Thursday, December 17, 2015

Christmas Letter

Dave

Dave recently had a stressful week that included a new van and a new fridge.  Or should I say, lack thereof.  Our fridge is, quite literally, falling apart.  Dave found a great deal on a new fridge on Black Friday.  He researched it for hours, read reviews, took measurements, and finally sat down at his computer and announced, "okay, here I go to purchase it."  Several hours later he confessed, "so I didn't get the fridge."  Then we both decided that while our fridge may be a strain on the eyes, it still works, so it would be wasteful to purchase a new one.

A couple weeks later he decided to finally finish the process of purchasing a new mini van.  He had set up the day and time, cleared the budget, read reviews, and knew exactly what he wanted.  Once again, cold feet.  Until we are running our van with our own feet ala Fred Flinstone, it will remain part of the family.

Thanks to my adorbs nephews we've recently become obsessed with a new YouTube video.  We all love to quote it regularly, but it's especially hysterical when Dave tries to quote it. Because he can't.  The line is "got eem" and no matter how many times Dave practices, it's "got him" or "got um" "got heem".  I hope he never learns.

Allie

There I was, and not to get graphic, but nine months pregnant, about to get a huge needle in my back, literally cut open, and poked and prodded more times than I care to remember when I announced to the children that they would be getting a flu shot this year.  Allie started to cry and says in her saddest, most dramatic voice, "why does life have to be so hard?"

Allie knows how to have fun, but she is a pleaser, so she was very upset when she came home from school the other day.  She and her friend Ellie had been sent to the principals office.  Why?  Because they got to loud in the lunchroom (EYE ROLL).  She was so stressed out about the experience and told me how grateful she was for Ellie, who comforted her when she began to cry.  I asked her why she cried and she said she was afraid I would be mad.  As if!

The drama didn't end there.  A few days after that, Allie fell off her scooter.  Instead of jumping back on the scooter and rushing home to be comforted by her mommy, she stayed on the ground crying and shouting "help! help!"  When she realized no one could hear her she jumped on her scooter and came rushing home to be comforted by her mommy.



Detmer

Since I haven't been to church since Sunny's birth, I arranged for the Sacrament to be brought to me at home while I was out.  As I explained to the children that taking the Sacrament is the very most important part of church, and our whole week, Detmer exclaimed, "THEN WHY DO WE HAVE TO GO FOR THREE HOURS?"

My kids are chatty people and sometimes I think I will go nuts if I have to hear about another episode of Studio C, or another detailed dream, so I wasn't thrilled when it was bedtime and the end of a VERY long day (today) when Detmer announced he made up a song he wanted to sing for me.  It's fair to say I almost shed tears but instead I bucked up and acted excited about this event.  He sings, "ba bananas."  And let's me know, "that's all I have for now."  It was truly an answer to prayer. 

I've worked hard to avoid asking my kids what they want for Christmas, since I loathe the tradition of kids making long, greedy looking lists.  However, when Detmer had a school assignment to find what he wanted for Christmas and the price, he got a bee in his bonnet.  A few days later, he brings me a list with the items he wants and the price tag.  The cheapest thing on their is $44.99.  One of the items is "Paul Lasike used Nike game shoes" for only $59.99.  Also, a helmet.  Because he would get tons of use out of that.

Detmer has fallen hardest for Sunny and loves to hold her.  He even set aside a special shirt to change into when he got home from school so he could be clean when he held her.  When I finally let him walk around with her he was on cloud 9.  He gave her an official tour of the house.

Kendall

My friend sent me a text the other day, "Just read with Kendall.  She's so darn cute.  We got to the word 'pump' and she smiled big and said, 'oh just like my mom she pumps for our baby' and she squeezed herself to show me..."

A few weeks ago I got a call from the office, "Kendall's lunch box was empty, so I've advised her to have school lunch."  Not sure why this warranted a call from the office but anyway I was pretty ticked, since I was 110% sure her lunch was there when she left for school.  I thought for sure she threw it away so she could eat school lunch that day, but when I interrogated her she seemed innocent.  I wasn't fully convinced, cause the girl knows how to tell a tale but there was nothing else to be done.  Last night, while opening the small pack of her back pack, she found her lunch.  She and Maci rotate lunchboxes and it happened that both were in her bag, and she grabbed the empty one, while the packed one sat in her small pocket growing all sorts of fun things.  Her clementine was unrecognizable. 

She has taken to stuffing her shirt and walking around announcing in the funniest voice, "Mrs Bubkiss".  Apparently an ample bosomed gal from a show the kids watch.
Maci

The other night, Maci had a sleepover.  When she got home I asked her, "Did you miss Sunny so much?"  She said, "um.  Not really because I forgot she was already born." 

The other day she walked each of her Barbies to a separate place in the house and while doing so, announced which state they lived in.  "North Carolina, Florida, California, Utah, and Australia."

When Sunny was having a fussy day, Maci, finally out of patience, plugged her ears and said, "ugh it's SO annoying!"  I couldn't believe it, she's usually the picture of perfect patience.  I told all the kids and she quickly explained she said, "it's" so annoying, the crying, not Sunny.

Sunny

Oh, Sunny.  She's summed up in so many cheesy song lyrics that I constantly sing to her:  "My universe will never be the same, I'm glad you came."  And "you're my Sunny after the rain, you're the cure against my fear and my pain." 

We're a case of opposites attract, though, because one of my favorite past times (eating) is something Sunny is loathe to do.  She simply prefers not to be bothered by it.  Thankfully we both agree that sleep is a beautiful thing.

She is very happy and smily and already likes to participate in the practical jokes of the family.  She loves bathing with me, but cut it short the other day when she decided to poop in the bath, leading to her quick exit.  Brother and sisters could not be more proud.

For the most part, Sunny is very patient with being the passed around "hot potato" and didn't even cry when Maci held her nearly upside down.





Thursday, November 5, 2015

Sunny!!!

We had to be to the hospital by 5:30 and I couldn't be happier about it.  The earlier the better.  Surgery was scheduled for 7:30 and the two hours in between were not that smooth.  Apparently the hospital got a brand new computer system and the nurse didn't know how to work it, so it delayed us a bunch.  Plus our nurse was not our favorite. 
 
Dave had given me a blessing the night before and I had been incredibly calm since.  I kept waiting to lose it.  When I had Maci, the doctor gave me something in my IV to help me relax and I had been anticipating that.  However, our nurse let me know very adamantly that this particular anesthesiologist would not be allowing that.  She tried to tell me how it was so dangerous which felt like a load of crap to me since I'd had it twice before.  I was very disappointed. 
 
I stayed really calm throughout all the prep.  I couldn't believe it.  I just kept thinking, "when am I going to start freaking out?"  I actually loved my anesthesiologist despite his refusal to give me more and more and more drugs.  I kept singing a song in my head (when tough little boys grow up to be dads...) and it made me excited to soon meet my baby. 
 
Because of the complications of the loss of our baby boy last year, I was a lot more nervous about the surgery.  The complications I had with our baby boy could have been a lot worse, and such a thing can result in the loss of the baby and the mom, and even though we'd had several visits with a specialists and they didn't feel I was at risk, I couldn't help but have it in the back of my mind.  I didn't even let myself close my eyes because I was afraid of flat lining.  The anesthesiologist kept telling me I was doing great so that made me feel relief. 
 
I told Dave I hoped she came out with a loud cry so I could know she was doing well and she did not let me down.  They showed her to me for an instant and I saw her dark hair, just like the girl of my dreams.  They weighed her (6 pounds 10 ounces or 6 pounds 6 ounces depending on who you believe) and Dave was able to bring her back to me almost immediately.  It was magical.  This is a new policy, in the past all my babies have left me right away and I'm in the operating room without Dave or the baby.  But Dave laid her right by my head and I couldn't even believe how madly in love I was with this baby that I barely laid eyes on.  I was so overcome with gratitude.
 
As per my usual I got the horrible shakes after surgery.  I begged for millions of warm blankets so I could hold my baby girl for the first time.  It felt like a full day before I finally stopped shaking enough but it was probably closer to five minutes.  I loved holding her. It felt like the best dream I ever had.  I could not believe she was really finally here. 
 
 This was the first picture I sent to my family to let them know she was here.  My dad said he loved seeing that picture because he could tell I was truly and sincerely full of joy and he knew at that point that all had gone well.  I think she's about thirty minutes old in that picture. 

We had planned in advance for the kids to come meet her and have a couple hours before anyone else came.  I had prepped them a little bit before that I would be in a hospital gown with machines around me and I might look a little different but I was hoping they wouldn't be afraid of me like when Maci was born.

As soon as they walked in their eyes went straight to Sunny (who was still Ziggy at this point) and their reaction was absolutely priceless.  I could tell it was a dream come true for them as well. 

They were so sweet making sure to come give me some attention.  Allie and Detmer were continually rubbing my arm and asking me if I needed anything.  I asked the kids if they thought it was crazy to see me in a bed with the gown and machines and Detmer said, "I think you look cute, Mom!"  I just love him.  Sunny was so calm while they were there and didn't mind being passed around a million times. 

As part of the new hospital policy, they didn't even take Sunny out of the room to bathe her, they brought the bath to us.  It was awesome since I've never gotten to see it before.  She hated the bath, loved the hair wash.

Her first time out of the room was when she went to the nursery at night.  I couldn't even fall asleep I was so deliriously happy.  All I could do was lay and think of her and thank Heavenly Father that she was here with us safely.  I couldn't even wait for her to get brought back into me to eat.  Well, not eat, she had no interest in that, but to try and force feed her.  We had so much fun with our Halloween baby and her various costumes.  She didn't mind getting dressed up as much as I thought.  Well, she hasn't really fussed at all just yet so I guess so far she doesn't mind much of anything!!


This picture of our biker gang cracks me up.  I was so nervous putting on Sunny's glasses she ended up looking more like an aviator!!

Saturday, October 10, 2015

./././




My favorite part of general conference was my 8 year old Detmer, not only watching every single session, but taking notes.  Sometimes I wanted to say, "go play, this talk is over your head!"  But even in some of those talks, he would be able to pick out a part that meant something to him. 

I had so many impressions, I should have done like Detmer, and taken notes.  But I always enjoy going back and listening to conference again and seeing which new parts stick out to me. 

I remember listening to the talk by Larry Lawrence, What Lack I Yet?, and while I enjoyed it, at the time it wasn't one that stood out in particular to me.  One that did make a big impact on me was Sister Marriott's talk Yielding Our Hearts to God.  So I decided to go back yesterday and listen to it on my phone.  Instead, Elder Lawrence's talk started to play.  I planned to re-listen to every talk, so I just went ahead and let it play. 

I was cleaning while I listened and as he brought up the question "What Lack I Yet?" and encouraged listeners to ask Heavenly Father that question in their prayers, so that the Holy Ghost can answer it, I chuckled to myself.  I thought, wouldn't it just be quicker to say, "what don't I lack?"  Or, can't I just work on the things I KNOW I need to work on?  Why do I need to ask? 

But tonight I realized I had followed Elder Lawrence's counsel, exactly, without the use of the exact words. 

For years I've wondered how I can better help Kendall in her schooling.  She learns so differently than the other three, and she has a lot less patience with me.  That has made it hard for me to supplement her education, but it's been so, so necessary.  One night while Dave and I were praying, Dave prayed that Kendall would do better working on her homework.  The next day she did drastically better than usual.  I told Dave about it and that it was important for us to keep that specifically in our prayers, because it made a big difference. 

Throughout our marriage, we've always done a fairly good job of reading our scriptures as a family, but not so great at studying and "ponderizing".  The other day I had a strong impression that I need to wait to start scripture time until each child has their scriptures.  The problem is, it is so much easier for Dave or me to pop on our phone and quickly read ten versus before we say prayer and tuck the children into bed.  I knew it would take some extra patience, but I felt strongly enough about it that I was willing to try. 

Every night hasn't been easy, especially when "someone" loses their place mid verse, or their book falls shut and they try and find their place again, "Mom, where is it again?  Is this it mom?  Which verse?  Was it chapter 13?" 

But for the most part it has been a very positive experience and I am in awe how much it has helped Kendall's reading.  Not only is she reading better, but her confidence is through the roof right now.  Tonight she picked out some simple chapter books, and has set a goal to be reading them within the next four weeks.  This from a child who, when asked to read her five page baggie book, has been known to throw the world's biggest tantrum. 

It's not going to be an easy road.  She still has some catching up to do, but we are both feeling so confident that she can do it, and that is the first step!  Before I felt so defeated.  I know the prompting to have the kids each start taking a turn at scripture was a direct answer to prayer and a direct prompting from the Holy Ghost.  I am always tempted to say, "but at least we are doing it, isn't that enough?"  No, that was not enough.  For us, something was lacking.  I know we can't always see our blessings so quickly, but when we can I need to take the time to record it. 

Mission Statement

My friend recently wrote a post about having a mission statement for your life.  My "mission statement" quickly popped into my mind, but I was glad to read her post to remind me to review my mission statement and why it's important to me.

"Happy All My Life".  Inspired by President Monson's conference talk from 2008, and still one of my favorites. 

It's a tribute to my mom.  She didn't have an easy life.  The older I get, the more I realize that.  But she was always happy.  One of our favorite voice was her sing-song voice.  She always sounded cheery.  Unfortunately that caused a problem when she got mad.  We would often laugh when she tried to sound stern. 

Last night Detmer was out with a friend.  It was near midnight and I was sitting on the couch waiting for him, tortured.  My eyes were so heavy and I had wanted to be in bed an hour ago.  It made me think of how my mom ALWAYS waited up for us, and not only that, but when we got home, we shared every single detail, often talking for over an hour.  I imagine in her head she was like "SHUT-UP AND GO TO BED!!!"  But instead she fostered that important relationship and was a best friend we could all rely on.

I've often shared with Dave this is my goal as a mother.  I always want my home to be a place that is happy for my family.  I want to greet them with a smile when they walk in the door.  I want to talk in a sing-song voice-okay so that doesn't come as natural for me-but I don't yell very much so that is an accomplishment. (I wonder if my kids would agree that I don't yell very much?)

I want them to have long conversations with me, even if that means that NOW, in this time, I have to listen to every.single.freaking.detail.of.every.freaking.single.StudioC.sketch.  I've never seen a single sketch, but have heard of all of the in detail.  Tonight Allie made a comment and said, "Mom, guess what show that is from?"  I said, "Kickin' It."  "HOW DID YOU KNOW?"  Because despite not having seen one single second, I know everything about the show!  It's an attempt to "listen to them while they're young, so they'll want to talk to you when they're old".  I saw a quote like that and it stuck with me.  Their favorite topics are their dreams and TV show tidbits.  I adore when they tell me something that actually happened in real life!

I am so lucky and blessed to have them.  Sometimes I stop in my tracks to realize what a gift my family is.  When I pray at night I hardly know how to thank Heavenly Father for giving me this amazing family!  I'm so grateful to be able to have His help in raising them.  President Monson's talk "Hallmarks of a Happy Home" is exactly what I want to abide by in my home:   A pattern of prayer, A library of learning, A legacy of love, and A treasury of testimony!

Thursday, September 10, 2015

Lunch

My least favorite thing about school is lunch.  Thinking of what to make, making sure we have the groceries, making sure the kids have a balance of healthy stuff they will actually eat. 

No, wait.  HOMEWORK is my least favorite part about school.  So basically anything that I have to do is my least favorite part. 

Allie and Det are awesome at packing their lunches and I love it.  It takes them about five minutes to put it together.  When I make everyone's lunch it takes almost an hour.  Of course, I do have everything ready for them in baggies and a special cupboard and when I pack lunches it's usually because the cupboard is not organized so I have to do everything from scratch. 

Kendall makes her lunch if she feels like it.  Getting Kendall to do stuff is hard.  And she's easily overwhelmed so I usually don't mind doing it for her.

Maci was excited to make her lunch each night when Allie and Det did. She put it in her lunchbox, put her lunchbox in her back pack, and brought her back pack with us to the gym each day and ate when we got home at lunch time.

The other day Maci had in her lunch:  a York, a cookie, a fruit snack, and a Capri Sun. 

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Get one of these...

(a selfie.  One of about 100 pictures/videos taken by Kendall when she took my camera.  It was lost for days and I obviously knew she was the guilty party even though she swore she didn't do it.  Tip, Kendall:  then don't leave such incriminating evidence!)
I'm so lucky to have this girl.  Just in the past few days, here is some of the things she has said to me:

"Mom, I love the way you dress me.  It's like a fashion show everyday!"

"Mom, you're the cutest, funnest, nicest mom I ever saw!"  and many variations of that.

"Mom, I love the way you do my hair.  I'm so stylish!"

Everyday after she gets ready she admires her beauty in the mirror for about five minutes.  Turns her head from side to side.  Puckers her lips.  Touches her hair.  I hope she does it forever!!



















Wednesday, August 19, 2015

party

On Friday Dave and Det had Father and Sons so I was trying to come up with something cool to do with the girls.  Allie decided to take over the whole night and filled the night with awesome activities for Kendall and Maci.  She made them a special dinner, followed by the special dessert (below) and some activities.  No wonder they adore her so much.  She is AWESOME!!!
 Early Saturday morning was Dave's work party.  It is something the kids look forward to every year.  They love it.  It also happened to be the morning of my nieces baby shower!  I couldn't decide if I should risk going to the party and making the kids leave early or if I should just skip it.  I skipped it and I felt so guilty until Dave started sending me all these pictures of the fun they were having!  The day starts with a 5k.  Det finished in 32 minutes.  He is so determined.  I love watching him run because he is so focused.  Allie finished in 43 minutes and I was so proud that she didn't give up.  They are awesome!

 These guys are so lucky to have the coolest dad ever.  I hope my girls will always keep high expectations in a their future spouse since they know how awesome a man can be.  And Det is going to be the catch of the century:)







Monday, August 10, 2015

Decade

Allie is TEN!!!  Double Digits.  A Decade.  She sat down by me while I wrote this, so I asked her some questions. 
 
For her birthday I took her and Det to Cowabunga Bay.  She'd been wanting to go there for awhile.  We had an awesome day.  They wanted to go to Training Table for lunch and since all Training Tables are closing I told them I doubt there is one close by.  I looked it up on my phone and it was five minutes away.  SCORE!  My favorite part was watching how much fun she has with Det.  They played hard.  We got there just after it opened and stayed until closing.  For a minute, Det felt bad for leaving me but I tried to explain that I was just fine.  I like the part where they were pretending to baptize each other.  I'm so glad they have each other!!  It was nice that Kelly kept Kendall and Maci because we could not have been quite as adventurous or stayed as long if they had joined us. 
 
Allie is awesome!  I could write a book about her.  She helps so much with the all the kids.  She is so patient and loving. She is starting to learn how to cook.  My dream come true.  So so lucky to have such an awesome girl!!
 
 


Favorite Food:  Icee
Favorite Activity:  sports
Favorite TV show:  Any Disney show
Favorite Movie:  Any Disney Movie
Favorite Restaurant:  Chuck-A-Rama
Favorite Mommy:  Mommy Steffensen
Favorite School Subject:  Math or Reading
Favorite Song:  This Is My Fight Song
Favorite Primary Song:  Child's Prayer
Favorite Thing About Being A Decade:  "I get to say I'm a decade" 

First Day

I hate the first day of school.  It is one of the worst days of the year for me.  The kids love it!  They were sooooo excited!  The whole day from drop off til pick up I basically sit and watch the clock and hope and pray they are having a great day. 
 
Our elementary school did such a horrible job of first day preparedness today.  I think since we are year round.  They were more concerned with the other tracks waiting outside than with the first day of school kids getting settled in their classrooms.  The school was locked up. It was so disappointing because I had three kids I wanted to drop off, but none wanted to be late.
 
When Allie gets excited she loses her head.  She couldn't even stay with us.  She just started randomly running around the school grounds.  I was like, well see ya after I guess.  After school when I brought it up she said she just got so excited. Maybe she should get into running.  She could run ten miles when she gets excited.
 
Detmer is silly.  He is not shy anymore but he was still timid about me leaving him at class.  He was asking me where to put his lunch box and back pack???  Um, no idea. 
 
Kendall got to class and her best friend was there with her mom.  Sophie would not let her mom leave until Kendall got there.
 
All three had an awesome day.  They came home so excited.  They had a classroom full of friends and loved their teachers.  It's going to be a great year!
 
Plus, they are all so good looking!!!
 First day of 3rd grade!
 First day of 1st grade!                                             
 First day of 4th grade!

 








Thursday, July 23, 2015

elohel

-Today while driving to the park Allie says, "I bet there will never be a world war again.  I bet there won't be any wars!  There is so much peace right now.  Nobody in the world is fighting."  Well, nobody in HER world is fighting, and that's good enough for her, for now.

-We love to watch America Ninja Warrior except the other night Det was quite troubled when an older guy was on and fell on the first obstacle.  I didn't realize how much it affected him until he said prayer the next night, "Please bless that there won't be a 72 year old on America Ninja Warrior who falls on the first thing again."  Haha! 

-I was really sick Tuesday and when I was telling the kids about it I said, "I woke up and couldn't see."  As soon as Allie and Det got up Wednesday morning they were like, "Mom!  Were you blind when you woke up this morning?!!"

-Allie, Detmer, and Kendall went to a kids camp at the Sportsplex.  Kendall was SO excited since she got to go special when Allie got hurt. The camp is three hours long and when I picked her up I said, "tell me everything!"  Kendall responds, "for snack was yogurt and chips."  First things first!

-Kendall brought me three rocks she found and asked me to baby-sit.  The names were Rock, Roxie, and Roxie Jr.  So clever!

-Kendall and Maci stuffed bears in their shirts and pretended to be pregnant.  Then I hear Kendall singing (to the tune of Shake, Shake, Shake Senora) "cut, cut, cut senora, cut the baby out!"  Hopefully I'll be so optimistic when my time comes!

-The school started a chess club.  Allie and Detmer were up, dressed, lunches packed and gone before I was even out of bed. Gone to chess club.  Of course, there actually was no chess club that day.  But still.  Chess Club!

-Great Grandma is always telling me that Kendall is a boy name.  Dave sent me a text, "Kendall is the 10th most unisex name in Murica.  62.76% are female.  37.24% are male.  Take that Betty Jean!"

-Allie and I were having a day out and she was looking around in the toy aisle at a store.  I start to walk off and she says, "stay where I can see you Mom."  Woah!  When did this role reversal happen?

-I overhear Kendall to Maci, "And Maci we're both only 18 but we got pregnant early."
 

Lellow Scone

I get to start catching up now that Dave finally bought me a new computer!!  Might as well start with our fun 4th of July trip to Yellowstone! 
 
The kids got out of school on July 2.  It was early out day so as soon as they got home, we started driving. 
I know she has to stop sucking someday, but she's the best road tripper EVER!

 Our favorite Yellowstone adventures were:

The Grand Canyon of Yellowstone (AMAZING!!  My favorite)
Old Faithful
Geysers
Tons of wild animals and especially
the BLACK BEAR.

This was my first trip to Yellowstone, and the kids.  But Dave's been many times and he told the kids "I've been probably 10 times and never seen a bear so it probably won't happen."  They were even more excited when it did.

Allie and Det brought their ipods and loved taking millions of photos. It always makes me want to get them a nice camera. 




I started looking for a hotel Wednesday night.  That fact, along with it being 4th of July weekend, meant the closest hotel I could find was in Idaho Falls.  It was a great place to stay. We had a super fun, super full day at Yellowstone and on the 4th we stayed at the hotel all day and swam.  At night we were able to see the 4th of July fireworks outside our hotel window.