Friday, April 25, 2008

Well, I thought I'd let the big sisters and brother share the big surprise! :)

I know some of you have been mighty patient waiting 3 days for the big news. And, really, I didn't intend to torture you this just ended up that we had a couple very busy days and when we were finally all together at night either Shelby was in a quadruple timeout or mama wasn't feel great. Either way, we didn't end up telling the girls 'til last night. And I think we only told them because Hailey has been truly bugging us since Tuesday to know what we were having. So, I'm sure in the course of today her whole school and our neighborhood will know the news (she's not a great secret-keeper :)).

All that to say that I believe Hailey's response was "Oh, man, I was wrong!". I guess she really thought it was a boy. Though she did spout out a new name for our girl "Maratina" (weird...and a little too close to a cocktail I don't like :)) Shelby seemed to know all along it was a girl so she had no response other than some crazy dancing antics. Actually all the kids were mighty wound up when we told them. They were all jumping on our bed and acting like the crazy rascals they normally are. But, I'm sure they were all excited in their own way. Poor Dylan boy, it seems, is meant to be surrounded by sisters. I kinda feel for the little guy, but if anyone can survive a household of sisters it'll be him :) He's already used to it and I'm sure he'll be a big protective brother to his new sister (either that or he'll throw balls at her and pretend she's a brother :)). that's our big news! I'm still very emotional and cried a good deal on Tuesday and Wednesday (it's not been a great week for me). Yesterday I had dry eyes again, but I'm still kind of struggling. I can't quite put into words why I feel the way I do, nor do I really care to be this emotional. To know me is to know that I am not a crier and I really don't like to show my emotions, but somehow Tuesday just kinda put in me in an emotional spin and it's taken me a couple days to regroup. I'm not at all disappointed that we are having a I hope none of you think that's why I'm such a mess this week. It's more the "finality" of our last baby ultrasound and the knowledge that I'm already halfway through this pregnancy and that I'll never get to do this ever again (and, no, I'm not mad that we found was Kev's turn to know and I'm ok with that). Now, you know as well as me, that I don't necessarily love pregnancy, but there is just something about carrying life inside you and going through the whole process that is just such a miracle and a blessing . A part of me is having a hard time letting go of the fact that I won't get to do this ever again (not to mention I just love babies). So, I've been trying to deal with that in my own way and saying lots of prayers that God will work on my heart to not yearn to be pregnant again.

And I have to be honest too that a part of me thought it might be easier to have a boy. Now, I know I joke about paying for weddings...and, yes, obviously, now we will most likely have 3 to pay for (don't keep reminding us of this!). But, honestly that doesn't worry me too much (though, I think it's high on daddy's list :)). My thought lately was that our house situation would better support 2 boys than 3 girls. Many of you have not been in our home, but we have a bedroom situation now and knowing this is a girl just makes it more difficult. We will definitely have to either finish our basement or move in the next year. There really is no other way. The bedrooms we have can't easily fit 2 girls and all our girls will be over 4 years apart. So, I guess I was hoping it was a boy so we could throw them in Dylan's room in a bunkbed...cuz right now he is the only one w/o a "big boy" room (meaning the girls both have new furniture and the smallest rooms). Anyway...but I guess that is a worry I am going to have to put at the Lord's feet too. I know it might seem silly to worry about that kind of stuff and truly I'm not a worrier....but I am a perfectionist and I like it when everything fits into place. Right now I'm trying to figure out how this is all going to work.

Add on to my thought process this tiny disclaimer...our ultrasound tech did not sound all too confident that it was a girl. Now, I know she has like a 90%+ success rate...but I think her exact words when she "scanned the area" were: "well, I don't see anything" (which I took to mean she didn't see any boy parts. But, there was no telltale "3 girl part lines" either (and believe me I've scoured the u/s tape a few times since). So, I didn't come away feeling 100% confident about the girl thing. And I had to laugh cuz Hailey still insists that the 3D u/s pic looks like a boy (again, I can't blame her...that pic kinda creeps me out still) :) Now, I'm sure come Sept. out will pop a daughter, but I don't really want to change our whole housing plan now based on one simple u/s. So, that slightly bothers me cuz I'm an absolute kind of person and since we found out the gender I was at least hoping to get everything ready.

So, as you can see I've had a lot on my mind. Don't get me wrong. I'm very excited to have another beautiful daughter. I've always been partial to girls and when Dylan came along he surprised me by melting my heart just as much as my daughters. But, another Steg girl will be wonderful. I'm sure she will be a beauty like her sisters and hopefully by the time she's born we'll have a name for her. I really haven't been able to find any girl names I like since Shelby was born (at least ones that go with Steg...) So, any suggestions in that department would be great!

Well, there ya' have it. The news for the day/week! Our hearts are rejoicing as we await the birth another healthy, darling daughter/sister. How wonderful it will be to have our new sweetheart join our family and make our chaotic home complete :) God is good and I am humbled that he chose me to be the mother of 4 of his children :)

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

It's a.....

????!!!!????!!!! Well, it's a baby for sure...but other than that I'm not least yet :)

First, of all let me start by saying the newest lil' Stegs looks to be perfectly healthy and at the perfect size (tipping the in-utero scales at 11oz). To me, that's the most important thing...not that I was worrying, but it's always a blessing to hear that your baby looks great in the womb :)

And I know you all have that big question burning inside you. Did we find out what "it" is. Well, yes, indeed we did! And are we telling everyone today? Nope, sorry :) But, we have good reason behind that or at least I feel we have a good reason. It's mainly cuz I want to tell the girls before I tell the blog world and we won't be all together as a family til tonight at like 8pm after ballet and a school program. So, I apologize to all you "itchin' to know finder-outers" :) You have to be patient just a tad bit longer :)

So.....I'm sure you all want to know more...and I guess I'll dish a little on the whole "u/s experience". I need to say that first of all I am very emotional today. I had a feeling I'd be that way regardless of if we found out or I am emotionally "spent" right now and just kind of trying to let "the knowledge of our baby's gender" set in :) So, the u/s was a bit hard for me. First of all it was just a very quick experience. It always seems to be that way, but I guess I didn't want it to go so fast and in a matter of 15 minutes we were done (or maybe it was less). It felt like the blink of an eye. And I had a very hard time seeing anything cuz the computer screen was at a weird angle so I didn't feel like I got to truly enjoy watching our baby as "it" moved all around. I guess I'll need to refer to our video for that later on. But, baby was so sweet in there...he/she was yawning and had "its" mouth wide open. I laughed cuz that is a Steg trait and all our kids do that...especially Shelby who can look downright eery when she sleeps cuz both her mouth and eyes are open (so maybe my dream was right and this baby will resemble Shelba :)). But, the tech made a point to say how funny it was that our baby's mouth was wide open (see pic above for confirmation :)). So, he/she will fit right in with the rest of our open-mouthed kids :)

Everything else looked great...brain, heart (phew!), femur, spine, bladder, stomach, etc, etc. All measured right on target. If memory serves me correctly I think a lot of my measurements were even ahead of schedule (I'm 19 weeks and 1 day and most of my measurements were 20 weeks). So, I guess that's good...I'm sure it won't be a small baby. We even got a perfect shot of one of the feet just hanging there (hard to see from the above pic, but it was cute :)). We did get to see a 3D view of our little one and the verdict is out on how I feel about that. It was neat to experience that, but sorta weird to see our own baby in 3D version at 19 weeks. I'm not gonna go and say our baby was scary looking (ok, maybe I will)...but I think I'm more prone to like the regular u/s photos instead. As you can see from the 3D pic above our baby looks like he/she has a mohawk. Still kinda think these new u/s's are creepy and I can't see why someone would pay more for one (we got ours for free). that's my opinion on that.

And the gender question...and how we decided to find out or not. Well, we really had no clue even after about 5 minutes of the tech doing the u/s. She asked us if we wanted to know when we got in the room...I said "we don't know/haven't decided and that I had an envelope in case we couldn't decide". she went about the u/s business and looked at all the important things/parts...then she asked again. Crap. I was hoping she wouldn't. So, I looked at Kev and he really seemed to want to know and I just really felt like it was his right to know (or his turn to know) I wanted to be the "bigger person" in this situation. Ok, not really...but I just felt it was his turn to know and I couldn't keep that from him. She did a sweep of "the area" and told us and that was that. I don't even think I had a reaction and I'm still not even sure my what my reaction is. I just don't find it all that exciting to find out your baby's gender while your lying on an u/s table...sorry...I've definitely come to that conclusion after today.

All I know is that when we went back to the waiting room to wait for my OB appt I started to cry. I'm not sure why and I know Kev was confused and I was mostly just embarrassed and trying not to show my emotions. I mean, for goodness sakes our baby is healthy...that's all that matters. It shouldn't matter if I found out the gender and didn't want to. But, I think that's why I was emotional (and still am). I just feel that I'll never get the moment back and I just really did want to be surprised. I didn't know it was that important to me until it was already done with and too late to "forget". So, I've been a sort of a basket case ever since. I'm blaming it on I'll just leave it at that. I'm not sad by the outcome of the gender...just kinda bummed to never get to go through all this again and sorta feeling "blah" about knowing the "big surprise" before delivery date.

So, that's how I'm feeling today. I know it might be silly to say all that and don't get me wrong, I'm thrilled to the core that our sweet little baby is healthy and perfect and that's truly all that matters. This little one is such a miracle to us and I never lose focus of that fact. And I hope in time I'll feel better about our decision to "find out"...but for now I'm just kind of emotional.

All that to say that...yes, we have told "some" people. By some I mean...obviously Kev and I know, and Big Brother, Dylan, knows (cuz he was there to witness the big surprise and I'm sure he was just jumping up and down to be one of the first to know of his younger sibling's gender :)). And my mom happened to call right when we got home (big surprise :))....I wasn't gonna tell her...and instead we had Dylan talk to her...and it turns out he keeps a good secret...cuz he had Nina still guessing after their conversation :) But, I got back on and told Nina after that and, of course, she was thrilled to pieces and already planning her big shopping trip for the new baby. I also called and told my dad (the proud Pops)...he seemed equally as happy. So, so far that's all I've told. I don't necessarily intend to keep it a secret, but I do want our girls to know before we tell the rest of the world and then I want to call at least my grandma tomorrow and tell her. Other than that I still haven't decided how I'll be breaking the news....

So, I'm sorry to make you all wait. I didn't intend to torture you more if we found out today...but Tuesdays are crazy evenings for our gang and I really want to tell the girls before bedtime about their new sibling. It'll be interesting to see/hear the reaction. Dear, sweet Hailey was so kind this morning. I told her we were going to see our baby on u/s and that we could find out what we were having if we wanted to. Well, she said "I think that's a hard decision cuz it would be fun to know and fun to not know". I didn't expect her to say that, but wasn't that sweet? I think she's overheard Kev and I talking and she likes to be very impartial so what she said made me feel better. Gotta love her! So, it'll be fun to tell them, I hope :)

Well, there ya' have it, friends. For now I'll just leave you with the pics and you can guess from those what gender you think this baby looks like. If anyone wants to make one last gender guess on the'd better do it today, cuz tomorrow I might share if we'll be tinkled pink or blue come Sept :)

And since I'm kinda weepy today I'll just leave you with my thoughts for the day. I am just so very grateful and thankful for this sweet little miracle that God is blessing us with. I never dreamed 5 mos ago that we'd be blessed enough to be able to go through this all again. I know I'm emotional right now, but I think it partly just has to do with the fact that there was a time back in 2002-2003 that I really never thought we'd have more than 1 child...and now it's almost like I blinked and we will have 4. I feel so undeserving of these 3 extra miracles and I am humbled that somehow God in his awesome power made it all happen and that he had a plan all along. I've always been one who hates surprises, but my children have been my greatest surprises and to have 4 of them and all healthy too...well, it's a true and rare gift. I am humbled beyond words really and I'm excited to see this new "non-mystery" baby as part of our complete family picture in just 20 more weeks or so. God is good is all I can say :)

Monday, April 21, 2008

Tomorrow's the BIG day! :) YAY! :)

Well, I'm so excited that the long-awaited and anticipated "ultrasound day" is less than 24 hours away! Whohoo! I've always loved baby ultrasounds and when it's my own, of course, it's even more exciting! And since this could very possibly be the last baby ultrasound I ever have it'll also be a bit emotional too, I'm sure.

It's hard to believe that almost 20 weeks have gone by and I am halfway through growing my last baby :) I'll be honest...a part of me is sad to have it half-gone. Not that I'm nostalgic for the barfy first trimester, but I really do love being pg after I'm done puking for the first few months. I don't even mind the heartburn and getting all big and round :) It's all for a good cause, as I always say. And it's been so fun to feel the baby wiggling all around and doing flips in my belly lately. I wouldn't trade that feeling for the world and I will miss never being able to feel that movement after 20 or more weeks. But, then again, I get to trade that movement for having a sweet baby in my arms again, which is so much better! :)

All that to say that I'm just really happy u/s day is almost here cuz I can't wait to see a life-like pic of our baby. I still remember each of my baby's at their mid-pregnancy u/s and there is nothing like hearing they were healthy and growing well and seeing all their parts working perfectly and actually seeing that heart beat up close. It's such a miracle to be able to view your baby in-utero. If I could sneak a peek every day I would do it. And I'll be honest I just love baby ultrasounds. I've often thought that would be the most fun job, but then again I sometimes forget all the sad baby anomalies you can see too and that would be heartbreaking to find that. We've been blessed so far to never have any major u/s issues.

So, I'm just tinkled pink (or blue!) to see our final Baby Stegs #4 on the big screen tomorrow. Praying all goes well and that this little kicker is healthy and growing perfectly. Hopefully we can get a 3D sneak peek too. Although those u/s shots kinda creep me out cuz they are so life-like, it would be fun to have that unique experience at least once.

And as far as the big "gender question"...well, I am still undecided. I'm feeling as though I should give Kev his chance to even things out so we'll at least probably do the envelope route or find out between the two of us (or maybe we'll share with the handful of you who REALLY are itchin' to know!). But as far as shouting our news from the hilltops. Well, I'm not foreseeing that. But, who knows...I might have some dream tonight that tells me to "find out for sure and share it with the world!". So, don't lose hope all your "finder-outers". There is a chance you could know if we're gonna have a Clara or a Drosselmeyer Stegs by tomorrow this time. Keep checking back and hopefully by tomorrow night I'll have posted some pics and news! Oh, happy Tuesday for us! Can't wait! Oh...and if you haven't guessed our baby's stats this might be your last chance to guess the go ahead...don't be shy! :)

GA Wedding Pics...Finally! :)

Well, in my usual "timely" fashion here's all (or most) of the wedding pics from my brother and new sister's wedding. Only a month late...that's no too bad for me! :) Kev put them in the same album as our plethora of Disney pics so just go right to the "rehearsal" or "wedding" albums and click away. I noticed they are both in different formats, but still pretty easy to scroll through quickly (if you are like me and don't like to click on everything :)). As a normal warning, there are A LOT of pics, so viewer beware! And, sorry, there are no captions. As much as I'd like to explain every picture (and I'm sure you'd want to read about every one!) I just can't do that with this picasa program nor do I have the time. So, here ya' go! Hope you all had a superb weekend. Ours was ok...not as relaxing as I thought and Shelby came down with yet another tummy troubled feverish bug :( Ugh! Such is life and we just roll with the punches......ok, here's the album....

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Pregnancy smiles :)

Well, today in the midst of a dreary cold and rainy day outside, I wanted to just post some of the many things that have made me smile during this roller-coaster-of-a-ride-pregnancy. And since I haven't said it in awhile I have the BEST friends and family around. Not cuz they give me gifts...but just because they all care so much...and whether it be because they send/bring me flowers cuz I've been puking my brains out...or if they simply send an email or a's just been such a comfort to me on my many hormonal days to know that I am surrounded by so many wonderful people near and far. So, here's to all you wonderful friends and family out there! I love you all and you have been such day-brighteners to me, especially during this pregnancy! :) above is the lovely pail-ful of flowers that my awesome and best "sis" (Hol) sent me on her own b-day (back in Feb) :) Not only is it just a beautiful bouquet, but you have to see what she wrote...she always is good at making me laugh even with my head in the toilet :) Thanks, sis and family! :)
Here's the sweet note she wrote...leave it up to my sis to make sure I had a pail to puke in :) Gotta love her! :)
And these beauties are from my super awesome neighbor friend and fam...I love bloomin' bulbs and even the card matched the flowers :) I think these were delivered by Jill and kids right before V-day and they were blooming like crazy on "heart day" :) That made me smile cuz that was a rough holiday for me this year. Love ya', neighbor! And thanks again!
And this darling tin-ful of surprise sprouts came as quite a lovely surprise from our bestest buds, Dave and Heather and fam. I've never gotten flowers via UPS and in a box...and I was very intrigued. I love the cute tin and the springy mix that flowered up was completely beautiful right around my brother's wedding weekend. I've already decided that these and the bulbs from the Jill clan are going to be planted under my grandma and grandpa's tree on our walking trail this fall so that every spring I can see them bloom and think of this final baby's pregnancy and all my wonderful friends/family who make me smile :)
I took this pic just after the bulbs matured so this isn't the prettiest shot, but trust me...they were so beautiful in full bloom and I still have them sitting in my kitchen window sill.
And these sweet gifts just warm my soul. I don't know about the rest of you, but I'm an old softy for baby gifts. So, when Kev's parents gave us all these in our Easter basket this year I was so very touched. It made this new baby seem all the more picture him/her in these cute ducky onesies and wearing those darling socks (my heart melts for cute baby feet and sweet little booties :)) And our family is die hard Baby Einstein fans. We have almost every movie and all the kids love them as I'm sure "new baby" will too. Thanks M&D S.! These were our first "baby" gifts and when you're on baby #4 you don't really expect many baby gifts so these really made my day. And below...well, it's the darling maternity t-shirt my awesome bud, Lein, sent me. I love it so much that I'm wearing it today. Here I thought I wouldn't be large enough to wear it for weeks...go figure I'm big enough now! :) Thanks, Lein, for such a cute shirt and for helping cover up this big ol' belly of mine :) I'm wearing it with pride and thinking of you today! :)

Also...a side note for today. Check out the big sisters' and big bro's baby guesses :) They all made their predictions and they even surprised me a bit. Shocking that after months of insisting and even getting angry about the thought of another brother, that Shelby actually thinks it's a boy (and of course still wants to name him after her fav. Nutcracker boy :)). And look at the big bro's guess...he would not even say "boy" when I asked him...he is sure it's a girl and I guess he's ok with that! :) And good old Hailey wants to name the baby after one of her fav. Disney shows (Zach and Cody) :) Gotta love these kids!, we'll see if the siblings win!

Friday, April 18, 2008

Gender Distress!

Ok, so it probably comes as no surprise to most of you that I am still struggling with the baby gender "finding out" issue :( And in all honesty it's really starting to stress me out!

First let me say "thanks" to everyone who has offered their opinion and given the pros and cons. I have so appreciated that...especially those of you who are siding with me and are stay-strong "non-finder-outers" :) You make me smile :) You "others"...well, since you are siding with my hubby I'm not sure I have anything nice to say to you today (ok, just kidding :)). You know I love all you sweetly pestering friends/family who are prodding/nudging/begging/pleading with us to find out!

All that to say that now that our u/s is in clear sight at just 4 days away I am beginning to really hem and haw about this "oh-so-important" decision :) And last night Kev really laid it on the line how he thinks it's "his turn to find out". You know, the card where we waited to find out for two of our kids and we only found out with one (Shelby) so in a way it's "his turn" to do what he wants. Crap...I knew he was gonna play that game...that "let's be fair" game (I don't like that game) :( Grrrr :( And I had no energy to fight off his arguments last night cuz I am fighting a head cold and feeling pretty icky, so I pretty much am just agreeing to disagree with him on this one, but still struggling to do what is best for us (me :)).

But, I will say he has a fire under him this week to get me to give in and I guess since I love the guy I should do it...but a part of me just really does not want to know 'til delivery (and, "no, honey, it's not to spite you!"). But, am I the only one out there that didn't find it all that exciting to find out the gender of their baby at an ultrasound. Obviously I'm not cuz my mom who is itching to know so badly doesn't even remember knowing we found out Shelby was a girl at that u/s. I guess I just really like that element of surprise at delivery. I mean, sure...yes, there is a lot of excitement surrounding a birth, but it's not all that exciting to call everyone who already knows the gender of your baby and simply tell them the name and the stats. Sorry...I know that might rile some people up...but I find it much more exciting to actually say "It's a ???". I really like the whole aspect of guessing up until delivery and in my case "being wrong" and being fully surprised when that little baby pops out and it's a boy or girl. But, I know not everyone feels that way and I respect that. Some like to have their name picked out at their u/s and to call the baby that for the last half of the pregnancy. Some need/want that bond or want their kids to have that with their sibling. I guess I'm just not one of those people and I think that's ok. I think it's a good thing that everyone is different and everyone has their opinions on this....I just wish my own husband agreed with ME...but then again in our 10 years of marriage I should know by now that as similar as we are on many things there are just some things we are polar opposites on...this and chocolate are the big ones :)

Soooooooooooooooooo................what the heck and I am going to do next Tuesday. Well, in all honesty I had already decided yesterday that we would go the envelope route. That we'd just have the tech write down "boy" or "girl" and when I was ready and maybe when we had all the kids with us or maybe on a special day like Mother's Day or something...I'd open it. Maybe that would be more special than our abrupt u/s tech telling us the news. But, who knows.

I want to wait....but I know I really need to respect my sweet hubby and let him find out if he wants too (and, no, there is no way I could just let him find out and not me...though I could let us find out and not tell you guys :)). Ok...all that jabbering to say that I'm stressin' about this and I'm sure to stress about it more over the weekend. A part of me wants to say "hey, I'm the one carrying this baby and I'm the one who puked her brains out for 3 mos thus far due to this baby....I should get my way"...but maybe that's selfish of me....I don't think so (or maybe I do and I think I'm entitled to think that way :)), but I'm sure "you know who" would disagree and say he's entitled to know too :)

All right....I'm done with that subject for today. I guess you'll all just have to wait and see how my mood swings on Tuesday morning.....

Ok and onto a more fishy subject. Well, the baby platy situation has somewhat confused us still. Thanks to the handful of you that actually knew info about platies or at least went online and let us know the details of platy mating and feeding (truly exhilarating stuff!). I really was clueless. We are fairly certain the mommy of the new fishes is indeed our living Yellowstone as we have seen all the babies up close and they are all yellow also. Now we know she birthed at least 3 babies, but as of yesterday and today we can only find one. Hailey is choosing to think "the others" are under our coral rock, but after not seeing them for a couple days I am bound to think they are back in mommy's belly as accidental food :( Which in all honesty would be fine with me since our tank is only supposed to hold two fish. Anyway...but the one baby is still hanging in there and is a quick little whippersnapper :) She/he is pretty darn cute and loves to hang out at the top of the tank and just swim like a whiz kid all over when he/she feels like it.

Hailey did indeed notice the other day how the babies were hiding under the coral and she made the comment "they do that cuz the tank is like the ocean to them and they are scared". Well, I had to be honest with her so I broke it to her about "the mommy eating the babies". Well you can imagine her poor little face and her confusion over that. I mean, what mommy would eat her babies? So, I had to explain about accidental ingestion and how fish can't see well (which probably isn't true?) and they can't tell if their food is real or if it's their babies. Ok, I know that's kind of traumatic to tell an 8 year old, but I had to be honest with Hailey. Of course, she went and told Shelby the whole "mommy-eating baby scenario" and lil' Shelba has been tormented by that thought for 2 days. Every once in awhile I'll see her at the tank talking to the mommy and demanding she not eat her babies. She and Hailey even told all the neighborhood kids about our "fish eating situation" and now we have all kinds of little kids coming in our backdoor to check out the babies and the "mommy who might eat them". Oh the joys of fish ownership :) So, we'll see how the whole "baby fish raising" goes.

On a final side note I must say how absolutely glorious it is that sunshiney, warm, real spring weather is FINALLY here! Oh my! It just lifts my spirits to no end! We've been playing outside every day and eating on our deck for lunch and dinner and just wallowing in the outdoor scenery. Today we even took a heck-of-a-long-walk down our trail. To see the "grandma and grandpa" tree. Shelby was a trooper I must say. She rode her Dora big wheel the whole way and never whimpered or complained (and she was very visibly tired when we got home). But, it was nice to get out and get some exercise...and it's nice to see all the neighbor kids congregating again in our backyards :) (of course yesterday they got into some trouble with a couple lil' blue intact robin's eggs...but that's a whole 'nother blog post :)). So, YAY, for spring and YAY for the weekend where daddy/hubby Kev will be home with us soon. We have a pretty slow weekend ahead and I love days like that. Hope you all have a good one too......

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Our ever growing family...

Well, it seems today our family grew by a few....

Shelby and Hailey just noticed that our sweet little Yellowstone who became a widow last week apparently birthed a brood of yellow platy fish sometime today. Now I think that's how it works with fish? Or do they lay eggs? In which case the mom could have been the late Firestone who passed on last I'm thoroughly confused to say the least.

But, Hailey was thrilled to no end to finally have some good fish news...that instead of a dead fish in the tank we had somehow birthed a few :) Now, I'm not all excited about this and I'm nervous to be honest cuz we were told not to have more than 2 fish in our small tank and now we have at least 4 that we can see. I'm guessing there are more cuz these mini platies are the size of a small grain of rice. They are too darn cute! And I must say I have no idea on how to "grow a platy" we have to get them out of the tank? Will the mom eat them? How do we keep them alive? Cuz I don't want a bunch of dead little platies floating around tomorrow. Help! I'm not wise on fish breeding.

So, Congrats, to Yellowstone! I'm off to help Hailey make a new sign for her tank that will probably say something like "Yellowstone and babies" :) It's nice to have our dear Hailey joyous about her fish again (she's even been skipping around the house since she saw her brood had multiplied :))

YAY! :)

Well, all made my day today. I was shocked so see our baby guesstimater go from 4 to 12 overnight. How inspiring and uplifting :) So you really DO care what we are having...I knew it! :) And thanks to all your guesses I dreamed like crazy about our baby last night...or at least about my "guess" for our mystery baby :) So, yes, I think the day has come where I will finally put my guess in writing :)

And my dream, was a crazy night of restless sleep. I think I'm starting to get anxious about things so the next 22 weeks could be long ones :( First of all I dreamed the gender (see the "guessing game" for that). And it's been the same gender I've dreamt all along since the beginning. Now mind's not what I "feel" we are having (for some reason my gut and my subconscious always disagree)...but so far my dreams have never been wrong about my children so hopefully my subconscious won't fail me now! :) Not only did I dream of the baby's gender, but I dreamed of the name we chose (one that is not even on my list, go figure!)...I've never dreamed of baby names before. On top of that I could also very plainly see that the baby looked like Shelby did as a baby (aka...looks like a Steg not like a Gritz as Hailey and Dylan do, I think). Or maybe the dream was trying to warm me now that another "strong-willed child like Shelba" was on the way! Help me now, Lord, if that's the case! :) Not only did I dream all that but I dreamed the baby (who mind you is due on Sept 15) was born in May and was 7lbs even though "it" was 4 mos early. Is that crazy or what?! If I had a 7lb-er in May then it truly would be sumo size come Sept..."ouch!" a million times over!

So, no wonder I slept horribly last night. I had so many revealing and disturbing dreams that I was just very on edge all night. But, I guess that was my cue to "put my guess in writing" and make it official. That's not to say that I think I'm correct...cuz usually I go with my gut not my dreams and so far that has gotten me 3 out of 3 wrong gender guesses for my own children. But, those of you who voted have inspired me to get gutsy and vote thanks!!!

And, just so ya' know, I'm loving all the educated guesses. Though Mr./Ms. "guess who"...that was not cool to be anonymous! The new guessing rule is you at least have to hint at who you are! How will I declare you a winner if I don't know who you are?! :) And a special hats off to my lil' bro and his new Mrs. who even put in, I feel special :) And to all the rest of you know I appreciate your strategic and well-planned guesses (you all are so wise that I think this will be a close race :)). I'm interested to see who will be the big winner come Sept....hopefully it's not "Jesus" :)

And just as a big side note. I will say that my good ol' mom (and Jill and Lein, etc) are very much tempting me with the possibility of finding out gender specifics next week. Now why did you have to go and do that, you guys???...I was just starting to be strong in my decision to not find out and then my mom had to go and beg, and Jill is just so good at nicely pestering me and then Lein says she's gonna start shopping if I find out. Well, how can I turn all those temptations down. Goodness....I need some more strong-willed "non-finder-outers" to give me some pointers for staying strong! Help!!!!

Monday, April 14, 2008

Shelby's Weekend Funny :)

Well, it was a half and half weekend for us...half busy/half laid I guess that's good. I'd love to go into it all, but I really am on a mission to get our bedroom cleared out so that's my goal for today...or for this week/month (since I know it won't get done in one day)....

But, I wanted to share a little chuckle from our weekend trip to Olive Garden. Of course the "funny" for the day comes from none other than our comic relief, Shelba.... we went out to dinner on Saturday. This is the first time in a long time we just went out for no reason (i.e. not a b-day or special occasion)...just for fun and for yummy food. And it WAS least for me and Kev who enjoyed our entree's. Shelba on the otherhand had her own complaints when she got home and she's is never wary about voicing her concerns. Point blank so told daddy in her little indignant voice, "I DON'T like pizza from restrooms" :) (for those who can't translate "Shelba talk" that means...Shelby does not like restaurant pizza...she really just likes Papa Johns pizza (aka "real pizza" :)). Hee, hee :) But, in her defense...who really would like pizza from a restroom. Poor Olive Garden obviously did not live up to her expectations and I guess their kid's pizza tasted like it came from the toilet (at least for our picky pizza girl). Gotta love our Shelby for clearing that pizza dilemma up!

So, that's all I got for today. On a side note I notice I don't have many daring individuals who want to make a guess on our baby's gender and info. Of course, this coming from the mama who won't put her guess in writing (but that's only cuz I've been wrong about all three of my kids so far and I really want to be right for once!) :) But, thanks to Jesus :) Laura and Mom-to-be Wen who made some "good guesses". I guess most people don't care what gender our baby is which is all the more reason for me to not find out at the u/s next Tuesday! :)

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Boy or Girl?

Ok...since many of you seem to have a strong opinion about us finding out the gender of this mystery baby, we thought we'd let you be the judge on the sex (and the other delivery details) :) (see the link on the left side of the blog)

I sorta stole this idea from my good old buddy, Wendi (who is expected a baby boy in a few weeks...thanks for letting me mooch off your idea, Wen!) :) I've actually almost won one of these online baby guessers (I only lost yours, Amanda, cuz you went and got induced, thus I came in second place...bah!). So, I'm interested to see who will win our "baby pool" :) I might even come up with a fun prize of some sort for the big winner!?

So far daddy Kev has been the only daring one to make a guess. I will put a guess down at some point, but I need to collect my thoughts and analyze me dreams a bit longer :) (yes, I'm a procrastinator even on guessing our own baby's gender :)). have at it, people. Don't be chicken! :) Oh...and to give you some insight on my past deliveries/babies....

Hailey was 7lbs, 2oz; 20 inches (born 3 days before her due date, but only cuz she was induced)
Shelby was 8lbs, 6oz; 20 inches (born 1 day after due date)
Dylan was 9lbs, 15.5oz; 22.5 inches (born 3 days late)
(all were born at different times of the morning/afternoon (no evening babies yet :))

So, with my luck this baby will be 11lbs and born in October! :) You be the judge!

And check out our cute little flying baby/pregnancy ticker...isn't he/she cute just zooming over the land of 2nd trimester :)

Friday, April 11, 2008

Another one bites the dust :(

Well, it's not been a good morning in the ol' Steg house.

To put it bluntly we are not having good luck with fish lately....

Hailey went downstairs to do her normal pre-school routine only to find her firey red/orange new platy, Firestone, belly up at the bottom of the tank. UGH! I happened to be in the middle of a shower when I heard the wails coming all the way from downstairs. Hailey was hysterical. Needless to say her heart was broken and this after just losing her favorite blue beta just 3 1/2 mos ago. Not cool. Not cool at all.

I think the poor girl knew something was going astray with her cute little orange fishy. He refused to eat yesterday and she said he couldn't even swim up to the top of the tank. He almost looked like has gasping for air (or is it water :))...he was gulping and making lots of bubbles. Kev and I reassured Hailey that he was probably just cold cuz we had left the window open that night before and it had gotten chilly in our kitchen. Well, as the day went on and Firestone never ate nor moved I had a feeling he was on the way out. And sure enough, this morning he had made his way to fishy heaven.

So, it's not been a happy, normal morning in our sad home :( Poor Hailey. She sobbed for a long time, but I don't think her heart was as attached to her new fish cuz by the time the bus came she seemed to have gathered her composure. No viewing or burial has been set, but I'm tempted to do a flushing ceremony this time around...and it might be a private one with just me saying a few kind words, dumping and flushing. I'm not sure Hailey's heart can handle another funeral. Not to mention Shelby and her friend Ben have been feverishly trying to dig up Old Phillip under our weeping willow out back. His lil' blue coffin was even visible this week above the I'm not sure it's wise to intrigue the 3-4 year olds with more fishies to dig up :) We shall see...

So, our poor Hailey has lost another pet (who's only been a family member for 3 1/2 weeks). So far Yellowstone has hung in there, but I'm not sure she'll do well w/o her tank friend. And if she bites the dust too I think we might opt out of fishy friends for awhile. It breaks my heart to see my sweet girl get attached to her pets and to lose them. We don't need that extra drama/turmoil right now...

So, "Happy Friday" for us. Add on to that that Shelby has some feverish, vomiting virus and I think I'm might be coming down with it too. It might be a blah, sit-around-the-house kind of day. Ho hum. Hope you all have a happy weekend. Ours is supposed to be busy with activities, but sickness might slow us down. Happy times....

Thursday, April 10, 2008

A Spa-tacular B-day Party! :) I know I went a little overboard today posting pics, but my hubby worked so hard to get them saved on our computer that I just went wild putting them on my blog. And you all know I'm a picture (more than a word) humor me. I know my mom will at least :) So, here's pics of the big old American Girl Spa Party held at our lil' home this past Saturday afternoon. Above is Hailey all ready for the girl's to arrive...showing off her cake (she picked it out...and it was yummmmmmy...from Sam's....they make some of the best/cheapest cakes around!). Hailey picked out the entire cake herself...all the colors and the extra yellow icing on top, the special flowers on top and the dots on the side (I loved those). It turned out really cute and saved me a huge amount of time not making a cake of my own (Hailey wanted a nail polish cake)...but this was a cute alternative. And you can see our table set-up and our spa area (normally our play room) in the background.
This is actually the day before the party after Hailey stuffed all her treat bags. Aren't they cute?! All this stuff came from Amer. Girl...they really know how to throw a cute/colorful party. I loved the bright tropical colors.
Here is an up-close view of the table setting...the big girl one and the doll-size one. It really was the cutest thing I've ever seen for a party. I won't go into the whole fiasco about how I didn't really want these party settings. I wanted the AG spa ones (they were very cute too and all spa related)...but the day I ordered them they sold out so I had to settle for this set. Don't get me wrong, I love the colors and it all worked out great in the end. But, Hailey's good friend, Hope, had just had a party with these same decorations (hers was an actual tropical party sleepover)...but Hope was gracious enough to not hassle us too much for copying her, and our theme (spa party) was very different it all worked out....not to mention after we bought these party supplies, Amer. Girl sold out completely of all their party stuff...phew! That was a close one. So, we got this at a huge bargain price and free shipping! I'm all about the bargains...not to mention the cuteness portion of the items! :)
Here is the front of the invite...
Here is part of our AG doll set-up...we moved all the stuff from Hailey's room to our living room. I never realized how much stuff she had (and this pic only shows half of it!)...good old Elizabeth and Amy (and the 3 mini-dolls) enjoyed the party too :)
Hailey with her dolls after hanging her hand-made spa sign. She named her spa "Hailey's Spa Retreat" :)
Here's Hailey before the festivities with the cake...she really did do a great job picking it out and color coordinating with the party supplies (maybe she'll be a future party planner?!) :)
Above is Hailey with her treat bag goodies. This is what all the girls got to take home. Thanks to Nina in FL who donated some of the supplies and found them at bargain prices. You go, Nina! :) Your FL goodies made our bags complete!
My sweet girl all grown up and ready to party :)
Hard to believe she's 8...and you know how I love the close-up pics (of my kids, that is :))
Here's our snack table (aka make-up table) :) We had all sorts of spa-licious goodies...the hit was the sparking grape juice in plastic champagne glasses served with choc. covered strawberries :)
And then the girls arrived and they were wisked off to feet soaking right away (and eating go, Hope...devour that choc. strawberry!) :) Thanks to Morgan's mom who donated the white feet soaker bins...she does spa parties and these were perfect and saved us lots of money!
After the soak (in HSM2 bubble bath and lavendar bath salts) it was time for pedicures...Hailey and her friend Jen went first...and here's their pretty painted peds :)
Emily and Julia are still soaking in the tubs...
And I guess this is out of order cuz here's Hailey soaking in her tub and her friend Alison ready to get her toenails painted :)
Even Shelby and her best bud, Cami, soaked their little toesies and ate LOTS of choc. covered strawberries. Cami later said to me, "This is the BEST party ever!" :) Awww...I love that girl! :)
Here's a few of the girls starting their craft...they did this while their toes were being painted. The craft was flower leis for themselves and their dolls. Again...I wanted the cute little spa flip flops that went with the AG spa package, but I ordered too we went the tropical route...still cute and fun....
Here's a pic of all the girls getting their nails done. Special thanks to our "spa staff" (Wendi, Kim, Cousin Alyssa and Suzanne)...they all stayed and were a huge help with everything. Thanks to them daddy Kev didn't have to do any girly stuff...he was just the errand/picture guy (which was also a huge help...thanks, honey!) :)
Neighbor Alison and classmate, Morgan...letting their nails dry and doing their lei craft :)
Hailey after her manicure :) All smiles after being pampered :)
And then it was cake time! Go Hailey (and Shelby!) blow those candles out! :) (We even used Aunt Sue's special gift-a multi-color-flamed "8" candle...very cool! :)) Hailey found these cute spa/girly candles at the party store :)
The group chowing on cake and ice cream...dolls and pets included...
Alli and Samantha eating cake and drinking Sprite. All the girls had their dolls, Webkinz or Build-A-Bear's at the table with them...the matching mini-table settings were the cutest and all the girls got to take them home...even the napkin holders doubled as hair things.
Lucy and Hailey marvel at the mini AG cup filled with sprite :)
Hailey and Amy enjoying cake :)
Then it was time for facials...cousin Alyssa shows the group how it's done by demonstrating on the birthday girl's face :) (and what a surprise...the facial mask was actually cool whip! Yumm...and, yes, some girls ate more that they put on their face! :))
The group doing their facials and make-up
Can't have a spa party w/o cucumbers for the eyes :) The girls were hilarious with these on...some were even dipping them in the cool whip and eating them...and why not?!
Hailey doing her make-up (thanks to Aunt Kim who donated all the Mary Kay samples and mirrors.) The girls each had their own skin care products to try as well as full make-up samples. It was so cute and they loved it! Most did their own make-up and did a pretty good job for 7-8 year olds! :)
Here's the whole group (10 plus 2) after make-up and with their dolls/animals. And you might think this is the same pic as the one I posted yesterday...but look in the corner and you'll see the two extra 3 year olds...they wanted to be in the big party pic too! :)
After presents it was time to Hailey posed with each of her she is above with her bud, Baileigh :)
And then with Emily...isn't her build-a-bear elephant so cute...I loved it :)
Hailey and Cousin Alyssa (our wonderful spa staff helper!)...and Hailey with her new Webkinz pink kitty in it's new pink purse :) She also got the cutest and softest elephant Webkinz. I think Hailey now has 11 Webkinz or maybe it's more now?! Crazy!
Hailey and her best bud, Julia, and their dolls, Julie and Amy :)
Hailey and her best bud, Morgan...with Amy and Felicity (Morgan's grandpa actually bought her this AG doll FOR our party...isn't that amazing?! She didn't have a doll before this and wanted one so badly that she begged her "papa". So she had gotten her doll the day or two before our party)...isn't that hilarious...and so sweet of her grandpa!
Hailey and Hope with Elizabeth and Amy
Me and my big 8 year old after the party....and below is the party girl later that night with all her loot. Now don't go thinking I'm gloating about all her gifts. I just like to have a pic of all the gifts so when we write our thank you's we know exactly what wonderful gifts the girls' gave her. And everyone was most generous and she is so enjoying all the goodies :)
So, there ya' have it...the spa party in review. Phew...that took a long time to post due to all the pics. But, it was such a fun time that I wanted to share a lot of pics with my faithful viewers.

Hailey was just basking in the joy of it all before, during and after the whole event. She loves her birthday parties and this was her best one yet. We always give her the option of a birthday gift or a party and so far she's always chosen a party and I totally know why. She is a people person to the core and just loves her friends. It was just a great, great time and all went so smoothly.

I really can't say enough thanks to all the moms (and cousin) who stayed to help. I stayed up a few nights worrying about the outcome of the party...and if we'd have time (enough help) to get it all done (Kev even wrote down a detailed outline of the time of events in hopes that we would stick to our schedule...alas, we went 30 minutes over...but that was better than what I thought would happen!). At one point I thought it might just be me and Kevin painting 10 girl's nails. But, it all worked out and we felt so blessed to have had our friends/family step in to help. Not only that, but I worried about the make-up part of the afternoon and then just like that Aunt Kim was giving us all the make-up samples and mirrors and she also donated bags with loofah's, foot scrubs and headbands (to pull the girl's hair back for the facials/ can see them wearing them in most of the pics...they were perfect!). It was like an answer to prayer that all this stuff just fell into place.

So for all my hemming and hawwing and all worked out perfectly. I think I heard from more than half the moms afterwards that their daughter's said it was the best party they've ever been too. Now who wouldn't like to hear that. But truly it was just tons of fun. I feel so blessed to have a daughter (even two) that loves their friends and enjoys big celebrations. And I admit I love to throw parties...even though I fret too much over the little things...I truly just love to watch my kids with their friends (and family)...those times are the best :)

So, here's to the memories of a spa-tacular AG Spa party. As fun as it was, I'm glad it's over...and now it's on to planning the almost-4-year-old's Tinkerbell party! :) No rest for the weary pg mommy :) So, until the next time...hope you all have a great week....