Saturday, November 30, 2013

Bye Bye November :)

Another busy Steg day...

Not sure the kids loved it as it involved a lot of photos, but I had fun...and what made it better is we have now accomplished quite a bit of Christmas stuff even before December hit.  This is really not a norm for the "wait til the last minute" Stegs :)

We:

1.  Had the kids' Christmas photos taken.  I haven't done this in years, but my sweet photographer friend had a last minute opening and she was sweet enough to contact me and squeeze us in.  Awesome.  I hope they turned out cute.  I love that I have a great photographer right down the road.  It seems so effortless when she takes our pics.  The kids cooperate much better for her than me, which is always a plus too. 

2.  Went back to the tree farm....to return the tree flag we accidentally took home.  Sorry, tree farm. 

3.  Tried to take photos at our trail bridge...in our Christmas attire.  I know...torture for the family...but it might be the last 50 degree day and I wanted to take advantage of it.  Bad idea at noon.  Bright sunshine and kids with light-colored eyes does not equal good pics.  They cannot keep their eyes open for anything! 

4.  Saw Santa at our small downtown mall.  Best things was seeing Logan's reaction.  Almost immediate tears over the strange white-bearded fella.  Santa was very sweet with him and calm, but little man to go back to big Sis Hailey for a photo op so he wouldn't scream.  Gotta love 1st Christmas pics with Santa :)  I then tortured the kids trying to get pics around the mall.  Hailey wasn't amused.  Shelb was less amused. She didn't have the best day.  I'll have to post some of the "out-takes" from it all just so you can see how much work it is to get a good pic of 5 kids :)  On a humorous note, Logan somehow chewed through a candy cane wrapper and tasted his first "cane" :)  He liked it! :)

5.  Braved the other mall in town and did some shopping. I know I said I wasn't setting foot in another store (except Kroger) for the holiday season, but Hays needed some Nutcracker secret pal gifts so we had to quick run into Old Navy and Claires.  Not too awful actually.  Daddy went to work/storage to gather Christmas supplies.

6.  Met up once again at the creek bridge to get pics at sunset.  Much better setting (little sun and open eyes :)).  I think Kev's fav part was taking a picture of me taking a picture of the kids...with my butt crack showing.  I knew the kids were smiling a little too much for a normal picture :)  Thanks, daddy Kev!  We are never lacking for a lil' humor :)

7.  Got our tree set up.  Not decorated at all, but it is set up.  Logan loves it.  Thinks the tree stand is a good spot for his blocks :)  December is going to be an interesting month.  Good thing daddy double tied the tree to the blinds.  Hopefully tomorrow we can decorate it!

8.  Hope to get to bed early.  One more day of vacation and it's back to the grind and a very crazy Nutcracker week.  Bracing ourselves.

Trying to be optimistic that December will be an enjoyable month.  Still have some online shopping to do, but it's not seeming so overwhelming.  Happy last day of November...and happy almost December!  Yikes, time is flying!!!

Friday, November 29, 2013

Happy Black Friday :)

Well, Black Friday has come and almost gone...no big whoop for us as far as shopping goes.  We are not the die hard (aka CRAZIES!) who wade through the mounds of crowds at absurd hours of the morning. I treasure my sleep way too much for that!  Though we did do a "drive-by" of Walmart and Kohls last night just to gawk at the cars parked out by the highway to get that first big deal.  Crazy!

At any rate we did get a bunch of good deals today all from the comforts of our couch.  And we did so all in our jammies while still feeling semi-relaxed and lazy.  Love days like this.  Makes me sad we only have two more left :( 

We also get quite a few things accomplished...

We made a Thankful tree on our basement door.  I know Thanksgiving is over, but I had wanted to do this all of November and since being thankful should be a daily thing (and since it is technically still November!) I cut up an old cardboard box and made my own make-shift tree and had the kids put a few "leaves of thanks" on it.  For example...I was grateful for sunshine today.  I love sunshine. It's not a common occurrence to see it shine this time of year.  Kev put "seasons".  I think that was a play on my "sunshine", but also a nice thing to be thankful for...and I know why he put it...he loves this time of year of cold and snow.  Hays put she was grateful for her family (with the disclaimer that we do annoy her...umm, thanks, Hays!).  I added my own thankful leaf for her regarding her love of photos taken by mom :)  I know she had that on her heart to write herself :)  Shelb was thankful for many things...house, family, clothes...and curlers! lol :)  Dylan put he was thankful for our family b/c we help him a lot.  Nice.  Ash wrote she was thankful for our house.  Also, nice especially on days like today when I feel it's a pit of filth and clutter.  Logan wrote he was thankful for dishwashers.  He is.  He loves them :)  Anyway...so that was a fun post-Thanksgiving craft.  We joked it could double as our Christmas tree if we just put a star on top :)  Kev thought I was serious. 

We also made it to the tree farm to get our real Christmas tree.  The pickin's were sparce, but we found one almost immediately that we liked.  It's smaller than we're used to and not as sturdy, but it has a nice shape and it'll make a good lil' tree for Logan's first Christmas.  Hopefully it'll be one that won't fall over or be too enticing for him to climb under :)  It was a beautiful day out (though brisk) and the tree farm was hoppin'.  I don't really like it as busy as it was, but we're trying to get all our Christmas stuff done this weekend.  We did thoroughly enjoy the free popcorn and hot choc.  Wish Nina and Pops had been here.  They have enjoyed this event with us before.  They missed some drama over sunglasses.  The Steg tree farm visit isn't usually complete w/o some tears shed :) 

And the kids and Kev abliged me tonight and went to our Canopy of Lights at the Square (our annual day after Thanksgiving lighting of our town square).  We only went for the lighting and I think Logan liked it at least.  It was chilly, but the lights were beautiful.  We have been to this event before but only for girl scout caroling.  Shelb opted out of this event this year so instead we only stood in the cold for 30 mins to wait for the lighting.  I am quite certain I'll never get them to do this again.  We are a mostly warm weather family :) 

All in all a good day.  And more to come tomorrow...seeing Santa...putting up our Christmas tree, etc.  I am sorta liking getting this all done so maybe I can enjoy my December more.  We'll see...

Pics to come soon....

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Happy Thanksgiving!!

 What a difference a year can make! And the pictures are the proof.  Golly!  Look at my 5 greatest blessings.  This is what Thanksgiving is all about. Being so grateful for what God provides...being grateful that His plan is best.  14 years ago none of the above blessings were in my life...but I cannot imagine life w/o them.  God had perfect/awesome timing.  I am humbled, blessed and completely grateful!
 Here we are last year...a very different Thanksgiving.  I was 8 mos pg...wondering when our January mystery baby (turkey?) would arrive :)  Shelb has just had surgery the day before.  Daddy got called into work this day so we only spent a few hours with the family and had to head home.  It was good b/c Shelby needed her rest.  The kids and I spent the evening together.  We also got to meet our best bud's new 1 day old girl, Sophie, at the hospital....which made us even more excited to meet our own baby!  Gosh, so much has changed in one year...
Now look at this last little blessing of ours...so full of spunk and energy.  He is walking all over the place now with his 3-wheeled walker toy and also started standing on his own yesterday. 

Today he thoroughly enjoyed Turkey Day mostly b/c he got to reek havoc on Nina and Poppy's nice home...getting into their Christmas stuff and try to pull ornaments off their tree, knocking the train off the track and just getting into trouble (aka...exploring!) which is his normal way.  He took his a nice afternoon nap on mommy, and two big sisters and daddy...it was a long nap for him.  He even had Turkey and Sweet Potatoes (of the pureed variety :)).  He did also try his first real carrot and loved it (Thanks, Ballerina Sis!) :)  I think it was an all around lovely day...good food, great family and amazing blessings to be thankful for!  Happy Turkey Day to all. Gobble Gobble!  Now onto the next holiday....tomorrow the tree goes up!

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

11M

Crazy but true...little guy is the big 11M today :(  This could only mean one sad thing...in one month he will be ONE YR! :(  I am so not ready for that.  It's like I blinked and he went from my belly to newborn to toddler.  It has gone by way too fast.  But, boy oh boy is he a fun and funny little boy.  He makes me smile so much throughout the crazy days.  Here's a few "snaps" of his day today...It's a good thing we only have one sticker tie left b/c he likes to tear these things to shreds and he soooo does not like to lay on his back for pics anymore.  I had to pay Dylan a dollar to get him to help me distract L so I could get this quick pic above :)
Fav time of my day is "cuddle time" in our room in the morning :)
Our monthly pic with the plate...outside with the snow flurries...it is WAY too cold for Nov...20's :(  He looks like such a little man with his manly coat and boots :)
After our first taste of prunes...hoping this will bring a nice poop on Turkey Day!  Check out his 4 "toofers" :)
And getting ready for "pre Turkey Day dinner" at the Teskes.  His matching turkey shirt to his best girl, Sophie.  We made these last night :)  He's thrilled as you can tell :)

I cannot count the ways I feel blessed by this final baby of mine.  He is a miracle to me and a perfect caboose to our family.  As much as I am saddened by his quick growth, I am loving every moment of watching the way he loves and discovers life.  It is true joy to watch his life unfold.  Love you so much, Lil' Logan Tommy :)


Tuesday, November 26, 2013

A Grateful Heart :)

I have failed to really focus much on this month of "thankfulness" and say how grateful I am for the MANY blessings in my life.  I am going to do that today before time escapes me again :)  It's so easy to get caught up in the every day complaints and annoyances, but at the end of each day as I lay my head on my pillow I am thanking God for all the good He does in my life.  My blessings definitely overflow!

1.  I am incredibly grateful for my family.  There are too many ways to say "why", but I could not be any more thankful for them all.  For a husband who stands by me when I'm a wreck or when I'm ranting (both of which seem to happen entirely too much lately...sorry, Babe!)  Incredibly blessed by 5 healthy kids..they bring me such joy every day and although I know I rant at them too sometimes, I wouldn't be complete today without them all under my roof.  They are my best gifts!  And wonderful parents...mine have got to be the best!  My mom knows what a mess my mind is lately and yet she calmly encourages me every day and tries to make my life easier even though she lives many, many miles away.  She's got a lot on her plate too, yet here she is today helping me plan Logan's 1st bday party in FL...trying to make it just perfect so I won't have to worry about it and so I'll enjoy it.  I love her for that!  My dad is the same way...a quiet giver. I take after him in so many ways. I am grateful for that!  And my in-laws are generous beyond measure as well.  Always willing to help and make our lives easier.  And I feel so, so blessed by amazing aunts in my life who seem to know exactly what I need when I need it.  Grateful, thankful, beyond blessed by each of my family members! 

2.  I am beyond blessed by wonderful friends who surround me daily with love and encouragement.  I'm not quite sure how I got so lucky to have so many of you support me in spite of my faults and crazy brain...but I am much abliged for all you do for me. You are all awesome.  It seems when I am at my lowest there are so many of you there to bring me back up to a normal mental state :) And so many of you are like family to me and my kiddos.  That is a huge gift!

3.  Grateful for my health.  Grateful for a healthy husband and healthy kids...I never take this for granted.

4.  Grateful for a warm home.  I may not like the cold outside, but there is something that makes me extra thankful for a warm home on cold days.

5.  Grateful for a clean home and kids who don't complain and help me pick up.  Yes, they did this today.  I really didn't even have to bribe them too much :)  They all helped and in a matter of an hour the first floor was clean--Hailey did dishes, Shelby dusted, Dylan and Ash attempted to shift around clutter :) and Logan didn't get into too much trouble (and he attempted to help with dishes :)).  That's all a blessing (plus, did I mention they all cleaned yesterday?  I have 3 clean bathrooms...this rarely happens at once...Hailey gets bonus points for cleaning our master bathroom!).

6.  SOOO grateful for this time off at Thanksgiving.  It's so much more restful during the days and evenings...and it's lovely eating together as a family every night.  Love (and could get used to!) this!  Oh and on a sidenote, I am grateful for the words "I'm bored" (muttered by Dylan yesterday).  I don't think those words have been uttered by a Steg kid in years.  Bored is a blessing these days...I'll take it!

There is a ton more I'm grateful for, but I'm gonna just try to focus on a handful a day.  Sorry about my lack of pics lately.  With vacation time comes less pics. I am taking less and posting less. I am so far behind, I know, but just can't take the time away from things that are more important.   
A couple old pics...one of the kiddos last Thanksgiving...can you tell who had just had her tonsils/adenoids out the day before after her toothbrush injury :(  Gosh, that seems like forever ago!  They all look so grown up now too....And below is my lil' turkey at Target. They had these hilarious hats a few weeks ago and I considered buying one, but he would NOT wear them. This was the closest I got of him "enjoying" the hat. He looks like a deer in the headlights (or rather a "turkey in the headlights") hee hee :)


 

Monday, November 25, 2013

Daily Dilemma

This is actually yesterday's "daily dilemma", but I was too frustrated to post about it last night...

Question of the day:

Do you have an effective way to make/keep lists (w/o losing them). 

I obviously don't have a good system going. I have lost countless paper lists lately (some, I think, actually blew away in the wind). And last night I actually kept the list on the notepad for that very reason, and somehow it still disappeared right before I arrived at Walmart where I really needed it (I'd spent a good amount of time making the list so that I could go the next 7 days w/o hitting the grocery store and the crowds).  You can imagine my frustration when it disappeared and today I'm remembering all the stuff I forgot to get :( :( :( 

So, I am wondering if I am behind on the times and maybe there is some new fangled way to keep lists.  I don't own an iphone or even a phone that take pics or easy notes (and to be honest I don't even use my cell...it's an emergency phone only).  But, I have considered taking a pic with my camera that I carry everywhere...that way I still have my list if I lose it.  Or maybe I move to a notebook that is big and not easy to lose...but then where to do I carry it since my purse is small and I am always carrying Logan (and I am a back-pocket-list girl anyway).  Maybe there is some awesome idea out there I haven't discovered that will keep me from stressing over lost lists (I'm guessing some electronic idea?).  I am trying to simplify my life and I think overcoming this "lost list stress" is key!!  Help :(

Sunday, November 24, 2013

A Do-Nothing Day

Yesterday was our "do-nothing" day.

No lists, no agendas, nothing specific planned.

It was awesome.

I could get used to days like that.

So, what do Stegs "do" on a "do nothing day"...well, I'll tell ya'!

We:

1.  Made our house a donut factory.  I had been wanting to do this for quite some time.  Ever since many years ago when we made Halloween ones.  We found a Krispy Kreme-like recipe.  Daddy did most of the work (he's got the cooking genes in our fam).  It probably took 4 hours total with the rising of the yeast.  So instead of bfast they were our after-lunch treat (or for some of us, they were lunch :))  Even Hailey (the one who does not like donuts) liked these.  They were yummers!

2.  Did some online shopping.  Seriously...I have no idea why I haven't gone this route before.  Sitting on the couch, shopping in PJ's while getting great deals and no shipping, not wasting gas money and time...genius!

3.  Finished our Christmas lists.  We got practical this year for the kids.  We have a basement full of toys and mostly strayed away from asking for more.

4.  Had Chinese for dinner.  No work, little clean-up and delicious.

5.  Did very little clean-up.  Yes, the house is a mess this morning, but it was nice to not have to lift a finger yesterday to do it.

6.  Have an oldest daughter who earned herself 20 bucks.  She totally deserved it.  The night before we had given her a "deal".  Clean up our pile of laundry in our bedroom (see a few posts before of photo with crying baby on top!), put away mom and dad's laundry...and motivate siblings to do their laundry....all by midnight last night.  I seriously don't know when she did all this, but she succeeded.  AND she threw in partially cleaning our master closet out.  That's a bargain for us!  She's awesome.  Love u, Hays!

7.  Saw our "baby" boy take his first steps...with our sad lil' walker toy that's 13 years old, and now three- wheeled instead of four :)  But, he made it work and was scooting all around our living room.  10 months old and upright almost all the time.  He's our busiest Steg baby.  Makes me sad that he will soon be 1.

8.  Rented a few movies. We love movies.  Wish we'd been less tired to watch them, but maybe today...

9.  Let the kids do mostly nothing and they loved it...they actually voluntarily did some cleaning (Shelby is working on the basement and somehow she got Dylan to help her?)...they built (and slept in) tents and watched some tv.

10.  Stayed in pj's all day.  I don't think any of us changed out of pj's til it was time for nightly showers and a rechange into new pj's.  Nice!

It was a lovely Saturday...a restful Saturday.  More Saturdays should be like this. I finally feel like I am catching up on sleep.  Logan slept through the night for the first time in months (thank you, Tylenol, and thank you Lord for making that 4th tooth finally come through!).  Life seems so much better on more sleep.  And here's to another semi-do-nothing day today.  YAY!


Saturday, November 23, 2013

Bliss!

Bliss for me is having a whole day with absolutely nothing planned.  And I mean NOTHING! :)  I am honestly not sure this has ever happened to our family and if it has, it was so long ago I cannot remember.  There is no ballet, no running kids anywhere...nothing.  I think I might only need to leave the house to get the mail...and I might just let that sit out there til I have to use the van :)  I am gonna enjoy this day b/c I know we might not get a repeat of this for quite some time.  Also so excited about 9 days with no school or major activities.  This is our calm before the craziness of December (Nutcracker, Christmas, traveling, 1st Birthday!!)  I think God knew we'd needed this time to get through the craziness that will follow.  For now I am wallowing in the non-plans and non-activity.  And also quite grateful for a lazier day yesterday where I actually took a 2 hour nap (thank you to Mr. L for finally giving up and napping next to me...I think the last time I napped that long/well was when he was in-utero :)).  Lazy days are good for the mind, soul and body :)

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Snow White

We need a "Snow White"...

I realized this tonight as I read this famed story to Ash. 

Here is this princess who shows up at the unkept home of 7 little people.  She cooks for them, cleans for them and takes care of them. 

I sure wish a Snow White would clean my house one day while I was gone. Anyone out there wanting that title (Nina??) :)  I promise there would be no poisoned apples in this deal :)

(and a disclaimer...Ash will NOT be our Snow White...don't let the outfit fool you...she is the untidiest of us Seven Stegs :))

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

My New Goal...

...being in bed before 10pm.

Day number 1...success :) (and only a success b/c my hubby insisted I take a shower now, unwind and sit in bed and watch tv...so that I can decompress and be ready for sleep much, much sooner than 1am...oh and he's doing the dishes now for me :))

...next goal is trying to turn the lights out and go to sleep by 11 (or before!).  We'll see how I do on that...that's much tougher.

It has been a rat-racey day.  Good in that I was able to spend time with Ash at preschool for her Turkey Day Feast and she got to have a fun lil' playdate with one of her best friends at our house...but super, super busy with activities, mama's taxi service and meetings.  I could have fallen into bed probably by noon, but that is just never in the cards for me.

So, here I sit...in bed with my feet up...baby sleeping in the crib beside me, my hubby doing the dishes for me...most of the kids asleep...and me feeling quite peaceful.  For now my brain is powering off.  Life seems good :)  


Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Our Reality...

I'm being brave here and posting a pic of what I am most embarrassed about.  The pile of laundry (and clutter) that really IS our room.  I hate it and obviously someone else does too :) Actually he likes it b/c he can climb all over it...but this night he didn't love me setting him down.  I hope someday I laugh at this and wish I was back in that moment. For now it makes me want to cry every day.  I just need to keep reminding myself of the crazy season of life we're in...but at the same time I want to make things better. Baby steps...

Monday, November 18, 2013

How?

How do people get things accomplished in a day? 

Specifically how do moms with 5 kids (one who is almost a toddler) get things done? 

I cannot for the life of me figure it out.

I don't remember ever feeling like I got nothing accomplished in a day before I had 5 kids, but honestly I truly feel I get a whole lot of nothing done every day.  I am lucky to get a shower in by 11pm lately.  And bedtime is close to 1am most nights (or rather mornings).  I am never eating a good meal.  The closest I come to that is grilled cheese lately.  I start laundry.  The phone rings. I have to run to school.  I have to run to another school.  I forget I was doing laundry so it sits all day and sometimes all night and needs to be rewashed the next day.  Sometimes this rewashing will go on for days.  I start the dishes.  I have a baby who likes to help.  It makes using the dishwasher a challenge.  I try to fold laundry, but can only do this when my baby is sleeping.  Oh wait...he sleeps in our bedroom still b/c he doesn't have a room.  My bedroom is where I sort laundry.  I get none of that done.  I start emails while I nurse my baby. I never finish them b/c he tries to help type.  I start cleaning a pile of clutter.  But, I need to go take a child somewhere or help with homework. That pile gets knocked over...usually onto the floor and the baby starts to play in it and eat the papers...he tries to eat my loose change. This is seriously how my life plays out about every day.  It's funny in some respects.  Funnier when I've gotten sleep.  Not funny today.

I've been keeping a running tab on the things I've been losing lately (besides my mind which was gone long ago!)  Losing these things b/c I am too rushed and nothing has a proper place.

Where are you...
1. Watch
2.  Lens cover to good camera
3.  Sunglasses

I miss you all.  There is a reward out for your safe return :)

Today I not only lost two receipts for things I needed to return (things that cost quite a lot of money).  I also somehow ended up with extra groceries in my van. Not such a big deal until I realized I think I paid for them too and they were expensive things like detergent I don't buy.  Again, can't find my receipt. And I think someone else got the card I just got my friend who's having surgery (not a big deal, but Ash picked it out and it was cute :)).  None of this I realized til 9pm tonight...6 hours after the shopping occurred.  I am feeling defeated today....defeated by my cluttered life.  I don't like running to and fro like a headless chicken and never being able to accomplish anything or collect my thoughts.  I told Kev tonight I am done with Christmas shopping. Mind you, we haven't gotten very much at all.  I am no longer stepping in a store to shop til Dec is over. I loathe it. I will shop online and that is it.  What I need is to find my sanity again. I know I started to lose it long ago, but it has really disappeared lately.

Maybe sleep will make this all sound funny tomorrow. Tonight it's giving me a headache.  I do love my life, but I would love to make it better on so many levels.

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Stormy Sunday

 Well, my beautiful foliage has been gone for about a week now, but obviously I'm still clinging to it with pics :)  It's been a super stormy day today. I had no idea we were even expecting all the tornado scares until church. Good thing for sermon weather predictions :)  I guess things were pretty bad across our state.  I saw a pic of a house in the road about an hour from here.  Not cool.  But, for us we just had a bit of hail, wind and rain.  It was lovely in that it gave us some unexpected time at home (no girl scout thing at IU for Shelb and no core group for Hays)  We even got our first floor cleaned up lickety split!  I like days like that (though we had some super, super grumpy, disobedient kids and that was very unfun!).  Anyway...so here's a few pics from last week before the last leaves fell for good.  I took a lovely pic of my baby boy in the rain b/c I loved this location and I knew this rain would bring all the leaves down (it did).  He amused me b/c he LOVES his leaves even if it's wet outside!
 My sweet baby girl on our way to violin at IU.
 My boys...love them!
 An attempted action shot. Having trouble with my camera settings lately so it's a tad bit blurry (fyi...Shelby and Hailey were at violin...on Mondays that's how we do it...Hays is "mom" for 15 minutes while I find parking).  So grateful for a teenager to help me!  Just wish she was around more!
 LOVE red leaves...they are my fav.  Logan amused me one day on the way home from preschool drop-off and we stopped at this pretty sight near some apartments.
 I miss the color.  It's so dreary now :( :(
 Spotting some fiber!
 Giddy about fiber!
 Love!
Not much else to say today.  I love Sundays like this though. I love storms too as long as they aren't scary. This one wasn't too bad for us.  Praying everyone out there was safe.  Now for 5 more days of craziness and then a week off school for Turkey Day.  YAY!!

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Super Saturday :)

 No pics from today, but here's some funny ones from the past couple weeks :)  Logan had his first "dip" in the sandbox last Saturday...it was a beautiful day out and he LOVED digging in the dirt.  He didn't even have any issues drinking the sand or being covered in it (thanks to big bro)...check out his face as Dylan dumps some on him :) teehee :)  D's face is pretty funny too...stinker!
 LOL!  Speaking of funny...Shelby was itching to try baby food last week b/c she thought the banana sounded good.  I think she liked it better than L liked it.  He's like a deer in the headlights when she takes his food away.  Not sure what's going on with his spoon either :)
 Stinker!!!  He found the new kitty water spot...going down to the basement on the stairs...and he dumped it right out.  We thought it was safe there, but apparently he knew better :)  I am very thankful he didn't fall, but he sure is a mischievous little guy!  Good thing he's cute!
 Big Bro taught lil' bro how to climb the stairs last week...thanks big bro :(
 A somber look on Vet's Day with ballerina sissy...and photo-bomber, middle sis :)
 Fun surprises in the mail from Auntie Sue :)  Logan was so excited he tried to eat through the bag...
 ...and when that didn't work he tried to pound them out.  Poor kid...maybe in 2014 he can try his first jelly beans :) 
Ash was proud of herself for thinking to put them in a cereal container :)  So much better than healthy cereal!  We love the "flops"! (they are almost gone)  Thanks, Aunt Sue!!!

It's been a nice Saturday. Mostly uneventful. I didn't even change out of jammies til 2pm.  Lovely!  We only had minor errands to run and we got to celebrate Nina Steg's bday with a yummy trip to Olive Garden. Quite a treat.  We finished off the evening shopping for our Operation Christmas Child shoeboxes.  The kids had fun putting them together and we are actually early on doing them. I thought they were due tomorrow, but we have another week.  For once I am ahead of the game.  I could get used to Saturdays like this! 

Friday, November 15, 2013

Love!

 Just a lil' view into my world...the world I am grateful for every day...simple things....like watching my Hays dance...
 ...watching my baby girl be my helper and my companion every day :)
 ...watching my little boy's face light up at just about everything he discovers...
 ...watching my Shelb grow into a great musician...she rocks the violin lately :)
...and watching my big boy play with my little one...they adore each other...

Trying to remember in each day of November (the month of Thanksgiving) what truly matters in life...and how grateful I am for all the blessings I have!  Love this gang of mine!

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Simple Joys

 Just a quick post with a few miscellaneous pics.  Proof of our first "fall" snow on the 12th.  I wasn't too excited. Neither was our 10 month old :) He did make some nice "butt angels" though...check them out :)
 His fav new place to stand...can you tell he is elated!?  He didn't even mind that it fell on him about 20 times that day.  Barbie castles are the bomb!
 Happy or Sad?  Complete and utter happiness!  This is his joy over being able to reach what's on the kid table now.  Trouble for his sibs for sure...nothing is safe anymore!
 My big boy...seems so weird to see him upright :)
 Look at how fast he was banging on that table...he was so excited he was red in the face :)  Love!
And I think he's not so sure about the impending Dec. holiday either...but he was super excited by our surprise gift that came in the mail from Nina and Poppy Stegs!  Our first real matching stockings from Pottery Barn!  Love them!  All personalized and ready to be hung...with a matching tree skirt.  Now I just need a mantel to hang them on!

Even in the midst of tiny stresses and cruddy cold weather...the joy of baby discovering the world around him brings great smiles.  God is good :)

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Needing sunshine

This week has made me extra grumpy. Yes, there was the whole reworking of FL Christmas plans. That was stinky enough.  I think we've come to some agreement on that though so that's good.  But, I have to say that sometimes I just miss living in FL.  Don't get me wrong, I'm glad to be raising my kids mid-western-style....but for about 4-6 months out of the year I really miss my Sunshine state and warmth.  This has been one of those weeks. It snowed on Tuesday.  Really, does it need to snow on Nov 12?  That seems a bit early, especially for mild southern Indiana.  I don't mind the white stuff really...but the subzero temps are making me super irritable.  I do not like not being able to get in my van in the mornings b/c the doors are frozen shut...not being able to see out my windshield b/c it's frozen over...hearing my baby cry b/c he's freezing and hates to be bundled in his tight car seat....among many other things.  I just really don't like to be cold.  And it's COLD!  20 somethings in Nov. is ridiculous.  Anyway...I know I shouldn't complain, but I am a fair-weather girl by nature.  Dec. 27th cannot come soon enough where I will be enjoying my baby's 1st bday by the pool in FL :) 

Anyway...in other news, Kev had the day off.  It was like a weekend for us today, but better b/c we only had one kid to take care of  :)  Nina Stegs was awesome enough to come pick up Ash from preschool and take her to lunch and shopping and ice cream.  They had fun.  I can't say Kev and I and shopper Log had fun. We started our Christmas shopping.  Didn't get too far with it, but thinking about it now is better than doing it the week before C-mas like normal.  We did open up Logan's savings account and also added to the kid's account.  That's about all we have to show for the day.  But, it was nice to have adult company during the day :)  I look forward to Friday when we get to repeat it.  For now I am sorry I have no pics to post. I must admit this is our busy time of year and my posts will be sporadic at best.  Just takes too much time to sort/post pics.  Time is precious now...as is sleep.  Night, night :)

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Cynophobia

(aka...a fear of dogs or what I like to call "dog anxiety")

Our Ash has it bad.

Real bad.

Let me rewind back to sometime in the last year (I have no idea when b/c the last 2 years have just been a blurr honestly)...but sometime in the not so distant past, Ash had a scary encounter with an overly friendly neighbor dog.  We have a new neighbor next door to us. He has a dog.  A pretty big dog.  A Golden Retriever.  I don't know anything about dogs, but I have heard these dogs are pretty friendly.  At any rate, there was one day (like most days) where I open the garage, open the van doors, tell the kids to get in and I take 2-3 trips back and forth from the van to the house to get stuff.  This was one of those times. I was in the house.  I heard a scream...blood curdling kind.  Ash had been knocked over by this dog and it was in our van, then in our house, then back in our van and running all around us. It wasn't being vicious at all, but I think it had gone through its new electric fence and couldn't get back in.  No idea how that works.  But, the dog seemed frantic and also seemed to just want some friendly attention.  I should also mention we are not dog people.  That's not to say the kids don't love dogs.  Most of our family has dogs.  We are around them often enough.  We just don't ever plan to own one.  Kids, cats, rodents and the occasional fish are enough "fun" for us :)  Anyway...all this to say that this dog experience has scarred our Ash, me thinks :(

The anxiety has gotten so bad that she has refused to go some friends' homes that have dogs.  Or rather she usually forgets they have dogs and we get to the front door and ring the doorbell and she hears the dogs barking and she clings to me like a timid toddler and begs to go home.  Actually lately she has resorted to the blood curdling scream again...like her life is going to end if she gets near a dog.  Mind you she is fine with certain dogs...Nina and Poppy Stegs', Bailey, for one....but any friend that has a dog is throwing her for a loop.  Last week she went to a new friend's house and they had two dogs in a cage and she went ballistic when the dogs had to go out to the bathroom (and were released briefly from the cage).  I have honestly not seen anything like this before and if you know our Ash you know she is usually pretty daring and fearless about life.  Today we went to pick up her friend from a grandparent's house and they had dogs from the sound of it and her heart rate shot up.  I know this b/c she clung to me so tightly I could feel her heart coming out of her skin.  I feel so helpless for her in these situations.  She is scared. 

My question in all this is how to deal with this anxiety.  It's a real true fear.  I can see it in her eyes. And I really cannot blame her after being knocked down by what I think was just an "over-loving" big Golden.  I just don't want her to live in fear of dogs forever.  I may not like them myself, but I know a fear of anything can be debilitating.  And we all know dogs are everywhere.  She has gotten so bad that she won't go out in our front yard if a dog is walking across the street.  She wouldn't go see our neighbors one day b/c there were two dogs on leashes with owners down the road about 10 houses down.  I am just not used to my kids fearing things so this is a twist for me.  Just curious if anyone out there has had experience with this with kids and if there is a cure-all? 

Monday, November 11, 2013

Our FAV Vet!

Happy Veteran's Day to our most fav. military man...my bro!  Not only is he a great son, brother, husband, father, friend, etc....but he's an amazing Air Force pilot who serves our country proudly.  We are grateful every day for what he does for our country and the heart he has for his job and his love for flying.  We'll be thinking of our fav. vet all day today.  Shelby actually asked this morning if he could just "fly in" to be at her Veteran's Day program.  If only we had our own private Gritz jet!  But instead he has a star hanging in our school for all his hard work as a serviceman (which I am realizing needs to be updated a bit! :))  We are proud for the way he serves our country...and for the many who serve alongside him.  (sorry I didn't have a nice pic of him in uniform...but this will show you he is a vet with a sense of humor too :))  Love you, Jeffie!

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Feeling Grumpy :( :(

Why is it that when you have this ideal post-Christmas trip to FL planned-where you've already planned out your sunshiney days with your family-you get the stomach-sinking news that the one ballet audition your teenager needs to go to for summer intensive is during that well-planned FL trip.

Ugh.

Grrr.

Sigh.

Not much more I can say.  But, I know my mama feels my tremendous pain.  We had it all planned out (well, sorta), but we had good times planned with my brother and his fam, my Aunt Sue, Christmas/bday celebration with the Gritz clan and lots more.  Now we have half the time to do it in.  Not even sure that is worth it...though I know ANY amount of time with family is precious.  But, that 20hr drive to FL is stressful with a van-packed fam of 7 and doing it for much less quality time down there is disheartening to say the least.  

So, now we toss around our change of plans.

Do we leave to drive south on Christmas and not fully enjoy the Steg Christmas and Logan's 1st Christmas?  Do we leave day after Christmas and drive partially on Logan's 1st birthday (if you know me, you  know this is not an option that I want!)...do we leave on Logan's birthday (27th) and just celebrate his bday before or after his real bday (after all, he is only a baby and he's only 1....but may I remind you he's my LAST baby whom I had hoped to make his 1st bday extra special)  Nina assures me we can have a big party on FL.  It's still not the ideal "at home" bday I had planned.  Or do we still leave on the 28th as planned and just cut our trip short by 2 days.  Crud.   There is just no obvious answer to me.  And I guess it all comes down to relinquishing control yet again.  I will not have the ideal holiday I had planned in my head.  Sorta reminds me of a year ago when I had absolutely NO control over my water breaking and having a baby during a blizzard and too close to Christmas.  I really do think God is trying to teach me to "go with the flow" and be more flexible.  I am one tough cookie to break.  I am not loving this learning experience, but we somehow have to make the best of this snafoo :( :(  Help!

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Love!

 I am realizing how very far behind on pic-posting I am, but a weekend w/o my hubby around is not a time for me to try to play catch-up.  So instead, I'm just picking a few of the kids with their lil' bro. I know I take way too many pics of the "baby of the house", but I can't help it. He's my last and he is growing up so fast.  But, here are a few of the rest of us with the little man. There is no doubt he is LOVED!  Above is his best daytime buddy whom he hangs out with every single day...here they are in the rain by grandma and grandpa's tree on the trail...on Halloween :)  Love how she loves being a big sis :)
 Our "Audrey" caught a cute lil' rodent!
 Our lil' Pumpkin's first pumpkin...carved courtesy of daddy :)  I think he likes it!
 Here's how he spent half of pumpkin carving time. He crawled over and fell asleep on my lap (or more like passed out :))
 The master craftsman (daddy!) trying out his "rodent" son in the trap. 
 My boys...love them! (after D's football awards ceremony) 
And my oldest and youngest at the pump. patch

I promise I'll get my act together and start posting more pics.  I have tons as you well know. 

For now I am off to pop popcorn for my wee ones who are watching a movie.  It's been a full day, but not a terribly busy one. I spent way too much time at stores, but the kids were very well behaved.  It was a beautiful day and Dylan spent part of it jump-roping on the deck (his new hobby?).  Logan had his first playtime in the sandbox.  He loved it and was/is covered in sand.  He was eating it and throwing it and standing up in it.  Hays had a good day at ballet.  Ash was slightly grumpy being made to do chores.  Shelby has been MIA with a friend all day and now is at an ice skating party.  Daddy is MIA too.  We miss him...weekends are not the same w/o him around.  Hoping for another laid-back day tomorrow.  I could get used to these...