Who are these kids and why are they calling me mom?

Sometimes you just have to put on your big girl panties and deal with it

Are you there God it’s me Steph November 29, 2008

Filed under: Faith,Family,Life,Other Stuff — Steph @ 12:34 pm

When I was young I faithfully attended church, Wednesdays, Sundays, and in between.  I went to vacation Bible school every Summer, I went to Indiana for a young Presbyterian worldwide convention, and I went to church camp.

Now I am struggling, my Grandma is a devout Baptist and her faith gets her through.  Honestly she’s the strongest of all of us and it’s her unwavering belief in God that makes her the person she is.  She literally lost half of her family in a year’s time and yet she is at peace with this.  Not only is she at peace with it, but she came running when my house burned down a day after she got home from having watched her sister die a horrific death, she came to take care of me.  I wish I could say I didn’t lean on her but I did, and heavily, I cried on her shoulder,  I railed, I screamed, I cursed God, and the whole time she held me up even though truly she’s been through everything I’ve been through and more.  She held the hand of her father, husband, and sister while they died (and not the peaceful they went in their sleep deaths either), all in a year’s time.  She held the hand of my uncle and his wife through a traumatic pregnancy and when the baby didn’t make it she ran out the door of my mom’s house after having taken care of me and ran to help them.  I asked her how she can do it?!  How can she live through so much in so short a time and still be the one to hold us all up?!  How can she not HATE God?  The thought doesn’t even occur to her.  To her it was God’s will, it was meant to be, it’s his way of showing her who she is, how strong she is, it’s him testing her and letting her know she can handle it all and more.  The deaths to her are not a bad thing.  They are a good thing.  God needed them more than we did.  It was their time, and they are moving to a better place, the place we can all only hope to be one day.

Then there’s me.  I want to ask Him what the Hell he’s thinking?!  How can he allow these things to keep coming at us?!  How can he keep “testing” me when I obviously can’t handle it?!  WHY me?!

How pathetic am I?  Thanksgiving comes and while I am so thankful for all we have and I know it could have been SO much worse, I am still struggling with what we lost this past year, and all we’ve been through.  Then I just feel worse for being so stinking selfish.

It’s not that I don’t believe in God.  I’ve seen too much in my life to NOT believe in God.  It’s just that I can’t find that un-wavering faith in Him that my Grandmothers’ have.

According to one of my dearest friends that makes me doomed to rot in Hell and is a mortal sin.  I don’t believe that, it defies logic that he would allow us to make mistakes, and be human and yet curse us for being exactly what he meant us to be.

When I ask my grandma how God can make these things happen to us, keep happening to us, she tells me He doesn’t “make” anything happen.  He allows bad things to happen, He gave us free will starting with Eve, He allows us to be tested so we may know our strength, so we may become what we will become, He hopes we will weather it and realize these things and be stronger for it, but He has to allow us to be tested, to be human, to be who we are, to become who we can become and without a test of our strength and our faith He would not be doing His job.  All I can say is, I have some really serious questions for Him when I meet Him.

I want to know why I have to have a criminal background check to be the committee chair of our Boy Scout pack (I schedule events and pack meetings and basically keep the pack running smoothly), but any idiot can have a baby, and beat them to death.  I want to know why people kill each other with no remorse.  I want to know how and why a mother can kill her own child just because she wants to go out on a date?!  I want to know why someone like her can have a baby and can probably have more and more babies but so many of us who know what a precious gift they are, can’t.  I want to know so many things and then I think I must be extremely arrogant to think He will answer these questions, that He HAS to answer these questions for me, that I would dare to ask Him why he does anything at all.  <sigh>

I think my life would be so much easier if I either had unwavering faith in Him or didn’t, but I just can’t find that faith and God help me I think I wish I could.  But of course that’s arrogant too, to want to find my faith in Him just to make myself feel better, to be stronger, and to be a better person.

So I guess when it comes down to it, I am exactly what He meant to create, which is a very flawed, very self centered, human being in the middle of an insanely huge pity party.


Randomness October 27, 2008

Filed under: Adoption,Critters,Faith,Fire,Other Stuff — Steph @ 8:55 am

If you make a ham and give your dogs a small plate full they will wake you up 5 times in the night to go outside.  Wow I miss my dog door! Elizabeth is in to Thomas the Train all the sudden.  I am relieved to watch something besides Cars.  She likes Lilo & Stitch but given the choice she picks Cars every time.  I bought her a Handy Manny DVD and a couple of Thomas DVD’s including the Thomas movie with Alec Baldwin.  She’d rather watch the Thomas episodes with the narrator and the fake people.  I like Handy Manny it’s cute, but secretly I wonder why she would rather watch tools, trains, and trucks than Strawberry Shortcake?!  She’s gonna be Abby Cadaby (sp?) for Halloween.  My one saving grace, she loves shoes and dresses!  🙂 We took my mom to the neuro surgeon last week and we went to the mall in Cheyenne (I didn’t know they had a mall!?!?!).  We were in Dillards and Elizabeth sees the Croclings and FLIPS.  She HAS to have the Cinderella Croclings?!  So I am like OK, they’re pink, they have a princess on them, RIGHT ON!  Then we get to the check out and guess what they have?!  Jibbitz with Mater and Lightning McQueen.  <sigh>  So she now has Cinderella Croclings with Mater on one and Lightning McQueen on the other.  <double sigh> Oh and did I mention she doesn’t sleep in the car?  She talks, the whole way (I know she gets that from me).  Guess what she talks about on the interstate?!  You guessed it, trucks and trains.  So she makes up this little diddy where she goes “trucks and trains and trucks and trains”.  And it’s SO flipping cute cuz she like sings it!  But…  it gets old after the 100th mile or so! Joey is just busy trying to keep up with his schedule for hockey and scouts.  He’s tired on the weekend.  For some reason he can’t sleep in on Sundays.  Silly internal clocks.  Niether kid does, but I sure wish he would because 6 PM practice on Friday and then 7 AM on Saturday makes for a tired kiddo.  He won’t nap, it’s against his 8 year old boy code, so I bought him some new books (Captain Underpants anyone?) and he spent a good part of Saturday afternoon just reading quietly.  Then we went and saw HSM3 which he’s been waiting a year to see.  I gotta say I thought of the 3 it had the best story line.  Not fond of the music so much.  The first had such great music and the 2nd had catchy music.  This one I just didn’t think the music was so great.  Of course Joey disagrees…  Definitely for kids, but I can stomach them because Joey loves them and they’re good wholesome fun for him.  I was disgusted with the woman behind us though.  She had about a 3 year old boy and a 4 or 5 year old girl.  She talked through the WHOLE movie!  Not the kids, the mom!!  I was so livid!  The 5 year old was asking questions and rather than whisper the answers to her she was really loud!  I’m not one of those people who gets irritated with kids in kid movies but this was a bit different, the little boy was totally dis-interested and spent the whole time messing around bumping in to Joe and Joey’s chairs.  The woman spent the whole time explaining the movie to the young girl.  At one point she goes “Stanford is one of the best schools in the country”.  <sigh>  Like her 4 year old cares?!  Explain it to her at home!  Then at one point they are dancing and the girl’s skirts flip up and she goes “oh my goodness!”  really loud!  I’m like “lady, it’s a musical and they dance, they have on bloomers for crying out loud!”  Then there was the kiss (one kiss in 2 and 3 btw) and she goes “oh, did you see that on the previews?” to her 4 year old?!  WTH?!  It’s not like they were getting down and dirty, it was a kiss!  Crimeny!  Can you tell I was annoyed?!  She literally didn’t shut up the WHOLE 2 hours!! Anyway, Joey is being tested for the GATE (Gifted and Talented Education) program and we’ll find out in a couple of weeks if he’s accepted.  He scored in the 91st percentile on the standardized test they did a few weeks ago.  It’s funny because Joey doesn’t test well, he has trouble sitting through tests and focusing on getting the test done in time.  During these tests I was worried, they were right after the fire and I was sure he would not do well on them.  So I asked them to let him do them later and they said they were just a “practice run” to see what they need to work on for the real Spring tests.  Turns out I was worried for nothing and he did well obviously.  I assume he’ll be admitted to GATE which I’ve been waiting for since kindergarten so that’s exciting!  He gets so bored in a regular classroom all day long, I have literally just been waiting for 3rd grade and the GATE program! I think I have PTSD.  Probably not a surprise.  I want to see a counselor but I don’t know of any good ones in town and I don’t want to spend the money right now.  The fire wiped us out, replacing a minimal amount of clothes, toys, books, shoes, coats, etc… adds up.  Not to mention having to stock a kitchen from scratch when you are used to a FULL freezer and pantry you’ve been filling for years!  So I am holding off even though I know I need to see someone at some point.  Hopefully soon as I think I probably need some therapy.  For now I am just trying to deal and my regular physician is helping me as is my family. I still have nightmares about my dogs and animals dying.  They don’t always die in a fire though, it’s always something different.  The other night I dreamt Sugar (my oldest dog) was locked in a room with rabid coyotes?!  WTH?!  The Clonopin keeps the nightmares at bay, and other than exhaustion when I don’t take the Clonopin and have the nightmares, I am holding up OK. The stupid insurance company is launching some investigation in to the fire of course.  They want ALL kinds of personal information I’m not giving them access to.  Like employment records, bank statements, etc…  I didn’t have to supply those things to BUY my house, I’m not giving them up now with all the identity theft.  Plus Joe just got a new job, how would it look if some insurance investigator was calling them to check on his character?! Apparently this is common practice in total loss fires.  I am just disgusted by it.  It’s like saying “this family lost EVERYTHING so in order to stall having to pay out we’ll just put them through even more Hell”.  I thought it might have something to do with our complaint to the insurance commissioner and I’m still not 100% sure it didn’t/doesn’t.  But I called them and she said they do this a majority of times in a fire and it really sucks.  It’s an electrical fire, ruled as such by the fire department so they have NO basis to put us through an “investigation” but of course whatever it takes to not have to pay out.  I told the one rep the other day it’s just insane.  People don’t set their homes on fire to go backward!  We lost a lot of un-insured animals (not insurable), cages, feed, etc…  plus we’re under insured on our home by quite a bit, so we don’t have enough in the policy max to re-build our home and are probably short a bit on a down payment on a new home.  Who in their right mind sets their home on fire to end up on the street?!  Not to mention the money we sunk in to the house to replace the plumbing, re-do the bathrooms, flooring, etc…  it’s just insane, we are SO not going to even come close to recouping those costs.  Needless to say I was not happy with the investigation and I said as much to the investigator.  You’d think while they’re shelling out a huge amount of rent a month on furniture, this house, etc… they would want to get us paid out and out of their hair?! Well I think that’s about it.  I didn’t blog much last week because I took my mom to Cheyenne for her appointment and that was an exhausting day with Elizabeth in tow, and I am trying to fight off a sinus infection so I really just didn’t feel up to it after wrangling Elizabeth all day.  😉 I promise to try to do better!  Thank you all for your comments and concerns, they made me feel better, somehow assured me I am not going crazy!


You know you’re pathetic when… September 25, 2008

Filed under: Faith,Family,Fire,Life — Steph @ 12:32 pm

You take your 2 year old daughter to the Pediatrician and she basically tells you what a pathetically sad sack you are!  Ok so she didn’t say “wow you really are pathetic” but she said “usually I tell my patients to think it can’t get worse, it can only get better when you’ve hit rock bottom, but apparently you’ve hit rock bottom and are still getting kicked around so I am not going to say that”.  <sigh>

So today’s post is the last year of my life in review and then at the bottom of my post I am telling you all why I have decided to let it all go:

August of last year my mom has surgery to fix an injury she received at work, she’d been trying to fix non-surgically for several years.  They couldn’t decide if it was her back, her hip, or both, but they knew they had to do something.  So they went in and said she’d demolished her hip.  They repaired it, and she was back at work in a few weeks, but still suffering some pain,later we would find out she went back too soon.

September of last year we got a call telling us my great grandfather would not live through the weekend.  We rushed to Page, AZ to say our goodbyes, the kids and I went mostly to drive my mom who was still recovering from her surgery.  He lived until October…

October of last year Joe’s best friend died of a heart attack teaching a class in Bogota, Colombia, he was 39 years old and had just had a birthday, he left behind an 8 year old son and 2 year old daughter.  The same day my great grandpa died.

I think it was that same month we found out my great aunt had terminal liver cancer, she was diagnosed after returning home from Page, she wasn’t feeling well the whole time she was in Page but she ignored it thinking it was nerves, the flu, whatever, etc…  She opted against chemo and there is a post a page or two back about her death.

December of last year my mother-in-law had to have a back fusion we knew was coming but were hoping to be able to put off for a time.  After her release from the hospital she was coming to my mom’s house, but my mom’s hip/back continued to get worse and worse, and they decided something was very wrong, so they scheduled her for a surgery to find out why her hip wasn’t healing, unfortunately it was scheduled a few days after my mother-in-law’s surgery.  So… they went in and found she’d destroyed the hip repair.  The doctor said he couldn’t fix it, he did his best but it was so bad she may be permanently disabled.  She went back to work too fast, but she was very careful and still it tore the entire repair apart.  So for the next few weeks I was running two households, trying to be at my mom’s to care for both my mom and MIL.  My grandma and grandpa came to help but my grandpa was feeling very poor and frankly hates Wyoming and hates to visit, but he was in failing health and couldn’t be left alone.  So I ended up with a 3-4 day reprieve while they were here, and all of this happened the week before Christmas.

After returning home my grandpa continued to feel really horrible, in early January he collapsed and my grandma called the ambulance, his gallbladder was horrible and had to come out.  It turns out his gallbladder had been really poor for some time which we knew, but his liver enzymes were insanely out of whack and he’d been a heavy drinker his entire life so they thought he had liver disease and they couldn’t operate on anything or he’d die.  When they went in to take his gallbladder which had become very emergent they found his liver to actually be in excellent shape as well as every other internal organ.  It turns out for over a year his gallbladder had been causing all of his health problems and if they’d taken it out originally…  but of course you just can’t know these things.  After his gallbladder surgery he developed pneumonia and had to be put on a ventilator.  I again drove my crippled mother to the side of a relative who was probably dying.  The next 10 days were absolute torture.  I can’t even talk about it now, but I think there’s another post in here somewhere about it.  He lingered with MRSA pneumonia for 10 days, his gallbladder was so bad he had stones in his intestines and colon, they basically had to re-section his bowel.  He was lucky to have been alive at all, let alone to make it out of surgery.  But by the 10th day it looked like he would pull through, he never woke up but his pneumonia was clearing, his lungs were clear, he wasn’t struggling to breathe when the ventilator’s oxygen was shut off, we had hope.  For 10 days we were given hope, and then the next day les hope, and the next day more hope.  By the 11th day they told us he was dying, they don’t know why, specialists were consulted but no one could figure out why he was dying.  He wouldn’t wake up, he had lost reflex reactions, and he was starting to go in to multiple organ failure.  We think he had a stroke but we didn’t opt for another CAT scan because at that point it didn’t matter what was the cause, he was just simply dying.  So we took him off of the ventilator and pulled all life support.  What they don’t tell you is when a person dies while their system’s organs shut down one by one, they don’t go immediately.  If they’re not fully brain dead they don’t  just pull the vent and they die.  They die slowly while each organ shuts down.  It’s horrible.  You feel like you are personally killing them by pulling them off of the life support.  On the 3rd day after we pulled the support and went to comfort measures only, we were told it could be another week or more so my mom and I decided to come home.  My great aunts had flown in and were there with my grandma and we really just needed to hug the kids and be home if even for a few days.  When we were 30 minutes from home we got the call he’d died.  We were home a day and turned around and went back with the rest of our family in tow.

After that there was somewhat of a lull followed buy actual good news!  My uncle (my mom’s brother) and his wife were expecting a baby.  My aunt has Addison’s disease, for a long time they wouldn’t allow her to even consider getting pregnant.  But they’d stabalized her symptoms and were managing so allowed her to go off of birth control.  She’s 35 and my uncle is 42 so they weren’t really trying for a baby, they figured their time had passed.  My uncle has 3 grown kids from his first marriage and they were content to live without a baby, even though my aunt had longed for a baby for years.  From the jump she was high risk, she is on high doses of prednisone to control her disease, but for all intents and purposes she should be able to deliver a healthy baby.  At her 16 week ultrasound however, they found a defect in the baby.  She had a hole in her heart.  The doctor basically said “she will not make it to term, I’m sorry”.  But my aunt and uncle refused to give up hope, the baby was growing and moving.  They decided to place it in God’s hands.  The baby continued to grow, and seemed healthy although the doctor believed very strongly the hole in the heart was not her only defect.  My aunt opted against an amnio, she said whatever will be, will be.  She wouldn’t abort, so why kill themselves agonizing over the potential disabilities their daughter would face?

That brings us to September of this year.  Labor day weekend my 14 year old God-Daughter (Terra’s daughter) fell very ill.  She’d been feeling tired and faint and had actually passed out once, over a couple of weeks but other times she seemed just fine.  Friday of that week she was very ill, and jaundiced, very weak, and felt she would faint.  So Terra took her to their local doctor.  Upon examination and after a ton of lab work, they discovered she had a red blood cell count of 5.  Normal is 15-20.  She was dangerously low on blood.  They sent her to Rapid City Regional Hospital’s pediatric ICU to see a specialist and be treated, she was looking at a blood transfusion or two.  I left here at I think 12 AM and arrived in Rapid City at 2 AM.  Terra and I sat up all night watching her and waiting for some news.  She has auto-immune hemolytic anemia.  Her body is killing her red blood cells, it feels they are all carrying a diseased anti-body and when the cells hit the spleen they are destroyed.  What we didn’t know was what caused it.  AIHA itself is the disease, but there are many reasons someone has AIHA.  They couldn’t transfuse her because any transfused blood introduced to her blood under a microscope was immediately destroyed by her white blood cells.  They put her on extremely high doses of prednisone which can destroy some of the anti-bodies and keep her body from destroying so many cells.  By Monday she was fairly stable and it was decided she could go home but needed to see a specialist to figure out why this was happening.

Monday, Terra got the call from the specialist’s office in Minneapolis and they had to be there to see the specialist on Wednesday (I think this is the time frame).  I decided to drive them, for a few reasons.  1. She’s my God-daughter 2. Terra’s good car was broken down and they were running on a car that wouldn’t make the trip but was a stop-gap until they found a new car 3. Terra has a lawyer’s mind and when it comes to law she is the BOMB.  I on the other hand live with a registered nurse who’s been doing this for 20 years and I have picked up a lot of medical jargon along the way.  I also read a lot, and worked in admitting at the hospital, and even considered going to nursing school.  So I have the medical mind of the two of us.  So we left Tuesday and made the drive to Minneapolis.

They did not find a sub cause for the AIHA, 80% of the time they don’t.  I won’t get in to all of that, but it’s all on Terra’s blog at the above link.  Heaven is being treated with large doses of steroids and is doing very well for the most part.

While in Minneapolis on Thursday Joe called to tell me he’d lost his job.  Friday the police called me to tell me my house was burning down.  Terra drove all night Friday night to get me home.  I was a wreck, before we could leave I had to be treated for “shock” and “panic disorder” thus the drugs that keep my nightmares and random breakdowns to a minimum.

So you know how that’s been going I won’t go in to all of that at all.  My grandma was home for a day after sitting by my dying aunt’s bedside and caring for her for months, and she came here to help me.  She is my rock, ALWAYS.  She holds me while I cry, she lets me lash out at everyone and everything and helps me heal.  She is by far my best friend and had she not come I don’t know what I would have done.  My mom is permanently disabled from her above mentioned surgeries.  She can not work, and she can barely grocery shop.  She just can’t hold us all up anymore.  But my grandma somehow finds the strength and the will to carry us all, to fix us all, to hold our hands and either get us through or watch us go.

She was going to go home on Sunday, she felt I was stable enough and we were doing well enough and she hasn’t been home fo rmore than about 2 weeks since before my grandpa died, she was home sick and on top of everything else ended up catching the sinus infection/crud everyone was passing around here.  Then she changed her mind and was going to leave on Tuesday.  On Tuesday at 3 AM she decided to stay until this weekend, to make sure we were in our house and settled and that I was stable.  (Honestly I haven’t been all that stable in 3 weeks), I have good days and bad.  While my grandma was here my aunt and uncle had seen a pediatric cardiologist and another pediatric specialist.  The baby did have a hole between her ventricals but it was not life threatening.  It was actually something they wouldn’t even consider fixing until she was 6 months old.  She might be small, and she might be weak but she wasn’t really in danger of dying for any reason they could find.  The best news we could possibly get!!  She would have to start her life on Prednisone because she would have had enough in utero she’d have to be weaned off, she would be small for that reason, probably premature, and probably weak, but she did not have any life threatening disabilities, nor any visible signs of down’s syndrome, brain malformities, etc…

My mom and grandma went baby shopping!

Wednesday morning my uncle called, they were at a routine check up, they couldn’t find a heartbeat, the baby was kicking but no heartbeat.  They decided to do an ultrasound.  She kicked once and died.  She was due the first week of November, we don’t know what happened after the news we’d gotten just last week, but she didn’t make it.  So my grandma went home Wednesday to be with my aunt and uncle.  At 7 months pregnant she had to deliver the baby, she was of a viable age and had to be delivered.  My aunt had to go through labor and delivery to deliver a baby they knew was already gone.  She was delivered at 2:30 this morning and she was perfect.  No down’s syndrome, no physical, visible deformities.  She was even of good weight, but for some reason she just didn’t make it.

So as you can see, it just never seems to stop for us.  It just keeps on coming and my biggest fear is one day my grandma will have had to hold us up too much, will have seen too much death, will have had more heartache than she can possibly stand.  But at this time she’s doing OK and just helping my aunt and uncle deal with their loss while worrying about us from 700 miles away.  Oh, and by the way, today is her birthday.  So grandma if you read this, Happy Birthday to you!!

This is why the pediatrician didn’t feel comfortable telling me things can only get better because we’ve hit bottom.  I can’t  blame her, but I have to say, for some reason I am done worrying about what’s coming next.  I am done with the negative, I am done with feeling sorry for myself, for my family, for all of us.  I can’t live like this anymore, so as of today I am only looking forward and I am only expecting positive.  I just can’t bring myself to wonder what’s next, because in my heart I believe we’ve been kicked around enough and we are done.  So from today on things WILL get better, I am mandating it, I am ordering it, I am screaming it.  No more, we are done.  Nothing else bad WILL happen to us, to my family.  I WILL NOT allow it.  I think we’ve been an easy target long enough and I am telling you un-equivacolly  we are done.  I have made my peace with God, the universe, karma, whatever the Hell you want to call it, and we are done.  So whatever force has been so determined to keep us down is now powerless, I swear it, because I have decided to put my foot down and say, absolutely NO MORE!!  It’s probably fully arrogant of me to think I have that power, but I am telling you, today I feel as if I do, and that’s all that matters.


Thursday Thirteen – #10 April 4, 2007

Filed under: Faith,Family,Life,Meme — Steph @ 11:36 pm

Thirteen things I love about Spring and Easter! (I’m sure everyone is doing this but I am truly creatively challenged this week, there are so many things on my mind!) I did throw in Spring though to try to give it a twist! :o)

Spring first…

1. Spring weather in Wyoming is amazing. It’s always unpredictable. Two weekends ago we had 78 degree weather and we were outside working on our yard wearing shorts. Last weekend we were under 3 foot of snow! LOVE Wyoming weather in the Spring!!

2. Nature – I was going to say “new life” but in truth it’s all of nature in the Spring that I love. There’s nothing I love more than Spring babies, lambs, calves, etc… but I also love budding flowers and trees and my very favorite is the return of the geese to the bird refuge down the road.

3. Soccer season – I love Spring soccer season, it gives me the chance to get up and get outside after the long Winter, to be outside, enjoying the kids, and the fresh air is awesome!

4. Sweeps – Spring TV makes or breaks most shows, especially those that are struggling, so we usually see the best episodes of the year! YAY!

5. Spring cleaning – Spring makes me want to get up and get busy de-cluttering the house, the car, the garage, you name it!! The season just seems to fill me with energy and of course there’s the extra hour of daylight giving you that much more time for that Spring cleaning!

6. Spring scents – For me, Spring smells clean, fresh, and sweet all rolled in to one! Since I’m a Yankee Candle fanatic I live for the new Spring scents which I admittedly use year round. Just because it’s not Spring outside doesn’t mean it can’t be Spring inside!!

Now on to Easter…

7. Dying eggs – I love to dye eggs with the kids, Joey is so creative and so enjoys anything we get to do that allows him to express that creativity in new ways, he is always so meticulous and detailed about it and so young and carefree at the same time. It’s such a fun contrast.

8. Easter egg hunts – need I elaborate? If you’ve never watched kids at an Easter egg hunt, you’re missing out!! There’s little I love more than watching them find their little treasures and being so proud they were the ones to find them! Our neighborhood has a big one at the park each year and the city does one as well so we get two big hunts!

9. Family – we always have a family dinner at my Grandma’s house with my aunts, uncles, parents, and all of us kids. I am a sap and I love family dinners, we’re all so busy we only see each other on holidays or special occasions which is ridiculous since we’re all in the same town, but we are just all so crazy busy. Easter is generally the best of them all because the weather is usually nice enough for the older kids (my cousins) to set up an Easter egg hunt for the littler kids (Joey and my nephew are the youngest) and then they have a lot of fun helping the smaller kids find their goodies! Joey and my nephew LOVE their older cousins (12-14 year olds) and the older kids are so busy with their activities and school we don’t see much of them. 12-14 is a great age because they’re still young enough to interact with the younger kids and they don’t see them as just a “bother” they’re just proud to be looked up to and still young enough to get down on the floor and play with them.

10. Easter baskets – I love putting baskets together for everyone. It’s so much fun to find the basket that fits the person and fill it with little goodies that they will love. I also like finding cute baskets I can use around the house to stuff things in to. It really makes “clutter” look prettier!

11. Sunrise service at our church. This is my favorite church service of the year, we hold it outside at sunrise every year, it’s quite serene and lovely, what better way to celebrate God than outside surrounded by His glory?

12. Jelly beans – I am not a fan of candy, I know I should have my “girl-card” revoked, I don’t care for chocolate at all, ever, but I love Jelly Belly Beans and Easter is the one time of the year I let myself eat some! I also saw a show on Discovery today, they showed us how Jelly Beans are made, I am not sure if I am grossed out or enthralled but it was certainly interesting!

13. Easter outfits – Easter dresses are SO cute!!! I am SO excited to have a little girl to dress up this year!!! Joey loves to get dressed up and he especially loves holiday outfits (I’ve heard nothing but this week actually) but little girl Easter outfits? Is there anything cuter??!!

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Vacuum Terror? February 27, 2007

Filed under: Faith,Family,Life — Steph @ 12:58 am

How do you accomplish a chore when your 6-month-old is terrified of it?? Elizabeth today is all of the sudden afraid of the vacuum! Before today she would simply not sleep through it, but for some reason today it literally terrified her. I am in so much trouble here, my house is SUCH a disaster and she is so very sick and miserable she just flat hates everything! I am praying she feels a bit better tomorrow. She seemed to be feeling a bit better today, she just wants to be held all of the time. I can’t blame her, when I’m sick I want my mommy too! Embarrassingly my parents who NEVER come over here, showed up last night during bath time and I wanted to cry! My house is literally THAT bad!! I know everyone keeps saying “you do what you can do” because I am a single mother for another 8 days (YAY 8 DAYS!!!) and I just literally can’t get the time to do anything! I could stay up all night and do it but I’d still be unable to run the vacuum and then I’d be exhausted tomorrow and dealing with a sick baby is even worse when you’re exhausted. So… I am just praying tomorrow I will be able to accomplish a little something.

Joey and I did get the poor dying plants watered (indoor) tonight, straighten the living room (not a small task it was atrocious), do a very quick run of the vacuum to get up the worst of it before Elizabeth just couldn’t handle it any more, and clean out the junk drawer. Dinner dishes didn’t get done yet, they’re rinsed and in the sink but I haven’t been able to put Elizabeth down long enough to empty the dishwasher and re-fill it and I think I’ll probably just wait until the morning now because I am getting tired and as soon as she’s out I am out. Oh, we also re-hung the towel bar that decided to fall down a couple of weeks ago and also fix the shower curtain because the hooks refuse to stay in place! So really we accomplished quite a bit in a 2 hour span if you write it out! Joey was incredibly helpful!! He is such a blessing!!

I am really struggling with the house right now. My cages are clean, that’s a big deal to me because it’s a health issue for the animals and us if they’re not, but Joe comes home in 8 days and I really want him to walk in to a spotless house and a serene environment and right now it’s anything but. We (the kids and I) are usually so good about sticking to a routine, getting things accomplished, etc… Right now? It’s pure and utter chaos. Bedtimes are later than ever, Joey’s homework isn’t getting done at the specified time, dinner is late, etc… It’s just insane. I am putting it in God’s hands and praying on it. I know He will provide the answer for me if I just give it over to Him.

In return I typed a story up for him. He wrote it and wanted it typed so he can make a “real book”. :o) He’s so in to writing books! He loves it, spends almost all of his free time doing it! I am going to be in trouble in the morning because I promised to print it for him before I go to bed but he did something with the zip drive and I can’t find it anywhere! We typed it on the lap top but the printer is hooked to the desk top so we put it on the zip drive. I have to find that zip drive! UGH!!

In closing here’s Joey’s story (unfortunately it’s the un-illustrated version, the illustrated version is just amazing)! Enjoy!

The Chocolate Zoo

By: Joey Hyne

Dedicated to: My Family

Once upon a time in a little chocolate zoo lived 5 good tiger cubs. Their names were Angel, Nala, Daisy, Lola, and Frodo.

There were also 3 wolf pups, their names were Sugar, Gizzy, and Bitsy.

At the zoo there was a gift shop.

The zoo keepers name was Joey. The zoo had a dolphin.

The zookeeper wrote a song like this.

Yo Yo what’s up

This is a happy day

Come inside this house

Yo yo yo I am happy today


They had a bunny her name was Snowshoe.

The zoo opened.

A family came.

Their names were Joe, Steph, and Elizabeth.

The family saw a tiger out.

The tiger’s name was Angel.

The zookeeper got his tiger cub.

It was bedtime.

The End.


Resolutions January 1, 2007

Filed under: Faith,Family,Life — Steph @ 5:13 pm

I decided to break down my resolutions for this year just because I’ve referenced them and I made a pretty broad statement. My ultimate resolution for this year is to be healthier and happier all around but that’s of course very open to interpretation and something we all strive toward every year. I’ve actually reflected a lot on what I want in my life this year. So, I am breaking them down categorically. Here goes…

1. My Family

I believe God’s greatest gift to us is our family. Specifically our children and mate. I think in trusting us to raise His children, to care for them, to love them, He is ultimately showing us just how much he loves us and believes in us. I can not in truth think of a greater show of His love than allowing us to love and care for each other. In the essence of honoring His gift of my family I am resolving to be more tolerant, patient, and loving toward my family. I often tend to get angry with Joe for causing more stress when I should be supporting him and appreciating him for the fullness he brings to my life. The same holds true for my kids although I tend to have a lot more patience with them! I am also resolving to keeping our home cleaner and warmer. I want them to be excited to come home and feel this is the most relaxing, loving, place they can be.

2. Organization

This is a big one for me. I’ve been horribly disorganized the past few years. We were always coming and going, throwing things wherever, bills were misplaced, books, papers, clothes, shoes, homework, toys etc… I am spending the next week organizing everything and I am resolving to keep it all organized, picked up, put away, etc…

3. Health

This is a fairly large portion of my resolutions. I am not necessarily going to say I will lose weight but I am sure going to try, we are going to eat healthier, eat out less, etc… I am doing this both to lose the weight I put on with the hormone treatments (50 lbs.) but also because I want to be here when my kids are grown and I want to be able to play with my kids and grandkids and enjoy them and not have to worry about weight related problems with my back, knees, heart, asthma, etc… It’s something I’ve felt strongly about for a few months and we’ve been working on it a little but we resolved to take it more seriously after New Years. It’s a family wide resolution. :o)

I’d also like to quit smoking, I did try to quit before Elizabeth came but so far I’ve not been successful. Being home all of the time I’m finding it hard to stay busy enough to keep my mind off of it and really get it done. I tried Wellbutrin but that didn’t help at all. I am going to talk to my doctor about it again next time I go in!

I want to be more active!! I really want an elliptical machine but it’s out of my budget range right now so I am walking more, working around the house more, and just getting off my butt more often! Once the weather clears I am taking Elizabeth for walks, we have a nice little walking path down the street in our neighborhood.

My hand – I am going to have to go to the Ortho. for my hand. I’ve been putting it off for over a year but it’s worse now than it’s ever been and Aleve isn’t working anymore. I’m dropping things, my middle finger is aching and hard to bend, and now it’s spreading to my elbow and shoulder. I am not sure there’s anything she can do, but we have a somewhat new (in the past 2 years) hand/arm specialist and I’m hoping she’ll have an idea. After 3 surgeries and being told it will just continue to deteriorate I am afraid to seek out another opinion for fear it will be the exact same opinion as the other 3, but I really feel I have to try. My biggest fear is that it will continue to deteriorate at this pace and be un-usable in another 2 years. I have been told “be thankful you have the use of your hand at all” and I am VERY thankful for that, but on the other hand, what good is the use of my hand if it’s so horribly painful all of the time??

We were a lot healthier in 2006 than we were in previous years, Joey has been healthier this year than he’s ever been as have I, so I am hoping we can keep that up!!

4. Finances

What to say here? I am going to try to be a little less frivolous. I don’t spend money on myself, I haven’t in years, I haven’t had a new pair of pants, shoes, a new shirt, etc… (aside from those gifted to me) in well over a year, but I spend money on the kids. I am really hoping to level out our finances and cut out some of the frivolities in 4 months time. I want to pay off the attorney bills and be back on an even keel by April. It’s definitely do-able. I think if we can get those things out of the way we’ll have a lot less stress in our lives. I really hate to owe money and it’s really, really bothering me!

5. My marriage

This is a big one for me. I love Joe more than anything, we’ve been through so much in the past 6 years. Sometimes I take him for granted and I really don’t give him enough credit. I am resolving to be more loving, more understanding, and more at peace with who we both are. I am also resolving to be more thankful for who he is and what he does for this family. I am going to focus less on the negative and more on the positive because I feel I’ve been unfair to him in a lot of ways. We really have a pretty good marriage compared to some but this past year has been a tough one for us and I really want to get past the things that can’t be changed or undone.

6. My house

I have to admit I am not the best housekeeper. I am borderline OCD and I want things perfect ALL of the time. If they aren’t perfect I retreat in to myself and ignore them until they get so out of hand I can’t stand it and it makes me a very not nice person! Being OCD and lazy at the same time is not a good match! I am resolving to keeping my house cleaner and more organized so I feel better about it and don’t feel so out of control and irritable. I have been working on the cleaning and organizing for about 2 days and figure I have about another week to go. Today I didn’t much feel up to doing anything since we got home so late, but tomorrow I have a list a mile long. I know once it’s done I’ll feel better about it but I also know I have to keep up with it. I also want the house cleaner and more comfortable so Joe and the kids feel at peace here, it should be our safe haven, our place to enjoy and a place we can be proud of and when something’s out of place and I do my retreat it ends up being the exact opposite! A lot of it is just sheer lazy on my part, I will walk by something 90 times and let it irritate me, but not stop to pick it up. I am resolving to pick those things up and to just get up and do the things that need done when they need done instead of letting things irritate me and ignoring them! That might not make sense to a lot of you but it makes sense to me and will make sense to those who’ve been to my house and known me a long time! Oh, and I’d be remiss to not mention the laundry! I loathe laundry duty! Seriously, there isn’t a single thing in this world I wouldn’t rather do than sit and fold laundry. It’s so tedious, I sit there thinking of all of the other things I could be doing! I have thought a million times I should just fold it a load at a time when it comes out of the dryer and yet I never, ever follow through! I spend a full day folding laundry and it feels so good to have it done and I’m so at peace and excited but a week later it’s piling up again because I’ve not sat down to fold it! I am truly, truly, going to fold laundry as it comes out of the dryer from now on because I know it will make me feel better if I don’t have to spend a whole day folding every article of clothing and every linen in the house!!!

7. Me

Last but certainly not least is me. As with I’m sure everyone else in the world, I’ve done things I’m not proud of, things I am downright ashamed of. I’ve hurt friends and family both. I always try to do what feels right to me but that’s not always the right thing to do. I have a tendency to speak before I think and to really say things I regret. I am resolving this year (as I have every year for as long as I can remember) to think before I speak, not be so impulsive with my reactions, and really consider what’s worth my energy and what’s not. In general I really want to just be a kinder, less impulsive, less judgmental, quieter, calmer, more gentle person all around. To date I’ve been seriously lacking in these areas.

So, that’s it… Those are my resolutions for this year. I’m not deluded enough to think I’ll accomplish perfection, but I am really striving toward being a happier, healthier, kinder person all around.


Interactive Faith Builders – #3

Filed under: Faith,Life,Meme — Steph @ 4:39 pm

Heather’s question this week is:

What keeps you from believing that God can restore the parts of your life that feel dead or broken? What is the “something more” that God may be calling you to?

Part of the reason I enjoy this meme is that it forces me to reflect upon myself, my life, my decisions, etc… In doing so this week I find this the easiest discussion question for me to open up to yet!

I don’t think I don’t believe God “can not” restore the parts of my life that I feel are dead or broken. Rather I believe He wants ME to restore them myself. I believe He will show me the direction to take but that it is up to me to accept the restorations as He wills them which is not always an easy thing to do. I also believe the path He guides me toward might not be the path I’d had in mind to begin with and may not be what I’d considered the ideal path for me to take but I am resolving to accept the path laid before me. I believe fully that in accepting the path I’m led on rather than turning away from it to forge a path alone, I will have accomplished that “something more” He is calling me to.