Monday, March 30, 2009

Horsin' Around for Hailey's 9th B-day! Yeehaw!

Well, it was some down-home birthday fun on the ranch this past Saturday for our cowgirl Hailey's big #9. I'll put more of the details below, but here's the pics to show off the day! I love the above pic...it's my fav! The whole group of girls and their two "tour guides" (Magic and Cheyanne, I think). Aren't they beauties (the horses and the 10 girls :)). Hailey and Hadley (girl #2 on the horse) have birthdays only a week or so apart they got to share the horsey limelight :)
Rewind...back to 3/19...Hailey and I quickly hand made the invitations before taking Shelby to the hospital (of course, as we made these we didn't know we'd be going to the hospital :)). Anyway...the invites were very cute...Hailey picked out all the paper and ribbon (she wanted red!) and we made a knock-off invitation imitating the one I made for my sis-in-law's baby shower. They turned our really cute and were so simple (and so much cheaper than the party store horse invites). Who knew our girl had a crafty gene in her? She doesn't get that from her mom!
Here's a semi-close-up/blurry pic of the invite. I had to cut a good portion of it off cuz it had personal info on it...and I took this pic in bad lighting...but you get the jest of it....it was fun to make them...and Hailey was a huge help! :)
Here's Hailey and Ash putting together the goodie bags the night before the big party! We focused on red and blue for the party....with the bandana theme. We even found cute tie pillows on oriental trading for the girls to do as a craft. And, of course, you see those infamous slap bracelets :) Along with some other treats (fruit roll-ups)/candy (mints and airheads) and some personalized notebooks with each girls' initials on it and some silver keychains with their initial on it....as well as pens and pencils. Ash was particularly helpful this night in grabbing all the loot and trying to claim it as her own :)

Bandana Hailey with her goodie bags. I was slightly bummed that the very cool bandana goodie pop-up boxes we had gotten initially were too small for all the loot....they were much cuter than these boring red bags! :)
Cowgirl Hailey and her horse cake! The big smile on her face is cuz she was teasing me about FINALLY getting the whipped frosting she has always wanted on a cake! Usually mama wins out and gets her fav. buttercream...but this time Hailey got what she wanted. Sorry, but I think whipped icing is sorta blah tasting, but then again I'm a sugar addict! Anyway...thanks to Walmart for taking the load of my shoulders and making this cake. I had a cute one in my cake book to make, but just ran out of time and haven't learned how to work with fondant yet.....maybe next time! But, it was a huge relief not to worry about making a cake esp. when the weather didn't cooperate and I had to clean the house and have 1/2 the party here. But, the girls loved this cake and our kiddos loved having the horses off of it to play with afterwards. This cake kinda reminds me of NC horse-back riding with the mountains in the background...cuz there are none of those here in IN! :)
Cowgirl Hailey posing before the party on our deck....in full cowgirl garb :)
And mom tortures her with a close-up (in the rain, no doubt!) :)
At the ranch...posing with this cool wooden horse statue out front....
The girls that rode with us to the party (our neighbors) went over to say hello to the horses.....the horses really liked the cowgirls, especially Hope :)
More and more horses kept coming over.....
We even found a cute cat in the barn, who looked like Nina and Pops' Tex Cat in FL :)
A pic of part of the ranch....you can see the big covered arena in this pic (where we rode the horses)

Posing by the Stone Creek Ranch sign and waiting for the other party girls to arrive....
Checking out the creek....
And finally it was time to ride the horses! Hailey was the first to go and she chose to ride Magic.She even got to ride him w/o anyone handling him :) She thought of herself as an experienced cowgirl (and she let the handlers know this :))...so she was proud to sorta ride on her own :)
I love her face in this above pic....she was having fun with Magic :)
Magic needed a breather....so we took the opportunity to take another pic of the princess b-day cowgirl :)
More of Hailey and Magic...who looks eerily "magic" with his glowing eye :)She's a natural! Maybe it's all those NC riding trips with Rusty the horse?? :)
I think this was where she told me she wants to take riding lessons....ha! If only we were made of money! :)

Hailey and Baileigh racing :) Ok, not really...but we can pretend they were...and this shows off the big riding arena.....
Hailey leading her horse....this might be Cheyanne now??The booted girls. I thought this was so cute of the three cowgirls in their black boots :)

And here they are, some of the girls...walking the horse....The head ranch guy taught them about "the medicine gun" sorta cool, but sorta scary :)
Then back to our house for cake.....
Eating cake....and having some laughs....
over the lovely dyed icing! Gotta love those green teeth!
Ash helps daddy video tape...she was very "helpful" for the party :) Have I mentioned how grabby our baby is??
And more colored teeth...this time blue/purple!
Mama and daughter sporting the cowgirl look :) Hailey shows off her ultra cool pose :) And thanks to Shelb who took this pic :)
A good use for the throw pillows we made :)
Here's the girls working on their fleece-tie-cowgirl pillows....
Hailey was one of the first to finish...
then time for presents....
Hailey got tons of awesome gifts! Thanks, friends!!!

And since Shelb missed out on the real b-day fun on St. Pat's Day we took a pic of her after the party....aren't my cowgirls cute!? And doesn't Shelby look so much better than a couple weeks ago :)Cowgirl Ash...the biggest and baddest baby cowgirl in the midwest! :)
Hailey and her sad balloons that popped right after the party due to mama putting them too close to our hot light :)
Shelby enjoying the "whipped" cake...yay, she is finally eating treats again after refusing them post-pneumonia! And a sweet pic of my cowgirl b-day girl after her big shin dig! Happy 9th, Hailey Nicole! :)

So, there ya' have it....a picture run down of the yeehaw-down-home fun of Hailey's Horse b-day party. It was great fun, but amidst the good times there was definitely some hormonal girl stuff going on. I don't think anyone actually ended up in tears, but there were a few gals who were definitely showing off the drama. I won't go into all the details and I definitely won't divulge names, but there was one girl in particular who I dare say had a tad bit of a case of multiple personalities going on. She was happy and bouncing off the walls at first, then almost depressed and spouting out how she had no friends at the party (which she did, by the way)...and how bored she was....then later on she got very hyper again. Anyway....it was just interesting to say the least, what a difference a year can make in the hormonal ways of a gang of pre-teen girls. Last year we really didn't have any issues at Hailey's party....but this year you could see it was harder for the girls to mingle and harder for Hailey to give individual attention to each friend (which, I think, would be hard for any person to do when you have 9 very different friends together in one place, but was especially hard cuz at least one girl was sorta clingy to Hailey and would not let her socialize much). Anyway....but don't get me wrong. It was all a very good time and most of the girls were very well-mannered and made the most of fitting in even if they felt awkward and out-of-place. But, I'm definitely thinking this will be the last large party we have for Hailey. Which is good considering she wants her first slumber b-day party next year and there is no way I can take on 10 hormonal girls for over 24 hours! Oh the joys of girls!!! And to think we have 3 of them to raise! God definitely has a good ol' sense of humor, huh?! :)

Anyway....but aside from the all the crazy girl drama it was a good time and fun was had by most :) I wish the weather would have cooperated more, but that was totally out of my control and I knew almost a week ahead, that we were in for storms and at least rain that day so we had a back-up plan. Thankfully the whole hour of horse riding was indoors regardless of rain, snow or sunshine. So, that was no problem. The girls had the whole indoor covered arena to themselves with their two horses, Magic (boy horse) and Cheyanne (girl horse)). Each girl was able to ride the horses at least 2 times and most were able to lead the horse also. I had been told told the handlers (some teenagers who were helping lead the horses) were going to play games with the girls and that they'd have them do races on the horses. So, I was envisioning barrel races or something simple like that. Instead they basically just walked over and over again around the big arena...trading off between the girls and trading off between riding and leading the horse. This was exciting to some who had never ridden horses and most found enjoyment in the simple things like watching the horse pee (Emily got the joy of being on the horse as it had a bathroom break...she did well and held on tight for that long leak :))....they also found it fun watching two of the ranch dogs fight over who was going to eat a peice of dried poop (yet another reason why I don't like dogs! Anyone who fights over feces has issues! :)) But, that hour went by pretty fast and finally the head ranch guy came in and shooed us away (I wish he'd shown up sooner cuz I would have asked him what happened to the games we were going to play?!) Oh well....

And the rain held off for almost the entire party. I think it was drizzling slightly when we arrived at the ranch, but when we left the sun almost looked like it was coming out. I mention the weather cuz the second half of the party was to be outdoors at the ranch picnic tables, but I had called the ranch that morning and just told the head guy that we'd drive back to our house for cake, craft and presents. So, even though it wasn't pouring rain we decided to all pack into our cars (our van and we had borrowed Kev's parents' Yukon)...so we took all 10 girls to our house all huddled in our cars :) Yes, there was even drama over who would sit with Hailey on the brief car ride and which car she would go in. Finally daddy had to play a number game to make that decision...phew! Anyway.....so off we were to our house. Not where I had hoped to do cake and all that jazz, and actually that had been one major reason we had gone horse-back riding...so that we wouldn't have to clean our house or have a large group of rowdy girls there (and also so Kev's parents, who were watching Dylan and Shelby, would have a place to hang out...thankfully they went to a movie and ice cream so they were gone the whole time we were and had a great time!). Anyway.....so back at our house we had cake, made our cowboy tie-throw pillows and opened presents and the girls enjoyed some rowdiness. Who knew that those old slap bracelets I used to love as a kid would come back to haunt me. The girls were slapping each other and running all over the house with them by party's end.

So, that was the jest of the party. It was a great time albeit crazy/hormonal too (and also slightly exhausting considering daddy or mommy had to hold the feisty/fidgety Ash the entire time while also videotaping/taking pics and hosting the party). And although the weather didn't fully cooperate it ended up working out just fine (though mama stayed up way too late/early cleaning the house...but at least my house is clean now!) :) So, another party is done and gone. And special thanks go out to Nina and Pops in FL who aided from afar in the horse party. We couldn't have done all this w/o you guys! Hailey thanks you from the bottom of her heart! And now it's onto the next birthday...the big 5 for Shelbs in just a month! And she's requesting a poodle pool party :) Hmmm.......the fun just never ceases in the Steg house! :)

Friday, March 27, 2009

What's wrong with this picture?!


The first pic looks almost angelic....but the backside tells the whole truth and nothing but the truth! :) Our Ash is the queen of blow-outs! Sorry, for those of you with weak stomachs, but I figure if I have to deal with this on a daily basis you all should share in the joy! You probably thought I was exaggerating about the Steg poop (and puke) adventures! Here's the proof......try not to be too envious.....we can always send Ash your way if need-be :)
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Thursday, March 26, 2009

One week ago (video!) :)

Well, I'm attempting to post my first video (wish me luck!) I should be honest and let you know that I'm not a video person really. I think I've only ever watched a handful of them on blogs and I am not stellar at video-taping my kids. But I thought I'd try posting one lil' video in remembrance of that icky day a week ago where Shelb was admitted to the hospital. As sad as Shelb looks, I had to laugh cuz in the background you hear Ash saying "dada" and just jabbering away which makes it a slightly comical video :) So, here ya' go...our first video blog post....

And I am happy to report that our fam. is doing well this week (ok, well Dylan is running a 101.3 fever as of now...but we're pushing the fluids and hoping for the best, so I'm trying not to dwell on that...). Shelby, thankfully, is pretty much back to her normal self....a skinnier self, that we are trying to pork up with cookies and cheese puffs and other treats...I don't like seeing her all skin and bones. But, we are just thankful she is back to her spunky self. Even if that means she is fighting like cats and dogs with her brother all the time.....

Lots of other lil' things going on this week....mama's fighting a head cold, we're in the midst of some school issues (where Shelby should go for Kindergarten and if Hailey should be in an accelerated program...please pray for us on both those issues!)....plus we're almost upon Hailey's big 9th b-day party (horse-back riding this Saturday...yay!) among the other everyday "stuff". But, we are just happy to be semi-healthy and not like we were last Thursday.......oh what a difference a week can make!

Well, it's off to paint with my middle kiddos. Happy Thursday!
video

Monday, March 23, 2009

Back to "Normal" :)

Well, it's back to the grind today...and back to "normal"...whatever that is :)

Seems like last week, and all that it entailed, was just one bad little dream at this point in our lives....but the remnants still remain and although Shelby is back to her old feisty (dare I say, ornery) self....she is definitely still worn out. Whereas pre-pneumonia she was doing well w/o naps, these days she can't live w/o them. She is one big snore-fest lately....and snores, for her, mean she is truly exhausted. But, I am just thankful to have my old girl back. She gave us quite a scare last week.

And with the dawn of a new week comes the nipping of the bud of the "pampering of Shelba". We were at her beck and call last week...making burger runs, going to Walmart to buy "long pickles" and a new Scooby-Doo movies, letting her stay in her pj's all day and watching movies from dusk til dawn....and even eating meals in front of the tv on her tv tray....it was Steg hospital at our house. But those days are gone and mama is gonna be making the brutal change back to reality this week as I simply can't be waiting hand and foot on 1 child when I have 3 others at home to care for. Poor Shelb...it's gonna be a rough transition. And today she and Dylan have been at each other's throats.....pushing each other, teasing each other, stealing the others toys. It's been all I could do to keep my sanity. But, in the midst of the turmoil I smile....smile knowing my babies are all feisty and well....and not sick and lethargic. I wouldn't trade their healthy, crazy, busy bodies for anything.....

And so it is....back to reality....and back to the doc's today...this time for our healthy Ash Baby and her 6 month check...and guess how big our baby is??? Almost 20 lbs (19lbs, 10oz) and 27 1/2 inches. Eek. She's almost out of her baby bucket (car seat). Amazing to me that a baby can grow so huge on only a mama's milk...that always has amazed me even after 4 babies. It's a small miracle in itself to know that you played such a role in your baby's growth. But, sure enough Ash is still a sumo babe and she shows no hope of slowing down in the eating dept. She had her first real meal of baby food last night (good ol' Gerber rice) and she scarfed it down like it was candy...she even went as far as to nurse off the spoon and then grabbed the whole bowl and tried to do the same. We have a feeling Ash will be the big eater in our fam., since big bro Dylan obviously passed up his chance :) Anyway...so Ash made it thru her 6 month check up...and is mighty grumpy now after 3 more shots to the thighs today. Poor thing. But, I had a good talk with her about how lucky she was it was 3 quick pokes rather than 3 IV sticks like her big sis had to endure last week :( Ash wasn't sympathetic though, go figure :)

So, that was the start to our day. Shelby was back in preschool where I'm sure she has stories to tell of her spring break in the hospital (who needs Disney when you can have Pneumonia, right?! :)).....and we've just had a busy, running around kind of day. Not probably wise considering Shelb is still recovering, but I've made sure to push the fluids (and thankfully she is loving her oral antibiotic...phew! No gagging and spitting and vomiting like last week!) And today is her first time outside to play in a week. We've been really keeping her activity level at an all-time low which is hard for our normally active girl. We also celebrated Hailey's b-day at school today where Shelb had her first taste of treats in about a week....but I was glad Shelba could finally enjoy some Hailey b-day fun since she missed it all last week :)

So, life back in the Steg household has resumed to the everyday "normal". Kev and I spent the majority of the weekend cleaning and disinfecting the house. I made a point to clean out Shelb's room entirely, which made me feel better about "less germs" and also made Shelby feel special for having the cleanest room in the house! Hailey and Dylan showed up on our doorstep yesterday after a very fun weekend with N&P Stegs at Turkey Run state park (hotel, hiking, pool, etc). We tried not to focus too much on their fun weekend since Shelby has been majorly bummed about missing all that pool fun. But, I did hear the kiddos had a great time hiking and Dylan was a "fish" in the pool. Shelby was just happy yesterday to sit and veg and watch Scooby all day long. She actually said a few times how she missed the hospital....but was quick to add that she didn't miss "what they did to her"...just that she liked watching tv all day and staying in her pj's and "getting gifts" :) :) Hey, at least she's honest :) So, she was especially happy again today when a big ol' box of goodies came from Auntie Sue just for her! She was doing a happy Shelby dance for sure. And she loved the sweet note that our friend, Matthew from MI, sent her too! Thanks, guys! People have been so kind to wish our Shelby well and spoil her with goodies. That made her bummer-of-a-spring-break soooooooooooooooooooo much better! :)

Anyway....so that's the hodpodge of stuff going on right now. But, I'll take these crazy-every-day things (and a house full of noise) over the lethargic quiet we experienced last week. Praise the Lord for brighter, healthier days for our family! Here's to many more like this!!! Happy Monday!

Saturday, March 21, 2009

The Life Cycle of our Sick Shelby :( :(

Well, in memory of this momentous week of spring break 2009 I thought I'd post a few pics of the life cycle of our brave, strong girl as pneumonia and dehydration took over her little body....and as she has begun to heal....above is Shelb on 3/17 (Hailey's b-day and St. Pat's Day)....this was the day it all began....she never moved from her bed all day....and at this point she had only just had a fever....but she looks so sad....

We tried to give Shelb a change of scenery that first sick day by bringing her down to watch Hailey open b-day presents....this was the first time she vomited....and then mama had the audacity to try to get a family pic...as you can see from Shelby's face above...she was not amused....though she never complained :) Had I known she was pre-pneumonia I would have never gotten her out of bed.....hindight, I guess :(
This is around the time 107 showed up on our thermometer the next night (yes, everyone still does a double take when they hear that number....and most are surprised we didn't end up the hospital this night...3/18)
3/19....Shelby is still vomiting and feverish...and at 11am we make a trip to our pediatrician. This is one of the saddest pics I have of Shelby :( Look at her sitting in the room waiting for Dr. Mc.D :( So skinny and so lethargic...and those sad, sunken eyes :( Makes me want to cry all over again :(
This is post chest-x-ray after Shelb's had profusely vomited in the hallway outside. Bless her heart...she just curled right up on this uncomfortable table and went to sleep....so sad :( Thank goodness we had our Tink blanket to help ease the pain and keep her warm...
A closer pic of her zonked out...waiting for the doc to send us to the hospital....
Here's Shelby in her hospital bed....we arrived on the peds floor probably 15 minutes after we left the doc's office (it took us that long only cuz we waited for daddy to meet us in the parking lot)....Shelby curled right up in the bed....
here she is showing off her fancy hospital garb :) They actually give kids pants! Mama was jealous of this fact seeing as they don't give us prego/post-partum mama's anything fancy like that!
Ash and Shelb hanging out...watching cartoons...and little did Shelb know...waiting for the orders to get an IV :(
And then like that the nasty deed was done....you can tell Shelby took a lickin' with the whole 3 IV pokes thing....it was no fun and she was exhausted after....not to mention she lost use of her right hand for a day :( That was interesting....
Getting her first round of IV fluids and not too excited about it :(
Mommy quick ran out and got some pink/purple flowers to cheer the sick girl up :)
While mama was gone the nurse gave Shelby a very cool horse and a new cash register toy....all for being so brave and strong, especially while getting that nasty IV....mama also brought back Shelb's fav. pink blankie...
Ash taking it all in...in her stroller.....who knew our girl would be back visiting her sis in the hospital 6 mos after she was born! :(
Shelby with her happy, smiley, fun balloon bouquet from Miss Jill, Maddie and Jacob (and Mr. Ross!)....she loved these cool balloons and every time she'd pass them to go potty she'd say "now what does that say again?" (Get Well Soon!) :) Plus she liked how sparkly they were! Thanks, neighbor friends!!!
Sisters enjoying the fun mechanical hospital bed together....
Shelby being independent and taking a potty break while rolling her IV pole around with her :)
Ash was intrigued by sister's IV....I think Shelby would have traded it for anything :)
Shelb thought bacon sounded good...until she tasted the nasty hospital bacon! :( Ick! This was her first try at a meal in 4 days....it was not what she had hoped...
Ash found a new toy in the hospital...and it was a life saver on day 2 of the hospital stay!
A much-needed nap on day 2 (3/20)...she had hardly slept that night before (and neither had daddy)....she's looks so sweet here.....
Ash sleeping on the other side of the semi-private room....all snuggled in...
my girls slumbering together....can you even see Ash?
And finally...Shelby perks up on day 2....and we dig into the goodies from Jill and Gang! Thanks, guys! We loved these coloring and reading things!
A self portrait of the pic Shelby and mama colored together....Shelby was so proud of it...and look at her sweet smile. I think it was the first real smile we'd seen all week :)
This is a special picture of mama...special because Shelby just HAD to take it all by herself...and even more special cuz she had to do it with one hand...her left hand! She's so talented! :)
Finally...the food she'd been waiting for since her admission....a burger and fries...and LONG PICKLES! She was in heaven! She ended up saying "no thank you" to the fries, but she loved the burger and pickles! Yay for Shelb! (and isn't that bright pillowcase cool? Someone makes them at the hospital for the patients to take home...they gave one to Ashley too!) :)
the IV before it came out!
Showing off the cool new trendy Polly from Miss Stacy and family....Shelby thought it was especially cool cuz it had an i-pod and a nintendo DS (which made her think of big sis Hailey, whom she missed terribly)
opening up the surprise gift from daddy (and mommy).....
a cool polly pocket pool....just what she'd been wanting! Love that smile!
And since she didn't get to enjoy the pool trip she was supposed to get with N&P S this weekend....we brought the pool to her....she loved playing with her pollys in the water!
More polly pool fun and the very cool black panther Webkinz from Aunt Kim and Uncle Randy (and cousins Danielle and Harrison!)...thanks, guys!
Me and my two littlest gals reading and coloring in bed!
Shelb getting ready to be discharged...with her flowers from mommy and daddy....she's looking very sad here again since her fever was high yet again....
Leaving the hospital in style...in a cool car-wheelchair thing.....honestly though...I think she wanted to be taken out in a REAL wheelchair...not this kiddy thing! :) She actually requested a wheelchair...cuz I think they were just going to let her walk out.....
waiting downstairs in the parking garage for daddy to pull up....
And this is taken today (3/21)....of our sweet....feeling MUCH better...girl! I am so glad she's back......and she even helped me clean her room and bathroom today! Wow....maybe this is a NEW Shelby (the old one never liked to clean!) :)
Welcome Home, Shelby Girl! And welcome back to smiles and happiness and feeling better! We love you sooooooo much! What a Spring Break story you will have to tell at preschool next week! :)