates decend but the confused truck driver suddenly begins rolling forward.   The semi stops before crossing the intersection.   The driver seems unaware that he is directly over the railroad track.  The train engineer blasts his horn hoping the driver will respond.   (An amtrak train destroys a semi truck)    The truck is completely destroyed and the wreckage is strewn hundreds of yards.  As for the train, it faired better, but will require major repairs."

As Eric and I sat and listened to him it became obvious as his story progressed that this was a youtube video that he had memorized and was reinacting. any good detective I embarked on finding such video so I could record this hilarious reinactment.   Sure enough....a video of "Destroyed in Seconds".    I wish I could get that memory to remember things he wasn't so interested in.

Friday, May 14, 2010

3 days and counting.....

This morning it suddenly dawned on me that in 3 short days - half of our new giant family will be moving out and things will probably be pretty lonely around here.    Though I dare not lie and say I have never been frustraited over the last 7 weeks - most of those moments probably due to being woken from a nap :) - it has been much easier than I thought it would be.

Having 6 people join my space was probably made much easier by my pregnancy.   I spent so much time in my room sleeping and only cooked 2 meals the entire time they were here so Amanda and I weren't stepping on each others toes all the time.   I didn't care that someone was in my kitchen...for those of you who know me....usually that would be a big issue.   And frankly, I can't imagine what the house would look like today if she wasn't here to be my cleaning fairy.   ITS AWESOME....  I lay down for a morning nap....I wake up and the cleaning fairy has cleaned my house.   I recommend it to every woman.    But in all seriousness, Amanda, I can't thank you enough for taking care of my kids on occasion - for dealing with the extra sparing between Chloe and Andrew - and for taking care of my house.   I'm sure this arrangement hasn't been as easy on your girls as the rest of us, but we were glad to have you and would do it again if necessary.

Come Monday I have an opening for  a cleaning fairy if anyone wants to volunteer.......

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Too Loud!

So... we are on the way home from Cannon Falls after a nice Mother's Day at the in-laws.   The kids have their DVD players with headphones for trips over 1 hour.   We are used to Andrew suddenly yelling or making a crazy noise during one of his favorite movies but today he put on his headphones (which were not plugged in) and since he could'nt hear it he kept turning up louder and louder and louder and louder.   He was sitting directly behind me and it took all I had not to turn around and scream....What are you doing!   I calmly turned around and asked him nicely - please plug in your headphones and turn that down.   He says "Oh OK."   Like it never occured to him that he should plug them in and use them instead of using them as noise deffening articles making the rest of us suffer through blaring Tom and Jerry cartoons.

Some situations sure make it obvious that he still struggles with his Autism....but those situations sure are getting fewer and fewer and we feel so blessed by the amazing progress he has made in the last 7 years.  

Wednesday, April 28, 2010


Today was my first OB visit for this pregnancy.   It was all the normal boring stuff and the fun of hearing the heartbeat for the first time.    Somehow that tiny little 160 beats a minute heart makes this really horrible feeling stomach a little more worthwhile - and makes this crazy ride seem a bit more real.

Here's to feeling better sooner than later.....and a continued healthy pregnancy.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Friday, April 9, 2010

Miracles Do Happen!

So February and March were very interesting months for me. I came home from Hawaii feeling a little more revived and came home from Florida really trying to grow my spiritual walk. It also happened to be a stretch of time where most of our friends husbands were getting their vasectomies. I'm sure if you are reading this, I have at some point told you I absolutely did not want any more children. I was afraid of Autism, afraid of more food allergies, afraid of being totally overwhelmed - not to mention I just plain old love my new found sleep too much. So Eric asked if he could go get the big "V" and I said not yet. Everytime he has asked I have said not yet - I just couldn't quite get myself to let him do it. Then I slowly started to desire a bigger family - not a baby per se - but I always envisioned having a bigger family. The last 7 years I have said I would need to hear an audible "YES" from God if he wanted me to have more children so I decided I would at least pray about it. I had last year repented of living in fear in this area of my life, but hadn't actually ever really considered having another baby.

So.... I prayed, and prayed some more, and prayed some more. And then I had a divine revelation. In praying and waiting, I was in some small way still selfishly controlling the situation. If I truly was willing to allow God to decide on the size of our family I should probably just try for a month and see what happens. Give him total control sine He is the one who starts life anyway. So we decided that we would try the month of March and if we concieved it would be a clear and consise answer from God that He did indeed want us to have a larger family. And if I didn't, I could have no regrets and know that I had given my complete faith and trust in this situation. So on March 23, 2010 - a positive pregnancy test revealed that the Skillestad family would be radically changing.

There are days that I am petrified and afraid and I have to say out loud "I trust you." until I feel His peace. And then there are days that I am so excited to meet our new child. So, the moral of the story is......never say never. And taking a step of faith and relying on God brings amazing peace despite the craziness of it all.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

6am Wake Up Call

So - I've been asking the Lord lately to draw me closer to Him. Intimacy on any level is very difficult for me and my relationship with God is no exception. I find it so difficult to sit still and have a quiet brain just never settles into a quiet state. Anyway, I am a night owl - I could stay up until 2am every night if I thought I wouldn't pay for it the next day. I hate mornings.....really I do. Yet I've found myself for at least the last week waking at 6am every morning. It kills me, I roll and toss and say to myself "Why am I up, I want to be sleeping until the very last moment I need to get the kids up." Yet it continues.

This morning was no exception. I opened my eyes and read 6:00 on my ceiling in bright red. (I have one of those cool LED alarm clocks that shows you the time and temp on your ceiling) Ugggg I thought. Why 6:00am. Then it occured to me. Because God wants some time with me. He's the one who is waking me at 6am every morning, just waiting for me to hang out. Though I'd like to say that I immediatly got up and started reading my Bible, I did not. I did, however, spend the next hour in prayer. Praying for whatever seemed to enter my mind at the time. My brain does seem much more settled in the morning. If God wants my 6am's, who am I to say "no". So, here's to 6am quiet times and hopefully a more intimate relationship with my Savior.

Thursday, March 18, 2010


Sorry I have been gone so long from this little blog. I find I don't have much interesting things to write these days. Life has been so busy - and seems like the same things that were plaguing us last winter were here just the same. We are actually doing well, with the exception of Courtney's stomach issues - several hundred dollars in tests and an endoscopy (which I haven't gotten the bill for yet :) later we have still no answers as to her stomach pain. So we press on....

I'm getting ready to go be with Conni Nevills for the birth of their little boy in Baltimore - only God will be able to get me there in time I'm sure - and taking some therapy classes. I'm sure I will come up with something deep and inspiration to tell you in the coming days.....until then this shall have to do.

God Bless, Am

Thursday, February 25, 2010


Well tonight we decided to take the kids bowling. When we took our trip to FL the kids played alot of Wii and Andrew's favorite game was bowling. Well as he quickly discovered - real bowling not so easy.....Wii easy.

So as you can imagine - he spent alot of his time crying and extremely uspset about his inability to get a strike or spare - or really hardly get it down the lane even with bumpers...he...he...

The only real disappointment in our fun family evening was the family of 6 across from us. Though I only saw it once - one of Andrew's crying moments left her rolling her eyes at us. I try not to take it personally, to not feel a little shame in his behavior, to know she is thinking something bad about us as parents. I however, have the knowledge of what an amazing kid he is and what a terrible bowler he is and how that makes him feel. We salvaged the end of the night with a special bowling tool for him to roll it down a hill and down the lane. Will we go again - not in the very near future - but yes we will. I won't let his frustraition keep him from doing something I know he will enjoy once he figures it out.

Sunday, January 31, 2010

Court's New Room

My "big" little girl requested a more grown up room. And though it has been described as "someone thew up pink in here", she loves it dearly.


A couple nights ago, we watched a movie called "Adam" with Luke and Susu. It is a story about a 29 year old man with Aspbergers Syndrome. I was expecting to cry most the way through knowing it was possibly a depiction of the life our son has yet to live. There were a few parts I couldn't help but be saddened by.... the outbursts and many missed friendships....however by the end the movie I realized this was running through my head. Jeremiah 29:11 "For I know the plans I have for you,” says the Lord. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope."

More proof that my time in Hawaii was not wasted and selfish me time.....but a time to be filled and draw closer to Him. As a mother of a child with Autism, the end of this movie could have totally consumed your thoughts and brought such dispair and pain....but God filled my heart and mind with His Words and I had peace.....

Friday, January 29, 2010


I knew that my spiritual life was dry before I left for Hawaii, but I you don't really recognize how dry it is until you experience wet again. Hawaii for me is not just a "sit in the sun and sleep all day" vacation, but a "experiencing the waterfall of God" vacation.

Today I went to Sams Club to get some gas since I was in the area. There was an older gentleman employee there named David who was out pumping peoples gas. He came to my door and asked for my card, what kind of gas I wanted, and whether I wanted a reciept or not. I answered his questions and then we got on the subject of Hawaii. Since I was below empty (something that will be no suprise to Skills) we had plenty of time to talk about his time in the service - stationed on Oahu and the cruise he took with his wife to the Big Island. Our conversation was brief, but at the end I said "Thank you very much for pumping my gas, and thank you also for serving for us." "Wow, thanks, happy to do it." he said. "God Bless You, and have a wonderful day." I replied. He looked at me and smiled and said "You know, my name in the Bible means Beloved." I smiled back and said "Mine too." I closed the window and off I went to finish my errands.

Seems like such an insignifant exchange of words, but I left with my heart filled. God gave me joy from a small, passing conversation. He gave me JOY! Ahhhhh, how I've missed it.

Thank you Lord for the small blessings today!

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Meetings and Sun

Well - I have spent all my time in this tropical place either at meetings with dad or on the beach! Both of which I am enjoying very much.....toes are still warm and trying to suck up as much heat as I can before I head back to the arctic tundra. Though I can't say I have yet got myself fully back on track - progress is being made. God can change my heart and mind in a an instant - the challenge for me is figuring out the relinqueshing part first!

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

My Soulmate

So before I left for Hawaii I needed a few books from the Israelson Christian Library..... Naturally I sent Luke (my bro who lives at their house right now ) home with a list of three books I wanted for him to bring back to me. Eric decided to go with him. So when Eric called and said that Luke lost the list -and that he needed to know the names of the books - I headed back upstairs to find the original list.

Now picture Skill standing in front of 1000's of books in at least 5 different bookshelves - now picture me picking up my mom's list of books and finding the series I was interested in taking with me. "Heitzmann" I said - The Rose Legacy" "You're kidding right? That is the exact book that I was looking at." he said as he pulled it from the shelf. In case any of you doubt that Eric is my soulmate - you need't anymore proof. He can even pick out my books without me telling him which ones I want. Truely amazing.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Court 2

Well I still have a diareha, stomach achy, throwing up occasionally little girl and are unsure of what is going on. We are waiting on stool tests from Friday and I'm hoping to get some answers soon. I feel so bad for her.....

Wednesday, January 13, 2010


So....Courtney has been having some stomach issues for the last couple weeks. I took her in yesterday, but only confirmed a few things that it is not. Would appreciate some prayers that the Dr's would be able to figure it out quickly as I am scheduled to leave for Hawaii next Tuesday. I'd hate to leave with her still having issues.

Monday, January 11, 2010


So I've missed a few days...but in my defense I've had a housefull all weekend. So here goes...I am thankful for my most days they are driving me nuts...but I am truly grateful that I have been given to beautiful children. And I shall learn to embrace them more and more for who they are.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

The Birthday Cakes

So today we are celebrating Andrew, Courtney, Lydia and Titus's birthday before Grandma Kathy leaves for Honduras. In order to make it special for each one I created little cake just for them.Andrew's Lydia's

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Praise - Day 4

So I suppose I should have started with this on day 1 - hot water seems a bit lame - but that's where I was at that day. Today I would like to say that I am most thankful that I know Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Praise - Day 3

I am thankful I have been given the gift of hospitallity and love to cook.

Monday, January 4, 2010

Praise - Day 2

Today's praise:
I cannot put into words the blessing that Eric is. I could not have asked for a better husband and friend. No matter what's going on with our crazy family or schedule, he's there to help and cherish us. I love you Skills and am so so thankful for you! Lord, thank you for giving me my perfect match.

Sunday, January 3, 2010


So we went to Friendship this morning because my mom was being commmissioned for her missions trip. Each time we go back there we go on a Sunday when they do communion and then pray for each family. They pass out a card for you to write your family info and prayer requests and praises on. I could have filled the request line 10 times over - life has been difficult lately. But I could think of nothing for the praise section - no wonder I am so depressed.

In an attempt to think on the good things happening around me I shall attempt for a little while at least to blog one thing every day that would be in the praise category. With another terrible night under my belt - no it wasn't having my in-laws and parents for dinner that ruined it either :) - my praise tonight is..... Lord, thank you for hot water. I know, you are probably thinking "That's the best you can do?". But as I took my hot bath tonight - to unwind and warm my ever-lovin cold toes. That was what popped in my mind. So I am most appreciative for my big hot bath sometimes two times a day. I am hopful that as I try to find praises throughout the day that I will better be able to feel God's presence with me in my trials.

Friday, January 1, 2010

Welcome 2010

Well we started 2010 with a bang.....well more like Andrew did. We had our first physical tantrum since last winter. I guess I will never get used to the "I'm going to kill Mom" or "I hate my parents" statements, and was hoping to never again experience the biting, spitting and kicking but I guess it goes with the teritorry.

Andrew hasn't had a filter on his mouth for quite some time - saying mean and hurtful - hateful things, and when its time for discipline- the physical aspect enters the picture. Maybe we have been ignoring the "speech" in order to protect ourselves from the abuse, but I have to beleive it is not helping him to let him talk that way just to avoid conflict. IE...he can't say he wants to kill me because he doesn't want to eat his chicken nuggets.

I've already had a hard week revolving around this "autism" . My Grandmother's 90th birthday party is tomorrow and I was looking through all our old photos to find some of her with the kids. Looking through Andrew's first 18 month's of life while I am PMS'ing is never a smart thing to do. Memories of the normal, adorable, loving, amazing gaze into mommy's eyes little boy makes these times so much more difficult. I try not to wish things were different, to accept what God has given us, but i will be the first to admit it rarely goes that way. I'm certain there is some truth revealing epiphony I should be taking from all this......but feeling somewhat depressed, overwhelmed and needing a quiet MOMMY vacation has left me just sinking more into self pity. I know, such a depressing entry. If only my head would remind my heart that this is not my home and that someday my little boy will have a perfect body and perfect mind.....