Sunday, December 20, 2009

Christmas

On Friday night Dave and I hosted the Steffensen family Christmas party. Our theme was "Christmas Around the World". We had yummy food for different places around the world (whether made up or not...I'm sure you've all heard of Choc Republic, formerly Chocolatslavakia). We played the North Pole game where everyone had to take their "snowball" (white balloon) between their legs, put it in a basket, put on their Santa beard and mustache, and get their fat Santa belly with their balloon. It ended up looking a lot more like pregnant people then Santa's...

We had a couple people share about Christmas in different places like Mexico, Portugal, England, Korea, and Germany. We also played a game where you had an assignment for the night. For example, Diana got "everytime someone plays with a balloon, tell a pointless fact". I got everytime a party guests name is said jump up and down". The winner was the person who guessed what the other people were doing and took their slip of paper. It was pretty funny, especially knowing what people were doing when other's got so confused. We all dressed to represent a different country. Dave wore his shirt from Mexico. I wore my Olympic shirt (go USA) with flags from several different countries on the back.

Detmer representing Scotland
Kendall representing Japan
Allie represents Mexico
Saturday was the Steffensen family reunion. Allie, Detmer, and Kendall were close to the end and had to wait through a whole lot of other children to sit on Santa's lap before their names were called. I was so proud to see them being so patient, but I could tell they were getting pretty nervous. It's so hard when the ten and eleven year olds get called up and the little ones have to wait and wait (mental note-start showing up super late to family reunions). One of the boys close to Detmer's age got a motorcycle. Detmer walked deliberately over to me and said "Mom, I want Santa to give me a Power Ranger motorcycle like him." Imagine my joy when that was exactly what Santa had got for Detmer! Except it was bigger and it was red, which makes it a "Wes one" (everything red, even dinner plates are a "Wes one" because Wes is the red and favorite Power Ranger). He didn't put that thing down. I was hoping Kendall would warm up to Santa a little bit, since he strongly resembled one of her favorite people. But all I have to say about that is she didn't scream AS loud:) At least there was some progress.

I was so excited when Kendall opened her birthday gift from Aunt Jenn. It was a beautiful green dress that matched Allie's Christmas dress perfectly! My girls were so beautiful in their green dresses and Detmer complimented them perfectly in his red sweater.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Dave

A couple weeks ago, I told Dave I was swearing off asking anyone to baby-sit for us. It hurts a mother's feelings when it seems her children are inconvient to others. And after having to ask for way more help then I usually do last month, I decided to never leave the house again without the children in tow. I especially hate to ask for weekend days, but I had to ask that of Kelly when she was celebrating Thanksgiving with the in-laws (but remember how I really, really wanted to go to the BYU game?) Kelly never complains and always acts like it would be super fun to have my children, but I'm quite certain she's got better ways to spend her weekend. So I swore off asking her, or anyone, to baby-sit. At least for December. But then I really had to go to the doctor. I mean, you can't put off a visit to the doctor, right? So just this once, I decided to bend the rules. But I told Kelly (she didn't know about my anti-baby-sitting-policy) I would be back in one hour. Maybe two. But then she offered to keep the children until Dave could come get them after work. Now, then. How could I possibly turn down such an offer? I couldn't. I probably hit ten stores that day, easy. It was great. No wonder I don't stress about getting my Christmas shopping done. Still, it was a relief to pick up the children and swear off asking her to baby-sit again.

Except.

I really, really wanted to attend ward temple night. It had been SO long since we'd been to the temple. Corben, my awesome awesome nephew, was available to watch Allie and Detmer (but he and Kendall don't get along so well). So I made yet another exception to the policy (and it's only the middle of the month).

All week, I was troubled. I came so close to cancelling at least a hudred times (maybe even a thousand). I didn't want to mess around with my policy. Not for my sake, but because I knew Kelly (who would be taking Kendall) had an incredibly huge amount of things to do (did you hear? She has six children.)

But I'm so glad I didn't cancel.

Dave and I had the best night. Dave always saves time for me. We do a lot together. We talk for hours every night after the children go to bed. That's why I didn't feel like the no baby-sitter policy would be a big deal. But going out with Dave tonight, I mean, really. He's just awesome and amazing and there is nothing like going out, just the two of us. I wish every couple had that opportunity.

Some of the last times I spent with my mom were at the temple. My endowment, then we went a couple times before she died as I was getting more acquainted with the temple. Now everytime I go there, I think so much of my mom. I have so many memories of the last times I spent with her there.

Often when I feel her near, I wonder what I would tell her if I could talk to her for just one minute. Tonight while I was sitting in the temple, I thought of course, I would tell her about my amazing husband and children. I know she already knows all about them, but I've never been one to turn down an opportunity to talk about them.

My mom knew Dave for about a year before she died. Looking back, I realize she really didn't know him that well. As I looked over at him while we were at the temple (I can never resist getting a glimpse of that handsome face) I thought of how much my mom must really love him. A mom hands her child over to their spouse, but usually still remains a large part of their child's life. My mom handed me over to my husband and left this earth. And it was probably easier for her to let go, knowing I was in good hands. On our drive home I told Dave tonight that she must have really trusted him since she left her baby girl in his care so shortly after we married.

The other night I was incredibly ticked off at everyone on this planet (mostly). I was venting to Dave. Venting, I tell you!

Then he made the best joke. Ever.

(Right in the middle of my vent.)

And we laughed our heads off and went to bed.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Kendall

Yesterday I took Kendall in for her doctor's appointment.

I told her pediatrician no matter what, I just really want to know, yes or no does she have the disorder.

The pediatrician said she is not presenting with enough "symptoms" to get her tested. Don't worry, she says, unless they grow or change.

Yeah, that's what I was already doing. Not worrying about the disorder, worrying about worrying about the disorder.

Still, after the appointment I did feel better. I asked the pediatrican pretty much every single little question I could think of.

I explained to her that when you are told your child may have a neurological disorder, nothing they do is "normal" and in my mind every single thing Kendall has done these past two months just might be associated with the disorder. Fussing. Weird growing teeth. Squealing. More dirty diapers then Allie and Detmer had. Being small. It was so nice to have the pediatrician remind me that all those things are, in fact, normal and in no way associated with the disorder. I saw a different pediatrician. I was kind of hoping she would say the other doctor was silly to even give the birthmarks a second look. Didn't happen. She studied them just as closely.

She is up to 17 pounds so I was really happy that she gained. I was not happy when the medical assistant commented on how small she is and asked if she was premature. She is in the 3%. Aren't there babies who aren't even on the charts?

I stopped nursing Allie and Detmer before they were ready. Both times I was pregnant and wanted to wean in plenty of time that they would forget that used to be their territory. Since I knew I wouldn't have that issue with Kendall, I decided to nurse her as long as she wanted. Of course, that meant she would happily wean at one. I'm still nursing her, but only about twice a day. And I think SHE would be fine cutting out at least one of those. She usually nurses once for food and once for comfort. I'm going to keep giving her a bottle because it will be easier for me to track how much she's eating. I hope she'll take a sippy cup well. She doesn't like the kinds we have, but I got her a soft tipped one for Christmas.

-She's not interested in walking AT ALL and I'm sure she'll be a late walker like Detmer.
-She gets ticked if we try and put her binky in her mouth UNLESS she is going to bed, then she MUST have it.
-Not only does she have those great teeth on the bottom, but her first teeth on the top are her one year molars. Oy.
-She is starting to say "Allie" so well!
-Normally when she wakes up in the morning she just says "Mom! Mom!"
-She goes to bed sooo well.
-She is an awesome sleeper.
-Her best words are mom, dad, uh-oh, hi. She attempts tons of words.
-She still waves at everyone like crazy. Love it. Unless it is for a prolonged period, then it's just awkward.
-She loves playing peek-a-boo.
-She answers to all her nicknames.
-Her new favorite game is to try and take something from me before I grab it away.
-She is into everything.
-She tries to do "I love you" in sign language, which ends up being one finger held up.
-She is ticklish.
-She's the boss!

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Home for Christmas

Jenny posted a tag. The purpose of the tag is to share what brings the Christmas spirit to you and Christmas traditions. I loved the first two posts I read about it (even the one from the grinch).
To me the spirit of Christmas is all good things: love, peace, joy, thanksgiving, service. The Christmas spirit comes to me in different ways throughout the Christmas season. Here is one experience I've had this year.

A couple weeks ago, I had a dream. I had just finished running a race. I was exhausted. I needed water. I needed a place to rest. Pretty soon, I could see the home of my childhood and teenage years before me. I felt so happy that relief was coming soon. But as I walked closer I remembered I was no longer welcome there. The house looked the same, but the people inside wouldn't recognize me.

I woke up and it was Thanksgiving morning. As I played with the children that morning, I cried when "I'll Be Home For Christmas" came on the radio. I was having a hard time getting excited about a feast I would be having later in the day while my brother and sister went to a restaurant, because my sister didn't want to cook a Thanksgiving dinner by herself. Of the past seven Thanksgivings, most of them have been within a couple months of a difficult life event. The holidays, though joyful, and maybe because of being so joyful, are often also a time when we most miss loved ones that aren't with us.
The next day, my Ensign (a church magazine) came in the mail.

The very first story was titled, what else, "Home for Christmas" by President Henry B. Eyring.

He said "The house in which I decorated Christmas trees with my mother and father in those happy days of my childhood still stands, largely unchanged. A few years ago I went back and knocked on the door. Strangers answered. They allowed me to step into the rooms where the radio had beenand where our family had gathered around the Christmas tree.

I realized then that the desire of my heart was not about being in a house. It was about being with my family, and it was a desire to feel enveloped in the love and light of Christ, even more than our little family had felt in the home of my childhood."
He goes on to say, "What all of us long for in our hearts...is to feel bound together in love tihe the sweet assurance that it can last forever."

My feelings exactly.

My home is where he is.
And this girl.
And my son.
And this baby.

And where they are, there is the spirit of Christmas.
(and I'll have to do traditions later cause I'm typed-out)
(and I tag everyone in the whole wide world to tell how they get the spirit of Christmas and about their Christmas traditions)

Monday, December 7, 2009

The Perfect Child

Genetics. What an interesting subject. It is so crazy how a nephew can look like an uncle, or cousins can have children with such similar traits. How is it that my sister and I were born with the exact same voice. And very similar looks. So much so that the other day at the gym a girl told us we were so lucky and that she always wished she had a twin.

In the gene pool of physical traits, I considered my children to be quite lucky. They could take after anyone of these people and be very lucky:



Beyond "looks" I always hoped my children would get Dave's brains and kindness. I hope they have his metabolism with my motivation and love of fitness.
They would be lucky to inheret Cami's ability to listen to others and stand up for herself.

Kelly's sense of humor and willingness to laugh at herself.

Giff's compassion for mankind, and most especially his family.

Denny's passion for the things he cares about most.
Ryan's ability to make everyone around him feel important and his self-confidence.

Heather's devotion to her family and those she's close too.

Jenn's work ethic.

Tammy's domestic skills.

Diana's spirituality and innocence.
HOWEVER.
There was one day in heaven when a specific trait was being handed out when me, Dave, and most of our siblings were missing. Remember that scene from Saturday's Warrior where all the siblings are singing together (what'll I do if I'm scared in the night, and I shiver with fright what'll I do?)? Dave, myself, and some of our siblings must have been doing something like that on the day they handed out the gene for straight teeth. I suppose some of our siblings arrived late and missed out on the best choices, but still got a decent pick. However, Denny, Tammy, Dave and myself must have just headed to The Other Side Of Heaven (ptttt ch). That's right, we missed it completely. In fact, when Tam and I got there we were so late we had to take our own set of teeth plus all the other extras. If you didn't know me in the days of yesteryear, I'm sure you can picture the look I sported in my pre-braces era. Let me put it like this, when Kelly and I looked at pictures of our childhood the other day Kelly said "did it hurt?" and "it looks like you had a fat lip." You know when one tooth grows right on top of the other? It was super sexy.

Anyway, genetics. Allie got lucky. Her teeth grew in beautifully. But the Det once sported a look like this:
Thankfully, as the rest of his teeth grew in, those two got pushed together.

I'm not exactly sure what's going on in Kendall's mouth right now, but it aint pretty. I'm not sure if there are one or two teeth that are missing between the three that she currently has. (Please bless that doesn't happen when her top teeth come in).

Sunday, December 6, 2009

One

In the hour before Kendall was born, I asked Dave to make sure there was no silence (didn't want this mind to wander too much). When the nurses stopped asking questions, he started. He asked me my favorite Christmas songs. I can't remember what I said, mine change every year. His was "Mary Did You Know?"

After Kendall was born, she screamed for two hours. Not cried, screamed. At first we joked about what a great lung work-out she was getting. Then, we got a little nervous. What if something was wrong? The crying eventually subsided, and then she hardly did it at all. For awhile I thought I had a very naughty baby on my hands.

When Kendall was very first out of me and Dave said "it's a girl". I questioned him. It's not that I thought he was tricking me, I just thought "he's no expert, what if he just doesn't see anything and thinks it's a girl." Lame, I know. But before I made my undying confessions of love for the baby girl I just KNEW was going to be mine, I wanted to make sure it really was a girl.

I couldn't believe Kendall was actually nursing in the hospital. Weren't babies supposed to get all jaundice and lose a bunch of weight, and then have me, in turn take a bunch of supplements to boost my supply of milk. Not this girl. She was an expert from the get go.

I was surprised that after Allie and Detmer were so close in weight, Kendall was almost a full pound smaller than both. And I gained the most weight with her pregnancy. Mystery.

I loved the hospital stay, but my first nurse was terrible. She lectured me for pushing my pain button 314 times in ten minutes and said it would not look good on her when pain management saw that. Whatever! Forget about actually managing my pain, only worry about how you look to everyone else. For the record, my pain wasn't being managed. This happened with both Allie and Kendall, and I've heard of it happening to a lot of other people. The nurses treat you like a big baby if you complain, but that is the one thing I would change. There is so much they can do to manage pain. I should have been more vocal about how much pain I was in (um, nurse, remember when I just got my stomach sliced open, that's kind of hurting). They are so confident in the epidurals, which are not fool proof, obviously. If my epidural didn't work for the actual c-section, WHY would it work for the recovery. I'm still a touch mad about that.

I'm so glad hospital food is better then it was back in the day. And I love being able to order at my leisure. Who wants to be woken up after they just had a baby because it's "lunchtime".

Every year on my children's birthdays, I read their birth story from my journal. It was fun with Kendall to also go back and read my blog post! Even though I may have rather slept then wrote, I'm so glad I posted everything when it was so fresh. I would have forgotten so much of it!

One thing I have loved about being a mom for the third time is that I trust myself a lot more. With Allie and Detmer, I always thought friends, relatives, doctors, etc. knew better then I and I trusted everyone! Now I take what everyone says with a grain of salt and decide for myself. I know what I DO want to do with Kendall that I did/didn't do with Allie and Detmer and what I don't want to do with Kendall that I did/didn't do with Allie and Detmer.

The first time I took Allie out to have her professional pictures (I think I've shared this before, it not on the blog, you've probably heard it a million times in person) was the worst! I thought for sure she was going to get scabies from the photographer blowing in her face. With Detmer's pictures I waited so long so he could build his immunities lest a photographer should blow in his face, that his pictures were...well, let me put it this way. Detmer went through a "phase" where he may or may not have been his handsomest and may or may not have had really, really bad baby acne (may). Of course to his doting mother he was the most wonderful thing ever, but when I picked up his pictures, let's just say I "accidently" forgot to ever hang one on the wall. (I can only reveal this because now Detmer is the most handsome young man ever, and I want him to remember his humble beginnings.)

With Kendall I wanted lots of newborn pictures, but I knew I was not going to take a winter baby to a photo studio. LUCKY for me, I knew an amazing photographer. She did such an AWESOME job. I so wish I could have had that experience with Allie and Detmer. She did the pictures in a warm little room and was SO patient (can you imagine photographing babies? I usually can't even get good pictures of my own newborns). I loved ALL the pictures SO much and still LOVE to look at that baby who barely resembles my one year old! You can see some of them here. Thanks Heidi! (her contact info is on her blog, too and if you go to the main page you can see some of her other awesome pictures).

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Long Weekend

I love long weekends! They are always over too quick, but SO MUCH FUN!!! In fact, we had a super fun week this week.

On Tuesday I went with some friends to see New Moon. Here is my review: eh. No offense, Mil. It's the same way I felt about the books. They were fine. Out of all the books and the first two movies, the first movie is my favorite. Still how can I turn down a fun night out with the girls?!

We also went on Polar Express this week. Allie and Detmer love the movie, so what I didn't realize is that they were fully expecting the same circumstances on our Polar Express. Detmer nervously asked me, "Mom, are we going to go on a really, really big hill?" And Allie wondered if we had fallen off the track onto the ice. It was so cute! The lady that ran our car did a terrible job. I hate to be rude, but I think that makes a huge difference (there was a family on our car that goes every year and they said the same thing). That was disappointing but it was such a fun family outing. We ate a Dairy Keen in Heber, which has trains all over so that was fun to get the children excited. When we were leaving the restaurant there was a sign that said "Come ride the Polar Express. Children are encouraged to wear pajamas." Oops. Cause I thought we were all supposed to so Dave and I wore our pajamas and were the only adults doing so. It was worth it because the children loved that we were all in pajamas. I also heard it is freezing on the train so I dressed us extra warm. Our train was not cold at all! We ended up even taking our coats off. I think Allie and Detmer were the perfect age to ride. I love how they think everything is so real. Of course, the favorite part was when Santa came and gave them a bell. Kendall, of course, freaked at the sight of Santa. We figured she would because of how she reacted to the characters at Disneyland. She seemed to enjoy the train ride part of it, though.
On Friday I enjoyed my first time ever of early morning Black Friday shopping. I have always wanted to try it but usually something comes up. This year, however, my schedule was wide open so Dave's mom and sister came and picked me up at 6 am! I loved it! I thought it was super fun and I would love to go again. Kohl's would have been terrible except that Dave's mom headed straight over to get in line for us while we shopped, then she shopped while we stood in line, which worked out great (at least for me, I felt like I hardly stood in line). KMart was ridiculous. Long lines, out of everything, and no employees anywhere. I don't think I would ever go back there. Target was awesome. They had employees everytime you turned around and every single check-out was open. Plus, they had plenty of the advertised door-busters that I wanted to get.

One of the things I picked up was Elf. Dave and I went and saw it when it first came out but I hadn't seen it since. We decided it would be fun to watch it with the children, so we watched it last night and it was so good. I love that show!

Kendall enjoyed her first piece of pie this Thanksgiving!


We had so much fun this year decorating for Christmas. Allie and Detmer get more and more excited every year, which in turn makes it more fun for Dave and I. Detmer asked us last night "Are you guys getting excited to go to Christmas?" Allie and I went to the store and when we came home Dave and Detmer were hiding and came out and surprised us wearing their Santa hats. It was the cutest. And the tree was up. Allie and Detmer were in heaven. Kendall got a new toy from Kelly and she just sat on it and watched us forever. It was the cutest.

Today Dave and I got to go to the BIG GAME! When I found out there was a ticket for me, I really, really wanted to go but couldn't work anything out with the children. Finally, late last night some last minute plans were made. I just knew the Cougs couldn't lose after I went through all that trouble! It was so much fun!!! Dave and I had a great time hanging out together and the game was awesome. Personally, I prefer a blow-out. You might have heard I'm a tiny bit competitive and the stress of a close game it too much! Still, the end result is that we came home very happy.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

My short list

I have a problem with people who have a problem with me listening to Christmas music before Thanksgiving:) You know why I listen so early? Because I'm so thankful for Christmas music. I love it. Plus I spend the whole year round being so thankful, really why dedicate just one month to it. Here's a lot of things I'm thankful for:

-The other day I was cleaning the kitchen, the children were coloring at the table. I sang "I really can't stay..." Allie sings "Maybe it's cold outside." Didn't even know she knew the song!

-Detmer, running down the sidewalk the other day singing "SO what I'm still a ROCK STAR I got my ROCK MOVES..."

-Hanging out most nights with my husband and our new friends (nothing against our old Friends. We still love them a lot, but we love our new ones more then we thought we would).

-My friend was complaining to me about her husband the other day. I could tell she wanted more then a listening ear. She wanted me to tell her my husband was the exact same way. She told me about how she was so overwhelmed because everything was on her and her husband was just along for the ride "and on top of everything else," she told me, "now it's time to make Christmas preparations, which will be solely on my shoulders." I didn't tell her the story about how I came home from Christmas shopping the other day with stuff for Allie, but lamented about what to get for Detmer. "It's harder with a boy, because I can't picture how much I would have loved it as a child," I told Dave. Dave called me Monday and told me he had Detmer's Christmas shopping done. DONE! (With a secret visit to Santa, of course).

-Dave telling me that it's a proven fact that listening to Christmas music makes you ten degrees colder. Totally believed it. I was thinking in my head "you know, I do feel colder" when he told me he was kidding!

-Allie asked me "did Baby Jesus float down from the sky wrapped in a sheet?"

-Kendall blowing kisses to everyone in the store.

-Taking the children to see the new Christmas Carol. Of course it was "at Daddy's work" which makes it all the better. I love the story of a Christmas Carol, but I still think the Muppets have done the best version:)

-Detmer describing riding Splash Mountain in detail. "You go up the really big hill, and it says ch ch ch ch and then you go down and 'ahhhh' then it goes 'click' and takes your picture and then they sing Zippity Do Da." Yeah, he's never been on the ride, but he definitely listens to the big sis.

-Playing "peek-a-boo" with Kendall. She could do it all day.

-Detmer shocked me the other day by saying "My other name is Ty Detmer and Detmer Ryan."

-Allie calls out to Dave and I last night "can Detmer have a sleepover in my bed?" When we checked on them before bed, sure enough they were both fast asleep in Allie's bed.

-My neighborhood and ward.

-My primary class, being a primary teacher, and having Dave as my partner.

-Kelly making us dinner on Sunday's.

-My brother and sister-in-law coming for Christmas and FINALLY getting to see them again!!!

-Kendall dropping things on purpose and saying "uh-oh".

-Allie's preschool. We have so much fun and I love it even more then I thought I would. It has been so fun seeing her learn and progress in her skills.

-Allie helping so much with Kendall. When Kendall cries, Allie tells me, "don't worry mom, I'll get her." Love it!

-All my family and friends who make my life so full and fun.

This list was so easy. I could do a million pages. No matter what kind of trials I am going through, my blessings always outweigh them by far!!!

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

A Christmas to Remember

I love everything about Christmas. The music, the lights, the smells, the trees, the activities, the traditions, and especially, the meaning of Christmas.

As Dave and I began listening to Christmas music a couple weeks ago (yes, Jen. Christmas. Music.) we commented on the nostalgic feeling that comes every year at this time.

As a child, every year at Christmas, we listened to records. Since I've left home, I've listened to the same music I heard as a child a million times. Yet it still takes me back to the Christmases of my childhood.

When Halloween was over, and the air was turning colder, and Christmas music was playing on the radio, and the nostalgia swept over me, I realized that the Christmas season will never be the same to me again. Last year, I received the very best gift.

I had always wanted a Christmas baby, but never wanted a winter baby. Around here, it's not really possible to have one without the other. Every year that I had been pregnant at Christmas, it made me miss my baby so much more, thinking of how much I would love to be enjoying the holiday with them in my arms rather then in my belly. So it didn't take long before I became very excited about the idea of a Christmas baby. I was a little concerned about the freezing temps, but mostly so excited about this baby's arrival, I didn't care.

Then come to find out, Christmas baby's are perfect. Day after day and night after night, Dave and I cuddled up with our little Christmas gift, who was now Kendall and not Kissala. We turned on the fire place, which kept us warm enough to prefer smoothies over hot chocolate, and lazed about, watching various TV show seasons that Dave had the foresight to buy for my birthday. We took turns cuddling the baby girl and rarely put her down. We fell quickly in love with this baby and were thankful that the rumors we heard about the third baby being the hardest were not true for us.

Last year, my mind reflected on the birth of the Savior more then any other Christmas season before. I felt a closeness to Mary, as I experienced the joy of holding my newborn child. I thought about a whole other aspect of the Christmas story. We often hear about the Innkeeper and the wisemen, even the Little Drummer Boy. But I thought mostly about the Silent Night. The baby's mother, holding her newborn son in her arms during the still of the night. After the Innkeeper and before the wisemen. How must Mary have felt holding her son, who was the Son of God? Who was her Savior.

I wondered, was I taking it a bit far? Comparing myself to Mary, the mother of the Savior. Did I really have any inkling what it would feel like to be the mother of this perfect being?

My conclusion:

Knowing that over 2000 years ago, Mary gave birth to the Savior has made my life so full of joy. All the happiness that comes into my life is either closely or loosely related to the fact that many years ago in a manger in Bethlehem a baby boy was born. It makes good things better, and makes our sorrows easier to bear.

And almost one year ago, I gave birth to a baby girl in a hospital in Ogden. And she has made my life so full of joy. She makes good things better, and makes my sorrows easier to bear.

Because of two different babies born in very different circumstances, the Christmas season means more to me. I will always remember the Christmas unlike any other I'd had before. That when the whole world celebrated the birth of a new born babe, I held mine in my arms.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Thankfulness postponed

We just finished cleaning out my dad's house and it was an awful experience. It was so, so much more painful than I thought it would be.

When my mom/Ryan died, it was far too painful to go through there things, so instead, we boxed them up and put them away and waited for the day when it would be easier. Unfortunately, that day never came and we were forced to do it anyway. The job Kelly and I had was to pick and chose the things from their lives we found worth saving. We were to condense all the tangible memories from their lives and fit them into a few stupid totes. I'm glad Kelly found the will to throw stuff away, because I couldn't do it. I don't think I threw away one thing. Who would have thought a simple signature that said "xoxo, Mom" would be so freaking hard to part with. A birthday card from my siblings. Kelly had obviously written the message, but there were those four letters "R-y-a-n" that felt like someone was standing on my chest everytime I saw them. It was like losing them all over again.

I thought the worst of it was over. Last week, we moved all the big items and sorted through most of the stuff. Tonight I just had to go move one last thing. But it was the worst night of all, and I wish I hadn't had to do it, although I didn't realize beforehand what it would be like. Almost everything was gone. The whole house was almost completely empty. My mind couldn't help but flash back. I could see my mom, sitting on her bed, waiting up for me no matter how late I got home. I would always make myself comfortable at the foot of her bed and update her on my "exciting" life. And with the way she listened, I thought certainly, no one ever lived a more exciting life than mine. I could see our family in the living room, having Family Night, scriptures, prayer, or visiting with friends. I could see her in the kitchen, in her element surrounded by all her children and grandchildren. I could see the last few holidays we had together, as well as the many before. I didn't want to stay in the house. I wanted to run. I wanted to go to a place where I could find my mom again.

The house was never the same after my mom died. A mother brings such a strong sense of love and peace into a home, you almost feel as if you could reach out and touch it. As soon as she was gone, it always had an empty feeling. We could never forget, even for a second, she was gone. But it was always filled with great memories.

My house is now full. I didn't go through everything. I was physically and emotionally exhausted and some boxes just came home with me and I still need to go through them. I've been working on it all week, and I keep reminding myself to throw away as much as possible. I just don't have room for everything.

Then tonight. I couldn't help it. I took one last walk all the way through the house. The people who bought it have been there fixing it up, and there was paint and other supplies in Ryan's room. And there in the middle of all of it was Ryan's Spongebob light fixture. There is really nothing for me to do with it, but I couldn't leave it there. I felt like I already left too much of him there. Why does it feel like maybe if I can keep enough stuff he won't be so far gone from me?

I wanted to do a bunch of posts this month about all the things I'm grateful for. But that will have to wait. Sometimes you just have to mourn.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

It's a good thing I saved Batman...

...because check out what a stud this super hero is...

We had a super fun Halloween week. We finally made it to Black Island Farm last Thursday (at the suggestion of many people). It is such a fun place, I'm glad I got to see what the hype was all about. Kelly and I took our children and we were the last ones there. I think we left just before they kicked us out. We loved it! (pictures of this event coming in 2012)
My little lady bug Kendall, doing what she does best, going with the flow.
Another exciting Halloween invent was going to Daddy's work. For this one special day, we actually got to go inside. The children loved it and they did a great job with the party. It started off with Trick-or-Treating at every door, so of course Allie and Detmer loved it from the get go. Then they had a lot of fun activities like pumpkin bowling, bean bag toss, fishing pond, balloons, and a ring toss.
The Queen dressed up as a princess.

We decided while we were in Salt Lake to go to the opening night Jazz game. It was awesome! If there was a game to take the children too, that was it. If we take them again, they will wonder where the drums and fireworks are. Detmer leaned over to Dave during the first quarter and said "Dad, this is so fun." At that point, we knew it was worth the investment. Kendall loved her first Jazz game. The entertainment was right up her ally since she got to clap almost constantly.

Kendall would NOT let the binky come out of her mouth! So much for being done with it.
Batman and Snow White showing their support with their new Jazz hats
Every year since I've been married, I've always done a Halloween dinner. However, I ran out of time this year. So I ended up doing a Halloween brunch on Saturday and it turned out just as well. We had scary face waffles, pumpkin juice, eyeballs, and brains. Dave took the children outside to play while I decorated and they loved it and were so excited.
Kendall in her "My first Halloween" shirt

Dave's parents ward had a trunk-or-treat so we took the children to that, which was awesome since it was at three and the weather was so nice. Plus we got freshly made apple juice, which was the best I've ever had. We then mooched off the Cardon's ward for dinner and had yummy soup before we took the children trick-or-treating. Allie loved it and ran from house to house. We went with Kelly and her three little boys and since Allie was the first one to each door, she would tell the person to wait "cause my brother's are coming". She thought it was be so cool to say they were all her brothers. Then, I heard her tell one person she was five! Don't know what was up with my dishonest child! Detmer is lucky to have the best dad in the world. Dave made sure that Detmer kept up with all the bigger kids and ended up having to carrying him half the time so he could keep up. Yay for another Halloween with beautiful weather. It was the best!
We have been loving the nice weather this week as well. We've tried out a different park everyday and today we went and had lunch at Daddy's work, then I took the children to the zoo. They were so excited to see the baby elephant, but most excited to have lunch with Daddy. I pushed Allie and Detmer in the double stroller and had Kendall in the front carrier. If you've never done that at the zoo, then you probably don't realize, as I now do, that the zoo is 99% steep hills (or close to it). It was worth it. We had a great time!

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

My baby!!!

My baby is eleven months old! Her she is with her posse...
She finally got her first tooth! She was being grumpy on Friday and I thought "this HAS to be it!" So finally we felt it. Then, when I was feeding her on Sunday, I saw it! All of my children have been late teethers, but each one gets later and later. The nice part is, since they get their first one so late, they usually get all of them within a short amount of time. I bet we'll see the others any day now.

Kendall is at such a fun age, we are loving it (although I think I say that about every age). She just started blowing kisses, complete with the "muah" sound.
This is one of my favorite pictures! It was taken this summer at the cabin after Grandma Marbles gave her a fancy hair-do. I LOVE that scrunched up smile.

Have you heard that baby's who prefer orange foods (carrots, sweet potatoes, peaches) get an orange tint in their skin? Kendall is here to confirm this. I swear her mouth/nose always look orange. Although she is eating more table food now and a lot less baby food (YAY!!!) She is also starting to give up her binky. As soon as Dave and I are ready to give it up, it's gone.
I'm pretty sure she packed on a couple pounds on our vacation. We ate a lot of junk!

I've had a couple people ask for an update on Kendall's condition. I don't know anything new, so this is more of an update on MY condition.

For those who don't know, I'll share the story of Kendall's 9 month check-up.

When Kendall was probably about six months old, I noticed she was getting an additional birthmark on her arm. She already had one on her leg. I once heard that children with two birthmarks have heart defects. I asked a bunch of people about it and no one had ever heard about it before. Still, I decided I would mention it to her pediatrician at Kendall's nine-month check-up to eliminate any worry.

As soon as I showed her the additional birthmark, I knew it wasn't good. She studied it intently and took notes about it. Then, she says to me "I don't want to freak you out but..." Um, when your pediatrician says those words, you freak out. To add to the trouble already brewing, the pediatrician found an additional birthmark on her leg (so that made three, total). It's so small I'm not sure I ever even noticed it before that appointment. It looks like a freckle. Yet that was the one that concerned her the most.

The doctor told me those particular birthmarks (that have certain features and appear multiple times) are associated with a skin disorder which causes damage to the nervous system. She told me to keep a close eye on them and if they change at all, or if I find any additional birthmarks, I should bring Kendall back in.

I was not only freaked out, I was devestated. I cried for three days. I studied her entire body. I memorized her birthmarks with my mind, so I'd know if they changed, even slightly. Of course, I told my sister's, but I couldn't decide if I should tell anyone else. I felt a little silly saying "something might be wrong, or everything might be perfectly fine".

I couldn't bring myself to pray for Kendall. Of course, I prayed for her like I do for each of my children, every night. But I couldn't bring myself to pray that she would be okay, because I felt at that time, I couldn't handle it if Heavenly Father said no. That's when I decided to tell the rest of my family and some friends about Kendall. I wanted everyone else to pray for her, since I couldn't do it.

I couldn't really tell the story without sobbing through it, so I just sent an email telling everyone about Kendall and asking that they keep her in her prayers. Everyone I talked to (or who responded to the email) told me they would keep Kendall and me in their prayers. My sweet sister-in-law brought over dinner, which was great because not only did I forget how to do anything except hold my baby, but it was nice to talk about it. I had decided to schedule an appointment with a dermatologist just to remove doubt. I wanted to know, one way or the other.

Her appointment was on Monday, and as I met back together with Dave late Wednesday night I told him "I don't know what it is, but I suddenly feel so much better. Seriously, it's like all at once, I'm not so freaked out anymore." Dave said "that's because everyone's been praying for you." I sometimes forget the amazing and awesome power of prayer.

It still sucks a little bit. When we were at Disneyland, I thought I saw something on her leg, and it made me want to scream, throw up, and pass out all at the same time. It was nothing. Maybe a little bit of dirt, but I think mostly it was how the light was hitting her leg. I still want them to disappear. But it's not in my every thought. I rarely think of it except when I see it. Yay for long sleeve/long pants season!

Now, a month later, I feel that Kendall is just fine. She is such a happy baby and learning so much. I am not really one to worry. I just needed my three days of mourning. I decided not to go to the dermatologist yet, because I don't want to put my baby through any pain or testing unless I have to.

I am so grateful for the way Heavenly Father answers each and everyone of our prayers. I wasn't suddenly free from any worry about Kendall (and let's be honest, parents never are) but I felt such peace that I was able to deal with it so much better.
This girl makes me happy!

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Stuff

-Today Allie had her first primary program! She was so excited to memorize her part. She did a great job when it came her turn (I would add here that she was the only one in her class with her part memorized, but I hate to brag). She was also very excited that Grandpa, Great Grandma, and some cousins came to watch. It was a big deal for sure!

-Dave forgot some grocery items when we went on our trip. I spent hours shopping, then had to go to the store in CA! Geez, what kind of juicy thing did everyone think it was???:)

-I was lucky enough to have my handsome six year old nephew, Lance, ask me to come volunteer in his class. I read the fairy tale "Stone Soup" and it was super fun. Kelly (his mother) was relieved he asked me to do it because she would have been way too nervous. Well, turns out she might have been just as nervous with me doing it. For example, a couple days before she was quizzing me on how prepared I was (I wasn't at all, yet, because it was still a few days away. And remember the part about where the kids are six? It didn't take days to plan). So then, she casually tells me to "not where my gym clothes". WHATever! I look hot in my gym clothes. Do I detect a note of jealousy? I think I do. I think I do.

-Most often, I work out in the mornings. During the summer, I'd often take the children to the free lunch at the school. If we weren't doing anything after school lunch, I went in my gym clothes. If we had other activities planned, I'd shower at the gym before I picked up the children from the daycare. After doing this for a couple weeks, on the drive to the gym Allie asked me "Mom, are you taking a shower today?" I told her I was and she said "yesssss." I asked her why she wanted me to shower and she said "I don't like it when you're sweaty." Probably more to it then that. Apparently, Kelly's not the only one who doesn't like my gym clothes.

-I noticed the other day my favorite work-out shorts are getting a hole. BOOOO!!! I probably have fifteen different work-out shirts, but when it comes to pants/capris/shorts, I ALWAYS have one pair I love so much more then the rest and I wear them until they are threads. Why don't I know at the time how much I will love them so I can buy several pairs.

-All my gym clothes are black. They didn't use to be, but overtime I have evolved (or un-evolved). The one and only reason for the black clothes is because it's so simple to pick them out. Black shorts/capris/pants, black top, and go. But recently, it's been brought to my attention that not everyone loves my gym clothes like I do (see above stories). HOWEVER! On Saturday I was in a group fitness class where they were giving away prizes. Guess who won the first prize? The instructor calls out "this prize goes to the person wearing the most black". I didn't even look around. I knew I won. The instructor got to pick the winner. She chose to pick the person wearing the most black. Hmm. Looks like I may have found someone who likes my gym clothes.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Having Some Fun

I can't remember if I mentioned when we went to Disneyland in May, we bought season passes. So last week we ventured out again for another trip to our favorite place!
It was sooo nice to have Dave's mom take the children for several hours for me the week before we left while I did all my packing. Boy, it sure does take a lot of time. Counting all the shopping I have to do. Can't forget the snacks. Dave's mom also took the children Friday night so Dave and I could go to bed early (VERY early) and wake up to drive through the night while the children slept. We were on the road by 3 am! Our trip down was AWESOME! I couldn't believe we had to make a potty stop less then two hours in, but that little bladder just couldn't wait any longer (DAVE!) Luckily the children slept through the stop. We stopped twice more for some quick stretching and made it to our hotel in less then ten hours! Long time to be in the car, but it went by so quick.
Allie and Detmer were, of course, in heaven. They had already planned the order of which they would go on each of the rides. Detmer has a new favorite ride. He now claims the Buzz ride at Disneyland at the top of his list. In my opinion the Toy Story ride at Disney Land is lame compared to the one at California Adventure (I admit, it's one of my faves) but Det loves the "shooter guns". We probably rode the Buzz ride more then anything else. Detmer was also very excited to be tall enough to go on Madderhorn! He loved it and asked to ride it over and over. He kept telling us "I'm not going to be scared on Splash Mountain. I'm going to be really brave."

Allie is big enough for every ride at Disney Land except Indiana Jones! She is not a big fan of the thrill rides. Her least favorite was Tower of Terror. When she and Dave got off she said "Daddy! I don't like rides when my bum goes off the seat!" She loves Madderhorn and loved Big Thunder Mountain, but could do without Space Mountain, Splash Mountain, and Tower of Terror.


Dave and I decided that Kendall's favorite rides are the merry-go-round, Winnie the Pooh ride, and Small World. She was intrigued looking at all the scenery. It was a huge difference from when we went five months ago. Before I fed her on the long rides, this time, she would not eat for fear she would be missing out. She never cried on any rides, but when she got nervous she would start breathing really fast. She waved at EVERYONE and loved the attention. The only time she cried was meeting characters. She screamed and Mickey and Minnie, and when she met the witch from Snow White, we decided we wouldn't put her through that torture anymore.

We did have two disasters. The first came when we unpacked the van and realized Dave forgot something very, VERY important. He was in a lot of trouble. His lecture went like this "I spent days, DAYS packing for four people. FOUR people. I packed diapers, wipes, snacks, clothes, swimming suits. I even packed the van. Your job was to put three things in the van and you FORGOT ONE OF THEM!!!!!!" It was a serious disaster!!!

Our next disaster can be described like this: I got home from one night of taking Allie and Detmer to Disneyland. Dave and Kendall were asleep, but Dave woke up long enough to ask me "how was it" to which I responded "there are not enough swear words in the english language to describe it." As I describe this evening, I'll try not to leave out any details...

I have to start with the hotel. Originally our trip was only going to last until Thursday, but we decided to extend and drive home Sunday. When Dave tried to add to our hotel booking, he couldn't because it was sold out. All the hotels across from Disneyland were sold out. No biggie. We got a hotel 3/4 mile away. We'd never do this for the whole week, but we figured by weeks end we'd spend more time relaxing at the hotel and pool. We went to Disneyland Friday morning for a couple hours and left, planning on not returning that day. However, Allie and Detmer, who know I'm the world's biggest sucker, put on their saddest faces and their sweetest voices "but Mom, we didn't ride Small World." "But Mom, we didn't ride the Pirate ride." We only had on more day to go to the park, so I decided Allie, Detmer, and I would go back Friday night. I planned to arrive around 8, when the crowd would hopefully have died down a bit. There was a tiny voice in the back of my head asking if it's such a good idea to take the children to Disneyland when they would normally be going to bed, but in the name of fun and good times, I ignored it. Normally, we would walk to the park, but with it being later and Dave not going, I decided to drive. My second warning was when the parking lot was full and I didn't know how to get to another one or if there was even another option. Allie, Det, and I ran to the store and on our drive back, the lot was open. I drove (feeling totally lost) to the parking lot. I unload the double stroller and hike to the tram. I easily walked just as far if not farther then if I'd walked from the hotel. However, I told Dave I felt better because it was well lit and there were employees everywhere. Getting on the tram was interesting, shoving Allie and Detmer on, folding double stroller, trying to shove it on. Thank goodness the people next to me were so nice and helpful. We headed straight for the Buzz ride. After being in line about five minutes Detmer throws himself on the ground in a tantrum. How does a parent go about disciplining a child in line at Disneyland? I will say this: it's a good thing I didn't do to him what I felt like doing! Our next ride was Small World. While in line, Detmer was being a snob again so I held him and he fell right to sleep. I decided I would not let this spoil Allie's fun and if Detmer chooses to sleep, he will be put in the stroller and taken out for as many rides as we go on. We get to the front of the Small World line and we're told to take our place in row four. Just as the row in front of us goes to get on, the ride shuts down. Luckily, Small World has the great big huge clock in front of the ride, so I call tell you that from when the ride broke to when we got off it was FORTY-FIVE MINUTES! Next, we head to Pinocchio. Keeping true to my word, I put a sleeping Detmer in the stroller and got him out and held him in line. We'd been in line a few minutes with a few more still to go when Detmer starts SCREAMING "I need to go potty! I need to go potty!" Luckily, we made it through the ride. I ran him to the bathroom and told the children it's time to leave. That's right, folks. All that for three rides! The park was not quite yet closed but I couldn't take another second of the horror. It didn't end their though. No, of course not. As I'm walking back to the tram, Allie and Detmer start to fall asleep. I bribe them with a billion dollars to stay awake. Nothing worked. I gave them fruit snacks and Allie woke up long enough to grab hers. There was NO WAY I could board the tram with me, two sleeping children, and my double stroller. I thought seriously about leaving it there. Once again, thanks to the kindness of strangers, my life was saved. The guy behind me in line said "you get your children on and don't worry about the stroller, I'll get it." Then some angels sang to indicate my relief. I felt sooo stupid! I felt like everyone in line was looking at me wondering what kind of a moron brings two children way past their bedtime to Disneyland. On the ride back, their was a family in front of me with children who were about 8, 6, and 4. The four year old was fast asleep and the parents were trying desperately to keep the older boys awake since they wouldn't be able to carry them. It made me feel a little less conspicious.

Thankfully when I finally made it back to the hotel, there was a sweet note waiting on my pillow from Dave telling me what an awesome mom he thinks I was for doing that (instead of what it really should have said "Dear Moron, Seriously you thought that would go well???") We took some Disney quizzes at the park early that day. One of the questions said "Do you think with your head or your heart." I checked that I think with my head. Remind me to change that when I go back.

Mostly it was a great time with my awesome husband and fun children. Allie and Detmer were so cute making friends at the pool. They loved telling anyone who would lend an ear ALL about their Disneyland adventures. Detmer wore a Batman swimming suit to the pool, so he decided everyone should refer to him not as Detmer, but as Batman. As he swam around their came a time when his head went under water and I had to reach in and pull him up. He looks up at me with a dripping wet face and big eyes and says, as if he's in awe of me, "you saved Batman". Wow, so what am I? I've SAVED a superhero. I must be a super super hero!

Thank goodness for cousins, the only thing that keeps the children coming back here. Allie said "I want Disneyland to be our home." I said "okay, but then we won't be able to play with cousins." She replies "um, we better go home Mom. Don't worry, we'll come back to Disneyland really soon." Kelly surprised us last night by coming over with milk and fresh produce. It was so awesome. Don't you hate getting home from vacation and not having milk and fresh produce and feeling like you have to run right out to the store? Furthermore, she took all three children today while I, um, unpacked. And maybe I took a short nap:) When she came over last night I think Allie thought she was in a beautiful dream. She was doing the most giddy laughter that caused Kelly to ask "is she drunk?"