Friday, June 24, 2005

We welcome John Thomas into our family!

Introducing John Thomas Uhlenkott!

Our little John Thomas was born Monday, June 20, at 2:16pm. He weighed in at 8 lbs. 4 oz. We are all so glad to have him with us -- he is truly a miracle!

Ah...what a nice rest! That birth stuff isn't easy!

Mommy and little John.

Mommy and John share a few special moments together. He was a rather stubborn boy during the labor, but fortunately by the time he finially arrived, he was pretty darn cute and Mommy quickly forgave him! :) What a precious little boy -- how Good God has been to us!!

Daddy introducting John to his big sisters and big brother.

Meeting their little brother for the first time!

What a great moment!! Theresa, Joseph, and Catherine welcomed little John with such joy and excitement. There is not doubt he will be well loved!

Finally getting to hold John ...

Theresa cannot hold John enough. And her repeated phrase is "I just can't believe he is ours." She will be a great help in the days ahead.

... after eight long months of waiting!

Catherine and Joseph are learning about being a big sister and big brother and are loving it. I think having to share him with the rest of the family will prove to be a challenge! Perhaps they would have rathered twins. :)

Monday, June 20, 2005

Home Birth

Yes, they do have hospitals out here in rural Idaho, but, yep, we tried the home birth option this time anyway ... and it was awesome. Awesome in every sense of the word. To be in the comfort of your own home, to be in the presence of extremely competent midwives who also understand the power and necessity of prayer and join in with your prayer, to have your baby in their own home from the very first moments of life outside of the womb ... the list could go on and on.

Our midwife, Sherry Riener, and one of her fellow midwives, Cathy Ward, did a great job and we felt totally at ease with them. The way certain things were handled made me know that they were very much on top of the situation, and that if anything needed to be done that they couldn't do, they would have had us in a hospital before we would have even known we were being transported. Sherry and Cathy love the mothers and babies they minister to and would never do anything that would put them in any danger. And here are some pictures of Sherry when she came back to our house to check up on Maura and John.

Sherry, our wonderful midwife

Sherry and the kids

Thank you very much Sherry and Cathy!!

More Pictures of John

Here are some more pictures of John and family.

Uncle Paul and Aunt Kristin meet their newest little nephew.

Daddy and John.

Happy and content with Mommy.

Joseph loving John.

Sleep, John, sleep.

E. coli!!

Well, we did get our water tested and the results were not good. They found E. coli in the water. Yuck!! Luckily we hadn't been drinking the water and according to the EPA, most strains of E. coli are not harmful. So, odds are we are ok.

So, I thought that maybe just cleaning the well would help in that regard. But, after Purexing the heck out of it and then re-testing it, E. coli was still found in the water.

Meanwhile, we needed some clean water. Most strains of E. coli might be harmless, but if there are any strains in the water, the water is susceptible to contamination from animal waste, and thus the possibility for coming across the dangerous strand is very real. Fortunately, we are water and pump people, so out comes the leaky water tank which we were able to plumb into the house.

Still, seeking a more permanent solution (you'd be surprised how quickly 500 gallons are used!), we thought we'd approach our landlady and see if she would be willing to drill a well for us. (She had wanted to drill before, but had spent so much on the remodel that she thought the drilling could wait a while.)

As luck would have it, the day Maura went to see her, she ended up being in the hospital and had almost died the previous night. Providentially, her docs were able to diagnose the problem as Wegener's Disease, a rare auto-immune disease of the blood vessels, and start treatment immediately. Her road to recovery looks to be a long one (say a prayer for her!) and so obviously she is not in shape to deal with our water problem.

So Now what??!!

Just when we had almost lost all hope ... Miracles of miracles, my dad knows her son, Bob. So he called him up and before you know it, the well drill was driving up! What an answer to prayers! Definitely a small miracle. After 3-4 weeks of having to get water every other day, and dealing with a limited water supply, we now have a much greater appreciation for access to good clean water!

My cousin Brett came over on a Saturday,figured out a good place to put the well, set up the drill, and started drilling

After going through some good top soil, we hit some red clayand then we hit some surface water and things started to get a little messy.
Brett, Paul, and I watch on.

Fortunately, we soon hit hard rock (30 - 35 feet), and Brett stopped drilling to drive some casing and seal off the ground water. Once the 30 feet of casing was in the ground and the hole was dry again, drilling commenced. Fifty feet later we were out of the rock and back into a hard clay. After another 10 - 15 feet, it was time to call it a day.

Now is when it gets interesting.

First off, Brett and Co. are worried that this hard clay is the cap to a high pressure artesian well. Sounds good in theory, but they are actually a pain in the bum. Plus, Brett wasn't so sure his seal would hold and the water might come up around the outside of the casing.

Secondly, Monday, June 20th, was the day they were to start drilling again ... and if you've read the post above, you know what else was happening on June 20th. Needless to say, neither Maura nor I was out there taking pictures!!

So, while Maura and I are busy getting John here, Brett and Co. pulls up and starts drilling right outside our window! I don't think Sherry or Kathy had ever had that sort of birthing experience before.

Now, Brett decided not to worry about the artesian possibility and to plunge on. All I know is that later that afternoon, they hit water

... at 2:15pm to be precise.

What is the significance of that!!! John and Water within one minute of each other!!! Wow! Water is the sign of new life and here we have new life!

And not only was it water, but it was a lot of water ... at least 80 gallons per minute. Small cities would be able to function on 80 gpm! That is a double, triple Wow!


Here is a shot of when we first hit water ... the surface water. This is probably about 5 to 10 gallons per minute. Now imagine this picture with 10 to 20 times the amount of water!

Thank God for small miracles: our water and our beautiful little boy!

Saturday, June 04, 2005

Our Little House on the Prairie

Here are some shots of our new place on the Camas Prairie!

Our new home

We moved in May 7th and are starting to feel a little settled. Our landlady had just remodeled the whole house ... new wood flooring, new bathrooms, new insulation, new heaters. She really did a lot to this place. Our only concern is the water. It is a hand dug well, but it is pretty close to the feed lot. They say it gets dirty a couple weeks in the spring when it is really wet. We should probably get it tested.

A view from Lukes Gulch Road

We are a good bit off the road, so Maura likes that with the little ones. We are also in a bit of a draw so that we don't see any of the neighbors. Our own little private residence.

Getting buzzed by our friendly spray plane pilot

And little did we know that later he would be back to spray another field that would put him directly overhead! Didn't get pictures of that one ... we were to busy ducking! :) Actually we were to busy running from one side of the house to the other. Joseph was in heaven!