Monday, June 30, 2008

A Thankful Heart is a Happy Heart :)

Today I am just downright thankful...for so many things...

Now believe me I have many, many thankful days, but lately I know the hormones and heat get to me and I sometimes wallow in the big-bellied, uncomfortableness of being very pg. And I just don't want this pregnancy to end w/o this mama saying how blessed I feel to be doing this for the 4th and final time. Never in my wildest dreams did I think many years ago that I'd even have 2 kids much less 4 and then it's almost like I blinked and "wham bam" here I am in this wonderful, blessed situation. To look back on God's plan now, after all the heartache and all those tears of infertility...well, it's humbling to say the very least that he knew all along that we'd have this houseful of kids...and that I just had to be patient and let that plan unfold. We are abundantly blessed and I am overflowing with thankfulness.

I am thankful for the fact that all my babies are healthy and happy. Thankful that this pregnancy has been so very by-the-books (non-complicated!). Thankful that I am able to eat like a normal person after going through that wretched 1st trimester :) (yes, I've been thinking a lot about that lately as I have a few newly pg friends...who seem to pretty lucky and not have the horrible nausea/vomiting that I did :)). Thankful for this big belly that wiggles all day long reminding me that I have this new miracle to look forward to in a couple months! :) Thankful for my sweet out-of-utero kids...for their smiles every day, their hugs, their laughter, their love...so very thankful that God gave them all to us to parent in this crazy world. Thankful for my wonderful husband who works harder than anyone I know to provide for us and does it with a humble heart, never complaining or whining...he's a saint. I'm thankful for my family who's undying love and support surrounds us always. Thankful for my friends who are just as loving and supportive and who warm my heart often with their words of encouragement. I am just overwhelmed today...with thankfulness....of how good God is, how good he's been to me and my family and how much we have to be grateful for.

Years ago I thought our lives would be so different than they turned out to be. I thought we'd be a family of three. I was ok with that. I had to be. But, things would be so very different now if it was just Kev, Hailey and I. It makes me thankful for the drama of Shelby and the stubborn eating habits of Dylan...and the craziness of our growing family. Sometimes I have to pinch myself to even believe they are mine...they were the miracles I always dreamed of, but felt were out of reach. And now to have a new little mystery baby inside me, well, it's more than I deserve....but I can't wait to meet her and see what her personality will be like and to see how wonderfully she'll fit into our family...how she will complete us.

God has been good...so very good to our little Steg family. There is no denying it! After almost 10 years of marriage to the most wonderful man around and the birth of almost 4 beautiful kids there is not a single thing I could ask for that would make me happier than I am now. My heart is full, happy and very thankful to the good Lord from whom all these blessings flowed......Amen! :)

(on a side note, today I have double b-day wishes to two of my lovely pals, Kim and Misty. One turns 31 and one turns 41. You go, girls! You don't look a day over 20 either of you and you are great friends...Happy Birthday!)

Friday, June 27, 2008

B I G!




There's no denying the cold, hard truth...I am BIG! :) Above (first pic) is the 28-week-me taken earlier this week. Ignore the scowl on my face...I had just spent 4 days cleaning and I was a little grumpy/tired :) Below that is my 24 week pic (just for comparison). I'll be honest...if we hadn't been told we were having a girl I'd guess my belly was full of boy, cuz I have one "little" b-ball belly right now (and I look just like I did with Dylan). I guess that goes to show that heartrate and belly shape have no bearing on the gender of your child :) Either that or we're in for a big surprise come Sept! :) (after I posted this I thought I should go back to 2004 and 2005 and post my belly pics from the Dylan/Shelby pregnancies...see if you can guess which is which...and then compare to the new pic...don't you agree I look like I did with Dylan (aside from that bad hair day I was having back then?! Crazy and semi-interesting, I think :))

All that being said, I am definitely a growing mama. It's become obvious now that our little babe is getting bigger by the day...and lately daddy has had fun pushing on her in my belly so that she squirms and moves all over (aka gets annoyed with daddy for waking her up!). Truly, it's hard to believe that we only have 12 weeks to go (or less!) As much as the 1st trimester dragged by this second trimester has been a big ol' blurr. It's crazy really. Soon enough we'll have that sweet baby girl in our arms and it's all just very hard-to-believe. Our family will be complete. I'm not sure I'm ready for that realization, but I'm trying daily to imagine it all.

That all being said, I am doing pretty good--physically, emotionally, etc. I definitely have a bad case of pregnancy brain lately. Case in point. Last Thursday I went to the grocery store and bought 3 half gallons of milk (along with other groceries). By the weekend all the milk was gone and I was a bit confused as the kids were gone too and there was no way Kev and I drank that much milk. Well, Sunday we get in the van to go to church and it smells horrible in there. I just figured we left a wet diaper in there somewhere, but Kev and I both looked down and sitting between our seats was a bag with 2 half gallons of milk in it...........EEEEEWWWW! It had sat there for 3 days. I can't even tell you how bad it smelled in there and how weird it still smells after a good cleaning/airing out. I was most embarrassed that I left that in there and to have it sitting right next to us while we drove...well, also pretty sad. I am definitely in a pregnancy fog lately...or at least I can use that excuse for 3 more mos :)

With the thought of stagnant milk on the mind I'm gonna sign off. Hope you all have a splendid weekend...ours will be full of more cleaning/clearing out...oh joy!

Oh...and a lil' congrats to our ol' friends, Seth and Mary. They are expecting baby #2 December 1st! I swear (and I hate to say this cuz I used to cringe when it was said during my infertile days)...but there is something in the water lately that has a lot of ladies preggers! But, I'm excited for our friends and for Big Sis, Isabel. We wish you all the best with two kiddos! And you go, all you prego ladies out there...being pg in the heat of the summer is no easy task no matter how far along you are! :)

Thursday, June 26, 2008

I need therapy!


Hi Everyone...this is Big Boy/Bad Eater, Dylan.

I kinda hijacked mom's blog today cuz she's sorta wiped out from being a cleaning freak the last 4 days...and since the subject at hand is my issue I thought I'd explain firsthand how my trip to the therapist went yesterday :)

Well, first of all let me start by saying that I really am not as bad off as mommy likes to make me seem. Yes, I know you've seen pictures of me carrying on and barfing, but I'm sure there are kid's out there worse off than me, right?! And what's so wrong with eating baby food every day...I'm still the "baby" of the house for a few more months and I'd like to take advantage of that until then...plus I'm one smart cookie and I know if I carry on long enough (like I have) I'll get my way (I like to play dumb, but I really am one smart little guy!)

So, what did the therapist think of me yesterday?? Well, she's our friend and she was extra special nice to me and we had lots of fun trying all kinds of food. I actually never shed a tear or got angry over anything put on my plate (I think there was some shock over that). I reserve those antics for mommy and daddy (or so they say?!)...but I was on my best behavior at the office yesterday. The lady gave me all kinds of yummy snacky stuff (have you ever had Pringles sticks? They are YUMMY and were my fav!) I devoured everything except the vienna sausage (hot doggy thing) and the string cheese. My mom and dad predicted that. But, ya' know what....I played some fun games with the sausage and I actually didn't freak out that it was in front of me (like I usually do) and I even picked it up and kissed it (it was a game the silly lady was playing with me...to kiss our food...how weird, but fun is that?! :)) I tried it, but one kiss was enough...that sausage thing stunk! But, I had fun eating the other stuff. She even mixed crackers in my pudding and I gobbled that up. I think I did pretty good showing off my eating skills....though as mommy said...most of the stuff I got to eat was pretty yummy/normal for me to eat anyway...

The funny thing was that the two lady therapists were watching me really carefully...shining flashlights in my mouth and watching how I chew everything. I decided to make things interesting for them and store food in my cheeks. Mommy said I'd never done this before, but the therapists tried to analyze why I was doing this. I really was just trying to be funny, but maybe I am half squirrel? The wise ladies also told me that I have some chewing issues. That I don't always move the food around in my mouth to chew it, but that I chew up and down and then swallow things semi-whole. I gathered that is not a good thing, but it's been working for me so far! They also told my mom and dad that my eating issues really aren't sensory issues (or that if they are they are very minor). That is a good thing, I guess and means I'm not a "complex case" and maybe I can be "fixed" :) The one lady also picked me up and rocked me and made me jump around to assess my motor skills. I guess I have some small issues there too (double jointed/overextension?) that might effect how I eat? But, mommy has those issues too and she's a good eater...so who knows...

What the ladies did say is that my mommy and daddy need to "desensitize" eating for me....that they need to make it more fun and less about the "job at hand". I know they just want me to eat real food and be a big boy, but I'm just not ready to jump in with both feet so we have to start slow...I couldn't agree more! Maybe mom will have to sit and play with the food with me (ya' know, in all her free time!) and if I only touch it to my mouth at first then at least I'm learning to "try" to put new things to my mouth. I think it's everyone's hope that after playing with my food for awhile I will actually eat it. Do they not know how stubborn I am!? Well, maybe I'll be a little nicer in the months to come since soon my parents will be busy with a new baby who really will need to eat baby food. But, we'll see, I just know I'm not "sold" on eating like a big boy yet. It hasn't been fully decided what my "course of action" will be either. The ladies were gonna discuss it and let my mom and dad know soon. Until then I get to eat how I want (yay!).

And ya' know what the funny part of my "issue" is?! There are actually other kids here in our city who have the same (or worse!) problem (go figure, I'm not a unique case!)...and ya' know what...I'm probably going to be going to group therapy with them. Isn't that funny?! Mommy and daddy sure thought it was. Cuz how many 2 year olds do you know in "picky eaters therapy"?? :) So, I'll have to let you know how that all goes. For, now we're waiting for instruction and mommy is filling out some special "psycho therapy" paperwork all about me. So, for now I guess I get to eat how I want! Whohoo! No more starvation or constipation! I'm super stoked about that! I'll try to keep you updated on my issues...but for now I guess I'm just a bit of a mental case and in need of some good old fashioned therapy :) Here's to mom and dad for all the therapy they're gonna need after dealing with stubborn lil' ol' me :) Love ya' mommy and daddy! :) (don't I look cute in my dad's manly shoes...in some ways I do want to be a big boy!)

A Glimpse Into Our Home...

Well, here's a little peek into our "cleaner" upstairs (specifically the kid's rooms). I don' think I've ever shown pics of their rooms before and I always love to see how people decorate children's rooms...so here's ours! Above and below is Shelby in her room. This used to be our open loft area in our home, but when I was pg with Dylan it became our new big sister's room (thanks to wonderful, handy family members who quickly put walls up) :) As you can see Shelby sometimes has a little too much fun with the 4-poster bed :) But, I love her room.....it never officially was finished as I had planned to stencil/paint on the walls, but never got around to it (and surely won't now!)...but it's still a cute, girly room....minus the fact that since we moved the furniture a few months ago I never moved the stuff on the walls (that's on my to-do list!) Anyway....so, welcome to our bedrooms....
Here is Shelby's new semi-revamped closet...I really haven't put her clothes in the drawers yet cuz I was so wiped out yesterday...but it looks MUCH better than it did before the "big clean" (my mom can vouch for this as she's see how crammed full of stuff it was when she was here!)
Above is Hailey in her room...
And Dylan in his room (and not so happy that I put him in his crib for the picture since he had just gotten up from his nap and thought I was making him go back!)....but you can see "some" of the nursery which will most likely be "new baby girl's" room also. Hopefully someday Dylan will get a "big boy" room of his own. It just so happens that our nursery has always been blue, even with the girls...so it works for now. So, there ya' have it...a glimpse into a corner of each room! Doesn't really show the "big effect" of the cleanliness, but I'm sure you can imagine how spotless it all is! :)

FYI: Day #1 of "the girls keeping their rooms clean for 300 days" was a success! They worked extra hard and even after making two messes during the day they cleaned everything up pronto! The AG doll incentive definitely helped! :)

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Great Expectations...

not-so-great outcome...

Well, that about sums up my attitude about this weekend....

4 whole days of kid-free time to "clean up the clutter and crap" and I don't feel like I got a whole lot accomplished. Of course, I can't speak for Kev, but I can guess he feels the same way too....

There just wasn't anything fun about this weekend...and mostly I came out of it depressed. If it wasn't for my mom calling every day and saying "don't give up...keep going", I probably would have sat down and threw my hands up, cried and said, "what's the use". That's how bad this house has gotten. It's not just the down right filth (though I have learned I am poor at dusting...) but when you look at the 10 bags of garbage I had to go out to the dump yesterday, you know we have a "clutter issue".

Now I won't bore you all with the mundane details...cuz believe me they are most embarrassing to me and I'm not about to admit how bad things have gotten...but let's just put it this way....I am Kelly and I am a packrat. I think I always knew this deep down inside...but this weekend I realized it for sure. I have an issue with throwing stuff away. Now, mind you it is sentimental things...things my kids have made or accomplished at school...but still going through our closet yesterday and finding old mail and every imaginable thing from Hailey's Kindergarten year (yes, that was 2005!)...well, it made me realize I have an issue that needs to be resolved. I don't think it's that I'm particularly attached to things it's just that it takes me a year or two to part with some things (kid's stuff). All that to say that when I evaluated the bags of garbage after the "decluttering" I was most unhappy with myself for the years of "saving unneeded crap".

Right then and there I decided it had to stop. I can't do this anymore. I need to trash things before they reach our bedroom and invade our lives for good....cuz it's no wonder that I've been feeling weighed down for years by all the clutter...no wonder I don't sleep well...it truly surrounds me every night as I sleep...and who can live like that?! I need help in a big way and at least I can admit it now and I have a good inkling how I can fix it. I need to STOP throwing crap in our room when people come over. Our bedroom and closet have become the dumping ground for every pile/bag of crap that enters our house. When people come over we do a "quick clean-up" and everything that "has no place", finds refuge in our bedroom. BAD habit! I am going to nip this in the bud! No more! I know it's going to be hard work, but I'm going to have to do it EVERY day...force myself to go through the pile in the kitchen so that it doesn't migrate north to our newly (almost) clutter-free room. I just can't go through this all again. These last 4 days have dragged me down. Yes, I'm 28 weeks pg and exhausted and that was part of it...cuz we worked our tails off every day....but mostly I was just mad at myself...almost depressed about the "crap-accumulation". It made me sick to have to clean it up and see the bags of garbage grow. I was most disheartened.....happy to have it go, but sad that it ever came to this....

But good came of this situation...I realized I/we have an issue and I need to find a way to resolve it, starting today...and, of course, it's VERY good that I sent 3 years of crap to the garbage dump! I can't be totally discouraged....but at the same time I feel we only made a small dent in this houseful of stuff and I had hoped to get so much more done (unrealistic, I'm sure...but I still had hoped to partially clear out our basement...and to know we have very little kid-free time coming up, I really don't know if/when that will all get done now.......)......so with that depressing thought in my mind, I'm gonna turn this over to bullet points....just to make the clutter seem a little more exciting.....and to try to make myself feel better about the "progress" we made...
  • I cleaned 4 rooms in 4 days (actually the whole top floor)...not too shabby, but I guess I had greater expectations. I never touched the basement and actually hardly set foot down there...that was depressing since that should be a #1 priority right now if we want to finish it! UGH! But the kids rooms and closets are completely cleared out...Hailey's even has LOTS of room to spare as I moved her stuff (Barbies, etc) to Shelby's room. Hailey actually has a semi-empty closet too and lots of room under her bed for "new stuff"...yay!
  • Shelby's closet got revamped (thanks, daddy Kev!)...it was a pain in the rear, but it needed to be done...and now she has extra drawer space for all her clothes! YAY!
  • Things I discovered about the girls when I cleaned their rooms: Shelby has decapitated MANY of her Polly's...should I be worried....maybe? But, actually I think her issue is she likes to chew on them (and put them up her nose :))...so I think that's why I found lots of Polly heads and arms all over her room. Hailey...she likes to collect rocks. Not just the pretty polished ones like we got on NC, Mom...but the ones from our backyard full of clay and dirt. Let's just say those took a trip back outside, never to be found again (hopefully)! :) Dylan...he didn't have anything interesting in his room aside from poop smeared on his piggy bank...how I never saw that before I will never know...but Mr. Piggy is all clean now :)
  • I have almost every piece of laundry washed in this house...this rarely happens and I realized this weekend that I need to do better with this issue. I hate/despise/abhor laundry. Actually, I don't mind washing it, but I hate folding it. And I am never caught up. I have heard that it's wise to just do it every day...and for a family of 6 I've heard you need to do at least 2 loads a day. As much as it pains me to do that, I think I will have to....wish me luck on this....this will be a struggle. It's especially a challenge now cuz folding it really hurts my back...but I guess they'll always be some excuse...I need to just bit the bullet and do it! Having all it done made me realize how many clothes we have too. Funny how that happens :)
  • Shelby has issues...ok, so we all know that...and I guess we all have issues...but her issue (aside from decapitating Pollys) is that of "clothing". Not only is she the pickiest clothing "expert" I know, but she has a habit of wearing up to 5 outfits a day. I kid you not. She likes to try stuff on and if it doesn't please her she just throws it on the floor or in the closet...so by the time I see it I think it's dirty....this led to the 6 loads of laundry that I had to do for alone...this mama of almost 4 cannot be doing that again!
  • Where to put baby? Well, that has been the most-asked question lately....and to be honest...we have no idea where "new baby girl" is going in less than 3 mos. This too stresses me cuz I am a planner and I have always have my baby room all set up with the cutesty clothes hanging in the closet all ready and washed. And what do I have for this baby?? Lots of beautiful new clothes, but they are in a basket in the closet of her brother's room. Poor kid. Now I know many of you bigger families out there have your kids sharing rooms, but Kev and I just are having a hard time coming to grips with doing that. We both really liked growing up with our own rooms to escape to...and to make 2 of our kids share a room...well, it doesn't seem fair to the other two who have their "own space". So, what is a mom and dad of 4 to do? Well, we honestly don't know. We had talked about moving Hailey to the basement bedroom (which is yet to be started/finished)...but she didn't sound completely excited about that and I can't blame her...she'll be 2 floors away from everyone. But our only other choice is for the kids to share rooms. Our issue hear lies that all our girls are going to be over 4 years apart and I really don't want a brother and sister sharing a room (at least long-term)...not to mention that Shelby is a difficult person to share anything with and Hailey is just so much older than all of them to share a room (plus she's been to the point lately of sitting against her door so Shelby can't get in).......so, what are we to do? Well, we've been tossing around the idea of the baby sharing a room for a year or two with Dylan (she'd be in the crib and he'd be in a bed (toddler bed maybe?)...and then eventually we'd have to get a new bed (bunk or trundle) for Shelby's room and those sisters would share. Not exactly ideal and I'm not convinced it'll be a good situation...but I guess it'll be a "wait and see" thing. So, just pray that Dylan and "New Sister" get along for a couple years and that Shelby and "Lil' Sis" get along after that. Let's just say this is going to be an adventure for all.
  • I won't say how many toys we are giving to Goodwill, but I will say Hailey and Shelby would be fit-to-be-tied to see some of their "prized" stuff that I am giving away :) I just couldn't stand the toy clutter in their rooms. As much as it pained me to give away good (and some new) stuff I just had to do it in order for them to function in their own rooms. So, today it will be off to a new home for some good ol' girly toys...and can I just say what a waste of space stuffed animals are...that was my #1 thing that I got rid of! What a clutter magnet those things are!!
  • And "how to keep the girl's rooms clean"...that has been our other dilemma and I think Nina G. came up with the way to do it! YAY, Nina! Starting today the girls need to take time each night to clean up their rooms....by "cleaning up" I mean they need to put things back in their proper place...not just shove things under the bed or in the closet...and once they do that they will get a star on the their chart. If they get a certain number of stars in the next year (like 300 stars...not an easy goal)...then they will be able to get a new American Girl doll. For Shelby this will be her first real doll (which she has already been saving for) and Hailey (although she has 2) wants another. So, that's our thought...or actually Nina's thought (and I'm hoping this will motivate the messy sisters, cuz there is no way this tired mama can keep cleaning up their rooms like I've been doing). I need to come up with more of the motivation details and make a chart this week, but for now that's the plan and we'll see how the girls do. Hailey, I'm sure, will succeed, but this might be a whole 'nother story for Shelba, the queen of clutter and messes! :)
Well, I'd love to continue on about the clutter antics of our house this past weekend, but the kiddos should be back soon and I have to get ready for Dylan's OT appt. Let the fun times begin again. I will say it was nice to have a little peace and quiet for a few days, but I miss my babies. We saw them briefly on Sunday as they passed by Bloomy after being on the boat with Kev's parents. But, it's time for them to be home again. As much as I could have used another week or two to clean up more crap/clutter I am tired and I just want to be a mom again (because it's so much "easier" to be a mom than a clutter-clearer-outer! Ha!). So, it's back to the everyday stuff. I wish I could say our weekend alone was restful, but it was not at all...I actually feel more exhausted and I think I saw my hubby less than usual cuz he was 2 floors down clearing out some of our basement (which looks much better, by the way :)).

So, that was that...our "exciting" weekend. I hope we get another few days here and there like that cuz I really have lots more work to do (kitchen, basement, garage)....but until then I need to just try to be happy with what I've done and I need to focus on NOT letting the crap pile up anymore. Pray for me there, cuz this is definitely something I'm going to have to work on, especially when school starts and the papers start coming home (and we add one more sweetie-pie to our mix!).

Hope you all had a super, great, non-cluttered weekend. Maybe I'll show pics of our progress if I get a chance to take some pics before the kids mess things up today! :) I didn't take any "before" pics cuz honestly I don't want any reminder of the clutter-crap that is now in the landfill...but it might be nice to have some "after" pics to help motivate me to keep things tidy! And hopefully I'll get our Holiday World pics posted soon too (we had an awesome time on Friday!). Toodle-loo-for-now!

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Miracles Abound! :) :)

Well, if you ever wonder if miracles still exist.....THEY DO....check out my friend Wendi and John's little miracle-in-the-making....

http://flakymn.blogspot.com/


Now if that little ultrasound picture doesn't convince you that God is more than working overtime in this world then I don't know what will.....

But, let me back up a bit. First of all BIG, HUGE CONGRATS to my friends down in FL!!!!!

Most of you who don't know Wendi and John might recognize their name cuz only last month I blogged a Big Ol' Congrats to them on the birth of their first son, Isaac John, whom they were gifted with through adoption. What a joyous day that was to see my friends holding their baby that they'd prayed for and wanted for so many years....

Now let me back up even further...this little miracle son came 5 years after my dear, sweet friends had been trying to have a baby of their own....5 years of infertility treatments and testing, years of failed IUI's and IVF's...so much heartache and tears...watching others become pg all around them....wondering if their time would ever come. I saw my friend, Wendi, become one of the strongest women I know through this journey...still trusting that God had a plan for her family even it didn't include a pregnancy of her own. She never wavered on her trust in the Lord and I think through her rough and bumpy journey she became an inspiration to hundreds maybe thousands. She inspired even me who had gone through only 18 mos of secondary infertility and was questioning "why life can be so unfair". Through it all she and her hubby persevered and when the blessing of Isaac came along we all knew it was meant to be...we all felt peace in our hearts watching this sweet little boy be welcomed into their family....

And then at that moment...and, I think, very near Isaac's birth date God intervened yet again and just like that there is a sweet little baby growing inside Wendi :) As shocking as the news came to me this weekend, I was not at all surprised....I had a feeling in my heart (even a passing thought last week) that my dear friend would be pregnant soon. And here she is 7 or so weeks along already and just basking in the craziness of it all! :) After so many years of trying and wanting and praying...after so many years of wondering what this moment would feel like...they are there...in THE moment. And I know it's hard for them to believe...so surreal...but at the same time IT IS REAL! And I, for one, am thrilled to pieces that God worked his miracle in this way...in this surprising, miraculous way...no IVF this time, no fertility drugs...just a good old fashioned miracle...the BEST kind of miracle!

And I just have to say that God must definitely have a sense of humor...I knew that 3 years ago when we conceived Dylan most surprisingly after being told we probably would never conceive naturally again...and then I was convinced even more this year when "new baby girl" popped into my womb....and now to see this miracle of life unfold for my newly fertile friend....well, I can picture God sitting up in heaven just smiling away and saying, "look at my plan unfold" :) I love every part of it...and I'm basking in the joy for my friends down south. 9 mos apart their babies will be and if I'm not mistaken that's Irish twins for ya'!?! What crazy fun that's gonna be! And I personally think it's great that Isaac will have a sibling so close to his age...they'll be great pals! And I know for sure that if anyone can handle two infants at once it'll be Wen and JB!

And I gotta say I can't wait to see my old friend sporting a nice big belly soon!!! As much as I moan and groan about being pregnant...there is truly nothing like it and to have my friend get to experience this after thinking she might never get to....well, it's an exciting thought and I can't wait to hear her pregnancy journey! As I've always said...carrying life inside you is one of God's greatest gifts!!!

Praying for you, Wendi, John and Big Brother Isaac...congrats again! I love watching God's plan unfold for your lives and I can't wait to see this sweet new face on your blog in 2009!

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

A-OK!

Another day, another OB appt and "baby girl" looks good as usual :) Actually we had our quickest appt ever...shocking, but we were in and out of there in about 30 minutes...maybe less?! It definitely pays to get up early and go to one of the first a.m. appts. We'll be doing that from now on especially cuz from now on we have appts every 2 weeks.

So, just the same ol' boring OB stuff...boring is good...and I was especially happy to hear my glucose test came back a-ok! I was sorta worried cuz I seem to get on sugar highs and lows now and I feel funny a lot of days (dizzy, ornery, nauseous)...but I guess that's just "normal" for me :) Baby "looked" great...ok, so that might sound funny...we didn't get another u/s, but when the doc when to measure my uterus and listen for the h/b she actually moved in a big way and my whole belly jiggled. He laughed and said "I guess we don't need to listen for that heartbeat" :) He did, of course, listen anyway...but she was wiggling and kicking the whole time and not wanting to be messed with. Have I mentioned what a rowdy one this is....I fear she'll be more stubborn and strong-willed than Shelby...but then again she might have to be that way in a family of 4 kids :) So, anyway...all looked good and next appt is in a few weeks. Hard to believe that I am 27-28 weeks now. The ol' weight continues to rise, but I'm ok with that. I think I was up another 5lbs...as much as I cringe at that number in all honestly I really think I eat less than I did pre-pregnancy...it's just that my metabolism is much slower lately...or so I'm saying :)

Anyway...so that's that for today. I need to be honest and reveal that I am overwhelmed lately. Not overwhelmed with the thought of 4 kids or another baby or anything like that...just overwhelmed with my house and the jobs that need/should be done in the next 3 months. You have no idea what a monstrous mess this place is. It's not really filth or dirt that I'm talking about (though there is enough of that too!), but it's the clutter and the lack of room to put it all. I am trying to clear out stuff, but with one more child on the way I really hate to get rid of toys and until I see for sure that "it's a girl" I don't really want to part with all the boy clothes. And I'm very emotional when it comes to my baby clothes anyway. So, I'm just not ready to get rid of it all. I think I need an outside party (mom!) to come and just "clear the crap" for me...so I don't get sentimental. Ugh! It's such a struggle...and it's getting to me these days. Our bedroom is overrun with laundry (clean stuff)...it's just we have no place in the kids rooms to put it (they have small rooms and useless furniture/closets. Yes, we are going to be revamping their closet spaces, but again that takes time. Time we are running out of. Time we need to use to clean out our basement, put our stuff in storage...time we need to start finishing our basement so we can have a new room for this baby...time that just slips away so quickly...

I get a little panicked sometimes thinking about it. I know that's silly...God always has a plan and it always falls into place perfectly, but I'm a planner and a perfectionist and I want all my kids to have their rooms perfect and organized (yes, even still with almost 4 kids I think I can do that...which I have failed at miserably and I should realize by now it's an impossible task to keep up with)....but I still strive for that perfection. I know I need to let up in the midst of a new baby and such a large family, but it's hard when you've been this way for 31 years. Anyway...so all that to say that I'm just burdened....mentally challenged....stressed a bit. I just want to snap my fingers and have it all done...have it all organized...but I know that's unrealistic. I don't have the time, plus the time I do have is filled with 3 children and a husband who need me (kinda :)). But, I wanted to share my heart about that cuz I'm to the point now where I can't move past all this "stuff" and I'm not sleeping well or able to concentrate on other things (or relax!). I know I just need to chill, but it's hard when the days, weeks and months are ticking away. And when I also feel torn to spend these remaining days with my 3 sweeties (which I have been doing, trust me). But, it all weighs heavily on this big-bellied mama's mind...especially when I get in this nesting stage :)

Ok...so don't worry about me (I'm really ok)...just say a prayer for my peace of mind and that we are able to get some of this stuff done in the next couple months. For now we have our "basement guys" fast at work today. They have been here for a few hours and are now removing our back door which apparently has been rotted through for years? Great...another thing to replace. I just pray they can fix our leaky basement issue and we can move past this pain-in-our-rear-for-the-last-few-years! :)

In other news...it's been a lovely week here. We took our first trip to the city pool yesterday...not exactly my cup of tea (I hate the masses of people there and when you grow up having your own pool in FL you get spoiled!)...but we braved the masses and had a few hours of fun in the cool water (of course the day we go the water is freezing!). Shelby was "angry" (her words) with the pool situation. They wouldn't let her use her floaty ring in the pool and she promptly told me that she wanted to go back to our house "where there were NO POOL RULES!" :) She repeated this to me the whole time at the pool :) But, it was still semi-fun. I wore the ol' prego bathing suit for the first time. Thanks to my friend, Erika, who let me borrow hers...it's so cute and actually fairly fashionable over my big ol' belly (or as fashionable as a big bellied mama can be) :) I laughed cuz there was one bigger pg lady there and she had no qualms about letting her belly hang all out....ick! Sorry...not my thing! I was happy to keep my baby bump covered! Looking forward to wearing the new suit again on Friday for our (hopeful) trip to Holiday World (rescheduled from last Friday when it rained :(). Anyway...so the trip to the pool was "fun"....would have been more fun to go with someone we knew, but the kids still played well together and it got us out of the house. Today, the girls went to a different pool with Cousin Alyssa...very sweet of her to take them for a few hours and give me time to spend with Dylan to clean his room and organize his clothes (finally, one thing accomplished!) :)

Anyway...so that's that. I'm looking forward to this weekend as Kev's parents are taking all the kids for 3-4 days...YAY! :) Kev and I hope to work on our basement and get organized a bit...I'd say "we'd like to rest too", but I think "work" is more important! So, until next time...hope you all are having a great week!

BTW...Dylan and his eating/pooping...all still "an issue"...but I admit we have gone back to square one..."no big-boy diet/juice starvation", but instead back to "easy/pureed/sweet foods that Dylan loves". He's been happy as a clam, of course :) And poopin' like a trooper :) The Miralax is working wonders for him and he's as regular as ever...so "regular" that he left a surprise double floater in the tub the other night :) Oh joy! So, he's feeling better, which I'm sure is sweet relief to him and his sore bottom. As far as the eating...well, we've not given up, but we've called in the experts and we're back to the OT next week for a consult. I don't necessarily think we can't fix our boy and his stubborn state, but I think I need some higher opinions on the matter. So, we'll see what becomes of that. So, with that I bid you a fond fairwell...

Monday, June 16, 2008

Dad's Day Recap

Well, while I'm still enjoying a few peaceful, cool moments indoors I thought I'd post a picture recap of our Father's Day adventures yesterday....starting out above after church at our local Japanese restaurant. We've only been here once before and it's not really comparative to Benihana (in Kev's opinion), but for a guy who likes a Japanese Steakhouse you can't be too picky in a small town like Bloomy. So, this was his lunch choice. Here's the happy gang above ready to eat! :)
And here they are indoors eating their soup (we found out that Shelby LOVES this Jap. broth soup with mushrooms in it...who knew?). She ate half of mine and half of Kev's :) We were the only ones in the restaurant for most of our meal...we thought that was pretty funny :) I guess most people don't eat lunch at 11am after church...but we did! :) Dylan was out-of-sorts all day long...we'll blame it on poop issues :) Shelby decided after we left the restaurant that she did not like the Jap. experience. The fire scared her and I don't blame her...our cook lit a hot one on our stove and it spooked all the kids :) But, Shelby remarked about it all day...how she did "NOT like the fire coming from under the table!" :)
He did, however, enjoy eating his cheerios with chopsticks :)
Hailey stuffing her mouth with rice and chicken :)
Even Shelby showed off her chopstick-eating talent. Mommy does not have this talent nor the patience to eat small amounts of food from sticks...so it must be daddy who passed along this patience/talent to his girls :)
At home after lunch...a handsome dad and his cute kiddos :)
We surprised daddy Kev with a yummy sugar cookie cake from our local mall's Blondie's cookie store. We had it specially made to NOT be choc. chip (daddy doesn't like choc...well, not the brown kind :))....so we had a sugar one made (we would have done oatmeal, his fav, but they wouldn't make it w/o raisins). Anyway...so this was the yummy cake...that is now almost gone....and Hailey is happily showing off Kev's #1 fav at Cold Stone...cake batter ice cream with Snickers mixed in...we had some made to bring home...yumm! :)
Here's daddy with his array of lil' "oh-so-exciting" gifts :) Above is Shelby with her gifts for daddy...that she made at preschool last month--a special hanger for daddy that she decorated and a lovely box with a cute poem and her sweet pic on it :) Daddy is excited to use it for his cigars :) J/K :) (it's a cigar box, if you can't tell...but I'm sure daddy will use it for storing other special things :))
Dylan was very proud of his gifts for daddy...some handy dandy corn skewers! :) Ok...so not a very fun gift, but we need them cuz we keep breaking all ours and we love corn on the cob! :) Dylan was excited about them (not that he eats corn or anything!)...and he made daddy a nice card too :)
Hailey with her special dad cake drawing...and her hand-made pottery pencil holder. She decided on this idea and gift all by herself...she loves our Latest Glaze pottery store in town and she loves to paint and make special things there...
Dad and his girls...we got him a talking/recordable frame to keep at work...each of the kids talked into it so on those lonely work days when daddy is tired of peace and quiet he can always here his crazy kids and wife talking to him :)
And I thought this above pic was cute...Dylan was very cuddly yesterday with his daddy :)

And here is Daddy with all his favs...I figured I needed to be in the pic cuz I'm holding his other child in that big belly of mine :) So, here's our gang 3 mos before we become a family of 6! :) Yesterday actually marked that day...3 mos to the day! Hard to believe! Anyway...but this is us before we left for Kev's parent's house (where we had an awesome dinner!) and sadly I took no pics at the big family gathering...I was plum pooped out!

Sugar, heat, humidity and hormones...

not a good combo....

It's just been one of those days for me. Started out early with me getting up and dragging the entire gang of kiddos to the doc's office lab to get my glucose checked (for gestational diabetes). I'll be honest....it was just kind of a pain in the rear. I'm not sure why they have this new policy of me coming to the lab, drinking the glucola in front of them and then sitting there for an hour to get my blood taken (with my last 3 babies I could do this all from home and just come in for the bloodwork). But, I guess too many pg woman didn't understand that you have to drink the "juice" in 5 minutes and then you can't eat for that hour. Thus, the rest of us pg woman who never had trouble with this test before have to suffer now. Ugh! Anyway...it really wasn't a big deal...but when you're pg and hormonal and have been sitting outside for a few hours in the heat it seems bad in retrospect :) But, I had some games and books and a sticker book so the kids were pretty well-behaved. So, that took most of my morning. Hoping the results are a-ok when we go to our appt on Wed. My mom suffered from gest. diabetes with both me and my bro and I always just assumed I'd have the same issue with my pregnancies, but so far I've been lucky. But, today I admit the drink made me sick. I have felt loopy and dizzy ever since I got home. It probably didn't help that I've been outside with the kids for a few hours watching them play in the pool...but still...all I want to do is lay down and rest and there never seems to be rest for the weary lately.

So, it's just been one of those days. And this comes after "one of those nights"...the ones where the baby must have had her head on my bladder all night and I was up every hour to pee. And now she's moved so appendage of hers is pushing on my rib cage and I can't breath. I love her death, but I wish she and I could be comfy at the same time! So, as you can see the heat and hormones are still a raging here in our house...fun times for Kev and the kiddos. I've tried to put on happy face today, but the kids are getting to me and they are bickering too and everyone just seems out-of-sorts. Have a I mentioned we need a vacation?! We are counting down the days to our NC big family trip! Can't wait for that fresh mountain (cool?) air! This big bellied mama needs some relief!

On a side note I have been LAZY with a capitol "L" as far as Dylan and his big-boy meals. It's not that I've not wanted to feed him real stuff, it's honestly that the poor boy was in so much pain on Sat. due to man-size poopage that I just don't want to see him suffer like that again right now. So, I've been pushing the juice again along with Miralax and with happy jubilation we've seen a man-size poop in the tub during his bath and a lovely green addition last night. So, I think we're on the "regular" track again. Once I'm feeling less hormonal (yea right!) I'll go back to being "mean mommy" and making him eat "new things"....

My Lil' Bro's a Year Older Today! :)


Well, it's b-day shout-out day to my one and only sibling and bro, Jeff. He turns the big 2-9 today and is celebrating in style (not!) in the sandy, hot oasis of Qatar. Not exactly the ideal place to be having some birthday fun, but when you're an awesome guy who's serving his county as an Air Force pilot...well, you do what you have to do. I know my bro can't access the ol' blog from overseas, but I still wanted him to know in some way that we were thinking of him so I had the kids make a b-day shout-out pic (see above) to warm the spirits of their lonely Uncle Jeff :) Actually when we took this pic last night it was already his b-day (and 4am in Qatar)...now his b-day is almost over in Qatar-time.

A lot has happened in this last year of my bro's life and I couldn't be happier that he's found his wife and made a beautiful home with her (love you, Candy!)...and we're excited to see what the coming years bring for Jeff and Candy...maybe a kid or two or three or four?! We'll be happy to watch the drama of your family unfold...but until then...we're proud of you and we hope you know how much we all love you and miss you and pray for your safe return in a few weeks. And hope that wife of yours is hanging in there w/o you and that at least she gets to talk to you today! We'll eat some cake in your honor since Kev still has some cookie cake left and I'm all about sweets :) Love ya', bro, and thanks for letting me pick on ya' for 29 years of life! Happy Birthday!

Sunday, June 15, 2008

It's a Day for Dads...




Well, it's a day to honor all dads out there and I just wanted to give a special shout-out/blog-hug to my 3 fav. dads: my amazing and wonderful hubby and daddy of my 3 1/2 kids, the super duper dad of my own down in FL--aka the amazing Pops to my kids, and the stupendous and awesome dad of my hubby and super cool IN Poppy to our kids. All three of these dads touch my life every day and I am thankful beyond measure for the love, generosity and caring spirit they all show in their own incredible ways. I love you, Kev, dad, and dad-in-law. Hope you all had a wonderful day. We did (or at least I am speaking on behalf of the man/dad of our home....whom we took out to a Japanese steakhouse lunch, showered with a cookie cake and cold stone ice cream, loved and hugged and gave gifts too and then spent the evening with his fam.)...but we're are exhausted so it's off to bed early on this Father's Day for us.......hugs to all the dads out there....hope your wives/kids spoiled you today :)

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Side effects of a Big Boy Diet :(


....big boy POOP!

Well, we're back to the struggles of about a year ago....man-size poop. I won't go into all the details since I try to keep this blog "family friendly"...but let's just say our boy has had a rough, rough day of it :( I knew once we decreased the apple juice and went to a more adult diet we would pay sooner or later and that day came today. I'm actually surprised it didn't come sooner cuz I don't believe the poor boy has pooped in a week. So, you can imagine the fun we had at the ball field today as he was spewing liquid from his nostrils and pushing, grunting and turning red trying to force his man-size BM to come OUT! Not a fun time for the past few hours, but somehow laying down in his crib relaxed the ol' bowels and out the man-size thing came :( Actually, I'll be honest...it couldn't get out so he had to really work at it with his diaper off. And let's just say there was blood involved and now he won't even sit all the way on his bottom. Poor boy. I feel so badly for him...there was a terror in his eyes that I don't want to see again...that painful kind of "help me" terror. I remember this struggle we had awhile ago as we tried to balance his diet and I'm not sure it's worth this pain just so he'll eat normally. But, we're gonna keep our heads high and keep trying, I guess. Daddy is out getting some good ol' Miralax to ease the pain, so hopefully that will help things along. But, that's how our fun Saturday has been. If it isn't crying/puking over food it's pooping issues. Gotta love our lives! :)

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Welcome to our World...

Just so no one doubts the terror we have endured this week....here are some good old fashioned photos so you can share in our joy. Above is Day 1 Dinner...our "yummy" chicken. It's the best dinner we make and this is the reaction Dylan gave us....pathetic with a capital "P"! :)
Day 2 Lunch...what kid doesn't like a hot dog? Apparently ours. And if you notice the finger in the mouth you might guess he is trying to tell us something with that lil' gesture...
And just in case that last pic didn't show the proper finger in the mouth...here's a close-up...can you tell he's fed up with this real food stuff....and this is his discreet way of saying that to us, maybe??!! :)
Day 2 Dinner...ravioli...he acted excited about it when we asked him, but then he realized what ravioli was and this is his reaction...again, Pathetic!
Day 3 Dinner (Crockpot beef/veggie surprise)....Dylan was surprised all right...but not in a good way...do you see the similarity in facial expressions over the last few days...and can you almost hear the wailing???
Day 4 Lunch...Success #1! Devouring pizza and proud of it!
Showing off his empty plate...and notice the VERY full mouth of dough/crust!
Day 4 (tonight) dinner...finishing off his Papa Johns Pizza...proof of the semi-successful day!
And oozing with pride and happiness....as he enjoys the fruit of his rewards...good ol' ice cream! He was one happy camper today...and so was I! :)

Success! (sorta)

Well, today was a good day...for the fussy eater :) I am happy to report the boy actually ate real food. Now granted when you hear what it was you won't blame him for gobbling it up...but still... There was no starvation, no tears, no normal wailing fits....just happy smiles and eating :) I almost felt like I had a normal eating toddler.

Ok...so the big meal for the day was...pizza. Now, I know he has eaten this in the past, but recently he has even turned up his nose to this delicacy. So, I was shocked today when he asked for pizza for lunch. Luckily we had some and not only did he eat the pizza part...he even ate the crust. And I dare say he ate the whole piece in like 2 bites. No joke, I've never seen his mouth so crammed full of food. Granted it was a tostinos slice of pizza...but still...even Shelby doesn't eat that crust...and when I think of the night before and how he gagged over the tiniest piece of onion in his mouth it just kinda boggled my mind to see him chewing a big ol' wad of doughy crust w/o a shudder (just goes to show our son is indeed a mental case :)). He shoved the whole thing in his mouth with one big smile and swallowed it with no problem. I was so proud of him that he got his first treat all week...ice cream (with no veggies included :)). He was one happy, happy camper and I was singing his praises the whole time. Then we just happened to have pizza again for dinner (yes, mommy was a lazy cook today :))....but he gobbled that whole piece up too (crust included)....and got his ice cream again. Hey, we are not above using bribery :) So, it was a good day. No, he didn't really have any veggies (though maybe we can count tomato sauce as a veggie/fruit?)...and crust is definitely a carb. Usually he won't touch that kind of stuff. So, while I know it's stretching it to say we had "success" today, I'll take what we got over the carrying on and food terror of the last few days. And how lovely to have two quiet meals in one day! Hallelujah! Praying for even better days ahead! You go, Dylan!

Day 3: More excuses for failure :)

Well, we are on a slow road to eating like a big boy....not much else to say but that. I feel failure is imminent no matter how hard we try, but when you're hormonal and livin' large that's bound to be the pessimistic view.

All that to say that Day 3 was, well...interesting. Started out with the D-man vomiting all over the couch...no reason behind this, but that maybe he caught a little something or maybe it was teeth (did I mention the day we decided to start his new feeding regimen he decided to get at least one big ol' molar...ugh!). So, who knows...I just know he was lethargic...didn't want to get out of bed and when he finally did and had some milk, he upchucked all over our couch. Of course, like 30 minutes later after hearing his sisters and our neighborhood kids outside in the pool he decided he was better and the rest of the day was history...he was fine. He skipped lunch, but by dinner I was feeling daring again so we gave him our crockpot-surprise. Of course he wailed like the dickens to just see the food in front of him and ate nothing....same ol' story. Well, actually a funny thing happened...I decided to let him cry and I went about my business and left the plate of real food in front of him and went unstairs. Shelby, on the otherhand, felt bad for her bro and took his plate away while I was gone and gave him some watermelon. I should have known when the wailing stopped something was up....Dylan was as happy as a peach when I returned. Shelby thought she had done a good deed too. Seems he has duped his sis into helping him get what he wants now :)

Anyway, I later tried to put some of the dinner veggies in ice cream. He was no dummy...he saw through that ploy and screamed at me. So, I took all but an onion out...and he ate it! :) Of course once the ice cream melted in his mouth he figured out mommy had tricked him, he was quite unhappy with the nasty food still in his mouth....but all that to say that we did have some amusement to our dinner as he tried to find a way to dispose of the onion in his mouth (and I do believe he actually ended up swallowing it...shocking!). Anyway...so it's day 4 and we will try again. Not much hope, but I'm trying to stay strong and believe that our boy will not go off to Kindergarten toting his jar of sweet potatoes. We'll see.....

In other news we are almost happy to say that our basement water issue might just be on the mend. We had the guys come out yet again to assess our situation and after a few hours they think they found the problem. Something to do with the flashing (fancy word for metal that keeps the house dry from harsh weather) not being sealed right (this has been "fixed" a few times already...or so we thought)?? Who knows? They didn't have the parts to fix it yesterday, but hopefully they do that soon and we can get a move-on finishing our basement. Cuz, it's crazy to think, but in 3 mos time we'll be a family of 6 and we need more room!

Well, I hope you all are having a warm week like us. We are supposed to be off to Holiday World tomorrow with Kev's parents, but I fear rain is in the forecast and we might be rescheduling for a drier day.....so, until next time.........think of our happy, smiley family as you enjoy your normal, quiet meals at home....cuz ours our less that quiet, normal lately (and I notice I only have 1 taker on our "for rent son". Believe me, mom, if we had a way to ship him off to you we'd do it in a heartbeat!)

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

For Rent:

Adorable (but stubborn), blonde-haired, blue-eyed little 2-year-old man. In need of some toddler eating assistance. Free to anyone who has the patience of Job and will probably fit in well with any family who's mama is not a big ball of pregnancy hormones. Help! It's only day 2 and this mama is ready to cry..."torture" did not go well today and the boy ate nothing and cried almost all day long. I need help/a miracle/some chocolate...anything to help me get through the rest of the week....how can one cute little boy give me so much grief over a simple thing as eating a real meal???!!! Praying for better days ahead...but not real optimistic :(

Day 1 of Torture:

Big fat FAILURE!

And that is mostly failure on my part :( So, I really can't blame the "big boy who eats like a baby". Who knew that running around town signing up for 3 summer reading programs for the kids would take almost all day. And I really have no intention of making the public watch the wailing tactics of a boy who won't eat real food, so I didn't force the subject while were out all day. That's my pathetic excuse and I'm sticking to it....

I will say that he actually did eat differently yesterday. Who knew the boy liked those pre-cut up bowls of peaches and pears. I'll have to get more today cuz he scarfed them up. That was his dinner side dish to his jar of baby food SP's (sweet potatoes--his fav.). The only antics for the day were over his dinner plate full of chix, rice and corn, which he promptly handed back to me amidst sobs and "I don't want that!" cries. Today we WILL be home more and I WILL be more diligent...no more excuses, I promise! More tomorrow on the fun that ensues....

Monday, June 9, 2008

And the Torture Begins...


Lest, you forget (and so I can hold myself accountable!)....today marks the beginning of Dylan's torture sessions.....AKA "learning to eat like a big boy!" (which might mean starvation for a few days as we all know how stubborn our 2 1/2 year old can be when real food is put in front of him) This has been something I have put off til we had more free time and in all honestly I have been procrastinating mainly cuz I know how "unfun" it's all going to be. So, wish me/him/us luck, prayers, patience, and maybe some deafness from the wailing that will ensue....we're gonna need all the support we can get!

(p.s....isn't the above pic a funny one?! I'll go into the story later, but let's just say Dylan had some good ol' down home dirty fun at Hailey's tennis practice one day :))

Keeping our heads above water...

Well, I know a few friends/family from afar have been wondering if our little family has floated away yet due to all the horrible flooding and storms our state saw this weekend. But, have no fear...we are on dry ground and doing just fine.

For those of you who don't know, southern IN, was hit hard last week and this weekend by rains, storms and flooding. My mildly scary trip to the grocery store last week where I couldn't get home due to our small creek racing over our roads...well, that was nothing compared to what happened this weekend. I guess a good majority of our downtown Bloomy was under some water and many local businesses had flooding in their basements/lower levels. We never really ventured out, but the pics I've seen from our neighboring city are unbelievable. They even closed our major highway 30 miles north of here, cuz the river there overflowed right over it. Unheard of! I think they compared this flooding to that of one of 1913. Our city, among others has been in a state of emergency with flood warnings for days. I am just so thankful that we are on higher ground and that we stayed high and dry. We unfortunately had most of our weekend plans canceled due to the storms/rain/flooding. Shelby's last t-ball game was postponed til weekend, the b-day party she was supposed to go to on Sat. was moved to yesterday (thankfully it was a dry day)...and we had to cancel on our trip to see our fav. Bahamian friends who are visiting (and moving!) up north near Chicago. Turns out the stomach bug I got was a blessing in a way cuz even if we wanted to go see Hol and Fam. we probably couldn't cuz all our major roads were closed. So, it was a fairly uneventful and lazy weekend. I spent about 75% of it in bed with tummy pain...not fun, but it forced me to rest and goodness knows I needed it after the chaos of last week. So, today looks to be sunny and dry and we again have a clear schedule (hurrah!), but I hear more rain is in the forecast for tonight and tomorrow. Praying our city and neighboring cities stay above water this time. Scary stuff.

Friday, June 6, 2008

Free at Last! :) :) :)

Well, here's the pics of proof to show the crazy, but fun times of the past week. So, without further ado...introducing SOCC's VBX: International Treasure: Book of Truth (the Bible). Our church always does a knock-off theme of some new movie coming out (and adds the twist of making it Bible-related)...this year it was in conjunction with National Treasure 2 (a semi-Indiana Jones movie)....here we are above...me and my kiddos...on our way to the Friday night program/carnival. You can see our matching t-shirts (volunteers are always a diff. color than the kids)...this year the shirts were lovely "blah" colors...but the backs of the shirts were cool...there was a secret message in the writing. Oh, the creativity of our church staff! :) Do you see my hefty swollen ankles...they are gonna be donut-sized by Aug...fun stuff!
Here's Hailey lost in the yardage of fleece. This was last Monday afternoon when our 100 yards of additional fleece arrived in the mail. Yes, I was overwhelmed at this point...and had to call in back up (daddy Kev) to help my cut and measure....
Here is how we cut fleece in our home...me make it extra challenging by asking our children to jump over us while we try to avoid cutting them with sharp objects :)
The fleece is all cut into blankets to be doled out to wonderful, helpful neighbors/family! (thanks, Jill, Angie and Aunt Kim!). The remnants are being used as new scarfs for Shelba :)
Hailey's 2nd grade group hard at work on their 3rd tie blanket during craft time...we found out later that the first group made tying the blankets a race...not cool, as we volunteers ended up having to re-tie most of their 30 blankets...ugh! The next groups were encouraged to take it slower with NO racing allowed!
Here's my cutie-patooties on their first day of VBX! :) And look...I haven't yet killed my new flowers out front...I am so proud!
Hailey and her best bud, Julia, during craft time!
Thursday's craft time...mosaic frames...you can see my cohort in crafts (Erin) in the pic...she's preggers too! :)
Hailey with her new Bible and the Bible cover she decorated during craft time! :)
Isn't this an adorable pic of two of my sweeties...Dylan desperately wanted to be in the picture and look at his sweet, smiley face :)
Hailey showing off "day 2" craft...beaded fish keychain :)
Day 4 craft made by Hailey: Mosaic Picture Frame with the VBX theme verse inside
VBX program on Friday night...this is Shelby's group (preschool/or half of them...I couldn't get them all in the pic)...can you find her?? I didn't post Hailey's group cuz it was so big and too hard to find her....
VBX backdrop...also very cool...with a movable fireplace...and here is our funny stage crew :) Below is Shelby at one of the carnival games on Friday...it was a funny one...something about "wacking a lizard"..she was lucky to wack the lizard at all :) And this was all before our big flood/storm of the weekend...don't worry...we are not under water, but Bloomy is still in a state of emergency and much of our downtown got flooded...even our major highway was shut down for over a day....lucky for me I ended up with a stomach bug and couldn't get out of bed to go anywhere anyway....

Well, what a week it's been for us....and more specifically for me! I feel like I've been thrown back into the world of working full-time this week (without the benefit of being paid :)). For those of you who don't know, this was VBX week for us. For most churches it's VBS (Vacation Bible School), but for us at SOCC that changed a few years ago when they decided to change it from the normal, humdrum name to Vacation Bible X-perience (I have to admit I like this "cool" name better...cuz who wants to go back to school right at the beginning of summer...having an x-perience is much better :)). Thus, the name.....

All that to say that I have never felt so exhausted....well, since I was either working full-time back in the days of the year 2000....or maybe during all the first trimesters of my pregnancies. This craft leader stuff has been hard work. And I can't even take all the credit. I had a cohort in crime (who is also halfway through her pregnancy) who did half the work too so I can only imagine how it all would have gone if I was the only one doing all the planning/prep work. I would be flat on my back in bed now (as I have been half the week after VBX).

I won't go into all the details of the week, but I will say it truly was a wonderful time and I don't regret volunteering for this job at all...it was rewarding as all get-out and even though I have fat, chubby swollen feet, blisters on my hands from cutting over a 100 yards of fleece and a backache that won't let up, I know it was all for a good cause and I pray that some kids and families came to know the Lord through the whole x-perience. Cuz, that's why we volunteers do it...not for us...but for the kids, especially the kids who don't know Jesus. And every year I am amazed at how many kid flock through our church for this event. This week it was about 618 kids. Is that not insane???!!! And we (Erin and I) planned the crafts for about450 of those (K-5th). It was just a monumental task. I'm not looking for pats on the back, but I don't think I ever really thought about the mass amounts of work it would be and just like that it was all upon us...and thankfully now ALL done!

And can I just say that our staff and volunteers have got to be the most talented around (present party NOT included!)...I'm talking about all the great minds behind our VBX...cuz truly...it is an awesome experience for the kids. The acting that's involved, the musics (they put out CD's every year for all the kids in VBX), the t-shirts (we have our own t-shirts every year too)...and just the talent that goes on behind the scenes. It's just hard to put into words how awesome it is. God has really given our church so many gifted individuals who just love the Lord and do all this because they love Him and love His kids. It's just such a blessing to be a part of such a wonderful x-perience and an amazing church family. I am so thankful our kids get to share in all this and that God put us here in Bloomy.......I know that's a little off the subject, but that thought has passed my mind a few times and I just had to say how I love to watch God's plan unfold....

But, the week went great. Erin and I had never planned crafts before, but we've been "craft fairies" for our retired craft leader for years, so we kind of knew the old ropes. And we had some wonderful helpers this year and that made all the difference. To change things up this year we did half of the crafts for the kids and half for charities. Thus the kids only took home a few crafts (beaded fish keychains, mosaic picture frames, decorated canvas Bible covers for their new Bibles...the church gave each child (all 618) a new child-appropriate Bible...awesome!)....and they made 81 fleece tie blankets for our homeless shelter, 26 collection boxes for many charities and 450 wordless gospel/picture books for kids in Mexico and Guatemala. It was a wonderful week of teaching the kids the joy of giving to others. Of course not all the kids were in the giving spirit and some moaned and groaned cuz they didn't get to keep the crafts, but I think it was great how we gave to our community and to those out of the country and how we are being an example to our kids that it's not "all about us", but about being servants in this world...isn't that what God wants us to do!?

Anyway...so the craziness has passed. Actually VBX isn't officially done for about 5 more hours. We have our program tonight and then our carnival (food/games) after...and that is always a good time (if the rain stays away). But, I am free and clear of my craft duties and I'm thrilled to pieces about that. I will admit this week has been rough on this pg ol' body of mine. Not only are my feet and legs and face swollen to capacity, but my poor legs have funny little spider veins popping out from standing on my feet for so many hours each day. And my tummy has just been in knots all week. I'm a big planner so I wanted to make sure everything was perfect each day so I'd be either thinking or writing stuff down constantly. My mind never got a rest and between that and our horrible, stormy week I didn't get much sleep. I can't wait for Monday to be here and to have a more free schedule. I am exhausted. And somehow I feel that my belly got 10x's bigger this week. I had to sit up for awhile last night until "baby girl" moved to a better position and I could breath. Have I mentioned it's gonna be a loooong summer! And yesterday I believe it was 98 degrees out...what is up with that? Hotter here than in FL...just not right! :(

So, as you can see it's been a crazy week of planning and prep, but all in all it was a good, fun time. Yes, it was crazy and I'm worn out and ready for down time...but God gave me the strength to make it through. I think the worst part of the whole week was speaking on the microphone. I hate that kind of stuff. I don't mind the public speaking, but I hate my voice being magnified over speakers. That was not my cup of tea. So, aside from that it was fine. And now our summer is mostly free, free, free! :) YAY, YAY, YAY! :)

Hope you all are doing well and having a great "summer" so far. I don't know about you, but I'm ready for the rain to go away for good (if you don't live in IN, you might not know all the crazy storms we've had recently) We had so much rain this week that when I went to the grocery store earlier this week I could not get home cuz our creek was racing over all our major roads. It was slightly scary. Not to mention it was not exactly fun for 600 kids to have to hide under church pews when the tornado siren went off during VBX. It's been a crazy, stormy week. I actually like storms, but this was a little too much water/thunderstorms for me! So, hope you all are safe!

Adios...I'm off to put my puffy feet up! Pics to come later of VBX fun :)

Oh...and on a side note...I do believe today (or soon) might just be Kev's parents big anniversary! So, here's to two people that I'm glad got hitched many, many years ago. They are a beautiful couple with a beautiful family and if it wasn't for them and their undying love for each other I might not have my wonderful Kev by my side to keep me sane every day :) Congrats on so many years of wedding bliss, Mom and Dad S.! :)