Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Happy 2nd Birthday, My Little Man! :)

Hard to believe this was two years ago today....1/30/06 right after he was born (6:30am)...couldn't believe we had a son! :)
The sweetest pic of the sisters and their brother holding him for the first time a couple hours after he was born...
1 day old and so sweet :)
Daddy was/is so proud of his boy
funny hospital pics...these pics always crack me up! :)
Biggest sis watching out for lil' bro
Time to leave the hospital on 2/1/06 (the day they were supposed to induce me...good thing I didn't go that much over due!)
a few days old...
a few more days old :)
2 mos old...after his baby shower :)
hanging out in the bouncy seat
1st Easter
I love this picture...never thought a brown-eyed girl like me could produce a baby as blue-eyed as this! (not to mention none of my kids have brown eyes...odd!)
learning to eat...and oddly...still eating the same good ol' sweet potatoes even today at 2!

New Year's Eve 2006 in FL (11 mos)
New Year's Day in FL...celebrating 1st b-day...Aunt Terri gives me static hair!
I don't like my first b-day cake in FL :( Cake is yuck and makes me puke...but mommy did make a fun fire engine cake!
My first b-day party in IN...my mom made me this cool train cake...it was awesome, but I didn't like to eat it...
Me on my 1st b-day with my fav. fam...eating 3 cakes! My three fav. girls made me cakes...mommy made me a tiger cake and my sister's made me cool cakes too! Again, I prefer to look at the cake and NOT eat it lest I vomit!

Me on my first b-day above! And then below are two pics of me this year and my newest pic (last one) with my new big boy haircut taken a couple weeks ago! Wow...I can't believe I'm 2 today!!!!


Two years ago today I gave birth to the sweetest little guy I'd ever laid eyes on...

His conception was a little miracle in itself. We thought our family was complete after the birth of our second daughter. And then shortly after she turned 1 we found out we were unexpectedly expecting again! I still remember that June 1st day when we got the phonecall that my bloodwork came back positive. As excited as we were about the big news, we had just lost Kev's grandma to cancer that morning so it was day filled with mixed emotions....a life ending and one beginning. But, we were thrilled by the prospect of 3 kids...and a bit nervous about being outnumbered too :) Those 9 mos went by so swiftly and all along I told myself...surely this is a girl...surely we were meant to be the parents of only daughters. Well, God had other plans in store and I will never forget that early morning birthing session when out popped our sweet 10 lb Baby Stegs #3 and sure enough there were some boy parts attached! It was truly a shock to us, but a wonderful and welcome surprise...I think we had both hoped in our hearts that we would have a son one day. I know daddy was especially pleased, and although the girls were hoping for another sister they were like doting mothers on their little brother right away. It was a day I will never forget and I day I cherish in my heart and remember often, especially on this his "birth" day.

And, what joy our Dylan James has brought to us in his 2 years of life so far. I never would have dreamed that my heart could be so in love with this sweet little boy. He has always been his mama's boy and a little cuddler and now at 2 he doles out hugs and kisses whenever I ask and he is never lacking for smiles and affection. He's as rowdy as a boy full of testosterone can be but I love how that dynamic has mellowed the drama of our girls and I cherish our days filled with balls, cars, running, throwing, jumping and climbing. God truly blessed us with our little blonde-haired/blue-eyed son and we are eternally grateful and can't imagine our lives without our little man. Yes, the road has not always been smooth and easy for him, but I look back on all the pictures of him over the last 2 years and it just melts my heart to see how much he's changed and grown and matured. Last year this time he was barely walking and now he is running full speed wherever he goes usually screaming with glee in the process. Joy and smiles just seem to follow wherever he goes. And now this year he will become a big brother...a day I never really imagined for him...and I know he will rise to that occasion and be as protective as only a big brother can be. I am so proud of you, my handsome man...for the sweet, lovable, huggable toddler you've become and the loving young man I know you will be. I look forward to many more birthdays with you, my son. Mommy loves you, sweet boy, and I hope you have a wonderful 2nd birthday today.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Note to self...

Cutting up and handling raw meat while nauseous is not a good idea. Enough said :(

In Memory...


A year ago today my dear, sweet Grandpa F. passed away....

I remember that morning like it was yesterday. I was eagerly getting ready for Dylan's first birthday...I think I was in the the kitchen making his cake when the phone rang.....

I knew right away when I heard my mom's hysterical voice that something was terribly wrong. I will never forget how my heart stopped when she said, "Grandpa's dead". I remember thinking and saying "what? no that can't be right...what happened??" and sobbing myself cuz I really truly could not fathom that the one grandpa I had left who was fairly healthy was now gone. It truly was just a very unexpected death which just added onto the fact that we had just lost two other dear family members about 6 mos earlier (one being his wife, and my dear grandma). The grief of that day is still fresh in my mind and it took a lot of prayer and God given strength to come to terms with saying goodbye to another loved one so unexpectedly. I still miss him and my other two grandparents daily...they were all shining lights in my (and my family's) lives. Today, I just want to pay special tribute to my grandpa...cuz truly I do feel his presence in my life even today. He had this wonderful laughter about him, this soft-spoken humor and this down-to-earth love for life and his family, and I am so thankful I was able to know him and love him for as long as he lived. I've always been thankful that he was able to meet and know my 3 kids, so it understandably makes me sad that he (and my grandma) won't get to meet this newest baby. But, I can't help but picture them up above smiling and watching down on us and our family and I know they have front row seats for all the crazy action down here on earth. And I feel that they are truly a great part of this new baby even if they can't be here to meet him/her in person. So, here's to you, Grandpa. For the wonderful loving husband, father, grandfather and great-grandpa you always were and for the legacy you left in your family, especially your daughter (my mom)...for I know she loved her "daddy" so much and I know she and my own dad miss you every day too. Life has definitely not been the same w/o you around...but you left your footprint in our lives and we will always be grateful for that. Hugs to my parents today who I'm sure also remember this day a year ago very vividly....we love you both...and your love for grandma and grandpa was a testament to the wonderful daughter and son-in-law that you are...be proud of the fact that you lived and loved life to the fullest with both of them! :)

Monday, January 28, 2008

Liquid Aversion :(

Ok...I know I just posted about not being as horribly nauseous as last week...but I do have one major issue that started this weekend....

I call it liquid aversion....

Now I'm posting this to see if I'm the only crazy pg person that has had this issue cuz this is completely new for me (both as a pregnant person and non)....the issue is this....

Just the simple thought of drinking water makes me want to hurl chunks. I know, I know...water has no taste or smell so of all things this should pleasant enough for me to swallow...but not so. Actually this new issue became so bad this weekend that I think I actually got dehydrated cuz there was simply NOTHING in the house I wanted to drink. Now this is rare for me cuz usually I am a BIG water drinker...I drink tons of it all day long only to add on a cup of OJ for breakfast....so the thought of me not drinking water, well, I've never had this problem so it strikes me as odd. This weekend it became so bad that I could truly not think of anything I wanted to drink. Last week Root Beer, grape juice and crangrape were all ok and quiet enticing...not this weekend....so I begged my hubby to get me some red gatorade.....usually a good choice for me when I'm nauseous or sick normally....umm...not a good choice this time (after he ran to the store and got me two HUGE jugs of it...sorry honey!)....it just made me want to wretch more :( Ugh! What is wrong with me and how do I get around this. I literally had to force myself to swallow a bottle of water last night cuz I was worried I was getting a bladder inf. from not drinking enough. Of course with all this bad fluid intake comes the guilt of me imagining this baby drying up due to lack of fluid in-utero :( Yes, I'm guilt-ridden about everything! :) Ugh! Today has been better...I've been bound and determined to get over my new phobia of water, but it's not easy. I hope this passes...cuz I feel worse about not drinking than not eating due to nausea. I mean really...what kind of crazy person wants to blow chunks at the thought of drinking a nice cool glass of H20. Just when you think you got this pregnancy thing figured out you get these new symptoms :( Am I nuts? Probably...

Toilet Free days....

Ok, I know my titles are pretty sad lately...and this one kind of makes my readers think I don't even pee all day (which is hardly the case :))...but I think you avid readers get my drift :) I have happily not been running like a marathon runner back and forth the the potty like I was this time last week....hurray! I'm a little shocked to say the least, but I'm wallowing in the glory of actually being able to do some shopping (w/o worrying about where I'd toss my cookies if I had to :))...and just not feeling like I want to live my days in bed asleep...it's glorious! All that to say that yes, I'm still nauseous, but it's the kind of nausea that is just in the back of my mind and if I keep busy and keep my tummy full then I'm all good. I've only found myself gagging lately when I get hungry or when I smell certain things (poop being one of them...yes, this is unfortunate since I have a good old pooping son who is not gonna stop BM'ing just cuz it makes mommy's stomach turn)....I know you all wanted to know that :) So, I just had to share that great bit of news with you about my shinier, happier non-head-in-the-toilet days! Hurray for me! And, yes, I know I still have like 5 more weeks of 1st trimester and I know I'm not in the clear yet, but it's nice to not be in constant worry of vomiting.

So, the whole non-vomit thing was great this weekend cuz it allowed me to go about my business and stick to our busy routine. Friday was our school's first PTO movie night. I had every intention of helping with it, but by the time I got there there were enough helpers to serve the food/drinks, which worked out in my benefit cuz one thing that makes my stomach turn even when I'm not pg is popcorn...and I was not having a great nausea-night so I sat as far away from the popcorn popper as I could and I made Kev get the kids the "corn" and I just sat and watch that good ol' "rat movie" (I have no idea how to spell Ratatouille)...anyway...it was a cute movie and I think the kids enjoyed it...and overall I think there was a great turn-out for our first free movie night. Sat. was the same as every weekend....ballet in the a.m. for Hailey and then racing off the cheerleading after. My plan was to veg in bed that whole day, but the kids were very rambunkious (yes, I know I massacred that word)...so I felt bad for Kev taking all of them out by himself while I laid in bed, so I put myself together in 5 minutes and off we went. We did some quick b-day shopping for Dylan while Hailey was dancing and then it was off the our church gym. Nothing too exciting. I was exhausted by the time we got home and I fell into bed while Shelby went across our backyard to her buddy Ben's motor speedway hotwheels b-day party. I'm sure she had fun and I know enjoyed my peaceful slumber. Sunday...well, it was just as crazy....church, helping at church, home for a bit and then raced off to meet Kev's family for a belated b-day celebration for both his parents. Kev's aunt was in town from CO so she organized the event and it was nice to see almost the whole Steg family. Again, I have to say...it was nice NOT to be running to the bathroom constantly. Of course from there we had to literally put the pedal to the metal to make it back to church for our 2BMe Bible Study (sorry, we were late, Jill!). Our first meeting of the year was yesterday and the group has grown from like 13 to 60+....isn't that amazing! It's all a testiment to how God is using my friend Jill and her ministry to us moms and our tween girls. It was a good night and I enjoyed my rowdy table of girls as we got to know each other. So, honestly....this weekend was business as normal, but I think I was just so happy to not be horribly nauseous that I didn't even mind that I was tired.

Today has been much of the same...two rounds of dance class for Shelby and then more b-day shopping with Dylan. The shopping didn't go so splendidly and we had some moments of tears and craziness (especially when we lost one of Dylan's b-day balloons up up in the sky :( ) Not to mention I think we are all nursing some yucky headcold...poor Hailey didn't even want to go to school today (unheard of for her!) and Shelby has the worst looking lips full of sores due to her little cold. I am just exhausted and in desperite need of a nap, but since Hailey had Brownies in a little bit I know I'd never wake up if I slumbered now :( So, such is life...no nap today, which is bad considering I was up all night and will be up late tonight scrapbooking at preschool. I'm overextended right now, especially since I'm pg. I can't handle this regular schedule of ours....not to mention it's b-day central for our household this week...I have no idea how I'm gonna stomach making a cake for my sweet 2-year-old!?! :(

Ok...so now you know our whole life story for the past few days, which I'm sure you're thrilled about. While my nausea is better, with that comes my "worry" that maybe something is wrong if I'm not wanting to puke my brains out. Go figure...I'm never happy! :( I know I'm a crazy, worrisome loonatic, but I'm just being honest. I'll feel much better next week when we get to see this baby and have an u/s picture to cling to :) And can I just say....what is up with me losing my hair in the first trimester? I don't ever think I actually lost my hair til after I delivered...and now I'm finding big clumps everywhere...it's unnerving cuz by the time I'm post-partum I feel I might just be bald. Crazy stuff. And I must say....I forgot to mention in my last Shelby post....her great concern over how the doctor is going to get our baby out...and how he will fix me where he gets the baby out :) This was actually a big concern for her the day after we told her we were expecting. She sat for the longest time while she was going potty and asked me all about this (yes, she does her best thinking on the "jon" :)). No answer was good enough. She seems very concerned about my well being, which is very sweet. But, how do you really answer a 3 year old who wants to know how they get the baby out? Hmmm....tough questions....

Well, gotta go...hope you all had a great weekend and have a great week...my posts are gonna be fewer and shorter for a bit cuz I figure if I'm feeling better I might as well be productive around the house and get organized! :) Love ya'll!

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Shelby's new baby concerns...

So, I thought this was something worth posting....

As has been the case lately the girls minds have really been at work trying to comprehend this new baby "situation"...and bless them for that. They truly have been so sweet and very generous in their thoughts and concerns about where, when and how this is all gonna work out....

That being said, I know I told you Hailey's concerns about the new baby and the housing/room situation for him/her and how that would effect the current rooming situation...i.e. would we need a new house, bunkbeds, would we need to turn a closet into a room (ok, that's a joke people...but it could work for a few months :))...so all that being said....Shelby's mind has really been at work this week about these concerns. Daily we say a prayer for our baby and that he/she is healthy and growing and will come to meet us after summer time. There are always questions that ensue after this prayer...usually it comes with Shelby making sure the baby is a girl and that we name her Clara (yes, she askes this EVERY DAY...no joke!) :) But, this week she also had some housing/rooming concerns mostly related to Dylan.....

I think the conversation went like this:

"Mommy, where is the new baby gonna sleep??"

I think I said something like..."well, the baby can sleep in a crib in mommy and daddy's room for awhile"....

That answer wasn't really what she wanted to hear....so instead she rephrased her question....

"Where is Dylan gonna sleep?"...ok, now it was more clear...she was worried about the crib situation and how Dylan and the new baby could share a crib....

This is where it gets interesting.... :) and Shelby says....

"Maybe Dylan can go back in your belly and the new baby can sleep in the crib" ?????!!!!!???

LOL! I really didn't even know what to say to that cuz she was dead serious. Now either than means she wants to get rid of her brother (i.e....send him back to where he came from)...or maybe that's really the only good "rooming situation" she could think of. Either way, I'm not sure that solution will work for us :) But, I did appreciate her thought process :) :) That's our Shelba...full of good ideas! :)

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Toilet Bound...

Well, that pretty much sums up my day :( It's been all about running to the toilet for me. So far there has been no upheaval, which isn't always good cuz that means I get no relief from the constant nausea...not to mention I'm not a big fan of "the dry heaves" :( Ok...so you get how my morning's been...not super unless you consider your head in the toilet fun...I don't. I'm trying not to complain and in order to do that I thought I'd put my thoughts in writing for today....so here it goes....my motto for the next few weeks til the nausea lifts: Head in Toilet=Healthy/Thriving Baby. It'll all be worth it for the end result...that sweet new Steg baby. Not to mention this is my final time to "enjoy" this thing they call "morning sickness" so I should be wallowing in the excitment of it all. Ok...so remind me of that as my days get worse and the upchucking comes forth. For now I am just thankful I made it through a bumpy shopping trip to Kroger w/o puking in my purse...from now on I am carrying a plastic bag or bucket with me...who knew the usual pleasant smells of grocery store food could be so repelling. Alrighty...it's off for a good, long nap now where my mind can forget about wanting to blow chuncks....oh happy day...

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Exhausted!

Well, folks, the exhaustion has set in big time for me. Not that I wasn't tired before today, cuz goodness knows I was...but I think I was on this pregnancy high and now that the news is out and I've had my first appt....well, I just hit the sack like a bag of potatoes (ok, that makes no sense, but I'm pg so I can say crazy things, right?!) :) So, I just woke up from the most blissful sleep and I have the crazy bed head to prove it :) I think it was almost 3 hours long and bless my kiddos for sleeping that long too...mommy and baby 4 appreciated. I don't feel at all rejuvinated, but I know I needed the rest so I'm sure what I got was better than nothing. Wow, am I tired. Not to mention, a good nap made me forget about my nausea, which is always a good thing! :) Anyway....so you get my drift...I'm tired and worn out and if I was having baby #1 I'd still be in bed...but life goes on when you're already a mom :)

Ok...so this will be a brief post. I just wanted to relay the boring events of my "first appt". I don't even think I'd call this morning my first OB appt, cuz I never saw an doctor nor did I get an u/s done. I kind of had a feeling that would be the case. It was simply a consult with a nurse (childbirth educator)...who went over our same ol' health/genetic history, which hasn't changed much in the course of a couple years. I really don't have much of a history for my pregnancies or births aside from Shelby's heart defect, which was minor in the end. But, it was lots of filling out paperwork and answering questions. Of course things have changed in the course of the last 2 years when I was last prego...so we had to hear about that...mainly about down syndrome and the new test for that. We have always opted out of the AFP testing cuz if we have a child with any Trisomy there is nothing we would do about that...anyway....but still...we have decisions to make regarding testing. I'm a little nervous cuz I'm older (and I always said I'd be done having babies by the time I was 30 and technically I conceived before I turned 31 so that does comfort me) but still I have my fears cuz this was an unexpected pregnancy, though I always take care of myself so I'm sure I have nothing to worry about. Anyway...so it was mostly just us sitting in this room with this nurse answering questions. I thought they might let us in for a quick u/s, but I guess they do things differently now, which is fine. Our first u/s is set for 2 weeks from now on Feb. 5 in the morning. So, I'm excited for that. The good news is that our office has now invested in the 3D u/s so we'll get to see 3D shots, which won't be very impressive at 9 weeks, but at 20 weeks we'll get to see our little baby (or alien as Kev calls in-utero babies...cruel, I know :))...I've always kinda scoffed at those 3D ultrasounds cuz I think they can be a little creepy as far as how real to life they show your baby...but at the same time I'm excited to see one of our kids 3D in-utero! :) So that was pretty much the jest of our appt...just talk and then some peeing and bloodwork from me...nothing exciting. We did come away with our usual free bag of goodies and stuff so that's always fun. So, for now we just wait another 2 weeks for a quick ultrasound and then 2 weeks after that we have our first OB appt. Pregnancy is all about waiting so I've become good at that. A special thanks to Kev's aunt and cousin who came over bright and early to watch our 3 rugrats so we could rush off to the docs. And how sweet of them to also bring us a meal for tonight...I must admit I have been slacking in the dinner dept lately...we've been living off Chinese food, pizza and hotdogs, but I can't stomach being in the kitchen much so that's the price my family pays. Thanks again to all of you for your wonderful comments and emails...tomorrow hopefully I'll get my rear in gear and reply! :) Love ya'll!

Happy B-day, Aunt Mary! :)


Well, I wanted to give a big ol' b-day shout-out and blog-hug to one of my fav. aunts, my Aunt Mary. Today is a big b-day for her and while I know she's a busy lady who doesn't have time to read my blog I still wanted to recognize her today and tell you all what a wonderful lady she is. I've always said I have the best aunts in the whole wide world and my Aunt Mary definitely lives up to that expectation. She is one of the most giving, loving and thoughtful people I know...not to mention she seems to have way more energy than I do. She's my grandma's #1 caregiver and a definite stronghold in our family, and she's one of those people that never complains no matter how full her plate is. I admire her so and I can't imagine my life w/o her. She spoils our little family to death and we love every minute of it and she's just a light in my life. When I told her we were expecting #4...she was maybe more ecstatic than we were...she is just that type of person and I love her for that. She makes me want to smile more and complain less every day. Ok...so you get it...she's one of my fav. people. and I wish I was down in FL now to give her a big hug. My fam. down there threw her a big surprise b-day party a couple weeks ago and I know she so appreciated that and deserved it, for I'm a firm believer that a giver like my Aunt Mary definitely needs some parties showered on her! I'm blessed to have her as my aunt and my friend and I'm so glad we've become as close as we have over the years. So, today I just wanted to send a special note of love and thanks to my Aunt Mary. Happy Birthday and here's to many more years!!!

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Pregnancy Rewind...

Phew...ok, so that last post was a long time coming for me...I'm not good at keeping secrets and to know I was pg for a week or so and have to come up with other things to blog about...well, it was torturous....but, I guess, it was necessary too...as I needed about a week to call the necessary people and "break the news" :)

But, I must say that personally I needed some time to process Baby Stegs #4. Not that we aren't thrilled by the prospect of another beautiful child...it's just that we weren't expecting that conception would be such an easy thing for us. Ok, so take a trip down memory lane with me if you will.....let's rewind to 1999...shortly before our 1st anniversary we find out we are expecting Baby Stegs #1 (Hailey)...first month off pill (due to issues)...young, newly married, but very excited....ok...Mar. 2002...Kev finally has a job after a year of unemployment...we decided it's time to give Hailey a sibling...easier said than done...15 mos later we have to resort to IUI...finally success with that in Aug. 2003 and out pops babe #2 Shelby...11 mos into her life I am unexpectedly pg with #3 (Dylan)...and now it's the present and I go off the pill in Dec. due to some health issues and hormone problems...and, yep...you guessed it...preggers again :) All right...so that was kind of a long drawn out process...but I felt like it needed to be said...do you see how confused I might be by all this. I mean, it's mind-boggling to me to go from super-fertility to infertility and back to double super fertility. Mind you, I'm not complaining nor questioning God's plan...I'm just confused as to how that all has worked and it has taken some time to process (and I'm still not done processing it). Not that I thought I was immune to pregnancy after 18 mos of infertility...but I guess I really didn't expect babies to fall in my lap like this :)....ok, that has been my thought process over the last week or so...among other things...

So....this is how it all came about....well, I guess we know how me being pg came about so we won't go into that :)....but this is the jest of it. You all know I've been having some "health issues" for the last half of 2007. Nothing serious, mind you, just hormonal/bleeding issues due to a low dose prog. pill (which was necessary due to a tumor on my liver). Things got so bad in November and I was an emotional basket case that Kev and I decided it was time to do away with "extra hormones" (the pill)...ok...so around the beginning of Dec the pills went in the trash (or rather just didn't get picked up from the pharmacy)...so, it's the holidays...I go about my business...I'm a little emotional around Christmas (I think I even cried on the phone to my in-laws...maybe that should have tuned me into a bun in the oven since I am not a crier?)....so, yes, I was pg before Christmas....yes, I was pg in FL and during our Disney trip (so much for me NOT being pg this time around....I think I jinxes myself last year when I made that comment! :)). No wonder I was so tired at Disney....and no wonder that Mission Space ride had my clutching a barf bag. Let's just say this baby must have been firmly implanted in my uterus after some of those rockin' roller coasters...and I have no doubt that this baby will pop out having a need for speed due to my coaster rampage! Shame on me! I really had no thoughts of being pg as I confidently passed those warning signs that said "danger, not appropriate for pregnant woman". Craziness. And to be honest, when I found out I was pg my roller coaster days at Disney were the first to come to mind and I felt a mountain of guilt over any damage I may have done to our baby...I still am nervous about that so please keep that worry of mine in prayer......

Alrighty...so, yes, I was pg at Disney....pg when we got home....and then the days just turned to weeks and all of a sudden last weekend I thought, "hmmm....I really should have gotten a period by now"...but some spotting that weekend and before just kind of solidified my thought that my period was on the way soon....and probably this has just been an "off cycle" due to my pills, etc. Ok....so the weekend goes by. I get that funny uterine cramping...not the period kind, but the baby kind...I guess after 3 kids I know that cramping. Weird. I tried to put it out of my mind...then there was my new "heat factor"...which makes me feel like I'm going through menopause every night. Ok, so I was waking up in a hot sweats...even Kev told me I was hot and this is coming from the king of heat. Weird. Ok...still I was in denial. So the weekend has gone by and I've convinced myself that if I don't have my period by next weekend that I'd take a test. Ok...easy enough...I'm a patient person and can wait. Well, then I start to obsess about it...and worry about it...and then lo and behold I read my friend, Amanda's, blog last Monday and she's pg and due like the same time I could be due...ok, so that was my sign. I tore through our closet of medical supplies and came up with an old, old pregnancy test (from when we were trying for Shelby)...I think all I had to do was breath on it and sure enough...it came back positive (see pic below :))...hmmm....ok, so I still was in denial and since it was a very old/expired test I decided to show Kev that night and see what his thoughts were....so that's what I did....

I'll admit I was nervous about the "dad's"reaction. Not that he'd be upset or anything cuz he helped "cause" this, but Kev has always admitted that he was a "two child" guy. Now that doesn't mean that he doesn't love Dylan or this new baby or that he didn't want more kids...but just that when we had two he was fine with us being done. I, on the otherhand, always saw myself with 4 kids and I guess when we had three I figured that was a good compromise for Kev and I :) Yes, we are all about compromise! :) Ok...so joking aside. I didn't know how Kev would take the news. So, I waited til we'd put the kids to bed that night and he was sitting here at the computer putting our Disney pics online :) I grabbed the pee stick and tossed it in front of him. I think his reaction was "what does this mean?"....and I think I said "what do you think it means?"...and then he simply said "COOL!" :) Hmmm....good response, babe! :) I was happy with that...and I think that just that simple response told me it was going to all be ok :) Of course being the "pee stick doubter" that he's always been...we decided it was best to go get a blood test the next day...so that's what I did (and have always done...I mean, who can really believe that peeing on a stick can tell you your life is gonna change again :)). I'm a doubter, I guess. So, this was last Tuesday...HCG test done at lab. We waited that agonizing wait til Wed. afternoon and then I called and got the results. Of course they couldn't find them so I had to wait til the end of the day...but sure enough...PG with a capital P...HCG 2773...about 6 weeks pg and looking good. Hmmm...ok, so it started to sink in and I called Kev to tell him at work. There was discussion about waiting to tell people...but to be honest I'm horrible at that....some of you out there are mighty good at keeping you bun in the oven a surprise til like month 4...but I can't do that since I get so sick along they way. Ok...I decided it was a bad idea to not tell my family especially...I talk to my mom almost every day and I know she'd be worried if she knew I was sick all the time. So, I made the first call to mom. Dad got the first call last time with Dylan's pregnancy so to keep it fair it was Mom's turn. She was shocked to say the least and I believe her response was "Don't even tell me..." when I told her I had something to tell her. Hmmm...so she didn't respond exactly how I had imagined...but I did understand her concerns. 4 kids is definitely not an easy load to bear on many levels. My dad was as sweet as could be. He said "that's going around" (regarding pregnancy) when I told him I was expecting...he's an old softy for his grandkids so I know he'll be the same with this one. Ok...so then we called a good number of family members on both sides. Everyone was wonderful in their support. Friends...well, I'm sorry if I didn't get to calling/emailing everyone. By this weekend I was just plum tuckered out on sharing the news and it's not always easy for me to have phone conversations with 3 kids running around. But, everyone has been great with their support, emails, phonecalls, etc. We are blessed.

Yes, we've had mixed emotions/reactions from people. Most think we're crazy to have 4 (especially you FL folk...to have 4 in FL is almost unheard of...MI folk are more welcoming with our news...to them having a half dozen is normal :)), but I've come to realize in the last couple years that we are destined for craziness so why not just add to it!? We wouldn't want this year to be dull would we?! And most people are sweet enough to say "if anyone can do it you guys can"...awww....well, we definitely need more of those positive thoughts...cuz I'm not sure how easy this is gonna be...though some moms of 4 or more have told me...if you can do 3 why not a few more?! It should be easy, right?! And just to clarify...#4 will be our finale!!! I know I said that about #3, so maybe it's not wise to put that out there right now...but really...this is IT for us! :) Put a fork in me, I'm done! :) (ok, no forks...but I am done!) :)

Ok...so what else. Oh...I guess I forgot about our current kids. Yes, we told them, but after we had told most of our family. I know that might sound mean, but since we found out on a "church night" we didn't want the kids spreading the news before our family had found out. So, we told them after church :) We taped us telling them too...it was pretty funny. We told them we were going to getting something new and made them guess what it was...we even hinted that it started with a B and ended with a Y. Ok...so that game didn't work. The kids were confused...they were guessing we were getting a new bathtub, etc....not the direction we were hoping they'd go. Finally we told them we're gonna have a new baby. I don't think any of them believed us. Hailey blurted out "you don't look fat yet, Mom" (umm, thanks for that Hailey! :))...and then she insisted we just did NOT have room for a baby and that someone was going to have to live in a closet or get a bunkbed :) She is our logical thinking/problem solver so she spent the rest of the night trying to fix that situation for us :) Shelby...well, she said, "I want a sister and I will name her Clara!" (after her Bitty Baby). Ok...easy enough...but when approached about another brother she was not so excited...finally she said that was ok too and we'd name him Fritz (yes, we are still on Nutcracker time over here in Steg land :)). And I won't tell you my thoughts on Fritz Stegs....though that is better than Jedediah Stegs :) (sorry, Kev :)). So, surprisingly Shelby has been very loving and angelic about the baby. We pray for him/her every day and to that Shelby again has to add..."it's going to be a girl??" and "I want to hold the baby now!" :) Dylan....well, he is our man of few words. But, that night we told the kids he and Hailey had a good ol' conversation after which he was yelling "BABY" and then Hailey insisted she and Dylan decided this baby must be a boy so we could even things up around here. Ok....so kids say the darnest things...they were so sweet in their reactions and I know they will all be great siblings to this new baby. And, wow...I never thought Dylan would be a Big Brother...that is amazing to me. How fun, since he does love babies...or should I say he loves to throw things at babies :)

Ok...so what else. Oh, yes...I will be 7 weeks tomorrow, we think. Due to my off cycle and the fact that I have no idea when I had my last period I just took a guess on my LMP...so Sept. 10 is my due date as of now. Of course, with my luck and my past pregnancies I will go over....so it might be closer to Oct. if I don't have anything to say about it....which leads me to my thought for the day....oh my I will be PG ALL summer long! :( I always made fun of pg women who had to do that cuz I had gotten so lucky thus far...I guess I jinxed myself there...and I won't even breath the word pregnancy bathing suit...oh, I just did....help me now, Lord...I was always hoping I'd never had to buy one of those! :) As for the rest of our baby stuff and maternity clothes...we're all good. I kept it all...not cuz we planned on having more, but b/c I thought for sure if I got rid of it all we'd end up pg right away...I guess that backfired on me too!?! :) But, at least we have everything!

We have our first doctor's appt tomorrow...it's really not a doc's appt cuz I think we only see the nurse/childbirth educator and the financial advisor...so not too exciting. I'm hoping that since my dates are unclear they might fit me in for a quick u/s where hopefully we can see that sweet heartbeat fluttering away. That always puts my mind at ease. So, if you think of us bright and early tomorrow say a prayer for me. I'm always nervous for that first appt where they look for the baby and the heartbeat. And while I'm thinking of it...just pray for me during the whole pregnancy. I'm normally a nervous pg person due to my past neonatal nursing days...I know all that can go wrong in utero and worry can sometimes plague my thoughts. I've vowed to put it in God's hands this time...and to enjoy this last pregnancy and be as worry-free as possible.

Symptoms...well, I've told you some of them. The whole heat thing...well, you'd think that'd be an awesome symptom on these subzero days, but to be honest I'm actually freezing all day then sweaty all night...it's not the most comfortable situation. I've never had this heat issue with pregnancy before...but then again I've never had a Sept baby...so maybe it's a weather thing. Also...a big difference with this baby...no constant peeing. With my others I knew I was pg cuz I was peeing all night long...not with this one. Same with my chest...doesn't hurt at all like with the others. I've had very mininal cramping too, which is weird for me. The spotting thing...this was a first for me during pregnancy. I guess it's semi-normal, but it's never been for me. Bloating/gas....ugh...it's been awful! You should see me at the end of every day....my stomach looks like I'm 6 mos pregnant. Gas is a bad thing....and that's not to say that I'm tooting all day long for all your toot-teasers out there! :) I am just very bloated. And the nausea. Well, unfortunately it started on Friday afternoon already...and this weekend it got pretty bad actually. There has been no "head in the toilet"...but I'm trying to stay busy and not focus on the nausea. For me having "all day sickness" is normal though...has been for all my pregnancies...it's best in the a.m. and by night time I'm at my worst. But, like my mom said yesterday....even though that part of pregnancy is rough...just try to keep in your head that this is your last pregnancy and to cherish it...good and bad :) Good advice, mom...and since I don't have my head in the toilet right now I'll agree with you! :)

Cravings...well, this should have clued me in right away that I was "with child"...I actually can't stand the thought of chocolate. That's not to say that I don't eat it right now (cuz I ate half a choc bar today already :))...but I really just want fruit and meat....weird, I know....I remember a few weeks ago when I should have been PMS'ing and instead of chocolate I wanted some beef...very weird for me who is not a meat person. And I can't stand the thought of water now...all I was is juice....or anything fruity for that matter :) Cravings are such a funny thing.

My figure: Well, it's gone out the door. Usually that's not an issue cuz it's good to feed that baby what it needs...but when you have a tight little red number you need to fit into for your brother's wedding in 7 weeks...well, it's no good to be a porker. Ugh! I tried the dress on this weekend and it's snuggedy snug already :( No good....I'm not sure what I'm gonna do as it has no room for a baby in it (maybe cut a hole in it and hold a big bouquet so no one will notice!?...what do you think, Candy?! :)). Maybe it would be a good thing if I was puking for the next 7 weeks....oh my...did I just say that?! That is gonna come back to bite me in the butt! Ok, but truthfully...I'm sporting a little tummy and I'm only 1 1/2 mos.

The gender question. Of course we are up for a boy or a girl...we have both so either is fine with us...no pressure there. You've heard the kid's opinions and, of course, daddy Kev in his economical thinking would like a boy so he doesn't have to pay for 3 weddings...can't blame him there! :) Me...I'm really torn. I love my girls and my boy...and I can't really say I'm leaning towards either. I feel it's a girl, but to be honest I have been wrong about ALL my kids so I really have no motherly intuition there. I have had some dreams before I knew I was pregnant and those did reveal a gender, but I am keeping that to myself cuz usually my dreams are correct! :) As far as finding out via ultrasound. Well, we've done it both ways...we knew with Shelby and not with the other two...and I'll be honest, while I'm not a surprise person usually, I really liked not knowing....I mean I enjoyed knowing with Shelby too...but I like being able to tell people what the baby is on delivery day. So, I guess I'm torn there. The practical mom in me thinks we need to know the gender so we can decide our housing/rooming situation...so you'll have to check back with me in April/May to see what we decide on that. Kev always wants to know the gender so I'm always the decider on that. As far as names...well, we never tell those...mostly cuz we never have them til delivery (and also cuz I don't like people's opinions on names)...we are bad name pickers...we constantly struggle with that...but you see what I'm dealing with here...a hubby who likes the name Jedidiah for goodness sakes!?

Ok....what else. So the big questions...what are we going to do about our small house and our massive amount of kids!?! Good question and we still haven't figured that out. There has been talk about finishing our basement and moving Hailey to a room down there temporarily...or even to the extreme of us moving and finding a better/semi-bigger house. I'll be honest and say I don't want to move now....not only am I pregnant and not feeling well, but there is little chance we could get this house ready to sell and find a new one and move...all in 7 1/2 mos. It's not really feasible. Plus I really like our location and our neighbors...and really don't feel that God wants us to move now. So, I think the plan now is to get our house/van problems fixed (yes, we still have problems with both)...then move onto finishing our basement. This is all still in the works and no decisions have been made...so we'll see how it goes. Either way...we need to make some changes and get more organized. We started this weekend with the kids' rooms clearing clothes out and organizing toys. We didn't get nearly what we'd hoped done, but every little bit helps. Thanks to Kev's parents who took pity on us our ever-growing family and took all 3 kids for 2 days! It was nice to sleep in and have some "quiet/alone" time! :) Kev even made me breakfast in bed! :) Awww...he's the BEST!

Well, as you can see I can certainly write a novel about all the thoughts and things that have occurred over the last few weeks. I must say I was so silly to think things were going to slow down this year. Is it just me or did I jinx myself into this pregnancy. I mean who names their blog stegfamilyoffive only to have that in need of changing a year later...apparently me! :) Go figure. And, yes, I will be working on a new blog name :)

Oh...and one downer bit of news due to baby #4....we will have to postpone our big 10th anniversary caribbean cruise :( This was most disappointing as it was scheduled for the end of August and obviously me being 2-3 weeks from delivery would not be ideal for that kind of vacation. We're still re-working that idea and trying to figure out when it will be most fun to go...non-pregnant or pregnant?? Hmmm....

Well, I just want to end with praise and thanks. Thanks to all your dear and wonderful friends and family who have been so supportive and uplifting with our unexpected news. It definitely wasn't in our (Kev and my) plan to be hearing the pitter patter of more Steg feet this year...but God had his plan all along and I know his plan for our family is a perfect and good plan...and that he knows best. I know I could easily worry how we will provide for our 4 children both now and in the future (and how much sanity we will need to do that :)), but I have full confidence that God will provide every step of the way and that he doesn't give us anything we can't handle. So, for any of you out there who worry about us or your own lives and mounds of children :)....let your heart be still...cuz my heart is at peace about it.

I love you all and thank you from the bottom of my heart for your support. I promise to keep you posted though I'll try not to bombard you with anymore LONG posts like this one! Yeah right! :) Hang in there and peace out from this bloated-bellied mama and the newest Steg baby :)

Monday, January 21, 2008

Because we thrive on craziness...

...yes indeedy our household will be growing by two feet around Sept. 10!!! :)

Yes, we are as shocked as you :)
No, we were not planning on this :)
Yes, we are thrilled :)
So, here's to Baby Stegs #4 (aka Final Baby Stegs!) :)
...so much for our plans on slowing down this year...obviously we were destined for chaos :)

Friday, January 18, 2008

Happy B-day, Poppy!


Well, if memory serves me correctly I do believe today is Kev's dad's birthday....and if my calendar is correct it's a BIG one too! I won't go saying how many candles are gonna be on his cake, but let's just say he's not 21 and that he's gonna need a BIG cake to fit them all on! :) Ok, so no more "old" jokes, especially to a guy who looks half his age. But, truly Happy B-day to the father of my wonderful hubby and the poppy to my sweet kids. If there is one thing I can say about my father-in-law it's that I married a mini replica of him...yes, Kev. I've seen how patienct and kind and wonderful Kev's dad is with his family...and I see those same amazing attributes in Kevin and it is those things that I love most about him and what swayed me in the first place to be his bride. I just love that peace about him (Kev) (and it's something I don't have myself and that I NEED!)...and it's something that I'm sure Kev's mom appreciates about Dad too. So, here's to you, Poppy...for being a wonderful husband, father, poppy, brother, son, etc...and for being a legacy in our family that we all want to model. We are proud to be in your family and thankful for all the love, generosity, and peace you exude. You deserve all the cake, gifts and love that this birthday can give you....congrats on another year of aging gracefully and here's to many more! Looking forward to celebrating with you soon :)

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Finally...some WDW pics! :)

Ok....so here's the long awaited plethora of pics. Don't be surprised to find hundreds of them so enter this website at your own risk :) I wish I could have "explained" all the pics, but this program didn't really allow that nor am I silly enough to think you'd all want to read every word about our trip (well, Nina would but she knows all the scoop since she saw the good, bad and ugly firsthand :))....so without further ado...here is the link...it's all pretty self explanatory, I think...just click on the dates and then on the pics if you want to see anything...or paroose them quicky...it's up to you. Two weeks from today we were up and driving to the parks right now from So. Fla...and I must say...as crazy as that time was, the bad memories have faded and I'd do it all over again this week if I had the chance (and got some free tickets :)). Ok...enough said....Disney Rocks! :)

http://www.meerasea.com/pics/

Monday, January 14, 2008

Say it ain't so!

Here's the girl all smiles in her new cheer duds :) She does look pretty cutesy for a cheerleader :)

rah rah and a little attitude shot :) very typical of our 7 year old :)
ok, this pic below got thrown in here...Hailey made this belated b-day present for me yesterday while I napped :) Aww...so sweet :) I love that thoughtful girl :) And BTW...I look semi-tanned! I was happy to see this...that FL sun must have shown through on those super frigid days :)



a little view into the first cheer time....we sat too far away so even our super awesome new camera couldn't capture the happy moments of cheer-dom :)




Well, the cheerleader in our midst emerged this weekend :) And much to our chagrin (is that a word?)...she loved every minute of cheering for those b-ballers on the sidelines. I believe her response after the big game when I asked her if she liked cheerleading over b-ball was "Oh YES!" :) So, bah humbug...we have a cheerleading fool in the family :) But, it was really cute to see her so jazzed about something and looking quite snazzy in her cheer uniform too. So, that's pretty much all we had going on this weekend. I would like to say the weekend was gloriously non-stressful, but due to a horrible time taking Christmas stuff down and dealing with a VERY dead Christmas tree that had shed a good portion of it's needles over our entire home. I can have to admit that kinda put a downer on the weekend of rest :( I won't even tell you how long it took us on Saturday to get our tree undecorated and to heave ho and shove with all our might to get it out of the front door. It must have been a sight to any neighbors watching from their windows (luckily you were gone at this point, Jill :)). And during the whole process I swore off all real trees for good, muttering under my breath some obsenities about pine needles (which took me about 2 hours to pick up by hand cuz in the process of vacuuming them our vaccum broke :))....ok...so you get it...it was not a fun day and my hands full of pine needle marks proves that. There is definitely something to be said for getting those good ol' fake trees. We might be investing in one post-Christmas next year. Anyway...so that was how we spent our whole weekend. I knew it'd take a buttload of time to get that all done, but I really didn't think it'd take two whole days to put all the holiday stuff away. Yikes. I'm worn out. So, that was our weekend...cheer practice Fri., cheering for first game Sat., lots of holiday re-packing :(, and then more of the same....ugh...I'm tired....oh...which reminds me...I did get a nap in yesterday...glorious as I've not been sleeping well and I even slept through a new movie we tried to watch (Ocean's 13...I'm sure it was good :))....oh....and bummer on those Colts...that game was terrible! I guess you win some and lose some. Hailey was majorly bummed...her teacher is a big fan and it's always "homework" to watch the games :( Poor Indy :( Ok....and before I sign off I have some lil' tidbits of info to add since I've not been great about blogging lately due to holiday chaos and exhaustion....

1. Disney pics are almost ready to be displayed...Kev has them on our website, but since our last name is on that I want him to rename it so we'll be sending out a link to those tomorrow...yay! :)

2. Dylan finally opened all his Christmas presents yesterday! Thanks, Aunt Sue for the goodies...he loved them and is throwing the balls everywhere! He's also succeeded in breaking 2 of his gifts this week...go figure :( And it's now the countdown to b-day #2! It'll be here in just 2 1/2 weeks! Hard to believe my baby is almost two! :(

3. Happy b-day to Hailey's teacher from last year...Mrs. T! It's her big day today, I think!

4. I didn't get any cake yet for my b-day (and I'm not holding my breath!)...but I did get my free cold stone creation last week and boy was it yummy...some peanut butter chocolate concoctions...just heavenly! And I did get a lovely canvas artwork from my Hailey yesterday...she's such an artsy sweetie :)

5. New arrivals/expectations...well, I've been neglectful as far as this goes...I don't even think I mentioned last month on Dec. 14th (oh, it's actually one month today!) that our buds, Nate and Laura and big Sis Natalie welcomed Max(well) to their sweet home...congrats guys...he's adorable! And our old pals up north, Chad and Amanda, are expecting their first baby, a girl, in May...whohoo...welcome to the wild world of daughters, guys! :) Also, my old college bud and matron of honor in my wedding, Lori and her hubby, Chad (and big sis Nicole) are almost ready to welcome their second child, Dylan (what a coincidence on that name!) to their family...and then I just popped over to my bud, Amanda's blog and she is expecting her 5th baby! :) Whoa, mama! Add onto that that my friend, Christyn from nursing school just welcomed her 6th child (yes, you read that right!), Agnes Star on Dec. 17th....well, the world seems to be booming with babies lately. And that leaves me with my buddy, Ann....I know we've tried to connect lately....I hope your 2nd babe in the oven is doing well too! I'm still waiting to hear what "he/she" is! Ok....so that's all the baby talk....I just wanted to offer my congrats to all those people before another month went by.
6. Our basement...still leaking and no one can figure out why...we have guys upon guys out to look at it and they are baffled...not sure what we're gonna do about it...and all I can say is I'm not happy...same with the van...apparently it needs another new part after something went wrong while the shop had it...how does that work...we bring it in with one problem only to have it returned with another!? I'm not happy about that and we are still waiting for news on the cost of everything...Grrrrr....sometimes cars and house issues get to me!
7. Our trial "family time at home" has been going well....ok, so this weekend wasn't superb for the kids cuz we were doing Christmas takedown and they were not even allowed on the main floor due to hazards of pine needles....but Fridays are now mornings with mommy for Dylan and Shelby and we had a good ol' time of puzzles, books and learning. I am patting myself on the back cuz Shelby seemed to eat that time up...it was great....not sure if it will always be that way and Dylan was a bit "in the way" as far as learning goes...but it was still relaxing and fun...

And I'm sure I had some other pressing info to share, but for the life of my tired brain I can't think of it. Hope you all have a lovely, warm week.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Disney pics to pass the time...

Well, I won't even tell you how hard it was to even download these few pics...and these are not the ones I chose originally...but for some reason all my vertical pics (which are almost ALL my pics)...won't download upright :( So, you'll have to settle for this hodgepodge of pics that I could download until I figure out the problem...above is our group (minus photographer Nina) at Animal Kingdom on New Year's Day...on one of their many bridges...this one you can see the big snow mountain/Yeti coaster in the background.
Here's the girls all smiles at Magic Kingdom after their face painting experience...Shelby was a unicorn and Hailey was something called "wishes"?!
Our family of five right before we entered Animal Kingdom (obviously) :)
The first characters that Dylan and Shelby saw at Animal Kingdom...good ol' Goofy and Pluto...as you can see Dylan just wanted to give them five :)
A "happy" group shot in Cinderella's castle at MK after the big Princess breakfast (on my b-day) :)

Our whole group outside our lovely cabin at Ft. Wilderness :) And below is a funny shot at MGM of the gang with their 3D shades on (for the Muppet show)...sorry I don't have any Epcot pics or other good ones...I promise I'll work on that for next week....these sideways downloaded pics have me baffled and frustrated!




Well, I've realized this week that in order to post many of my Disney pics I'm gonna have to go about things a little differently. Due to the awesome quality of photos my snazzy new camera takes...plus the fact that we took like 1300 pics in FL, there is just too little space on my dear lil' ol' blog to fit anything at that capacity. So, I'm trying to figure that out...most like the answer will be a link returning you to our good old webpage from long ago, but I'll have to see what my wise computer geek hubby has to say about it all and if he can help me lest I go crazy from trying to figure out a solution. Now I'm not expecting most of you want to see every darn pic, but I know I am a Disney lover and Disney is a place many of us have been (or will go) so it's always fun to see pics from a place we can all relate to...so I'll see what I can do and be looking for those next week sometime. For now I'm just gonna pick a few pics of our southern adventure in the land of Mickey. Hope you all are having a fantasticly super day/week. Our week has not exactly gone as planned...our van that had some steering issues before Christmas and was in the shop for over a week while we were gone now has some new issues and needs to go back in...not to mention our basement that was leaking last year and took a lot of cash and time to fix...well, you guessed it...it's leaking again and no one can figure out why. Add onto that a boy that is getting more molars and a girl who is still trying to get back on her schedule and a mom who is despirately trying to get her house back in post-holiday/vacation order and still spend time with the kids while trying to get a load of PTO paperwork done...well, you get the picture...it's been a bumpy road this week. I can say that in all honestly cuz the one person in our house who NEVER loses it lost in the night he saw water in our basement. So, pray for no more house/car snafoos after this. This isn't how we planned to start out 2008. I will say that I am at peace with my decision to slow down this new year. I am opting out of few things that I normally dive into...namely church volunteering and Bible Study. Now that might sound a bit heathenistic of me to back out of those, but I feel our family needs a little more time at home and in order to do that we have to cut back on even the "holy" church things :) So, we'll see how it goes. I'm excited to have Fridays and Wednesdays at home now to bask in the love my children, though I know I will miss that quality time with church friends and diving into the Word with other moms/wives :) I have no high expectations as to how much quality time our family be spending together...but I'm gonna give it a whirl. So, until next time...hugs to everyone near and far :)

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

10 Years Ago Today...


...the man of my dreams (yes, Kev :)) got down on his knee and asked me to be his wedded wife (though probably not in those exact words) :) I've gotta say that that day seems like it was a century ago, yet still the memory is so vivid. I don't remember the events of the day nor even what day of the week it was (maybe a Friday?)...but I remember going to his basement apartment that day and walking into his room and seeing the most beautiful red roses sitting up on his dresser (for me, of course) :) And then next to that was this beautiful crystal (I think it was a bear...isn't that awful I don't remember...I used to collect crystals back in the day when I didn't have kids around to break them!) :) Anyway...I don't remember exactly what the card on the roses said, but it was incredibly sweet and I'm sure if I would have read more into the card then I would have known what was in store for the night :) (the roses didn't clue me in cuz Kev used to buy them for me all the time...what a guy!) :) Anyway...so all I remember after that was going to Olive Garden (the one on 28th St. in GR near our college)....and all throughout dinner he kept handing me these fake metal rings in those little plastic egg containers...like the ones your kids always want to have a quarter for, so they can get them out of the machine. Well, he kept giving them to me while we were eating....and I'd laugh and think "what is up with this guy?" :) Ok...I'm sure I didn't think that....it was kind of an inside joke that he'd never propose to me and I think one time I said I'd have to buy my own ring out of a machine in order for him to propose :) So, with a sense of humor that he always has he decided to go with that joke :) Ok...so the ring thing continued for some time...I still have all the rings somewhere...and I'm sure there were like 10 of them. Anyway...finally he hands me another one of those cheapy ring containers, but I could tell the contents of this one were different...this "fake" ring sparkled much more than the others....and sure enough...he slid off his booth seat and got down on one knee and in some form or fashion he asked me to be his wife?! I really have no idea what was said as I was just looking at the ring and saying "Oh my gosh" over and over again :) I'm not even sure I ever said "yes"...but I think he got the ring out and put it on my finger and I guess that said it all :) It was a beautiful/special night...really....it was. I know Olive Garden sounds so "unromantic"...but it was the only way he could semi-surprise me by making the night semi-normal. I would not have fallen for a beach proposal or something else over-the-top. That would have been a dead give away. I mean who would really guess that their boyfriend would pop the question in the midst of people feeding their faces with Italian food?! :) But, I will say I knew that he was buying a ring. I didn't intend to be snoopy....but I always cleaned his apt and I ran across a ring receipt one day...it was a total accident, but that kind of clued me in that he indeed wanted to make our relationship permament (or that he wanted to marry someone else :)) Only thing was he had returned that ring, which I didn't know at the time, and he had driven all the way to Indy to get this new ring cuz when I had seen it on our trip to see his parents I told him I loved it...it was the most unique ring I'd ever seen...white and yellow gold with a thick, square band and a oval diamond in the middle with two smaller round diamonds on the side. Well, I know he liked the ring too so he took his best bud, Seth (I think)...and drove all the way down here (5 hours) to buy the ring. The funny thing is...he had it shipped to GR only to have it get "misplaced" in the house mailbox so when it came time for our trip to FL to see my parents for Christmas (where he had hoped to propose on my 21st b-day)....he didn't have the ring yet. So...needless to say he had to rework things (or at least that's what I remember happening...maybe Kev remembers it all differently??). I just remember coming home from dinner that evening and sharing the exciting news with my Calvin friends...and then calling my parents in FL to "break the news". I know my mom was a bit baffled at first and probably not too pleased that I was planning on getting married in the midst of my college career (but she warmed up to the idea and I know she too is glad that someone took her daughter to be their wife :)) So, Jan. 9, 1998 was the glorious day I became a "wife-to-be". And Jan. 9, 1999 it was gonna be...for our wedding date too...one year from the date we got engaged (I thought the date sounded cool 1/9/99)....But, that all had to be reworked due to my nursing interim class at Calvin (that I thought I didn't have to take when I got engaged). So, now you know that Aug. 14, 1998 was not our first wedding day choice. In fact it was not a choice at all...it is what we settled for since we had already booked our beautiful reception hall for Jan. 9, and Aug 14 was the only summer date they had available. It was not ideal...but it really ended up working out great. So much for my winter wedding that I had hoped for...I guess I was meant to be a summer bride :) But, I wouldn't have had it any other way. We got married 7 mos after he popped the question and saying "yes" that Jan. 9 day in chilly GR in the good ol' Italian restaurant with my handful of fake rings and my one beautiful one...well, it was the best decision of my life and I have been thankful every day since that God put me at Calvin where I could meet Kev and that somehow Kev thought enough of me in our 16 mos of dating to ask me to be his wife (I really had him fooled and I'm sure there are days now that he might want to trade me in for a "nicer model") :) I know we've had our ups and downs, but I wouldn't have wanted to go on this roller coaster of marriage with anyone else. I am blessed beyond my wildest dreams. So, here's to you, Kev....the best and most generous, loving, patience and kind man I know. Thanks for popping the question a decade ago...I am a grateful receiver of the gift of your love.

Monday, January 7, 2008

Bye Bye Magical World of Disney...it's Back to Reality :(

A double-take of the castle and our "happy/smiley" family :)...the daytime shot was a little difficult on our light-eyed family...those kids of ours could not keep their big ol' eyes open...so we opted for the night-time castle shot, which worked out better though the pic didn't really capture the pretty castle all lit up with Christmas lights...it was a lovely sight...have I mentioned Disney during the holiday is beautiful?! It is! :)

Ho Hum. Well, my friends, we have indeed arrived back from our little magical fantasy world in FL :( And as I always say after fun vacations...it's just the pits being home and being forced back into every day life. And this time it's especially hard cuz we've looked forward to this vacation for pretty much 4 years when good ol' Pops promised Hailey we'd go back when "the baby in mommy's belly" (Shelby) was her age. And now it's all said and done and all we have are the memories (and over 1000 pictures :)). It's pretty much impossible to put into one blog post all the "fun" we had, but I will say this...our 2 days in Ft. Laud. with my family/friends and then the 4 days we had in O-Town at Dismal World...well, they went by quicker than the blink of an eye and I can't even really tell you how surreal it is to be sitting here typing about a trip that was such a whirlwind for us all. You know I want to tell you every last detail of the trip, but I am simply wiped out from our long drive and the crazy times at Disney that I can't even process everything yet...not to mention I haven't been able to look at all our pics so I know when I do that it'll jog my memory as to all the good (and bad) times :)

But, I do want to say a few things in bullet form before I sign off...
  • Yes, we did finally make it to my good ol' hometown of Ft. Laud (a day late and with much more driving than anticipated). The drive was simply horrendous...the kids were actually pretty good (which was surprising), but it poured pretty much the entire drive down which was stressful for me who was just sitting in the passenger seat...Kev kept his cool and never complained though)...traffic was absolutely horrendous too....so a trip that normally should take like 19 hours took us like 23....not cool especially since we were just coming off of a crappy Christmas with Dylan being so sick. It would have been better to leave the day we had hoped to avoid weekend travel. But, we were just glad to show up in the nick of time for our Gritz Family Christmas...they had dinner all ready for us that Sat. night....yumm!! Note to self for future travel: Need to charter an airplane and have one of the many pilots in our family fly us down for all vacations :) We are just not the driving kind of family...it was the pits getting down there :(


  • Good times were had in So. Fla. with my family celebrating Christmas and just hanging out...the kids had a ball with my cousins and enjoyed the pool and warm weather and I got an awesome shopping spree with my mom at my fav. outlet mall where I went birsirk in Gap! Thanks to my two wonderful aunts for their amazing and VERY generous Christmas/b-day gifts that allowed me to shop til I dropped! :) It was good to see my ol' buddy Lein and her wonderful guy...sadly she was the only ol' pal I was able to see this trip down south since it was a short one :( I miss all you other southerners :( We had an eventful/short trip to the FLL beach so Dylan could experience the sun, sand and surf...he really liked it...he sat by the water and threw sand at Shelby (much to her dismay, of course) and all the other passerbys for like an hour :) It was fun to watch. And that was pretty much our time in FLL...very short, but still sweet :) New Year's Eve was spent packing and going to bed pretty early only to be awoken by some VERY noisy firework displays...how dare others celebrate the New Year with a bang when some of us have to get up very early to start our magical Disney vacation!? The nerve! :) New Year's Day we were up early and off to good ol' Orlando.....and that's where the "fun" started :)


  • Jan 1-Jan 5 spent in the "magical" world of Disney! I've decided that there needs to be a warning sign outside the gate that says "Enter at your own risk if bringing a 3 year old"...or maybe more specifically "don't bring a 3 year old named Shelby who likes to stick to her routine and acts like a crazy screaming loonatic if she's forced out of that routine". Ok...so there ya' have it...my honest opinion of our magical (not so much) trip to Dismal World (which is how it seemed at those low points where Shelby was having her (long) moments). I don't even know what to say about all this, but that we definitely had a time of it with our lil' Shelba and even Kevin who has the patience of no one I know was pushed to the limit. The tantrums were too many to count and the nastiness on her part was the worst it's ever been (truly)...and the spankings...well they were numorous as well. Shelby was just out of sorts...there was no way of getting her back on track. You'd think that all the fun and fantasy of Disney would snap her out of it, but it seemed to make it worse. And now, of course, today she's a perfect darling again...go figure. I definitely think Shelby had her moments of fun...but I think the bad outweighed the good for her this time around (or maybe I'm being too pessimistic, but I have to be honest and say she did put a bit of a damper on the whole happy experience)....now we know...and next time she'll be Hailey's age if we go again, which hopefully will be better!


  • Dylan, on the otherhand, he was a trooper. For being under 2 and also dearly missing his routine...he was great. He was mostly happy if mommy was holding him and if he was eating some of Nina's bag of treats (kudos to Nina for bringing bags upon bags of cookies and candy!). And thank goodness for those double strollers at Disney...we rented one almost every day and all three of our kids (plus all our crap and bags) fit on them nicely! It was worth the money for sure!


  • Taking 3 kids to Disney is downright nuts...ok, let me rephrase...taking 2 kids who are under 4 years old is crazy. It's hard enough to juggle the crowds with one kid or just a couple of adults...but to push a stroller and keep your eye on 3 kids...well, it was exhausting...and we had a good ratio of adults to kids (4:3) :) Note to self: Those kiddie dog leash things are now very appealing to me :)

  • Have I told you I'm exhausted from our trip to Disney...see last bullet point for details on that. Note to self: Would be nice to go to Disney with just Kev one time....or to go when the kids are older. Anyone going to Disney with a child must prepare themselves to be exhausted :) The early mornings and late nights were rough...do I sound old or what!? Well, at 31 I guess I am! :) But, I know I'm not alone in that thinking...I think we wore my parents out with all the speed walking to rides and holding kids in the long lines :) I definitely think I gained some guns (muscles) though this trip :) My biceps are bulging :)

  • Ok....my one complaint about the weather.....what is up with it being 30 degrees the one day we go to Magic Kingdom, which also happened to be my 31st birthday! Now I'm not one to usually complain about weather...but I do believe it was colder in Orlando that day that it was back here in Bloomy. And that's just downright WRONG! You should have seen us that second day at Disney....all bundled up in our winter best and shaking like leaves from the brutal cold and wind that made it feel like it was below zero. I kid you not people....it actually snowed in northern FL this day and that is basically unheard of. Just our luck. That was definitely a rough day. The whole trip was pretty cold....then of course the day we leave (Saturday)...it was glorious and warm :) GRRR :( Weather was not our friend this time around...or maybe I should say "warmth was not our friend"....on a happy note it never rained (or snowed)...so I'm trying to focus on the good things for now :)

  • We did indeed visit each of the 4 Disney parks...Due to the above bullet point I have to say that Magic Kingdom was my least fav. this time around...which was sad considering I love that place...but due to the nasty temps and the HUGE crowds...and the bad morning at the princess breakfast with Shelby...well, it just wasn't the best of days. I'm not sure on my fav. park. I've always loved Epcot and I really liked MGM (now called Hollywood Studios)...both of those were great. And even Animal Kingdom has come around lately...they actually have some good rides and great shows (and I had to laugh cuz we ran into people from church at Animal Kingdom...what a small world, huh?!).

  • My fav. part of the parks were the shows. There were so many good ones...I liked the new Nemo show and also the Beauty and Beast. Best roller coaster was the Rockin' Aerosmith one (which I was happy to finally go on since I was pg last time around) it was crazy fast and very fun....I also liked the Soarin' ride too. I think Kev said his fav. thing was Space Mountain. I was watching the little ones during that ride so I missed out....another bummer of bringing little kids to the parks...you miss a lot of the good rides :( Though we owe our debt and gratitude to Nina who sat with the kids numerous times so we could ride rides.


  • Hailey....well, I am most impressed with her thrill seeking attitude! She loved all the coasters and rides. Her favs. were the Yeti coaster, Space Mountain and the Tower of Terror. You go girl! She even said Mission Space was a good one...she must have the stomach of her daddy :)


  • Shelby had her own thrill seeking times. She made it through a scary adventure on Snow White's ride, saw Jack Sparrow on the Pirate boat and even sat through a very scary Stitch ride. To each she'd whisper to us "I don't like this one...it's scary". But, she braved it as best she could and made it through. Her fav. thing at Disney was "the Peter Pan ride" (which comes as no surprise as she LOVES Tinker Bell :)). Shelby really lucked out that she hit the 40 inch mark and could go on most rides.

  • Hailey's fav. part of Disney was the Princess Breakfast in Cinderella's castle....and you'll laugh at this...she liked it cuz they had the "BEST french toast sticks" :) LOL! She did add that she liked meeting all the princesses too....but she really made a point of saying that food was GOOD! Or maybe she was doing that to make us feel better for spending a buttload of money on that whole experience. An experience that semi went down the drains thanks to the brutal cold and our late arrival due to transportation issues and the fact that Shelby had a horrendous tantrum filled morning that day....which resulted in a spanking in Cinderella's bathroom :( Not the magical day we had hoped :( But, the girls did love seeing those pretty princesses up close and getting their autographs :) Hailey also enjoyed the HSM2 float and performance at MGM...that was really neat.

  • Dylan's fav. part?! I think he liked meeting the characters. He stared and stared at the princesses....he really liked Cinderella...she keep calling him "little prince" and he was eating it up :) But, he really liked meeting Mickey....he kept giving him high fives. He took a liking to Minnie too...he kept lifting up her dress....I'm not sure she liked it, but Dylan thought it was funny :)

  • The girls loved getting their faces painted in MK....this was a highlight for Hailey back in 2003 and again this time around. Shelby loved it...it was the one time I really saw her smile big :) You'll have to see the pics and smiles to believe it :)

  • Least Fav. ride for me...Mission Space....almost blew chunks on that one. I knew right away when it kept repeating "if you have issues with motion sickness you should exit now"....I knew I was in trouble. Sure enough it was one of those nasty flight simulators and it was all I could do to keep my breakfast in check. I grabbed a barf bag on the way out and kept it in my bag all day long. Luckily I never needed it, but my stomach is still not the same :( You'd think I'd learn esp. after the fair experience this summer and the spinning strawberries that made me want to hurl :(

  • I was bummed to figure out on our ride home that we only saw about 9 of the 38 things at Magic Kingdom...that was not a good ratio :( Note to self: Next time around we won't be doing a princess breakfast....that took about 2 hours of our Magic Kingdom time. Not to mention next time we need to take our kids out of school and not go during a national holiday time...the crowds were atrocious and we read we were actually only there on a 7 out of 10 day...meaning...the park gets MUCH more crowded...I'd hate to see those 10 days! :(

  • Fast passes are AWESOME! We finally figured them out halfway through our trip...next time I'm gonna have it all planned out. We got on most of the good rides with little or no wait. Which was awesome considering the big rides were a wait of 120 minutes (yes, that's TWO flippin' hours!)

  • Photopass...this too was a neat, new Disney thing, and next time we go I hope to utilize it more. They have photographers all over the park who take your picture and then give you cards where you can look at your pics online and order them if you want. I just looked at ours...they are cute...though I think I got all the same ones on my fabulous new camera so I don't need to order their pricey ones :)

  • Things I'm sorry I didn't do this time around: Would have really liked to go to the parks for one more day...ok, specifically Magic Kingdom...we missed so much there and could have used 1-2 more days. Also...note to self: go on all the rides at night when everyone is gone already....we waited forever for It's a Small World only to have it be empty as we were waiting in line for Peter Pan...you live and learn! Ok...other things I wish I'd done when we were there....had the girls "done up" at the Bippity Boppety Boutique. I knew it was there, but didn't want to spend the money....but they would have loved it...though the day we would have gone would have been a bad day due to "tantrum/cold weather"...but it still would have been fun. Next time we go Hailey will be too old probably, though Shelby might enjoy it :( Would have liked to do more shopping at Disney. I love looking in their stores, but we just didn't have time....I regretted that...would have liked to have bought an ornament or two to remember it all by. And wished we would have had time to see my good bud, Sulu, and her fam. since we were in her neck of the woods :( Sorry that didn't work out...too many late nights and crabby kids just didn't allow it :(

  • Hailey's fav. gift at Disney....her lanyard and pins. I had no idea what a hot selling/collecting items these things are...but Hailey noticed right away and got her heart set on this purple Tinker Bell lanyard (like a necklace for your pins) and then she bought more pins to go on it and then she noticed you could trade your pins with any Disney cast member....it was really neat. She had so much fun trading and getting new pins and now her lanyard is full of great memorabilia.

  • Shelby's fav. Disney gift...her new Tinker Bell pj's :)

  • Dylan's fav. Disney goodie....though he hasn't opened it yet :) These neat balloon-type balls that are covered with a soft material and imprinted with Disney pictures. It's hard to explain...but very neat. He's gonna love it if I can ever find it the masses of our luggage :) (thanks to our friends, Max and Debbie, Sharon and Nina and Pops for the cash/Disney bucks to buy the goodies...it was most appreciated!!) :)

  • Fort Wilderness Campground Cabin: It was our home away from home for the 4-5 days at Disney. We stayed there 4 years ago on our first family Disney adventure and it was definitely fun to stay there again. We were at maximum capacity for the cabin though...you should have seen our family of 5 crammed in the bedroom...Dylan in the corner in his portocrib and the girls in the bunkbed (or on the floor) and Kev and I in our quant bed. And Nina and Pops in the pop-out-of-the-wall murphy bed in the living room. Not to mention our hallway lined with all our luggage and clothes...it was a sight to see :) But, it was great place to eat breakfast and lay our heads after a long day. Next time we might try one of the other resorts with easier transportation....

  • My one complaint about Fort Wilderness....confusing transportation. We almost missed our Princess breakfast due to bus/boat confusion. Seems odd to me that you have to take a boat on a 30 degree day with no option to take a warm bus. I can't tell you the number of times we took the wrong bus or were baffled by where we were going and what mode of transportation to take. And that was with 4 adults...you'd think 4 of us could figure it out...and we did by the time we left :)

  • Shelby had a great lil' pony ride on our last day at Ft. Wilderness. Poor Hailey...she was the one person that had asked for days when she'd get to ride the pony and she was so excited to hop on one only to hear the stable guy tell her she was TOO tall :( And too small to ride a real horse...now is that crazy or what?! She held back the tears, but I know she was bummed out :( But, Shelby enjoyed riding Satin (I think that was her name?)...she was a beautiful, white horse, whom we heard was actually one of Cinderella's carriage horses at Magic Kingdom...cool!

  • And just like that our vacation was over and we were making the long trek back home (one that I might add was filled to the brim with poop from the rear of Dylan :)....ok, so that painted a lovely picture...but truly...we came home with 7 sealed bags of poop clothes from his overly regular poopfest on the way home...what is up with that?! It made for one stinky ride home). But, aside from the somewhat normal poop issues....the highlight to the ride back was welcoming my brother home from Qatar :) He arrived home on our last day in Disney and we were so thankful to see him and hug him in person. He looked great and I know Candy is happy to have him by her side again. They made us a great steak dinner at their house and we were glad for some good food at all the Disney junk of the past week :) Our girls were excited to meet Candy's nieces (and fellow flower girls/junior bridemaids)...they were all like best friends immediately :) I think Jeff and Candy have now decided they'd like 6 kids after the craziness of having all ours and her sister's running around their usually quiet home :) Thanks, Bro and Candy...for good food, good times and shelter over our heads for two nights! We love you guys and can't wait for the big wedding in 2 months! :)

  • And I just want to end my bullet points with a GREAT, BIG, SUPER DUPER shout-out of THANKS to my awesome and wonderful parents....I could list all the wonderful and generous things they did for us on this trip, but it would be much too long to read. Just know we appreciate you guys for everything...for the hospitality, food and gifts in Ft. Laud. and for the whole magical fun trip, food, gifts at Disney...it was all "over the top" and very much appreciated and just a real treat for each of us. I know there were some loud, stressful times with Shelby, but all in all we did have an AWESOME time and we look forward to doing it again down the road...only this time the noisy, crazy kids can be Candy and Jeff's! :) Thanks for all your patience, love and generosity, Nina and Pops!!! And thanks to Kev's parents too who lent us their Yukon while our crapper van was in the shop getting fixed yet again. We truly have the best, most selfless parents around. You're the best!

Well, I certainly didn't mean to babble on and on like this and goodness knows I've got about 300 emails I need to read and mounds of mail and laundry than need to be sifted though. Thanks to all of you who sent b-day wishes/cards/emails my way on my big day...I truly have the best and most thoughtful friends and family :) And special thanks to my #1 "Sis" (Hol) who actually tracked our room down at Ft. Wilderness and left me a lovely message on my big day. That was extra special :) I think from now on I'd like to spend my b-day in the real world and not amidst the crowds (and tantrums) at Magic Kingdom on a 30 degree day...but it was still a good day (though I must say for the second year in a row I got no cake...what is up with that? I'm a girl that loves cake so I missed that sweet treat...boohoo :() And I'm not big on focusing on myself anyway...especially as I age...so it was all good even in the moments of mayhem where I thought I was losing my mind that day :) And now it's back to reality :( I'm none-too-thrilled about it, but it's a way of life and I need to snap myself out of this post-vacation slump and get to work here in this slum of a house we live in :) Hope you all had a glorious New Year and that 2008 is treating you well so far. I promise I'll post pics of the big Disney adventure later this week! Love ya'll!