Saturday, October 31, 2009

Happy Halloween!

Trick-or-Treat from the Steg Kids--Fighter Pilot Dylan, Geisha Girl Hailey, FairyTale Princess Shelby and Cupcake Ash :) Hope you have a Spooktacular Halloween! :)

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Home Again, Home Again...


...jiggedy, jig....

Well, I'd like to say Kev and I are doing a happy jig to be back in town from our awesome cruisin' in the Caribbean, but the down right truth is that I think we are both reminiscing of our incredible week of sailing the high seas, doing as we pleased and being waited on hand and foot all the whilst forgetting we even had responsibilities and 4 crazy kiddos back in the states!

A part of me wants to snap my fingers and have it be a week ago when we were just embarking on our adventure :) But, alas every incredible vacation must come to an end...and with that reality always has to follow :).....

Ok, so I think you get my mood today. It's not bad being home per say....it's just always difficult being thrust back into reality after being in a dream-like state for over a week....and today was just like that...5 hours of sleep and back in the "rat race" of activities.....Halloween parties, school activities, ballet, church etc, etc. All this reality has me exhausted and after being on my feet for the last 8 hours already I am sitting here dreaming of my days at the pool last week with my strawberry daiquiri in hand :)

For those of you wondering how it all went....it was FANTASTIC!!!!! Every bit of it. I don't have words to even tell you how super awesome it is to spend any amount of time on a cruise ship...and if you haven't ever been you simply have to do it. There is nothing like it. To be pampered every day and night....to have every food imaginable at arm's length at any time...to not have to clean up after yourself or do laundry....to wake up whenever you want, take a nap in the middle of the day for no reason, lay on a lounge chair and sip on whatever drink you fancy....to watch fabulous broadway-type shows every night, to have "free" room service whenever you wanted...to enjoy the amenities of a fabulous room complete with a big ol' balcony....and to enjoy the marvelous sights and tropical heat of the southern Caribbean......well, it was simply marvelous...every single part of it. Of course, the BEST part was getting a whole 8 days alone with my amazing husband...with no kids to distract us from each other :) There is no denying that was my favorite part :) But, what an incredible experience it was....to cruise on this HUGE mansion on the sea. It is really indescribable. I wish I had some awe-inspiring words about it...but it truly was just something that everyone has to do at least once in their lifetime (we'd love to do it many more times if we had lots of cash and no kids!). And, I'm sure you know that I took many, many hundreds of pictures that hopefully in the next 30 days I can start to post :) But, for now, just picture Kev and I looking somewhat tanned/burned right now and know that we had the most fantastic time on the Carnival Miracle and in St. Kitts, St. Lucia and St. Maarten. Whohoo!

And---the kiddos--they did fabulously. Both loved their time with "the Ninas and Poppys" :) I guess Ash never even noticed mommy and daddy left her for a week in FL cuz when we hopped in the car yesterday after not seeing our baby for a week she just looked at us and smiled like we'd been there all along. Apparently Nina and Pops in FL make good adoptive parents :) And I know they had a super great time with their little granddaughter playing in the pool and shopping and taking nice long walks (there's a rumor out there that Pops even changed a poopy diaper or two :)). Wonder of wonders! :) So, all went well in FL and I guess there was no homesickness (or mommy/daddy sickness) for Baby Ash...she adapted well, ate like a champ, slept like a baby, pooped and peeded like a pro, and sounded like she overall treated her Nina and Pops like a king and queen :) And the other 3 up here in Bloomy....they did great with Nina (and Poppy) Stegs. Bless Nina for taking on the craziness of our crew for that many days...I honestly don't know how she did it all almost all by herself. Usually Kev and I split a lot of the responsibilities on a daily basis, but she did it all AND she was still sane when we saw her last night! :) AMAZING, NINA!!! :) She took over as cook, cleaner, launderer, taxi service, homework helper, comforter and definite prayer warrior (I say that cuz apparently Hailey cried herself to sleep on at least one occasion cuz she missed us so much....and Shelby...she got slightly ornery at times saying "this is too many days with Nina and too much time away from mommy and daddy" :)). But, Nina persevered and had a good sense of humor through it all and she should be mighty proud of keeping our brood up and running for 11 days. I think it's quite a feat to tackle! I hope by now she is home sitting eating bon bons in the peace and quiet or maybe taking a much-deserved nap! :) Whew! I get tired thinking of how tired she must be.

I really can't thank our wonderful parents enough for allowing us this time away. For taking such amazing care of their grandkids....for giving so unconditionally (as they always do). There are no words to describe how grateful we are to all four of you for giving Kev and I this time away. As tired as we are today we truly did come home refreshed and renewed and there is no greater feeling that that. It's been a long time since I've felt that way.

So, there ya' go...a quick run down of the many emotions I am feeling today (and felt last week as we were cruisin' along). I'm sure many of you are wondering how this mama did for 8-11 days w/o seeing or talking to my "babies". Well, it honestly went ok....I would have never guessed I'd say that, but I simply had to just put the kids out of my mind somewhat and just focus on the good times....just enjoy the "now time"...the time with Kev. It wasn't always easy, but for the most part we just enjoyed that "in the moment" time...and we didn't sit around much chatting about the kids and what they were doing. I really tried not to do that. That would have been too hard on me. I did that once and had nightmares about Hailey and Nutcracker and her cutting her hair herself (really short) cuz she was mad we were gone...and how Shelby disowned us for leaving her for so long....and I even dreamed Ashley completely forgot about us and didn't remember who we were when we got home. But, mostly I just tried to keep the kids out of my mind. I know it sounds awful to say, but it was the best way for me to enjoy myself. And so I just got lost in the big boat, lost in the island life....it really was like a dream. We lost track of the calendar and the time (things we rarely get to do in our crazy schedule)....but it was wonderful...it truly was. I'll admit by day 5 on our way home to Ft. Laud. I was missing my kids....getting excited to see them again....but the time away was well spent with my husband and I wouldn't have traded it for anything (and it definitely would not have been the same with the kids along)....

So, there ya' go. A quick summary of how it all went. I'll do my best to get a few pics up soon to show off the good times, cuz I think for those of you living here in Indiana and this chilly, dreary north you might need some nice, sunny beach pics to brighten your day. This Indiana rainy, gloomy weather is downright depressing! I miss the Caribbean fun and sun!! :) Whohoo for vacations and double whohoo for cruises! Awesome times!!!!!

Friday, October 16, 2009

Bon Voyage!

Well, it's hard to believe THAT time is finally here, but it is!!!

Tomorrow my honey and I (with Ash in tow) fly out to sunny south FL in prep. for our 10 year anniversary cruise celebration!!! (only a year late, I know) I can't believe that in a few days time (Monday) we'll be setting sail for the sunny Southern Caribbean (of St. Kitt's, St. Lucia and St. Maarten). We're so excited!!! Of course getting to that point has been challenging as usual...with lots of packing, cleaning, securing the 3 oldest kiddos' schedules, and doing this in the midst of sick/teething kiddos (Ash got yet another tooth and almost all of us have had colds)....not to mention we're still in wean-mode (yesterday was the first day w/o a mommy-feeding). But, all that to say that the end is in sight and soon my hubby and I will be basking on our 8-day glorious Carnival Cruise of rest and relaxation (and maybe a fun excursion or two like a pirate ship adventure :)). We can't wait!!! So, if you don't hear from me for the next couple weeks be rest assured that we're just be lazing and enjoyin the luxuries of being pampered on our big ol' ship! And if you think of it say a prayer for our wonderful Ninas (and Poppi's)...Nina S. is watching the 3 oldest here in Bloomy and Nina and Pops in FL are watching Ash. We can't thank either of them enough for this huge under-taking and we just pray that the good Lord gives them strength and protects them from any major illness or swine flu :) And the same goes for Kev and I....praying we stay well and I don't suffer from sea sickness (and more importantly that I don't miss my babies TOO much!!). So, adios, farewell and bon voyage! We'll be thinking of ya'll (esp. those suffering from the Indiana cold) as we set sail in the sunny, warm south on Monday afternoon :)

Pumpkin Patches Galore! :)














Just wanted to quickly post a few of our fun October Pump. Patch pics....cuz you know me and Halloween. I love it and I love fall festivities! :) Here's a few pics from our trip to Danville with Kev's parents (we went to Beasley's Orchard). It was awesome to finally be at a REAL patch again where pumpkins grow on the vines and aren't just throw in an open field by some guys (like in years' past at our sad Bloomy patch :)). Anyway...so it was super fun to enjoy the day with Nina and Poppy Stegs. We also made a quick jaunt to our church pump. patch. That didn't go as well and I have very few pics to show. We were in a time crunch to get Hailey to ballet and the kiddos were very distracted. All Ash wanted to do was pick up pumpkins and walk around (she LOVES walking and walks ALL over the place now....like 10 steps at a time...it's so fun to watch!) Anyway...I went back on Tuesday to our church patch and took some more pics of just Ash cuz she loves pumpkins so much :) I just love this time of year and I'm sorta sad to miss some of the fun fall-sy activities over the next couple weeks. But, then again I'll be basking in the islands with my hubby....that's waaaay better! :) Happy Fall! (oh and the pic of Kev running after the hay ride...I HAD to post that....daddy risked his life to save the little black croc of Ashley's! LOL!) :)

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Introducing the Newest Mother Ginger Child....

...ya' know...the cute "little bo peep" type kids that are under the BIG hoop skirt....the ones that everyone claps for and loves as they come scurrying out from beneath that funny man-woman. A scene that always gets a good laugh :) This is the NEW and oh-so-exciting role that our prima ballerina has acquired in this year's acclaimed IU Nutcracker!! She was soooooo excited to find out the big news tonight. She had only dared to hope for such an fun, new role....and I only dared to hope along with her....and now those hopes are a reality. YAY, for our Mother Ginger Hailey! We still have yet to learn if she'll be a boy or a girl ginger (I'm guessing a boy due to height...as was her mother before her who always got the "boy" roles :))...but be rest-assured Hailey is thrilled over this bit of exciting news for the day....and she can't wait to start learning her new part this Friday night (just hours before this mama and dad fly out to FL for our cruise...the chaos never ends.....) Anyways....but back to the news of the day! Congrats to our Hailey! We are so proud of her and her continuing ballet success! We can't wait to see her dancing her ginger role in a couple months!
And a few pics to show of the exciting news of the day...and the audition. Above is Hailey and a fellow ginger girl looking at the role list just posted today. Hailey tried to play it cool and not get too excited. I think her words were simply, "YES!!!" when she saw her name under the Gingers :) I was glad she kept her excitement under wraps as there was another girl there crying who had obviously not gotten the part she'd wanted (or a part at all)...
Here's Hailey on Sunday afternoon before her audition. She would only let me take her picture through the glass door :)
Labeled, lined up and ready for the big audition. It was lucky #23 for her! And I love the below pic of all the girls (and guy)...I think the guy at the end of the line (who is in Hailey's class) is actually Fritz...and actually the girl in the front of the line, I think, is the new Clara :)
So, "Phew!"...what a day! I'm soooooooooooo excited for our Hailey. Not that she didn't want another year of being an angel in blue with the itchy blue wig...but the mother ginger role is definitely much-anticipated! YAY! So, congrats to our Hailey...we are so proud of you, our fav. dancing girl! :)

Friday, October 9, 2009

More Breaking News!!!!

A BIG smile after the BIG discovery (on the toilet no-less!) :) Can you see that lil' tooth poking through there on the bottom?? Love it!
Here she is pointing to it (sorta) :) And below is daddy (and mommy) not torturing the newly toothy baby :)

Well, as if walking wasn't enough for one week, the newly toddling Ash decided to FINALLY grow her very first tooth today!!!! YAY!!!!!

We were just getting her ready for the day and I was brushing her hair in the bathroom and decided to do our regularly scheduled "daily tooth check". I honestly never expected to find anything (as yesterday showed no signs of tooth-dom)...but sure enough there on the bottom middle left was this sharp protrusion of white. Mommy was so excited I started clapping and Ash did the same! Finally, at 12 1/2 months we have teeth!!!!! (yes, it was a looong haul waiting for these pearly whites to show their "faces"!) :) I really thought we might be the one toddler in the world w/o teeth, but I guess Ash proved me wrong. And we're happy to say she has now joined the ranks of her much younger and toothier cousin, Brooke. Now it'll be a race to see who has more teeth by December when the girls meet up. And lucky Nina and Poppy...now she can bite them next week if she doesn't like how they handle her :) :) And more incentive now for mama to get this 1-year-old completely weaned!

So, there ya' go...a BIG week for our BIG girl! Walking and now a tooth. What more could we ask for?! Now I can focus on our cruise and not worry about missing any big milestones while we're gone for those 8 days! Way to go, walking and toothy Ash!!!

First Steps!!!!

video

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Awesome American Girl Fashion Show!!!

I didn't want to let another day go by w/o posting these awesome pics from our fabulous weekend taking part in the ever-popular American Girl Fashion Show that took place in Carmel (Northern Indy) put together by the Junior League of Indianapolis. It was sooooo much fun! I'll let the pics do the talking cuz that's my style....but before I go on I wanted to thank Nina and Poppy Stegs again for this amazing opportunity. If you don't know anything about these fashion shows I'll just quickly mention that they are put on by fundraising....and you must raise a certain amount of money to even be in the show. Since neither of our girls have much time on their hands to fundraise, Nina and Poppy were generous enough to give on the girls' behalves. We can't thank them enough as I truly feel this is such a fun and wonderful opportunity for any girl who loves American Girls and loves dressing up. It was most fun this year to see Shelby take part as well....my fav. pic of the day is above so I'm posting that first even though it's out-of-order. Aren't they beautiful in their AG attire--Hailey (aka Felicity) and Shelby (aka Snowy Day Bitty Baby)
Here's Nina and I and the girls (and dolls!) at Nina and Poppy's house before leaving for the big show last Sunday. We had to be in Indy early so we decided to spend the night at their house. It was so nice to do this and avoid getting up at the crack of dawn and making the long trek from Bloomy.
The girls and Kaya and Kit :) I attempted to make Hailey's hair look like Felicity's, but it's so short that it didn't really work out as planned...oh well :)
I love this above pic of the sisters and their matching fashion show "free" t-shirts :) Do they look excited or what?!
Here we are...one of the first to arrive at the banquet hall where it was all being held....you can see that Hailey got changed right away and was showing Nina all the dolls :) We were some of the first models there cuz our photography session was one of the first....you know me and photos...can't miss out on those!
Hailey was Felicity (for those of you who don't know the AG dolls). She doesn't actually own this doll, but she has Felicity's best friend, Elizabeth, and for some reason she REALLY wanted to be Felicity this year. Maybe it has to do with the hair color (Felicity is brunette, while Elizabeth is blonde). Hailey really did look a lot like her too with her green eyes. I love the dress.
A full view of the dress and the pretty girl (and doll) :)
I laughed when I saw this pic....Hailey and Felicity look exactly alike right down to their slightly toothy grin and green eyes :)
Shelby got her first pic in dresses too with the new holiday Bitty Baby dress. It's so pretty and soft. I loved it too! She was so excited to be a model this year for the first time!
A full-length shot of her outfit :)
Me and my girls :)
Nina and the girls...
A back shot of the girls checking themselves out in the mirror :)
Here's the girls getting their pic taken by the photographer :) I love this pic :)
And here's the ever-popular raffle...more about this later! But, let's just say that Nina was generous enough to buy a "few" tickets and we were "slightly" lucky!!! :) So exciting!!!
Felicity and Kaya looking at rocks :) Yes, Hailey is friendly even with girls she'll only see for the day! :) Plus she LOVES the doll, Kaya, and this was her second choice of outfits to wear for the show if Felicity hadn't be available...
Finally...it's time for the show....here is Hailey's entrance onto the catwalk! :)
She shows no nerves...and did a wonderful job!
Here Felicity is with her best friend, Elizabeth...they are showing the audience how to properly drink tea with "no pinkies pointing out!" :)
Here is Shelby's first run on the catwalk...is she not cute or what?! I had no idea she was even coming out at this piont in the show...she ended up coming out with the older girls who were modeling holiday attire, not with the bitty baby models as previosly planned....
Here's Shelby with the bigger girl group....right before intermission....
Here she is still on the runway...and trying to tell me that she's "going to be in another show"....I had no idea what she meant, but I found out soon after.....
Here's Hailey in her Felicity nightgown :)
Aren't they all sweet in their night-attire...
Here's the whole gang of "dolls" in their sleepwear
a shot from afar...we were lucky enough to be in the front row for the whole show (this never happens!) so I rarely needed to get up to take pics...I got the best ones up front.
Here is Shelby's "other fashion show" that she was trying to tell me about earlier. Apparently one girl didn't show up to model and Shelby was chosen to take her place. She was the only bitty baby model who got to model TWO outfits. She was so excited and she looked so cute in this outfit. It's adorable and I love the bright colors!
She's the cutest Bitty out there! :)
I quick ran backstage to take a pic of her in this cute outfit...unfortunately they already had her doll changed back into the other outfit....so we didn't get a shot with the doll...but isn't this a cute outfit?! I love the brown and pink and the cute sweater and leggings! And right as I was taking this picture I heard Shelby's name over the loud speaker....they were doing the raffle....I had no idea what had just happened, but a few minutes later we realized that Shelby had won a new American Girl Doll!!!! She was so excited and slightly stunned, I think. More about all this below....
Here are the girls with all their "winnings". As I said before, Nina Stegs was gracious and generous enough to buy the girls a few raffle tickets. They had put these in the buckets of the AG stuff they hoped to win before the show. There was tons of stuff on the tables...maybe like 20-30 different things. We never guessed we would have won anything...but we hoped. Not only did we win 1 thing, but we won 5 things!!!! Shelby won the AG doll, Rebecca (the new historical doll) that all the girls wanted...that bucket was full of tickets so we never dreamed she'd win! It was the one thing Shelby really wanted...a friend for her doll, Kit! Hailey won 3 things....Rebecca's accessories (which she put a ticket in accidentally...but it worked out great considering we won the doll...she very sweetly gave this to Shelby for her doll :))...and she won Kit's dog, Grace and her most prized possession...the AG Instant Messaging system. She was sooooo excited! Even I won something...a $50 gift card to Melting Pot (my fav, you know!). We were one lucky Steg gang this day. It was sorta funny....the girl doing the raffle called our name the first time (Shelby Ste??????)...she could not figure out how to say our lovely last name...and then our name kept getting picked...she just gave up saying it and was saying "that one again"...haha! It was hilarious almost to the point of embarrassment...Nina and I just kept running back to the raffle table grabbing our winnings. Our arms were piled high with stuff. Other moms and grandmas and girls were just standing there with their mouths open. What can I say, it was our lucky day! We won over $200 worth of stuff! The girls were thrilled and we were just in shock. We'll probably never be that lucky again, but it was so fun for this one time! Thanks, Nina for making it happen and for the extra tickets you bought last minute so I could win the MP gift cert. I'm so excited to eat cheese and choc. fondue soon!!!! So, what a day....as if the whole fashion show wasn't enough fun...then to win so many new goodies! Yahoo!!!
Shelby with her new doll, Rebecca! She actually looks a bit like Shelby :) And she is the first brunette AG doll to join the Steg family.
Hanging out at N&P Stegs after the show....Ash was fascinated by Kit's eyes that open and close :)
Thankfully Kit was very patient with our Ashley and didn't object too much to the eye-poking :)
Shelby and her dolls! A big day for her!
She was quick to change the traditional Rebecca into the trendy Rebecca! She loves trendiness! I love them in matching outfits (we got the matching AG outfit at the fashion show too!) :)
Here's me with my winnings! Thanks, Nina and Poppy! :) I love MP!!
Here's the girls' winnings out of the boxes....so fun!!!
And I thought I'd post these other pics of the AG rehearsal....above is Dylan playing football with a boy at the rehearsal...and Ash taking it all in! :) It's times like these that I wish Dylan had a brother to play ball with. Who knows...maybe Ash will like football?! :) This sweet boy was so nice to play with Dylan and Dylan just loved having an older boy to hang out with while his sisters' did their girly AG thing on the runway! :)
Ignore the sleepy look on Kev's face as he plays with his i-phone. But, check out Ash as she tries snoozing on the hard wood floor. LOL! That Friday night before the show was an exhausting one...can you tell?! :)

And these last few pics are of the fashion show fitting a couple weeks before the big show. For those of you who have never done this...you have to show up and wait in line to be fitted for the outfits (you are not guaranteed a spot). We did this last year too, but just showed up late and didn't have to wait. This year was much different. We even showed up 30 minutes early and there was a line out the door. Thankfully we were probably 20th in line and got the show and outfits we wanted, but I don't think others were so lucky. Actually the show was not well-attended this year, I think, and they were begging for more models. Probably due to the economy and the hefty fundraising money the girls must raise. But, truly...this was such a fun and awesome opportunity and well worth the wait in long lines! (fyi...Hailey tried to dodge out of this pic, but mama was quicker!)
Here she is trying on the Felicity gown for the first time...love it! She wanted to be the holiday (blue dress) Felicity, but I liked this one better!
Trying on the Felicity nightgown...
Shelby trying on her outfit...she loved it right away! And below is also a stroke of luck! At the AG fitting Nina Stegs also bought the girls a couple raffle tickets. On the car ride home we got a call that Shelby had won the llama (Chrissa's llama). Hilarious! We never win anything, but apparently we are lucky in the AG arena! Nina was kind enough to go pick up the llama the next week and we are now the proud owners of Starburst...the wonderful white llama! Not many people can say they have a pet llama, but the Stegs do! I think this is so funny cuz I still remember that Sesame Street episode with the llama and the dentist. Remember: "Me and my llama, me and my llama...we're going to the dentist today!" :) LOL! Lllamas are cool! And Shelby is one lucky girl! She adores this llama! So, that was that....an AWESOME AG show full of lots of luck and fun times! Special thanks again to Nina and Poppy Stegs for this incredible opportunity. It truly was a weekend full of great memories for us girls!