Tuesday, December 27, 2011

2011 Report Card

Last January I set out 11 goals for the new year.  I have been contemplating my 2012 goals, just so you know, but first I thought I would look back and see how I did this year...

Eleven Goals for 2011:
1.  Completely finish the office remodel.  Paint, floor, floorboards, hallway, desks.
Weeeeellllllll.............. we came a long ways on the office.  It is occupied.  It is painted, has a floor in it...It has beautiful windows, electricity, great drywall, a new desk for Dave, my desk, and a heat vent and insulation and a little space heater which can keep up and actually keep Dave warm during the day.  But is it totally done?  Not yet.  Just a few touches and a final inspection left-- and my handy husband has been so busy with other things lately this doesn't even bother me.

2,  Repaint two walls in Master bedroom and decorate.  ("Hello, Kim Hazlip, it's Stef")  Heck yes this got done.  I'm thankful to this list of goals on this blog because when I was looking over them at the 6 month mark this goal did motivate me to get moving.  And... I love it.  You can see the finished product HERE.  I also did two other rooms, including Dekker's new room and a new nursery, which I promise is finished and I will get pics up someday!  Kim did help me and it was another fantastic experience.  Why are you not calling her?

3.  Make a few necessary changes to my work.  It's fair to say that I met this goal, too.  With great relief and such excitement I am teaching at Nebraska Christian College.  You can read about this change HERE.  I feel so much better, mentally, with this change.  I hope to work in a clinic again, but this just wasn't the best fit at this time in my life.  Starting a new job, having a baby, and going back to work after a brief maternity leave is a lot to cope with, but I do like it and that is helping tremendously. 
 
4.  Take two outrageous risks. (like maybe... Apply for the Dr. Phil show, run a 1/2 marathon, call Bo Pelini's wife for an interview which will somehow make me famous and save her husband's reputation... ...)  I am really not sure what I was thinking here.  I must have been drinking and doing drugs again.  So I say I did not meet this goal.  But I will say starting a new job 7 months pregnant was a pretty big risk.  Though honestly not what this goal intended!
 
5.  Go to the zoo and Children's museum.  I might be destined to have kids who never get to see that DARN Children's Museum!  We did get to the zoo several times, even bought a pass which came to Mr. and Mrs. Rove, which I never corrected.  I love the zoo, especially the walking.  We had a fun family day there this fall and even rode the Skyfari, which I might never do again.  At one point on it Dekker declared he was "all done" and tried to get off the seat!! While we were over man-eating Giraffes.  Seriously, that thing is spooky-- plus I was hugely pregnant and Dave is hugely tall and we had a squirmy toddler.  The train, on the other hand, was fantastic!  My beef with the museum is its location.  I can't get there without ruining nap time, and since I've never been there I'm not sure it's worth it.  Plus, I'm so afraid of crowds of people being there, like a school tour or something.  Is it big enough to accommodate all that?  I hear if you buy a pass you can get in at 9AM, so maybe I'll consider that... someday.

6.  Take a vacation with just Dave.  Yes, a fantastic cruise which I am dreaming about this winter, as I sit in the cold... sleeping in three hour stretches.  I miss the Caribbean.  Sigh.  We took a "we made it" trip on Dekker's one year birthday to Vegas, and maybe we will do something similar for Tucker's first birthday.  You know, travel without him to an adult location to celebrate that we survived his first year.  That, friends, is quality parenting :)
 
7.  Think about expanding our family.  We did more than think about this one.  We love you Tucker James.
 
8.  Eat out less. Maybe.  I can't say for sure, but I can say that the last six weeks we have eaten out less than usual.  And I probably ate out less when I was focusing on the "Made to Crave" mentality (see below).
 
9.  Think about inner beauty as much as I think about physical appearance.  I give myself a Pass for this goal thanks to the book/book study "Made to Crave," which I plan to read again this winter and highly recommend. 
 
10. Stay active.    Typical me, this has gone in spurts but has not been something I have stuck to real well.  I do love walking, and I logged roughly 10 miles/week or better this fall with my friend Suzanne and our strollers.  I didn't gain any weight with this pregnancy until after week 24 thanks to the Made to Crave mindset and these walks.  I hope to walk more, though Dekker is harder to convince to sit quietly in a stroller, so staying active is something that is constantly evolving and something that I am considering for this winter and 2012 as a whole.
 
11. Blog more. Big. Fat. Fail.  Maybe next year.  I blame our new camera, which I don't know how to download onto my blog, but I'm sure I would be able to if I would just sit down for five minutes and have my handsome hubby teach me.

Here's to 2012.  Stay tuned for some goals, and start thinking of your own, too!  Mine will be scaled back and just shy of "survive the first year", but I still have some things I want to check off!


On the Journey,
Mae

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

That Awkward Moment...

Following the trend on facebook, I thought I would list a few "awkward moments" from the last three weeks...

* That awkward moment when you put your toddler to bed in the same jammies he woke up in...

* That awkward moment when your pediatrician asks (at the one week appointment) when you last bathed the baby.  And "we haven't yet" isn't an option...

* That awkward moment when anyone who carries a brown paper sack into your house gets greeted by your son who asks "donuts?"

* That awkward moment when your toddler shouts to the small group "I love you" on the way out the door.

* That awkward moment when you bring a half eaten bag of Oreo's as your contribution to small group "treats"...

* That awkward moment when your friends bring you a meal by and you grab a zip-up hoodie to throw on, only to realize half way through the conversation that your stain remover did not work on the, um, embarrassingly placed and very noticeable stains...

So there you go!  If you are by any chance a student of mine (all nine of you) and wondering how I have time to blog but not grade, please know that I wrote this while my bath was running with one ear to the "about to cry any moment" baby still in his car-seat, now hooked up in the swing (awesome feature)...

On the journey,
Stef

Monday, November 21, 2011

Tucker James

 The LORD gave and the LORD has taken away;
   may the name of the LORD be praised.”
Job 1:21

I did a particularly life-changing summer Bible study several summers ago.  We studied the Fruits of the Spirit and that Beth Moore had us studying the Word out of the book of Job.  It was not where I expected to start, or finish, a study on the Fruits of the Spirit, but it was wonderful.  Toward the end, this verse out of Job really stood out to me, and stuck with me since then.  Now, I can't get it out of my mind as I think about the birth of Tucker.

You might remember that my due date with Tucker was my late Grandma Soden's birthday, November 16th.  Dekker was two weeks early, and this baby was measuring big, so my doctor advised us that he would most likely come on his own and early.  I had given up the idea of having him on the 16th, and come to peace with his picking his own birthday.  So at peace, in fact, that my doctor, Dave and I opted out of an induction at 39 weeks, as we had previously discussed.  More waiting, and still no baby, until I walked into the hospital on the 16th, 5 cm dilated and in active labor.  I was technically there for an "induction", but I love that I was already in labor.  Tucker did get to pick his birthday, smart little boy, he picked a pretty special date.

I don't know where to start with a "birth story."  I will start with the fact that I never thought I would go 40 weeks, but low and behold, I did and I am so at peace with the choices we made to not induce earlier.  We scheduled the induction for my due date, and I never thought I would make it to that, either.  The Monday before the scheduled induction (Wed) I was 3 cm dilated.  I had regular contractions and several nights leading up to the 16th I thought "tonight is the night", and then the contractions would stop.  Tuesday night the 15th we went to a small group Thanksgiving Family Night-- it was a blast and a great way to take my mind off things.  I took broccoli salad and rolls.  I was pretty miserable, but super loved all the great company.  Wednesday morning I woke up and was pretty sure I was having very regular contractions.  I was bleeding some, and so relieved that I wouldn't be pregnant anymore.  We dropped Dekker off at Ms. Laura's house, his regular daycare provider, and went to the hospital at 8.

By the time we were totally checked in, in the bed, hooked up, paperwork done, etc it was easily 9AM.  They checked me and I was "5 cm, maybe 6."  The morning progressed, and very quickly the contractions got regular and intense, and the Pitocin was stopped fairly shortly after it was started.  I really, really debated an epidural.  I loved my labor experience with Dekker, which included an epidural, but this one was going so fast that I really didn't see it totally necessary.  What I kept thinking about was that I knew this baby was on track to be big, over the 96th percentile on ultrasound at 32 weeks, and I didn't want to get stuck pushing for hours without one.  So I hemmed and stewed and probably teared up and decided to go for it at about 10:30AM.  Five nursing students filed in with the doctor and he administered it.  He started it off pretty slow because Dekker's had taken too high.  I had movement all the way to my toes, could lift my own legs, wriggle my toes, etc.  The nurses came in and I told them that I still had a lot of feeling and they could confirm that, but we all agreed that the epidural had "taken" and was muting my contractions.  It never got stronger.  In hindsight, this was the perfect epidural for me. 

About 11:30/12:00 ish I really had to go to the bathroom (pee) and was having a lot of pressure.  I asked Dave to call the nurses.  He asked what he should tell them and I said "that I want to talk to them."  So he did just that.  They came in and I told them I had to go potty really bad and it was super uncomfortable.  The nurse decided to check me again.  She hadn't done that at all until now because it had only been a few hours, and we all expected the doctor anytime, so the nurse was just waiting for the doctor to do it, following best practice that it be done as little as needed.  Well, I was at a 10, so we called and paged the doctor (again) and waited.  I'm not sure what time it was, probably about noon.

Funny aside, my friend Katie has the same doctor and had an appt.  She texted me from the waiting room and I was like "We're waiting on her so harass her for me!"  Katie was the last client Dr. Simmons saw, and Katie said she barely popped her head in the room and announced that she had to "go catch a baby."

The doctor showed up about 12:45.  She broke my water because, yep, it was still intact.  We briefly discussed not breaking it, but decided we would as the baby is easier to "catch".  The doctor was able to do it with her index finger.

The pushing began.  The epidural was helping mute the contractions but I felt a lot of pain and pressure. At about 1:00 the doctor could tell that the head was large and round.  It was an odd experience, pushing, then waiting in-between contractions while the nurses and doctors, and sometimes myself talked in-between.  It was pretty calm for the most part.  My doctor just stood there watching the machine, chiming in on chit-chat occasionally.  Meanwhile, Tucker's head was pushing on my tailbone so hard that I had almost no relief in-between contractions.  The doctor mentioned that she could use forceps, and I was thrilled at the option.  I guess you know that is when you are in a lot of pain, when forceps sound great.  It was a huge relief and once the head got lifted off the tailbone (kinda like a shoe-horn), he came fast.  The last several minutes was basically one, loud push, which made the nursing students dance around :)  The cord was wrapped around his neck twice, and his forehead was bruised from ramming against my tailbone, but he was PERFECT.  They tossed him on my stomach in a moment I will never forget.  Hello, sweet baby.

Dave went with him across the room to the warmer, where they wiped him down.  My doctor asked for a head circumference and the nurse shouted back 15.25cm.  The nurses and doctor gasped.  This number meant nothing to me, until Dr. Simmons said 13 is normal, and 14 is big.  Then one nurse said she has been doing this for six years and that is the biggest head she had ever delivered.  Later, Dave's mom, who wins the award for delivering the biggest baby (David was 10lbs, 11oz) said David's head was "only" 15cm.  Once on the scale, Dave shouted out in disbelief 9lbs, 1.5oz!!  He was 22 inches long.  He nursed for an entire hour in L&D, then we were ready to be moved to recovery.

We came home Friday morning.  I was ready to get out of there and get to some more comfy furniture.  On discharge, my doctor said that based on Tucker's bruising and my pain, she suspected that I fractured my tailbone.  We might never know for sure, and there is really nothing we can do about this but pain management and lay low.  Sitting and laying at home feels so much better than hospital furniture!  My doctor said that in hindsight she has some regret we didn't use the forceps earlier, but no one knew his head was so big.  Hindsight is always 20/20.  I have just a few stitches, and nothing major to report there.  I only mention that because several people were worried due to the size and forceps.  Also, Tucker has no bruising from the forceps, which went next to his ears.  Our pediatrician noted that forceps are harder on Mom than baby.  They may have saved me from a C-Section, or even more damage to my tailbone-- so I consider them my friend.  Thank goodness I had that epidural!

We are home now and can I just say that I love having a big baby!  He is wonderful.  We fill his belly up and then he sleeps and sleeps.  He is up several times to eat at night, and rotates between being particularly fussy at night and particularly peaceful.  Last night he was pretty peaceful, ate, and went right back to sleep.  Today, we are home while Dekker is at Ms. Laura's.  It is great to snuggle him and nurse and rest together.  Such an ah-mazing season of life.

Dekker is doing well.  We are all adjusting, but he does seem to be fond of his baby brudder.  Today, on the way out the door he shouted back to the bedroom, "Bye Bye Mom." Then, without prompting, "Bye Tucker.  I Love You."  Oh my heart overflows.  I am sore, engorged, and tired, but so thrilled to be on this journey of motherhood!

One more note: I have eliminated dairy, soy protein, and red meat from my diet.  We are hoping that in doing so, we will eliminate the 18 hour crying spells that we survived with Dekker for a good three months.  My friends have signed up for meals, are reading labels and finding recipes, and we feel so totally blessed by their help.  Nursing Tucker is such a joy, and having nutritious, yummy food around makes it possible to stay on the diet.  To my friends who are reading this-- thank you from the bottom of my heart.  Your support of me, and nursing, means so so much to me.

The sweetie pie is stirring next to me.  So I will close here, remembering for another brief moment my Grandma Soden.  Before she passed, she promised me that having children (she had eight) is far more joy than work.  I wondered if she was right, and of course now know that she was.  I think of her often, and she is in my heart always.  That is the case regardless of Tucker's birthday.  But I do love thinking about how I will tell Tucker one day about the woman he shares a birthday with.  (I wrote my Grandmas eulogy, and you can read it here.)  Tucker also shares a middle name with my maternal grandfather, James Autry.  I can't wait for the two of them to meet!

On the Journey,
Mae






Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Dekker's Big Boy Room... Finally!

The time has finally come!  I can't believe it has taken me this long to get this post up, but I'm so glad to do it...finally.  When we found out we were pregnant, Dekker was still sleeping in his crib in the nursery.  (That feels like forever ago.)  We decided to not convert his crib, and instead just buy him a twin bed and re-use the crib.  It was a financial decision for the most part-- because we have a really nice taste when it comes to cribs.  So we took the front off the crib and added a bed-rail, and he slept in that "toddler bed" for about a month while I cleaned out and painted his new room next door.  It was nice that I could take my time and work on it in the evenings and at nap time without disturbing him.  I did really want to get him into his new room and twin bed three months before R2's arrival.  I did a lot of reading, and was sure this would be traumatic for him (though the reading, and every-single person I talked to assured me of the opposite), and I didn't want him yelling "My Bed" when the baby comes.

So even though the room wasn't complete, it was painted and the bed was set up and he's been sleeping in it for several months.  And, gasp, it was a very smooth transition that I'm pretty sure bothered me more than him.  However, for the record, he has also transitioned nicely into calling the nursery the baby's room and I'm super thrilled about that, too.  It is coming together nicely, and I can't wait to show you all it, too.  All this decorating, including the Master Bedroom has been absolutely fantastic and I love the finishing touches!

So, here is a before picture of Dekker's room.  It was our guest room/my office/holding space for a lot of stuff!  If you remember, I cleaned it out and did a lot of simplifying in there last year and I am so glad I did!

By the time I was finished last October (as in approximately one year ago, wow), it was looking pretty nice.  The opposite wall had a nice twin daybed with trundle, and it was a nice "catch all" room for us.  I was overwhelmed with where to put all this stuff, but between the trash/goodwill/donations, basement, new office, and new job/office, everything found a home.


Here is what it looked like before I started painting.  It was a hot mess.  I remember my sweet friend Suzanne opening the door and saying, very nicely, that it looked like I still had "a ways to go" in this room.  Hahaha, that was an understatement.  I also went through three gallons of super expensive paint trying to find the right shade of manly/cowboy appropriate yellow.  Which I finally did (sigh).  It's Sherwin-Williams "Blonde" if you ever need to know.  When color #2 didn't work, I was so mad at myself for not buying samples (thankfully gallons were 40% off at the time) and so sick of cleaning brushes and upset that I might have to prime (Dave did) that I walked into Dave's office SOBBING.  He thought something was so seriously wrong until I finally blurted out that the paint is... ... "awful, just awful."  Can we blame the pregnancy???  Anyway...


Here are the "after" pictures.  My friends from McCook gave me the idea to put something in this space that would be something Dekker could play with or at.  So we skipped on a dresser and utilized the closet and under-bed storage, then used magnetic paint (bought at Menards) and painted a magnetic board.  Isn't that sweet?  The paint smells like death so we spent one gorgeous late summer day painting on the five layers it asked for (at least 30-45 min to dry in-between), windows opened, running errands and to the park while it dried.  Obviously Dave did all this fume-full painting, and we taped off the square with painter's tape and a level.  It is black paint.  So we painted a top coat, which is optional, and is not suppose to tone down the magnetic-ness, but I'm not so sure.  I did just happen to have this wall color one shade darker in my basement, so that made it easy and it is a nice contrast.  Dave built the frame (the final touch I mentioned last week) and with the magic of spray-paint, presto. (Can I just say how much I love spray-paint.  No messy clean up.  Cheap.  I have been missing out!)

Dekker has magnets on his Christmas list.


What's that?  You want to know about the super cute letters I crafted?  Well, it only took three months and about 400 consultations with more-crafty friends, fourteen trips to Hobby Lobby, and a few girlfriends who threatened to de-friend me if I kept obsessing about them... and they were done!  Just call me Martha!  I bought the letters at Hobby Lobby.  They are 3D and cardboard, very light, and about a buck.  We spray painted them red.  Then I covered them with scrapbook paper.  I traced around them with a pencil, cut the letter out, spray glued it onto the 3D letter, then went around the edges with a razor-blade (on a cutting board).  I am thrilled with how they turned out, and once everything was in my house and I got to going they took about 90 minutes total.  The stars I bought right next to the letters for less than .50 each.  We hung the letters with velcro (thanks for the idea, Katie, during consultation #217) and the help of a laser level.

The other wall is very simple.  It is a chair, which I bought off Craigslist from a former TV News Anchor.  It was an exciting and VERY HOT day this summer.  It was a little pricey, but a steal of a deal considering it has a twin bed in it.  I figured it was about $500 off retail, with the ottoman (which is in the living room), and will double as my Mom's bed when she comes to help with R2.  We will have to rotate it to the wall with the window, but that's fine.  The day we went to get it I sprung on Dave about half way there that it had a bed on it, and then learned that the bed doubled the weight of the chair.  Bummer that we didn't have any help with us.  It was a tense ride, but Anchor Woman's hubby helped.  The decor is all 50% Hobby Lobby stuff (thank you Suzanne for consultation #322)-- I bought a ton then returned a ton but do like the way it turned out. 

Please note: The little red basket next to the chair.  It holds our books-- perfect.  The boot lamp-- we love it!  The Little Buckaroo sign doubles to measure height and is super cute.  The white fan is a necessity and does not "flow." The night-table was spray painted in our garage and was Dave's from before the wedding.  It had been in our basement, unused.  The fan, covered with the same cow contact paper, is pretty sweet.

I picture myself with a little boy on each side of me reading books one day!
Above the chair
Such a fun touch!  This is a second set of blades.  One day, when we change
the decor, we'll have the original blades to replace with. 

Finally, in the corner are two white corner shelves from Target, covered in cow print contact paper.  (Hey, I ordered a roll of it and wanted to use as much of it as possible without over-doing it!)  The top holds a salt and pepper shaker in the form of a cowboy and cowgirl.  They were my Grandma Soden's and were given to me by my dad.  I love having a piece of her in this room (she collected shakers and had hundreds).  The second shelf holds a belt buckle that my Grandpa Autry (Mom's Dad) won and gave to me-- the real deal by the way.  They are both nice and high enough that even if the stinker stands on the chair arm (which he's never done) he can't reach them.


Grandma Soden's salt and pepper shakers
Seriously cool belt buckle

I bought the bed off Craigslist on another very hot day this summer.  It is a Captain's Bed and was in fabulous condition for next to NOTHING.  It has drawers under it.  We lost a knob in transport, so we took the others off and put them on the closet (they were previously white with flower print) and bought new for the bed :)  The sheets are handkerchief and bought off Amazon for way too much.  The comforter is a lightweight blue/denim and was on Dave's bed growing up.  His mom made it!  She also made Dekker a beautiful, warm cowboy blanket that is at the foot of the bed.


We don't actually store much under the bed right now because the closet storage is enough.
But I'm sure the day will come.  Also, I hate that the little "walker toy" got in this pic!
He has been dragging that thing around the house for weeks now, for I don't know why.
The curtains are reused from the nursery. 
Finally, I found this print at Hobby Lobby and I love it.  It is in-between the door and closet.


So there you have it.  I think I've been thinking about this room for over a year.  And while it was fun, I'm glad it's done, done well, done without going broke, and that we really love it.  My hope was that his room would be a space where he could play without hurting himself and without getting into too much trouble, and I'm hoping I might even be able to sit and nurse in there while he plays quietly by himself :) A girl can dream.

Here's to making room in our house and heart for one boy growing up, and one boy showing up!
On the journey,
Mae

Friday, October 28, 2011

Full Term (Full Heart)

This morning Dekker and I are getting ready to head out to have a fun-filled fall morning with our friends.  I told Dekker about it over breakfast and since then he has been asking for Max and Quinn.  Oh how I love our friends, and their mama's.  I love doing life with them so, so much. 

Today is Friday, October 28th.  Today I am 37 weeks, 2 days.  I posted something on facebook last week about being 37 weeks and frankly that was a stretch.  I really do forget and get kinda messed up, especially with all the weekly appointments, which are never on exactly the day I "turn"-- which is Wednesdays.  So this Wednesday I woke up and said to Dave "I'm full term today!"  I celebrated with a leg cramp, night sweats, unquenchable thirst, 3 hours of sleep broken up by five potty breaks, heart-burn, sweating through all my shirts in the armpit, hip pain, restless legs, sore feet, swollen hands, roller coaster emotions/hormones/tears, and diarrhea.  In all seriousness, we have a family friend in the Women's Hospital trying to hold off labor at 26 weeks, so I don't take this Full Term stuff lightly, even if it is uncomfortable.



Here is how I really celebrated reaching Full Term: I hugged my sweet baby boy a little tighter and a little longer.  He won't be my baby much longer and that about makes me burst into tears. (Oh Hormones!)  I enjoy him so very much.  I love how much he likes to read.  I will let him stall naptime and bedtime for a good "five more books" any afternoon or night.  He knows it, too.  I tell him "pick out three books" and he'll pick out two, then load his arms up with as many more as he can hold for number "three."  We laugh and sing songs and brush teeth and talk about nose burgers and toots (oh boy, it's already starting), and at night we review our days and pray for the people we spent time with, the people on our hearts (like our friends Tim and Mindy-- is there anything you can do to help??), and our family, friends and baby brother.  I try to cherish my days at home.  I try not to be a crab, not to be house-bound.  We get out and go and do-- to our friends, the mall, the park, the store-- even though all I feel like doing is laying on the couch and turning on Elmo and eating dairy before the MSPI diet hits full circuit!!  He is too sweet. He has learned to say "I love you" which is ah-mazing, and has started to announce that he wants to "dance" and that he "misses" certain people, at random.  He told the post man he loves him Wednesday, which was awkward, but still totally adorable.  He plays with the dog and sits at the table like a big boy and independently plays with toys and can pull a stool up to the sink and wash his own hands.  His rare temper-tantrums are because he loves playing outside so much (thank you God for this great weather) and just hates coming in!  If we turn off the TV, or radio, or leave the park-- we say "bye bye Elmo" or whatever and walk away like it's no big deal.  He says please and thank you and thanks, Mom.  We are so, so lucky to have him-- thanks for letting me brag!

I also celebrated being Full Term by putting the stuff that has been piling up in the corner for the hospital into an actual half-packed bag.  And I am still decorating, slowly, the nursery.  And last weekend we did a few projects in the garage that includes the FINAL touch in Dekker's room.  I can't wait to get it up on the wall so I can take fancy pictures and show you all.  Maybe this weekend :)  You will love it, if you haven't already lost interest.

Tonight, we are celebrating late pregnancy with our "Friday Night Friends."  Steve and Suzanne and Campbell are coming over with dinner (seriously, the sign of a bestie!) and we plan to put our kids to bed (because we have a crib for Campbell or a pack n play) and watch baseball and play cards.

If you are wondering about my job, I am still loving it!  I have next week left before my maternity leave starts.  Next week I have a guest speaker and lecture on Tuesday, and final presentations in both classes Thursday.  I really would love to make it through the week-- but I know that whatever timing God chooses for this baby is perfect.  Actually, I would love to go into labor at like 6PM on Thursday.  :)  If only we could order it up like that!  This week I crossed some important things off my list, which I am thrilled about.  I hate leaving things "hanging", and I think I would hate even more sitting in a hospital bed thinking about the fact that I never got that Field Supervisor the Internship Agreement for one of my students.  Seriously!

Have I mentioned how much I love my OB.  I hear horror stories about OB's, and my doctor is NOTHING like that.  She is laid back and relaxed and believes that our bodies know what to do and how to do it and that she has the privilege to "peak in on nature" from time to time.  She's funny, and a half-marathon runner which about makes me want to punch her skinny self these days.  Ha!

Here's to being "Full Term" with a full heart!
On the journey,
Mae

P.S. In case you're wondering, my water broke with Dekker at 37 weeks, 6 days. 

Monday, October 10, 2011

Chapel 1.0

Each Tuesday the NCC students and staff gather for chapel at 11:00AM.  It is a wonderful and warm time of worship and teaching, especially to this newbie.  I _love_ that this is part of my "job" and I'm so glad that I work on Tuesdays so I can join.  This year they asked each of the new faculty members to offer a "get to know you" message-- a little about yourself and how you ended up at NCC, and what God has been doing in your life.  Sounds simple enough, but we all know it's not!  And for some reason, anytime anyone asks me to do something post 32-weeks pregnant, it feels bigger than it is!

Never-the-less, I did want to "get to know" the students better as I have so few in my two classes.  I am one of the first female faculty at NCC, and I am very proud of that. I was thankful for an opportunity to talk to the student body, especially the women.  So here are a few highlights:

First, the "get to know" you section-- I included several pictures of my parents, my roommates at NCC, baby R2, Dekker, and Dave and me.  I made a joke about taking a cruise approximately 34 weeks ago, and it was particularly funny.  Here are a few of the pics I showed and talked about...






The second half of the message was "What has God been doing in my life and how did I get to NCC."  Here is that section: 

To begin, let me say this: I have never quite felt like I fit in much, especially in the Christian culture of women. I don’t sew or sing. I don't knit blankets or booties. I will bring you a meal, but it won't be fancy. I don’t particularly enjoy helping with big crowds of children—I have never been the VBS volunteer of the year (or day, or hour-- because I'm not there). I work part-time by choice. I am simultaneously reading a book by Michelle Dugger, and Tina Fey. I like Lady Gaga and Husker football...

My first week of class at NCC I remember sitting around in the dorms and the question was raised “What is your dream car?” I went first, and I said that I wanted a shiny, new, dark purple/almost black 4-door BMW with leather interior. I was quite proud of my answer. The person next to me said that she wanted a used mini-van full of kids. This illustrated in my mind exactly the way I was feeling in my heart-- what's wrong with me? Why can't I want that? Why can't I be more crafty? Why do I forget the tuna in my tuna casserole? Why do my cupcakes always stick to the liner? This started an unhealthy trend in my life, bouncing back and forth between being secure in how God made me and the unique ways He has wired me up, and feeling constantly insecure that I didn't “meet the mark” of my "more Christian" female friends. So, I started praying that God would change me and help me be “right” like a Christian lady should be. And it has been exhausting journey, both mentally and physically.

My story, and what God is doing in my life, is that He is helping me understand that He made me a unique, and wonderful being—and that embracing that brings genuine security. The Word I have received from God over the last few years, and even particularly this last month and week... is this:

God is more interested in my being, than my doing. In other words, it's not what I'm doing, or not doing, but who I am.

See, part of my wrestle the last several years-- and really most of my adult life-- is over the “doing.” I have measured myself on a scale similar to the one Pastor Cahill talked about last week. Except that instead of “I'm better than you are”... the scale I sang was “She's more spiritual than I am.”  I looked at women around me who have amazing talents to do things like sewing and knitting and running 14 kids around looking calm and collected while they simultaneously made fancy meals with crafty center-pieces.  And I thought-- “They are surely more spiritual than me! Get it together!” And here's the kicker-- “That's how Godly women act!  What's wrong with you, Stefanie!

But then God started teaching me less about what I do, or don't do, and focused my attention on my being. On who I am on the inside. I'm fairly certain that God could care less about my precious cleaning lady, Bibi, (who drives an Esclade by the way)-- or my Schwan's meals paired with boxed mac and cheese, and my un-craftiness. Yes, He is much more interested in my spirit (my being)-- my gentleness, patience, graciousness, courage, self-control-- the way I receive my husbands leadership, and the way I grow in my faith and understanding of God. I'm learning that my highest calling in life is NOT to be the ideal wife or mom, to somehow try to have it all together, or to try and fit a mold that I never will. My highest calling is to be a fully devoted follower of Christ. This is my true security-- not what I do, but who I am.

I also want you to know that sometimes I look in the mirror and I see things about my being that I want to change. For example, for some time I prayed that God would make me less selfish, that He would give me opportunities to practice selflessness, and point out to me my error. So we got a dog and I learned a lot. And then I became a Mom-- and I began to understand the joy of emptying out myself for someone else. I couldn't imagine loving parenthood, but I do, even on the hard days.

On another occasion I prayed to God that He would give me a desire to open up my house more—not in a Betty Homemaker, Better Homes and Gardens way—but in the spirit of true hospitality. My husband and I leaped out and started a small group, who, six years later we now consider extended family. 

Again, my focus is not on “doing” here-- but rather my focus has been on my being, on who I am as a woman of Christ. These are both examples of things I have done, but as an overflow of God's great mercy and grace and power changing me from the inside out.

My goal is to be more like Christ, not more like the ladies in the magazines, or at the park, or on the internet.

Finally, I started praying that God would help me find fulfillment at work. I was lonely at my private practice. I missed co-workers and staff meetings and being a part of a team. I admitted this to my friend Troy Backuus, who introduced me to a friend of his from Grace, who generously asked me to teach a class in the counseling department. I loved it. And that started a trail that ended with Dr. Krause in my counseling office casting a vision about NCC, and its incredible students. Friends, I am humbled to be here. I sometimes feel unqualified. I am very much still learning my way. And when President Milliken stood up at Faculty Orientation and said that we were all here in God's perfect timing I wanted to shout “Not True For Me!” But I am learning to trust that that IS true. God is writing the next chapter of my life, even if it sometimes feels like an awkward and very pregnant chapter!

Can I say this again? God is interested in your being! When we align our being up with the qualities He seeks of us in His word, our doing is a natural overflow-- but is not identical. Your doing might look different than your roommates, your classmates, or your neighbors, coworkers, family and friends. That's okay. We each have wonderful, unique gifts and abilities.  This life is not about 'doing' in some perfect, manuscripted way-- its about each of us striving to become more like Christ every single day.

-------------------------------------------------

It's so interesting to me that after my message I had several women come up to me and say, "I'm just like you!"  Which pretty much seals the deal to me that so few fit the "mold" of a "traditional" Christian woman.  I thought to myself-- where did we get this picture of sewing and knitting and crafting and dozens of kids?  Why have I thought in my mind for so long that that was particularly more spiritual than my gifts?  I'm not sure, to be honest.  Maybe I made it up in my head.  But I'm not alone.  And Praise the Lord, I've been freed to be the woman God made me!

My other fear was that women who do fit that mold, or particularly like to sew or sing or something I mentioned, would somehow feel less valued, or that their gifts aren't just as wonderfully important, impactful and unique.  That is just absolutely the opposite of what I am saying.  I also wanted to throw out a picture of my boot lamp-- in all its crafty glory-- but I just couldn't find a way to fit it in!

Finally, I had a few staffers and a few students stop in my office and tell me that this message personally made a difference in their life in very specific terms.  If for no other reason, that made it totally worth it. 

On the journey,
Mae 

Friday, October 7, 2011

5x7 Folded Card

Classic Yellow Halloween Card
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Monday, October 3, 2011

How To Make A Boot Lamp

After getting nearly 20 "likes" on facebook-- I decided the boot lamp deserved its own post, and not just a picture in the "Here is Dekker's Room... Finally" post that is coming, I promise.

This blog I am titling: How To Make A Boot Lamp
The Answer Is: Ask Your Husband.

Thank you all and have a good day!

Hahahaha. I am just kidding-- kind of!  But, it was very much a project that "we" did.  And Dave just told me he is considering changing his name to "we"-- because whenever "we" do something, it does end up being more like "Dave" does it.  But I organized it all, bought the goods, blah blah, and married a smart man.

Step One: Call your Mimi for a pair of used boots.  This worked out well.  I was to see her over Labor Day anyway and she had two pair ready for the Goodwill.  Second lucky break, my Papa has small feet, so the boot is not enormous.  My Papa is still alive, in case you were wondering.  But that this is his boot does make it extra special.

Step Two: Drill Hole in boot.  We drilled just in front of the heel (in the arch) to give the bolt room to tighten on without messing up the way to boot sat on the nightstand.


Step Three: Buy "lamp kit" from Menards.  Do not haul your two year old to Hobby Lobby hoping they have one, because they do not. A lamp kit looks like this, but is packaged much nicer and is about $10.  You will find it in the "lighting" section of a home goods store.



Then, take the "rod" from the kit (you might have to buy this separately, but it's right next to the kit) and paint it to match.  The above kit does not include the rod, and that is because they come in all different lengths.  We did cut ours down to the right length.  I spray painted it red--totally optional.  I also painted to bolt that went on the bottom to hold it in place.  Dave oversaw all this buying, but I was quite independent I'll have you know.


Step Four: Attach rod to boot, secure using bolt (and maybe a 'washer') on the bottom.  Dave also used some clear caulking around the hole to make sure nothing would seep out.  Fill boot with Plaster A Paris (is that how you spell that?), which I found at Hobby Lobby.  All they had was the Pottery Plaster, and the kind lady said it was the same.


I wanted to mix the whole container, so Dave helped me with some of his tools-- a drywall mixer and 5 gallon bucket.  For the record, I think this could have been done with a wooden spoon and large Tupperware-- it contained 4 cups water with the jar of mix.  But seriously, best husband ever.


Step Five: Let dry.  It was heavier than we anticipated, about 6.5lbs to be exact.  The boot looked wet in places, but it all dried just fine over a few days in the garage.  "We" put some Styrofoam in the boot to try and hold the rod level.  When it was totally try, I cleaned up the Pottery Plaster around the edges and on the rod, and was glad that it was the pottery kind because I think it cleaned easier.


Step Six: Attach hardware.  You do have to do some very minor wiring, sending the plug-in cord up from the bottom of the boot through the rod.  Thank you again handsome hubby.  The kit had great directions (and cost $9.99-- did I mention that).

Step Seven: Attach lampshade and presto.  You should know that this type of hardware calls for a "harped" lampshade, which is considered more "traditional" and less contemporary.  It is the kind of lampshade that screws on with a little knob on the top.  So I looked everywhere and found nothing that wasn't HUGE or ugly, and eventually bought a cheap lamp and then just took the shade off it.  Dave thinks we could have stripped that lamp for the parts, too, but it was too late.  I am going to try and convert that lamp to a contemporary shade and use it in the nursery-- but we'll certainly see how that goes.


This is BY FAR the most crafty thing I have EVER done, and Dave did most of it :)  It is so, so, so awesome in Dekker's room.  He loves it, and it provides a lot of light for our book-reading, nap-stalling marathons.  Speaking of nap time, I'm almost certain a little someone is almost up so I better run!

On the journey,
Mae


P.S. You can make lamps out of vases and wine bottles, too!

Friday, September 16, 2011

Quick 5-ish (My attempt at Photo Phone Friday)

Photo One: Thursday night.  Are these two not adorable.  I love having two handsome boys to come home from work to... they are just adorable on their own, and together!  Dekker had a great day at daycare and I had a great day at work.  I am _really_ enjoying my job, and I feel like I have a little of the spunk in life back.  This affirms to me that I made the right decision and that my last job just really was not a good fit.  So thankful I swallowed my "this is what I always wanted to do" pride and moooooooved on.   I hope NCC lasts a long time, but even if it doesn't, I know it is the right place right now.

Photo Two: Monday at Lakeside Park.  My sweet friend Katie and I took our boys to the park for lunch, then to feed the ?ducks? or ?geese? I'm not sure the difference.  Anyway, I think they sensed our fear so we manned up and fed them the bread and the boys had a ball.  It was a great way to enjoy this ah-mazing weather.

Photo Three: Last Friday?  Not sure to be honest.  Dekker has been spending a lot of time in the bathroom talking about the potty but will not sit on it.  He cries when I try.  I am not sure what to do.  Oh, and this was after our beloved Bibi came for a visit, so that toilet was so clean I might not have washed his hands! (Yes, yes I did).

Photo Four: Last Friday night.  I am finally ready to start painting and decorating the nursery.  I have just a few finishing details to Dekker's cowboy room before I post about it.  The two swatches on the wall were samples, and I went with neither.  I got the gray in a lighter shade.  I was afraid the blue would compete with all the other blues already in the room.  Today I went and got the red curtains, and I am excited to see it come together.  Double bonus, a lot of this room is purchasing and less sweat/craft once the painting is done.

Photo Five: Sunday.  Last weekend we totally cleaned out our basement.  It feels great, and we were exhausted.  We were getting ready for our small group to start back up, and the kids need a place to play-- and I was having anxiety every time I went down there.  The living area looks fantastic, and we have a new tool area, too.  It is organized and usable.  Now, to clean the garage before it gets too cold and I will post for all to see.  In the meantime, I have several things on Craigslist.  I am amazed at what sells (mini-blinds, bed rails, floor mat for your office chair) and what doesn't.  I mean, really, who doesn't want this beautiful blue piece of luggage??  Whatever is left when we clean out the garage goes to Good-will and Habitat for Humanity.

Photo Six: Late Sunday night.  Look at these two sweeties-- changing my plates.  That boy is pretty sure he can do anything his daddy does!

Photo Seven: Approximately two mornings a week :).  Dekker has discovered two things-- Elmo, and TV.  They collide everyday at 9:30 on PBS.  He has never watched TV.  I do have the TV on sometimes first thing in the AM-- I love a good morning news show-- but he could care less.  Until now.  I have never understood the allure of letting your kid watch TV until Dekker decided to love Elmo.  Suddenly, I have 30 minutes to, gasp, put make-up on and gasp, clean the kitchen and gasp, make the bed.  I am still making sure this is a rare occasion, but I guess I'm okay with it for 30 minutes on an occasional day.  I guess.   Also, do you notice that stool.  It is in a few pics here.  He carries that thing everywhere like it's his bestie. 

Happy Friday everyone.  Here's to a great weekend, a fantastic JDRF walk, time with family, and not cleaning all weekend.

On the journey,
Mae

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Mommyhood

I was having a crabby night tonight.  At one point, David asked me what was wrong and I said, "Nothing, I'm just trying to keep it together until Dekker goes to bed."  I have had a great day, which included an early daycare drop off, working, chapel and a prayer walk in 2" platform shoes, a huge pregnant belly, commuting, and coming up with something for dinner in a house that very much needs groceries.   I'm doing laundry and baking and trying to get things ready for our annual family reunion.  I know that women do this all the time, but whatev.  I'm crabby.

Before I had kids, when I heard someone crab about their family life I had very little sympathy.  Big belly?  Can't roll over?  Can't sleep? You chose this.  Tired from being up all night?  Should have thought about that nine months ago.  No money for fun stuff because you have to spend it all on diapers?  Guess who decided to have another kid.  Exhausted from mommy-hood, tired of disciplining your toddler, feeding your infant, cooking dinner and doing laundry?  Well, you pulled the goalie.

I could go on, but you get the picture.

Now that I'm a mom, so much about my attitude has changed.  Let me just make a few points here:

1. Family Life is hard.  I get it, to a point.  I don't claim to understand everything you are going through, but I know that it is hard.  At the same time, I know you probably wouldn't change it.  You'll take away my belly?  I could sleep all night?  Heck no. This child is precious.  You'll take from me my toddler?  I can clean and bake and nap all day without distraction?  Absolutely not.  I can not imagine my life without Dekker.  He is one of my greatest joys, even on a bad day!   You'll give me all my money back but take my family away?  Step away.  Unthinkable.

I'd say this is the biggest reality that I have learned.  Before I had kids, when I heard someone talk about the difficulties of their family life, I didn't understand the other side of that coin.  I heard a very one-sided conversation-- because I think the other half was assumed but I didn't get it!  I can tell you that I was honestly totally surprised at how much I enjoyed being a Mom-- because I only heard-- or focused on-- or filtered-- the negative.  I'm so glad that I have experienced motherhood-- the ups and downs-- so that when I hear someone crab or complain or break down in tears, that I can understand that much better.

With all that being said...

2.  It's okay to be real.  I have noticed a real trend with the rise of social media to present a real one-sided view of family life-- and it's the OTHER side than what I grew up listening to.  In other words, I have found that people have started to over-focus on the positive, leaving some to believe that parenthood-- or life-- is a stream of easy, blissful days and nights. (I think that's why this blog post made me laugh until I almost cried!)  If I believe only what I see on facebook, I'm pretty sure I'd be totally off guard when I feel like crying, questioning, or yanking Dekker's arm out of socket.  Thankfully, I have some great Mommy-friends and family who don't judge me.  They understand #1 above, and that with my bad days come some great days, too.  And that even though I "made this bed," I can still be frustrated, sad, disappointed at times.  And that even still, I am a good mom, and that I love my family and wouldn't change a thing. Except that I would find a laundry fairy.

I know it's not popular to add a status update along the lines of : "Stefanie is seriously questioning her decision to have #2 because #1 is a total un-joy today.  How do you people do it?" Or, "Stefanie can't wait to go to work today because another day at home sounds like punishment right now."

Then again, maybe social media isn't the place to be "real."  Or that real.  But I don't know.  I'd love to see a fresh stream of "my life isn't bliss" updates occasionally.  We can do that without being bitter, right?  Since when is it unhealthy or unChristian to be honest about our struggles?  Would it give others permission to do the same?  But heavens to Betsy, if not on the World Wide Web (and I understand), I hope you have a good friend you can be real with.   Somebody who understands you, doesn't judge you, and knows that you still love your kids, #forcryingoutloud.  I'm not sure who your friend is, but I hope you have one and that you bend her ear from time to time-- or day to day.  It's okay to be honest about your struggles, friends.  My friend Jenny once said to me, "I don't know if other mom's don't think like we do, or if they just don't say it out loud."  Here, here, friend.

3.  People without kids have stress too.   My final point comes just two years after leaving the life of PK (Pre-Kids).  Please let me remind all of us, including myself, that our friends and family without kids have lots of stress, lots on their plates, and a life of their own.  When they are stressed, please don't roll your eyes, make snappy comments, or offer an "if you only knew."  It's not fair to assume that they have loads of ample time, sit around every evening doing nothing, or should be the leader of your committees because "what else are they doing."  They are doing plenty.  Just like you.

This gift of motherhood is such a mixed bag.  In the end, I am confident that the main reason God created children and the family is that it is one major learning environment where we can learn to be more like Him,  rely on Him, be humbled, sustained, and taught by Him-- an environment where we give up power and control and trust the Almighty in a totally new way.

Stefanie is "learning about how Big God is through her insecurities about Baby #2."  Has a nice ring to it.

On the journey,
Mae

Friday, August 19, 2011

Quick 5 (Things I'm looking forward to)

Happy Friday everyone-- we made it!  If last week was a week of socializing and mom's dinner out, then this week was a week of work .I worked Tuesday and then had orientation on Wednesday and Thursday.  It was pretty fun-- mostly because I'm so excited and thrilled to be there.  Thursday night I worked at JCA from 4:30-9:30-- which made for a long day considering I'd left the house at 7:30 that morning.  But it's over, and I survived.  And I there are lots of fun things to look forward to... which brings me to my Quick 5 today.

1.  Friday Play-Date-- We are heading to the Humane Society and then for a picnic at the park next door in about, oh, an hour.  Just love getting up and knowing I get to see these sweet friends and have something fun to do with Dekker.
2.  Saturday Casting Call-- that's right, we're taking Dekker to Village Pointe to be photographed for the Fat Brain Toys catalog Saturday morning.  Those eyelashes!?!?! I'm sure he'll probably make the cover.  Excited to have something to get up and around for, and maybe we'll even find a cup of coffee and an Old Navy sale!
3.  Saturday night work party.  Here's what I love about this the most-- A). Babysitter and night out with the hubby.  B). Dave gets to meet my co-workers.  C). I actually have co-workers and am not working alone at the end of a long hallway anymore.
4.  The new venue at Stonebridge!  Our incredible church has been building an alternative venue.  We are super excited that its "soft opening" starts this Sunday at 11:00.  There are three weeks of soft openings, followed by the grand opening on September 11th where it will be open every week at 9:30 and 11:00.  If you are looking for a church home in the Omaha area, I sincerely hope you will consider the authentic community at Stonebridge.  We love Stonebridge so much we invite strangers, which-- trust me, we have never done before.
5.  Sunday Zoo Day-- Dave and I were just talking about this weekend, and after nap on Sunday I think we'll head downtown and enjoy this gorgeous weather.  Sounds fun!

Here's to a great weekend!  I wasn't sure I would survive 30 hours of work in 3 days, but thankfully I have a fantastic Day Care Friend, a supportive husband, and the mental capacity to take "One Day At A Time."  Thankful for the opportunity to work, and thankful for a few days at home, too!

On the journey,
Stef

Monday, August 15, 2011

Perspective

This weekend we went to a family wedding on Saturday night.  I do love a fun wedding and the reception was at the Rococo in downtown Lincoln, which was a super cool venue.  We got Dekker up at 6:45AM and he was ready for an early nap, then we all traveled to the church.  He had been asking for Papa and Nana for several days, and it was so fun when he woke up from his nap to finally say "We get to go see Papa and Nana!"  He was so thrilled. 

We got to the church and just like in the movies, he jumped out of Dave's arms and ran straight to his Papa.  His little tie was blowing in the wind, his long sleeved shirt tucked into his khaki pants with leather loafers-- are you kidding me-- he was adorable!  He sat on Papa's lap and took the entire wedding in like such a champ-- he barely moved he was snuggled in so well.  At one point in the wedding I looked over to him and silently thanked God.  I just love that kid so much.  And I'm so thankful to the gift-giver for such an incredible gift.

When the wedding was over we blew bubbles at the bride and groom and headed to the car for the reception.  But Dekker was beside himself.  We peeled him out of my Dad's arms while he hysterically called out, "Papa, Papa."  We tried so hard to explain that we will see Papa VERY SOON, like in 5 minutes, and that we are going to the SAME PLACE, just taking different cars.  We said that Papa is driving his car and we are driving our car and we will get to spend lots more time with him in a SHORT WHILE.  He was barely comforted by this, and the reunion at the reception was sweet for sure!

I am knee deep in grief, loss and bereavement literature at the college in preparation for one of my classes.  So this might seem kinda morbid... but I think waiting for heaven is a lot like that drive to the reception.  I can hear God saying to me... "Stefanie, you (and Grandma/Grandpa/Uncle Don/Baby Rowe/Etc) are going to the SAME PLACE, just taking different "cars."  You will see him/her VERY SOON."  And that is true.  Just that my definition of Very Soon is a lot like Dekker's-- as in, I'd like it to be yesterday, right now, or in the immediate for-see-able future.  When you understand the final destination and have full faith in an eternal God, the "short drive" seems a little more bearable-- it is a matter of confidence in the destination ("Heaven is real") and perspective ("Even many many years on earth compares not to eternity").

Well, all that being said, I'll cry at the next funeral I go to.  It is still so hard to understand grief and loss, and I know that "buck up therapy" rooted in "Why are you sad?  You'll see her again someday?" is really not helpful.  At all.  But today, looking back and ahead, I think God taught me something about perspective while I wrestled a sobbing Dekker into his carseat.

On the Journey,
Stef

Friday, August 12, 2011

Quick 5 (Things Dekker is saying right now)

Happy Friday everyone.  I hope you have had a great week because we have around here.  Can you say gorgeous weather!!  So much fun, we have discovered bubbles and side-walk chalk and even gotten a few walks in.  I worked Tues/Thurs and am making great progress at the school, and I'm ready for the students to show up and just jump right in. Still a few more weeks to go, and I'll be thankful for the additional time in my office, I'm sure.

We've done some fun "adult" things this week, too.  I had a fantastic "Girls Night" Monday night with three other Mom's.  We usually get together with our kids and have about 5 total minutes to talk without disciplining our kids, chasing the kids, or having them crawl all over us.  We love it, and we love our kids, but it was great to sit and visit for---3 hours-- without them.  Wednesday when I was home I decided to pay bills-- like the $450 one that let us know Dekker didn't have any allergies (thank goodness for the HSA).  We pay cash for the first 4K of our medical expenses.  But don't feel bad for us because we pay zero monthly premium.  So we save that money instead and only use it when we have an expense.  Also on Wednesday I called "Dan", who sounded oddly like he was in New Delhi, and paid off our last student loan.  PRAISE THE LORD.  We have been "snowballing" our student loans and they went so fast at the end.  Now, we're debating what to do with the money we had been putting toward the loans.  "Eating Out and Wild Parties" got vetoed, so now we're debating between long-term savings, and our 4-Runner.  Thursday night we hosted a few friends for a BBQ feast.  We lost power for the entire time and about 3 hours total, and I wasn't having my best parenting night and oddly, Dekker didn't want to sit quietly with the adults-- but it was still a great time and gorgeous night to grill and sit on the deck.  Today is Friday and tonight I'm getting together with my sweet friend Jen.  What a week!

Okay, well on to the show!  Today's Quick 5 is about what Dekker has been saying lately.  He is speaking more and more and it is a riot.  He'll repeat anything, but these are his favorites for now.

1.  "No."  So classic.  He doesn't just say "No," but he screams it in a very determined way.  If I raise my voice, you better believe he raises his.  It has been an exercise in self control as I teach him how to handle his anger by evaluating how I handle mine.
2.  "Why, Mommy."  Also so classic.  He loves to ask Why.  I always give him a simple answer, which is quickly followed by "huh?". 
3.  "Thanks Mom".  I'm super proud of this one.  Whenever I give him anything, like a cup or lunch or help him with a toy-- he says "Thanks Mom."  He could get out of about any amount of trouble with this simple statement, but I'm not sure he's figured it out yet.
4.  "Yes, un-huh, hmmmm" and these happen while we pray for dinner.  Dave says a dinner time prayer and Dekker is very enthusiastic about agreeing with him while he prays.  I must do this without realizing it, and it's amazing what he catches on to.  So adorable and charismatic he is-- while he's doing this he is inevitably still trying to drink from his cup or take a bite.  I could eat him up.
5.  "Cup".  But it sounds like "Pop."  So when we're with friends or out in public and he casually says "Mommy I want pop" I feel like the worst mom in the world and start correcting him immediately-- "Do you want your Cup buddy?  Should we put some WATER in your CUP?"  The good news is that he is easy to please and simply giving him a "cup" filled with anything satisfies this request.  But I have found myself saying "We don't give him pop" about 100 times.  Why do I care?!?

Have a great weekend everybody.  We have a fun Saturday planned with a wedding in Lincoln.  Always love me a good wedding and love seeing the extended fam.

On the Journey,
Mae



Friday, August 5, 2011

Quick 5 (My work-week in a nutshell)

Happy Friday everyone!  Here's to a pretty quick "Quick 5", as Dekker rams an old "walk behind" toy into the cupboards repeatedly.  Ah, Daddy just came up the stairs and Dekker ran over to him yelling "Hi Daddy! Hi Daddy!" with High 5's and an enthusiastic "yes"!  He is such a cool kid, seriously, we hit the jackpot with him.

1.  Monday-- In high school I ran with three sweet girls-- Sara, Jen, Amanda.  I love them.  There is something just totally wonderful about being with friends who knew you back then, and still love you today.  Our lives have changed, but whose hasn't!  Amanda has four kids, Jen has two-- including her sweet 12-week old baby girl Marah, and Sara has sweet Kolbe and lives in Arizona (boooo! We miss her!).  We took a few pics to send her way.
Oh 6 month belly.  I will "miss" you someday, but not when taking pictures :)
Sweet baby!
Another reason I love these girls?  Because when I show them this picture of my dad's new car they gasp just like I did!  "Steve Soden? Bought that!?!?!"  Thank you girls!  For fully understanding the impact of this awesome-ness!

It was a spectacular "play date" complete with chicken salad on croissant, fruit salad, and lots of kiddos running around.  Such a total joy, they also gave me lots of great ideas for Dekker's "big boy" room and "big boy" toys.  Being with these girls reminds me how much I miss them-- the only sad thing about being together!

2.  Tuesday-- My first "official" day at NCC was over-shadowed by the Cupcake Wars viewing party at the local Bliss Bakery downtown.  They did a great job representing Omaha and Bliss-- and Dave and I loved a mid-week babysitter and night "out."  We ate Happy Hour at Hiro 88 downtown before-hand with some fun friends.  Bliss was packed, so I sweat it out and had to leave ASAP before I fainted.  Thankfully I had random mail in my purse to fan my huge self with and my friend Cari had a random hair tie and I stripped down a layer and nearly ran around naked but chose not to.  Grandma and Grandpa Rowe babysat and apparently Dekker didn't want to go to bed, so he got to stay up late-- a little treat that warmed my heart a little.  I walked up the stairs and he said "Hi Mom."  Hahahaha. 

3.  Wednesday-- Another "play date" at my house with four friends and approximately 1,000 children.  It was a packed house, but it was great to be together.  I haven't yet downloaded the picture of Max, who stripped himself down and sat on the potty (like a big boy) with his helpers, Dekker and Quinn, unrolling an entire roll of toilet paper for him.  It got quiet, and when we found them in the bathroom we just laughed.  At least we're all pretty laid back.  And at least I have lots of toilet tissue hanging around.  And at least I have great friends to spend the morning with!

4.  Thursday-- My second official day at NCC.  I am going through lecture notes from the previous professor and updating with some of my materials and moving everything to PowerPoint.  It is a lot of office work and I'm looking forward to the arrival of students, but I'm pretty nervous, too.  I have been setting up my computer, voice-mail, and...tada... got business cards.  I also got a touch of a stomach/gastro bug Thursday.  Thankfully, everyone assumed I was in the restroom every 10 minutes because I'm pregnant :) 

Dekker was totally out of sorts Thursday night.  He kept waking up sobbing-- and I'm pretty sure he wasn't feeling well either.  He kept saying "ouchie" but couldn't say what it was for.  At about 9:30 Dave just decided to let him sleep in the crook of his arm in the big chair.  He turned on a show and low and behold, the babe wanted to watch TV.  Then he hopped down and started playing with his fire truck, so Daddy wisely put him in bed, crying and all.  He was out.  Dave also encouraged me to buy a new book on my Kindle and stay in the bedroom all night-- which I did after dinner and I do feel better today, for the most part.

5.  Friday-- I think Dekker and I are both feeling better, Praise the Lord!  I don't feel great, but not like yesterday, for sure.  We are heading to Lincoln tonight to do something fun with my brother's family, sans my brother :/  His wifey and kiddos are traveling through-- and I'm excited to see them and get the cousins together!  Any fun eatery suggestions, in addition to Chuck-y Cheese?

Happy Friday!
On the journey,
Stef