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).