16 October 2012

What to Expect When.....the book has gaps....

I knew when I had each one of my children that my life was taking a dramatic change for different. I embraced that different and have tried to be the best mother to my children as I can be. For 10 years now I have never once compared others form of parenting to my own. Sure, I judge at times....(come on we ALL do at some point)...and I am sure others have judged my parental decisions. But, that being said, I have never said "I wish I was more like that mother." I never said this because I have always firmly believed that I was given the perfect children for ME. They aren't perfect and neither am I - but together we can only be perfection. This all sounds like poetry - be patient -  I am getting there....
As a new mother I read the books, I even went to the hospital for a lamaze class when I was pregnant with Mya (I couldn't find the room so I left and never took another class....), I watched "A Baby Story" and "Baby's First Day." I was prepared....then you have the child and aside from how to take a temperature and at what level you should be concerned about I discovered I knew nothing. For the record, 10 years later and on my 3rd child I still call my sisters and best friend who are all nurses to ask medical questions. Here is my Stammen "Top 10 Things to Books Don't Tell You."
10. Your hair will never be clean....yes that is food, spit-up, dirt, grease, crayon, paper, sticky stuff.
9. It will take approximately 3 days to watch a movie you recorded 4 months ago.
8. Standard shower time single: 20 minutes; with child: 5-10 (depending on if you shave both legs).
7. You can sing every Disney song and secretly enjoy it.
6. Helping with homework, fixing dinner, playing Candyland and feeding an infant at the same time is routine - how else would we get it all done?
5. You got promoted? My kid is potty trained....so take that.
4. I can grocery shop in 30 minutes or 3 hours, just depends on the day, my company, and what is waiting at home.
3. You get creative with potty's after #5 is complete, it could be the side of the road, behind a building, or even a McDonald's bag.
2. A child has sat on your lap while you went to the bathroom. Admit it.
1. You love every moment, even when you are crying from pure sleep deprivation.
I want to write more, but I am holding one sleepy boy, typing one handed, telling girl #2 girl (for the 4th time) to get pajamas, listening to girl #1 distract girl #2 with "loving (aka antagonizing) hugs"...time to engage.

27 September 2012

7 Months

We ran a little past our typically 1 month updates due to an increasingly rapid activity pace in the Stammen House. Not a night goes by where there isn't SOMETHING going on that creates a bit more work for us. It certainly makes time go by quickly, which, when you have little kids growing up at home, isn't the optimal situation. Time needs to slow down, Leo is already pulling himself around on the ground - it's most certainly not a crawl or an army crawl, it's a roll and scoot, roll and scoot and pull with the hands method that he has become quite skilled at. Here he is at 7 months, weighing it at 23 pounds (I didn't measure him). He only put on about a pound from 6 months. He is also officially in 12 months clothes, not only are they the perfect size around, but they are the perfect length as well.
7 month little slugger
Mya's soccer team has been playing a great season so far. We have only 1 win, but they are playing at a level we haven't seen in the past. It's so great to see her improve and push herself every single year. All of the girls are looking forward to the Haunted Classic tournament in Beavercreek this fall. Last year we didn't have the best showing, so they are eager at some redemption!
Nora started pre-school this fall and is loving every single second of it. Her teacher tells us that she is great listener and a wonderful helper, she is really enjoying having Nora in her class....wow. I didn't even have a response. For those of you who really know Nora, you can appreciate my shock at such a stunning report, and to those of you who don't think that the report is all that sparkly...you don't know our Nora. She also started soccer this fall and is doing great - if great is running up and down the field smiling at us. It could be worse though, she could be crying and refusing to participate. She really wants to get the ball, but if not, oh well, waving to the sidelines and getting many water breaks is also great fun!

13 August 2012

I want birds IN my cake!

Nora's 3rd birthday was on the 10th and she had some very specific ideas on how she wanted to celebrate her day.

1. She wanted a giant giraffe.
2. She wanted birds in her cake; yes you read that correctly - IN not on her cake.

I try to be a good mother, provide my children with all of the essentials (plus some) in life. They want for nothing, they are fed, clothed and sleep under a roof in comfortable beds. It's my job to see that they have a well-rounded childhood, so when they request something special on their special day, I am going to try and fulfill their wish. But seriously, birds IN a birthday cake. Nora assumes her life is a nursery rhyme and I am here to remind her that no on lives in a fairy tale. That is another one of my job requirements as a parent - keep them grounded.

I did the best I could with the resources I had, I am no Martha Stewart or Cupcake Queen so Nora got a two-layer funfetti cake with a bird on top (plus some flowers and bees to make it sweeter). She loved it! It wasn't exactly what she asked for but it was close and I gave it an honest effort. After all of my hard work (2 days of frosting) I ended up crashing in my hopes of becoming Mother of the Year...I had no candle. Mya turned 3, why didn't I have a #3 candle? Plus I had no single candles. Not a big deal except Nora is already sitting at the table waiting impatiently for her cake. So I improvise and put a 1 and a 2 on her cake, is she 12 is she 21...no she's 1+2. Gosh, epic fail.

Bird on Cake

1+2 = 3
Just so we are clear, she also did not receive a giant giraffe and she didn't even mention it. Instead she got a shiny new Doc McStuffins medical kit from Mom and Dad, and Woody & Jessie (Toy Story) from Mya and Leo. Time for your checkup happens every hour in our house now.

Nora McStuffins
Leo also turned the big 6 months this weekend and he certainly isn't slowing down. The boy is huge and happy. He also hates jar baby food. We've been trying for over a month now to introduce foods to him and he is having none of it. So instead of forcing the issue I just started feeding him when and what we eat...and he loves it! He doesn't eat a lot but he giggles hysterically when he does eat. Not sure why he thinks eating a peach is funny, but he does.

Silly outfit I know...it was a long day
My feet are AWESOME!

05 August 2012

Fort Walton Beach ER

The Stammen Family headed to Fort Walton Beach last Friday night for a little work and play vacation. Joel had to work, so me and the kids went down to play in the ocean for the week.

The plan was simple, leave around 9pm on Friday night, arrive, check in, swim our little hearts out, then relax watching the Olympics until sweet slumber time. It's amazing how good everything looks in theory versus how plans really work out. Neither Joel nor I got in a nap prior to leaving, Mya slept very, very little in the car, Nora was wide awake for all of Ohio and most of the tail end of Alabama and all of Florida (530am). Car madness began to settle in around 6am. At 8am we arrive at our final destination and we are all ready to escape the confines of the car and settle in. But, alas, early check-in is unavailable, it'll be a few hours.

Ok, no big deal, we drive around and get comfortable with our location, go to the grocery store for our non-perishable weekly food supply, get some breakfast...and not quite 2 hours later we are no closer to getting in our room. So we swim...and swim...and swim...and drive Leo around in the AC to get him to sleep...and eat lunch...and shop for perishables....and at 3pm we check in. It's now feeling like the longest day(s) of our lives. Things start to feel normal, but little Leo has to take a hiatus from the heat because he has a rash. By 7pm, it's getting worse and is blotchy on his face, and the pinprick rash is covering him from head to foot. I call our doctor and he tells me that he wants Leo to go to urgent care. Ok....off we go to the Fort Walton Beach Children's ER. Nora falls asleep on the way and is dead weight for half of our ER experience. Leo is diagnosed with an extreme heat rash and given medicine and instructions to stay out of the heat for at least a couple of days. Good thing we are on vacation in Florida.

After what was the worst start to a family vacation imaginable, we ended up having a great week. The girls weren't huge fans of the ocean. Mya hated the salt in her face and Nora was terrified of being swept away into the "big water." We did build some shabby sand castles for a very small amount of time though. Most of time was spent in one of the two pools available to us. Hopefully we'll be able to spend more time outside next year and won't have any ER trips.

18 July 2012

Children with Phones and the Parents who let them

PREFACE: I have no problem with children having cell phones;  I will never tell any parent how to raise thier children; the majority of the children I know who has a cell phone seems to be responsible enough to have one; I am only speaking from my personal experience with 10 year old girls.

"Is my child ready for a phone?" vs "Am I ready, as a parent, ready for my child to have a phone?"

When dropping your child off at another child's house, what is your plan of attach? Regardless of how many times I have dropped Mya off somewhere, I go to the door unless the parent is outside and I can do the "drop-off wave." But she is 10 and I still feel the responsibility to:
  1. Verify that a parent is home
  2. Agree on a pick-up time.
Recent events have taught me that not everyone takes this approach. Not only was a child dropped off for a day at the water park and a sleepover to follow without me ever seeing a parental figure, but she was an hour late. By luck, my babysitter was also late, we hadn't left the house yet.
  1. What would her parent have done if we were already gone?
  2. What if we didn't have a babysitter at our house and no one was there?
The "ifs" are just too great to have never walked your child to the door. Oh - but wait! She had a cell phone! I suppose she could have called her parent to return to the house to get her. Let's explore that for a moment...if they all have phones, why didn't you call ME to tell ME you would be an hour late.  We won't even discuss how only 1 parent of the 6 invited girls actually let me know personally that thier daughter would be coming. Of the other 3 that were here, they let Mya know via iPod.

That was yesterday, this was this morning.

  1. 10:00: Pre-arranged, per invitation pick-up time.
  2. 10:05 - 10:10: All parents have come and gone; except one...yes the same girl.
  3. 10:30: Girl tells me her parent is running late, just talked to her.
  4. 11:00: Girl walks out front door, "someone" was in the driveway to pick her up.
  5. 11:01: Rebeccah eats lunch in anger; then blogs.
If you are going to be late picking up your child, please call an adult, your child is not responsible for you, and come to the door and apologize for being late. I didn't mind having her here for another hour, but what if I had somewhere to go? What if it was a problem?

Be polite. Be courteous. Be thoughtful. Be respectful. Be responsible.

I try to make sure my children are all of those things - they are for the most part (not perfect; but that's ok). If they are learning from other adults that it's ok to NOT be those things, then there is a problem. Adults are in a constant state of complaint these days because children don't have manners or are too attached to technology; but as parents we need to display for them how to socially interact in the correct way. I am not always an ideal role model for my children, I mess up. But I care. 

12 July 2012

5 months old, 4 years of marriage, 3 DeBlois sisters, 2 bulldogs and 1 Port Austin Vacation

5 Months Old

Leo is 5 months old now and a lean 20 pounds. He is the type of infant who is either in a great mood or a terrible mood - not so much in between...As much fun as he can be, he can flip on you and become quite the opposite of fun. With the girls I was very much in a routine, things were a certain way every single day and a slight deviation wasn't the end of the world, but it wasn't highly appreciated by anyone either. This boy of ours doesn't even have what you could say resembles a schedule. It's a constant state of "what's wrong" at every cry. No two days (or hours) are ever quite the same. Our goal for this month is to remedy that...strict schedule from today until we are riding the wave of predictability....wish us luck because this may get intense.


Doing the tripod

4 Years of Marriage

12 July 2012 marks me and Joel's 4th anniversary. It's been a fast 4 years with two additional children, a house, trips, vacations, and much more. We were very blessed to have found each other and look forward to many more years to come. When we were on our honeymoon we decided that every year for our anniversary we would follow the "traditional gifts" for each year. I thought this would encourage us to put some thought into what we gave each other inside of the flowers/tie thing every year. I was not expecting Joel to dominate me on the creativity level of each year, but he has...it's both a thrill and a defeat every year.

1st year (paper): I gave him a book; he gave me a gift card to a spa
2nd year (cotton): I gave him a cool head pillow; he gave me some pretty glorious pajamas
3rd year (leather): I gave him a belt; he gave me a nook with a leather case

Joel: 3 / Rebeccah: 0

So this year I thought I wouldn't have to think too hard since it is Fruit or Flowers. I figured he would send me my favorite flowers or something and I could just get him a "manly" fruit basket. I return home from vacation and he takes me to the backyard to give me my gift early - b/c he didn't want me to see it if I went outside that week. So, he planted a lilac bush....a freakin lilac bush....I LOVE LILACS...When I was growing up we had a lilac tree just outside our door and every morning when I I went outside or the window was open I was assaulted with the smell of lilacs; best memory from that house ever. Joel knew this and planted the bush directly outside the window where we eat all our meals. When it blooms we will eat meals with the smell of lilac wafting into the open window. Quite possibly the best, most thoughtful gift I have ever received. I was on a romantic high until I realized that a mere fruit basket was now the dumbest thing ever. For the next few days I toyed around with numerous ideas...a "Fruit of your Labors" themed gift....but I was behind schedule and completely overwhelmed with how to match the amazing lilacs.

4th year (fruit/flowers): I gave him a beer of the month (fruit infused); he gave me a memory

Joel: 4 / Rebeccah: 0

Planted and ready to bloom in a year or so

3 DeBlois Sisters

Like I mentioned earlier, I went on vacation and was able to spend time with my two sisters the entire week. Whenever I go up to MI I have to run around trying to fit in time to see my family and friends and being able to see these two girls was amazing. Our kids played together longer than they ever get too and we were able to really sit and laugh...loved it.

2 Bulldogs

I also ran into 2 AMAZING bulldogs this past week as well. Leo got some Port Austin baby-sitting love from a friend of my sister and she had the most adorable American bulldogs. This dog is on the top of my dog wish list. It's one part of my vacation that I didn't get enough of; I wish I could have taken both (or even one) of them home with me. Someday we will talk Joel into getting a dog; I wonder if "man's best friend" is a traditional wedding gift?

1 Port Austin Vacation

So I have hinted around about our fantastic vacation and now it is time to explore the week in detail. Joel went to Vegas for the World Series of Poker, so the girls, Leo and I headed to Pure Michigan for a fun-filled week. We stayed at the Blue Spruce Hotel and Lucky Horseshoe in a cozy little room. The days were spent swimming and strolling the lazy town of Port Austin; then heading to Tastee Freeze for a delicious cool ice cream to end the day. 4th of July was almost too much for me. I may have left Huron County 12 years ago, but it will never leave me. Watching the fireworks and the parade took me back to my childhood and all of those wonderful memories with my own sisters and cousins. Watching my kids have that experience was amazing to say the least. Every day we got to see my Mom and Dad; something I only get to do a few times a year and then for only a day or so for a couple hours. We had such a great time, I am already planning our trip back next year - hopefully Joel will be able to join us.

Ready for vacation!

Day 1 was exhausting...

My swimming beauties.

Such a sweetie

Parade preparations

Firework time

Swimming with by bestie Aunt Shannon

Family swim time

Leo's first dip

Relaxin in the float

Ice cream...every day

The mother of all ice creams!

19 June 2012

4 Months of Cute

Leo is now 4 months old and I am madly in love with this month's picture. We had a really hard time getting him to lean back in the chair, he wanted to sit up and just continued to fall over. The girls enjoyed getting in on the action too, but as you can see we can never get a picture where everyone is cooperating. Due to this little problem, I use the majority rules rule, if at least 2/3 of them are somewhat smiling then it's a winner to me!

Here are Leo's 4 month stats: 27 1/4 inches long and 18 pounds 9 ounces (95th% for both).

Memorial Day weekend is almost always spent at lake St. Mary's and this year was no exception. The girls enjoyed fishing with their cousins - many fish were caught (to mom's disgust) and then happily thrown back into the lake. None of the ladies were afraid of the fish flopping around, quite the opposite, these girls were hands on fisher girls getting up close and personal with the lake animals.

Half of the Stammen Girls

Mya and Nora with Mya's big catch

Poultry Days weekend in Versailles is like nothing I have ever seen before as far as hometown festivals go. Everyone is obsessed with chicken...I mean it is "Poultry" days, but I have to be honest, eating this chicken for 4 meals in one weekend is a bit much for me. I can't do it. One, possibly two meals is my max intake. Not to suggest that the chicken is not good, it's OK. Getting out to the beer tent is by far the most anticipated event according to my husband. It's certainly a thought process as to when we go, Friday or Saturday? Who will all be there and when can we get there? Oh, the joy of the reunion with friends from afar. It certainly is a momentous weekend in Versailles. This year the fun and festivities were not lost on me. I came to bat and I swung a bit too hard....let's just say that I owe my mother-in-law apology after apology. She is a wonderfully thoughtful woman and I love her. Following the frolicking on Friday night was an afternoon of carnival rides on Saturday. Mya went off and did Mya things with the older girls and Nora ran from ride to ride with Dad. By the end of the day she was exhausted but overjoyed by the afternoon. When asked if she had fun, she replied "Not really," which is her way of saying yes, but not wanting to admit it.

Grandma Linda with Nolan and Nora

Leo not enjoying the parade

Nora on the Dinosaurs

15 May 2012

3 Months

We are entering infancy and exiting the newborn stage. Leo is the big 3 (months) and we are no longer sleeping through the night again! Hooray for 2 - 3 hours at a time all night again. Yes, Leo, I love you and I like spending time with you, but not at 2am, 4am and again at 6am. Here is just a small sampling of our attempt at a 3 month photo. He wasn't very interested in and then threw up all over himself. Men...
Not Interested in Pictures
Dirty and Angry at the Flash

So close to rolling over....

I wish I would have gotten a better picture of Leo here, but he gets very freaked out by the flash on the camera and my I couldn't get one at all without it. I wanted to compare Nora and Leo with the same pajamas on, but it didn't turn out quite as planned. People are always telling me how much the two look alike and I truly agree...just wish I had better proof. 

Nora 4 1/2 months
Leo 3 months

06 May 2012

iRate for the iPhone

Time for some lashing out. I just returned home from the grocery store where I couldn't  possibly wait to blog until tomorrow. While this event is fresh in my mind I am going to rant and rave about the state of our community.

A gentleman, his wife, his daughter, and granddaughter were in front of me. All three adults had an iPhone. This wasn't disturbing in the slightest, most everyone has one (except for me and Joel) has a smart phone. It wasn't until they paid for their groceries with food stamps that whistles, bells, sirens, flames and grenades starting exploding behind my eyes. Let's do some math here, I hate math, but in this case I am willing to do some nasty...

3 iPhones: $199.99 each = $599.97 total
3 data plans: $30 each = $90 per month = $2160 for 2 year contract
Family Plan: Pretend $100.00 per month = $2400 for 2 year contract

Total 2 year cost: $4560.00
Total monthly cost: $190.00

$190 a month is what they could be saving towards groceries every month instead of using food stamps. I understand times are tough and even the most savvy of consumers are struggling, but when you are struggling and carrying an almost $200 UNNECESSARY bill every month - it's time to trim the fat.

To quote a famous dentist "If you have a cell phone and/or cable tv you should consider yourself rich."

Thank you for your time.

04 May 2012

Mama's New Spin Cycle

Something fantastic has happened in the Stammen House. We have a new washer and dryer! When we moved in 4 years ago we purchased a (very) used washer and dyer from Craigslist. It worked for what we needed at the time, relatively small loads on an infrequent basis. Now with a family of 5 it wasn't holding up too well. The dryer smelled like it was smoking if it was put on High Heat, so we had to run it on Low Heat - which meant running it twice in order to dry half a load - which meant washing a very small load - which doubled my laundry duties. Insane. Now that we have new ones that are glorious I don't know what to do with my spare time...finish other projects...exercise...watch TV...play outside with the kids...post more...the possibilities are endless.

I thought I would take this time to post of Nora-isms as well. She is a funny one and her sayings are getting to be more and more interesting. Here are a few I hope you enjoy.

Me - "I'm going to color the sky blue."
Nora - "That's not a big idea!" (aka a "good idea")

Nora dropping a cracker, sitting on Leo's hand, running into the wall, putting shoe on wrong foot, "That's ok."

Me - "This piece goes here." (puzzles)
Nora - "Are you kidding me?"

On talking about Princesses, referred to as "Princeaprincess".
Mary (aka Ariel)
Cinderbella (aka Cinderella)
Rapnoozle (aka Rapunzel)

After asking Nora 4 times to do anything where she has said no the 3 prior times, "Fiiiine..."

17 April 2012

OH MY..he is HUGE!

Leo had his 2 month appointment today and he was very well behaved throughout the checkup, smiling and cooing for the nurse and Dr. Amy...that is until he had his shots, then he cried like nothing I have ever heard before. It actually brought tears to my eyes (hard thing to do) and I couldn't wait to scoop him up into my arms. After he was measured and weighed we all had a little laugh at his expense...the boy is heavy! Anyone who holds him says they can't believe how heavy he is, well believe it, he never misses a meal. Luckily we aren't going every 2 hours at night anymore though, we get anywhere from 4 - 6 hours between feedings overnight. But during the day he likes his food.

Here are my little man's stats:     24 inches (21 1/4 inches at birth) 80th percentile
                                                    14lbs. 6.7oz. (7 lbs. 12oz. at birth) 95th percentile

Looking at our friends blog, their little girl was 14lbs at six months and is a good 3 inches longer! At this rate I'll have a baby like Miranda Kerr (yes Victoria's Secret model who was on Ellen sometime ago)...her 15 month old son weighed 35lbs! I can't say I am upset about Leo's little rolls though, the one that folds over his wrist is by far my favorite, or the one that folds over his thumb - really anything hand related. He wins for the biggest of my children. He's solid....

I'm cute and I know it...no, I don't work out...


13 April 2012

2 Months (+30 years)

Here we go...I am now 30 years old. It doesn't feel real, how did I get here? I can't say I am upset about this milestone, cuz I ain't. It's a different sort of feeling to say I am no longer a 20-something, I am 30 (so very different from IN my 30s though...). I would like to believe that I have accomplished some stuff. For my big dirty thirty, my lovely husband brought home a delicious Dutch Apple pie and a ring with 3 jewels, a ruby for Mya's July 21st birthday, a peridot for Nora's August 10th birthday and an amethyst for Leo's February 12th birthday. I love it!

My little Leo celebrated his 2 months on my 30th and he, sadly, was not the greatest child that day. He cried most of the day away with what appeared to be a bellyache (meaning once again ate something he didn't like, he's a picky one!). But he did sleep for 6 hours at night, so that was sweet of him. It's amazing how much he has grown in the past month. He used to be my little petite boy and now he's a load. I love the rolls on his wrists and how he can create a double chin almost constantly. Both of his sisters were pudgy as well and now Mya is all limbs, so perhaps they need something a little extra in order to stretch.

2 months chillin

Nora trying to steal the moment
Nora has been doing very well potty training. She only wears a pull-up over night and that's going to end soon. Lately though she has is very involved with her poop. When the toilet is flushed she is very polite and waves to her poop saying "Bu-bye poop and pee!" There are moments when I have no words for the things she does. Nora and Mya have taken to wrestling quite a bit lately since Mya is on Spring Break. They are absolutely hilarious to watch, Mya trying to be gentle and Nora just straight punching, kicking, jumping, and pushing Mya. One of these days we will record it because there is nothing like it. Nora is half of Mya's size and perhaps twice as ferocious....not perhaps, Nora could be a cage fighter someday, the girl is built like a linebacker and is just as strong.

12 March 2012

Happy 1 Month

Our little Leo is one month old today. He is certainly the most high-maintenance of all of my children so far....weird because I have to two older girls. His sleeping habits are not conducive to making a mom happy and he prefers to lay in my arms and walk fast rather than sit and cuddle. Our schedule is not anywhere near where I would like it to be by now and I can't see it improving anytime soon. We go to bed around 10, and then proceed to get up at 12, 3, and 6 - and stay up for at least an hour every single time. So really I sleep for 2 hours, get up for one hour, sleep for 2 hours and get up for another hour. By 7 am I am ready to fall asleep walking. The only thing that makes this situation ok is that he isn't crying or fussy (usually) when we are up, he is just staring at me. One thing we have learned though is that he likes noise, he will fall asleep to the sound of the vacuum and loves to listen to anyone sing. It's been a short month...hopefully it slows down.

Someday he'll fit in Dad's chair.
In other news, on Saturday Mya had to go to the soccer fields to mark out the fields in preparation for the soccer season. An hour after Joel and Mya left they returned and Mya was in tears. Joel says to me "She has pepper spray in her eyes." Ok....I keep pepper spray in the stroller during my walks and the stroller happened to be in the back of the car. She somehow touched it and then touched her eyes and then it was in her eyes (thankfully she didn't spray it in her eyes). How it leaked I have no idea since I have never even unlocked the cover, but it did. For future reference, applying milk to the eyes is the best remedy. Water didn't seem to help at all. Thankfully it didn't take long for the pain to go away, but now I know it would work against any attacker...For those of you who know Miss Mya, she has a low (very) tolerance for pain and asked Joel to take her to the nearest hospital on the way home because she was convinced she would be blind.

On Sunday we all headed to the Oregon District for the Final Four Festival. We didn't know what we were getting into, but it turned out to be a great afternoon adventure. Mya was a little too old to enjoy some of the games, but she did a vertical jumping test and scored an Air Force lighted key chain. Nora on the other hand had to stop at every single booth and try every single game. She threw bean bags into a board, threw tennis balls into a laundry basket (for suckers...we did this about 5 times), walked onto the Air Force recruiters platform (just because it was there), threw footballs through a net, and "shot" an M9. That last one was my favorite. Some of the kids were very nervous and most didn't want to hold the gun, not our Nora. She wouldn't leave the table without participating.

Leo's First Outing..no that cotton candy wasn't his

Mya and Nora

Nora, sucker, and M9

Mya's vertical jump, highest for a (9 year old) girl that day

06 March 2012

Poop in a Bag

Tonight Mya had her first outdoor soccer practice and Joel had a Dayton Flyers game to go to, so it was my first time managing all 3 children outside of our house at the same time. But it was supposed to be a simple thing.

1. Drop Mya off at practice at 5:30.
2. Pick up Nora from daycare.
3. Grab some dinner for Nora to eat in the car during practice.
4. Leave practice at 6:30.

Sounds so simple, I assured Joel that it was no problem, go to the game - we're fine - seriously. Steps 1 - 3 were carried out flawlessly. I got Nora some McDonald's nuggets and we sat watching Mya practice. At around 6:15 Leo started crying (screaming) and I had to get him out of the carseat and feed him. While I am nursing him in the front seat of our car, Nora tells me she has to poop. Great, the bathrooms at the fields haven't been opened yet. What is a mother to do? Improvise....We grab the McDonalds bag and while Nora squats over it I have my one free arm keeping her up. While I am one-handed wiping Nora, Leo decides it's time to start gagging and throws up everywhere...I forgot to mention he was diagnosed with acid reflux today...and now my shirt, my pants, the seat and Leo are covered in throw up. The car not only smells like poop, but throw up. To top the whole thing off, the trash cans aren't set out yet either, poopy McDonalds bag sits outside of the car for the time being.

I get Nora clean and then clean up Leo and myself. After we do this, Nora says she has to pee. Luckily I have a pull-up...yes I just now realized that daycare returned them to us because Nora is fully potty trained. So I make her take her clothes off and put on the pull-up. There is more poop in her underwear and on her pants so she is now pantsless running around the car, not happy because she has to pee in the pull-up. It's now 6:35 and Mya's coach has them starting to scrimmage. Awesome. For the next 10 minutes I fight with Nora, talking her into peeing in the pull-up, and trying to keep Leo happy because apparently his reflux is bothering him and he's very sad. Mya gets in the car at 6:48 and immediately says "Nora did you poop?"

Disaster night. 

02 March 2012

A Genius? Not so much...

Nora and I picked up Subway on our way home from the grocery store today and she picked out Cheetos to go with her sandwich. As we were sitting down eating, she pulled a Cheeto out that was "Y" shaped and said "Look, a Y!" Then she bit off the two forks on the Y and said "Now it's a 1." My heart swelled with pride because these nuggets of intelligence aren't common when it comes to our Nora - she could be the funniest person I know but we normally leave the brains to Mya. I couldn't help but be proud that all the time we work on the alphabet and her numbers was working. She can do her ABCs and count to 16 but to think she was starting to recognize them was a happy moment for me. As I was cleaning up our lunch and getting ready to change Leo, Nora exclaimed that she had to go potty. So up the stairs we went and as she sat down to do her business she very seriously told me "I tell Mommy when I have to go potty because I'm a big boy." Proud bubble popped by the elusive gender puzzle. We love you Nora....and we're very happy that you are so cute.

28 February 2012

He's Here!

Well Leo Jerrold made his appearance on 12 February 2012 at 1:18pm, he was 7lbs 14oz and 21 1/4 inches long. He is the perfect little person to round out our family and we couldn't be happier to have him with us. The girls are in awe of him, Mya loves to cuddle him and Nora likes giving out kisses. We were kind of worried Nora would be jealous, but she has only shown some tears when Dad is holding Leo - Daddy's little girl does not like that at all. Luckily for her, Leo is a Mama's boy and spends little time in Dad's arms right now.

Nora continues to crack us up. The girl has a never ending vocabulary and imagination. Yesterday she was eating lunch and as usually kept distracting herself by making trains out of her food or getting up, or anything really. Every time she got off task I would say "Nora" and she would look at me and get back to eating. After 45 minutes of this I said "Nora" and she replies "Don't yell at me...", then finishes her food and sits until I tell her she can be done, to which to says "I was just waiting." That girl is a constant mystery to me.

02 February 2012

Finally February

I have been eagerly waiting for February to be here!. Joel loves when I am pregnant, and he is a huge help around the house and with the girls. Mya is excited about the arrival of this baby (as long as it's not as annoying as Nora - her words), and Nora understands that a baby will be here soon. We are all ready to add another person to our world. No one more than me though.....

For those of you who don't know this story, I know what we are having and no one else does. When I went in for my ultrasound the technician shared the sex of our child with me without asking me if I wanted to know and I had no moment to tell her we didn't want to know before she spilled it. So luckily Joel wasn't there because he really wanted this to be a surprise. I am very good at keeping secrets so I can say I haven't spilled it yet and although Joel and Mya are constantly guessing they haven't gotten an "accident" response out of me. Joel thinks we are having another girl, Mya goes back and forth, and Nora is convinced it's a boy. She only thinks this because her friend at daycare has a little brother so she just assumes she will too. It's kind of exciting to have a little secret just for myself and look foward to when everyone can share it with me. We do have our names all picked out and the room is cleaned and ready to go so anytime this kid wants to come we are more than ready.

39 weeks with Mya
Lately I looked through Mya's and Nora's baby books just for a look back at memories and seeing myself pregnant with Mya was shocking. Granted I was 20 when she was born, but it almost seems unfair to look at it and then look in the mirror. (Yes, I am wearing a bandana).

This last week I have started giving the girls and Joel a task to do every evening. (Why I just started this I have no idea...) It has been fantastic! I could take advantage of an aching back and the threat of high blood pressure for a very long time.

Hopefully this will be my last post pre-baby....

23 January 2012

Teaching My Husband to Iron

I have been in the military for almost 12 years and I used to iron my uniforms every other day because I was a poor Airman who couldn't afford sending them to the dry cleaners. As I put on more stripes I marinated in the luxury of the dry cleaners, I drop them off, pick them up 2 days later and have amazingly starched and ironed uniforms that crinkle when I put them on. Even when I was in Kuwait I would send them out to be heavily starched and they were fantastic. Now that I only put on my uniform 24 days out of the year I once again iron them - even though our new uniforms are "wrinkle free" I still enjoy a crisp crease in my stripes. Let me say that I HATE IRONING. I HATE IT. I spent enough years doing it almost daily and it became the most dreaded chore ever.

Now that I am a stay at home mom and wife I do housework every day. I like it because I like things to be clean, organized and in it's place. Of course there are some things I don't like doing, such as emptying the dishwasher, folding fitted sheets, scraping off baked on foods, but I do them because I like them done a certain way. But I do not care to iron. Joel has to wear nice shirts to work every single day and every few weeks he asks me to iron...then he asks a couple days after that...and a couple more days after that. When I finally get around to it, I'll do maybe 3 or 4 shirts and then I need a break...for another few weeks. I know he gets frustrated because really I do know HOW to iron, so there is no reason I shouldn't.

Just this last time, I told Joel that he needs to learn to iron because I can't do it anymore. I will fold underwear, hang up pants, wipe up hair shavings from the sink, but I don't want to iron. So I am going to teach him how to iron...maybe tonight since he has about 10 shirts that need to be done. Who can really tell how this will go? I am not sure it will even work, but I am going to be optimistic going into it. Really I am. True, he as never ironed and true, he only just figured out how to make tacos, and true, he still asks me how long to warm something up in the microwave - but let's still give this a try. We may be down 10 shirts or a marriage by tomorrow morning - but honestly - if it gets me out of ironing ever again, I will take that chance. 

18 January 2012

My Goodness It's Been A Long Time

I am blogging again and I am going to try and do this once a week (again) but I'm so terrible at committments that it's kind of silly to make pie crust promises to myself. Things are getting out of control in the Stammen house. Baby #3 will be here in the next 4 weeks(ish) and we couldn't  be more excited! Mya is really looking forward to this baby and is hoping it will be much less annoying than Nora (her words). Nora loves babies, we just hope she loves this baby. Anyone who knows me understands that I organize the crap out of everything I do. Nothing is as easy as 1 - 2 - 3, there is 1a, 1b, and so on. So preparing for this baby I have made 10 frozen meals, stocked up on every single item that is non-perishable, packed the baby bag already, perged all unnecessary items from virtually every single room in the house, and have placed myself and the family on a strict cleaning and project schedule. It's exhausting, but as I keep telling Joel...you will thank me later when you don't have to cook meals or go to the grocery store and get a full cart of food. He makes fun of my -problem- but I know he secretly appreciates it....

This will be the second child I will have with the same doctor. Mya was born in South Carolina. I actually switched doctors during my preganancy with Nora because I had to go in for something and couldn't see my usual doctor. Typically I waited at least 45 minutes after my scheduled appointment to see her, but with this other guy I saw him at my scheduled time and was in and out of the office in 30 minutes total. So I immediately started scheduling with him. He is a very interesting person to me. Joel and I call him Drupey because he sounds like the Dog from the Hanna Barbara cartoons. A very slow drawl even though he is from Wisconsin. He never seems to be trying to be funny, but he cracks me up every time I talk to him.

Last appointment I watched 3 sisters filling out a new OB patient form, well the oldest sister was filling it out for her younger sister, who I think was in high school. It was humorous to me because none of them knew how to spell pre-natal vitamins and the girl had no idea how many days she went between periods (luckily she did know they were every month). I had an unltrasound and then when I came back out to the waiting room to wait for my appointment with my doctor I had my coat off. All 3 of them got big eyed as they watched my 40lb. belly walk in front of them. I actually laughed out loud at the reaction. They then started saying things like "that's so big" "whoa" and my favorite "you won't be that big"....then they commented on every other mother that walked in. Oh, she'll get hers...she will.

25 January 2011

GWE, Christmas & NYE 2010

So behind on blogging yet again...I'm going to skip right past November and talk about crazy December.

The "Greatest Weekend Ever (GWE)" crew drove to Buffalo, NY this year for our 5th annual GWE. It was very wet and very cold, snow pants and parkas were the clothing of choice that day. I thought since it was our 5th anniversary I would share pictures from past years. We didn't take a group picture from GWE III: Washington D.C. for some reason, but everything else is here. 

GWE 5: Buffalo, NY

GWE 4: Detroit, MI

GWE 2: St. Louis, MO

GWE 1: Atlanta, GA

The girls were thrilled to see Santa this year at the Stammen Christmas. Nora was a bit hesitant of him, but she was really excited to get a gift from him. All the kids got a Washington Nationals t-shirt and hat that they all proudly displayed together. Thank you Craig for thinking of the kids - they loved it!

Nora hated wearing the hat and Nolan is missing...
Michigan Christmas was a lot of fun as always. It's great to spend time with my sisters b/c we don't see each other very often. We typically get very silly and annoy the guys, but that is what sisters do. Shannon and I couldn't pull it together enough to beat Joel and Brian in euchre, but we really tried to focus as well as we could. (Digress...moving on).
Dad & The Girls

Mya & Scrabble Flash (awesome)

Nora's new laptop - she absolutely can't get enough of this one!

 We celebrated at our house this year a few days early before we left for Michigan. Nora got Mya an Our Generation Doll - Eva and Mya got Nora the Dance Star Mickey. Both were a big hit, but Nora is still kind of afraid to turn him on herself. When we got home from Michigan the girls had a Santa gift too. They were springtime gifts this year, so we can't enjoy them now - hopefully Spring will come early this year. Mya is all ready to practice her goal making skills with a new soccer net, and Nora has a shiny new wagon to go for walks in. They both can also enjoy a new swing set this Spring. Our old one came with our house and it's falling apart - no joke. So Santa decided it was time for a new one - as soon as they go back on sale, he'll be delivering it to the house!

Finally, NYE. We held the 2nd Annual Gameapalooza at our house again. It was everything we wanted it to be and more. The first game of the night was Fact or Crap, I may need to play that again - loved it! The second game was a series of 3 Minute-to-Win-it games. 1) Get 6 ping-pong balls out of a Kleenex box attached to a belt worn around your waist. The amount of moving and shaking going on was quite amazing. I wish we would have gotten out the video camera - but no one thought about that until after the fact.
2) Moving M&Ms from the table to a cup using a straw.
3) Moving a cookie from your forehead to your mouth using nothing but your face. Good times.
The last game was Family Feud done in a crazy tournament/bracket/teams type of way. By the end of the nigh the Stammen's maintained control of the winners' trophy. It's kind of a tradition.

The most amazing part of the night however, was the work the children did. We had a total of 22 people, including 8 children. Those 8 children did something I can't even be angry about. They turned the toy room into a room that could have been part of a tornado disaster. It was incredible. The day before the party Nora and I cleaned the entire room, making sure all small objects were up high and that everything was in its place. We of course had no intention of believing the room would remain in such a state, but it's a nice presentation. The next day we cleaned it again back to it's original state.

As you can see, the kids all worked together and did a great job making this room into what it became.They truly did their best work here. One thing of note - with an entire table and bar full of food - there was zero presence of food, wrappers, plates, napkins, or utensils found; I give credit to the parents on this one.