Friday, July 30, 2010

An interesting solution...

Really? REALLY?????

Okay... I couldn't believe what I saw on TV the other day. It's called "The Perfect Fit Button." The commercial shows people literally PUSHING themselves away from the table covered with food and grimacing because, all of a sudden, their PANTS won't close anymore!!!!

So, true to form, our society has a way out for them. Instead of moderation in diet and exercise.... I know!....

Let's move the BUTTON.

(Heavy sigh.....)



Granted, they did offer some practical uses for it, such as kids outgrowing clothes or someone actually losing weight. So why did they headline with expanding waists and "no one will know it's there!"


Sorry if you've ordered one... I guess I just had a moment.


Love,

A Confused Public Health Educator

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Have you made your Totem yet, Juno?

Couldn't resist this one... Since Juno is one of my favorite movies ever and Kevin and I just saw Inception last Friday (a masterpiece!).

You'll want to enlarge it for the full effect:



Have a happy Thursday... and go see Inception if you haven't already!!!!

Nicole
@>->--


Monday, July 26, 2010

Brulee My Sparkler...


So, here's the video from the 4th of July that I really wanted to post. Kevin is a magician with a temperamental computer. :) He convinced the conversion software to start working again, so here it is!

NOTE: No, we do NOT usually use our creme brulee torch when lighting fireworks. But since our lighter was acting up due to local strong breezes, we improvised.



Enjoy!


video


Enjoy your Monday...

Nicole
@>->--


Saturday, July 24, 2010

Dinner and a movie...


Followed by:


= Great Date Night (Yes. That's Five Guys Burgers and Fries).

~Kevin

Thursday, July 22, 2010

"We Are Fam-ah-ly!!!!"


You have to say the title of this post as if you're singing it. "Get up everybody and sing!"

..... Anywhoo. Last weekend we made a 14 hour drive to BEAUTIFUL Logan Canyon, where there stands one of the most dear little cabins in all the world. My family practically grew up there each summer and it holds some of my most favorite memories of all time. Interestingly, I also have a recurring dream that happens about every 7 years that takes place at the cabin.... But I digress! My grandparents have had this cabin for as long as I can remember, and probably way before that. So many of us cousins are within just a few years of each other in age, so when we were little it was a grand ol' time at the cabin. We explored all the brush, creek beds, the river, and the cabin's loft to the full extent. Our imaginations ran wild. And so did my imaginary flying unicorn. BUT I digress!

So last weekend we had a Stephenson Family Reunion, and my dad's whole side of the family was able to come. A miracle considering that on my dad's side there is a baby girl well on her way and my brother in law is studying to take his medical boards in the next few weeks. But not only did he COME, but he took all the pictures for the reunion. Chad, you're amazing. :) It was so good to see everyone. Kevin and I finally got to meet our two newest nephews, Joey and Zachary. And we got to spend some time with our little niece, Savannah, who lives in Florida now. What a treat to see her!

Here are some pix of the good times and the insanity.


Hanging out at the hotel:

Gram, Grandpa, and "the 7 Dwarfs"... I mean, grandchildren!



Meeting Zachary...


Uncle Kevin, Savannah, and Zach



My brother Sean, Beautiful Maren, and Joey!!! We've waited over a year to meet that little guy.



My grandparents live across the street from a cute little elementary school with an awesome little playground. It was quite convenient for us cousins when we were younger! And even though the play equipment has changed many times over the years (thank goodness!) it is still a favorite past time to go play for awhile when we visit.



Zachary and his momma, Jaime :)



... and his daddy, Jakeman!



A quick picture with "Grandma Stephie"


At the cabin.... Oh yes.... THE CABIN.


Here's Miss Riss on the little swing. I LOVE these pictures....


I can't WAIT to see all the pictures from reunion. Priceless memories. I just wanted to share some of my joy with you for now. More later...

Love,
Aunt CoCo
@>->-

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Little Ones


Okay... I'm ready to talk about it.

I know that I've made all these allusions as to something big that went down last Summer and I didn't mean to be so mysterious. But I just wasn't ready to bring it to light. But here it is. Kevin and I attempted In Vitro Fertilization last summer. Twice. And as I "stand" here before you today, I am grateful that we tried. Obviously we were not successful, but I've learned so much about myself, my husband, my family, and my faith.

We spent over 4 weeks total in Chicago while my sweet mother came to Nebraska to watch Noah and Abbie. I think that that was one of the hardest parts of the whole experience. I was separated from my Noah and at a time when emotionally I needed him the most. After 4 decent car trips, 1 airplane ride while carrying on syringes and other notables, over 75 shots, 15 ultrasounds, 20 bloodtests (for me AND Kevin), 2 egg retrieval procedures, and countless hours of waiting for results from the embryology lab... We were blessed with 7 beautiful embryos. I called them "the little ones." Unfortunately, 4 of our little ones were diagnosed with Cystic Fibrosis, so by law they could not transfer them back to me for a chance of pregnancy. But the other 3 were healthy and gave us hope. As we sat in the hotel room for 3 days, waiting for the little ones to get big enough for the big day, I remember that I could feel them, even though they were about a city block away from us. I knew they were there thriving. I knew that they were ours. They were a part of me and a part of Kevin.

The day of the embryo transfer, we learned that 1 of them just stopped growing. So our remaining 2 little ones were put back inside me to hopefully find a home and grow into what we'd always dreamed.

I've had this picture since last June and I wasn't ready to post it. I always love it when someone posts their most recent ultrasound on their blog as their announcement or update on their good news. I think they're SO beautiful. And then I usually have to go eat chocolate, work out, or hit my head against the wall for a while. Sometimes all three and usually not in that order. :) My ultrasounds have never been happy news. They usually involved cysts, pain, or other problems. But never life. But last summer, I finally got the picture that I wanted. Here are our little ones.



They're just a speck of light. Both of them are there and perfect. Kevin and I watched the monitor as they placed them and it was like a little shooting star. I was afraid to move afterward, but we made it back to the hotel and rested until it was time to head home. I can't describe what it felt like, after nine years, to be lying there with Kevin's hands on my tummy and KNOWING that our babies were actually there. We experienced a sense of hope that has escaped us since the first three years of our marriage. The hope that this would be the time, that this would be the month that it would happen. Every month for the first three years, we hoped. And then it was gone for so long. But lying there together, with Kevin talking to them as their daddy, that hope came back and it was so overwhelming and beautiful. I'm so glad that we had those moments. We drove home the next day and I had a blood pregnancy test 12 days later. My due date would have been May 1, 2010.

I don't know why my little ones didn't stay. I just know that they didn't. And this is something that I struggle with daily even now. But when I feel like I'm going crazy, I just have to remind myself that yes... it wasn't a dream. Our little ones had really been there. For awhile. And I love them still.

I learned certain things through this experience.

1. My Heavenly Father loves me.

2. There is NOTHING that Kevin won't do for me and for our happiness.

3. God has given us amazing technology, to be used WISELY.

4. My Heavenly Father does love me. He really does.

5. I am so much stronger than I ever knew. And I can give myself a lot of shots.

6. Struggling with sadness and grief over the babies that never came and knowing that someone is still missing from your family does NOT mean that you aren't GRATEFUL for the beautiful little boy that you do have. They are separate struggles.

7. The creation of life is so beautiful and sacred. And just because it is sometimes done in a petri dish in a lab does NOT mean that it was done without love and without righteous desires.

8. My Heavenly Father LOVES me, and can see what I cannot right now.

9. My parents are selfless, amazing people who give so much.

10. I love Kevin more today than I did when we were married ten years ago. I didn't think that would be possible, but it is.

11. I'm not ready to give up.

12. I love my Heavenly Father back... but I'm not ready to be "on speaking terms" with Him about this yet. I'm getting there.


I think that every moment in our life unintentionally or intentionally has a song that goes with it. And then every time we hear it, it takes us right back. For us, JJ Heller's "Your Hands" always brings us back to our little ones. I don't want to post all the words, but it's so beautiful and so true.

Love much,

Nicole
@>->--



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Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Independent Kid


Hey! Hope you all had an AMAZING 4th of July. We BBQ'd with some awesome friends and the kiddos all played water games while we tried not to get too wet. :) The kids weren't real savvy on the "running" before you land on the Slip 'n Slide, so the dads helped out. See video below!


video


Hey, it works! We gave Abbie some Xanax and left her at home in her safe little kennel to sleep off the holiday spirit. We knew that we'd be setting off fireworks and sparklers, and we just figured that she'd be happier that way. I have some other videos for you, but unfortunately our software that we use to resize them has been having problems. So hopefully we can post those for you soon. Noah was REALLY into the fireworks this year. I think next summer we'll finally start buying the good stuff, especially since it's legal here in 'Braska. Yeah, we'll give it a go. Hopefully you'll see videos of us with our eyebrows still intact next summer!!!

Here are some pix for you. Enjoy!

Mr. Independent!


Hitting the Slip N Slide... I LOVE the "coin slot."



SPARKLERS!!!!!!!!!



Our friends have the most beautiful strawberry-blonde little girl named Daphne. :) What a doll!!! Anyway, during fireworks time, she toddled over to Kevin and stretched out her arms to be picked up and held. Oh, TWIST Kevin's arm! He loves that girl... I think he walked with her for a good 30 minutes or so and then she moved to my lap. Thank you to our friends Tim and Amanda for sharing their little sweetie. She makes us happy just to be there. :)



Here's a video of Noah enjoying some of the those little TNT Poppers. Man I loved those as a kid! Abbie... NOT so much.


video


We saved a few sparklers to do at home after church on Sunday. We'll post some pictures and video, just as soon as our software decides that it's time to work again!

Love,

Queen of the Castle
@>->--

Saturday, July 3, 2010

This is a little girl's world...



It's true... I never really minded the openly biased retail environment until I had A SON. NOW it's all I notice. Whenever I walk into certain stores, it's a world of pink and glitter and hearts and flowers and... oh yes... faux fur! And usually in one corner there are a few items with dinosaurs and trucks and maybe puppies or skateboards silk-screened onto plain-colored tees. Seriously????? Is this the best they can do for HALF of the population?.... and their mothers?

Sometimes I have to ask if they offer anything for boys. For example, I wanted to find Noah a cute little shirt to wear for St. Patrick's Day last year. I went to one of my favorite stores thinking that of course they would deliver. After searching the entire boys section (which is actually really good!) I failed to see anything that resembled a little boy's St. Patrick's Day shirt. So I asked an employee of this fine establishment, and she said that she wasn't sure that they had any for boys that year. She went to check in the back. I stood there waiting and noticed that I was standing next to a three-tiered, four-sided display of little GIRLS' shirts, skirts, sunglasses, shoes, socks and hats with 4 leaf clovers and leprechauns all over them. Seriously. The employee returned with 2 options that they hadn't even bothered to put out on display. Neither were worth my time or money. So I thanked her for trying and knocked over some little green sparkly ballet shoes on my way out of the store.

Don't get me wrong. We, as mothers of boys, have it SOOOOOO much better than our mothers and grandmothers did when they were looking for baby boy clothes. My mom often just made my brother clothes due to expense and lack of selection in the stores. And most of the major childrens' stores do a decent job of at least making half of the store for boys and half for girls. Gymboree and The Children's Place are two of my favorites (BUT shop the sales racks).

But I ran into this situation yet again today. Noah has recently decided that he LOVES flip flops.... the TRUE kind that just have that little plastic piece that slides between the two toes and then you're on your way. He only has one pair, so I thought I would take him to Kohl's and see what they had. What they HAD were displays and displays of little girls' sparkly flip flops and patriotic flip flops and sunny yellow sequined flip flops.

Little boy flip flops seemed to not exist. So I asked an employee.... again. I was told that they were sorry but they didn't seem to carry those in the store. Uh-huh..... They did have some for older boys, but nothing for Noah.

AM I ALONE IN THIS?????????

I resisted the urge to knock over the four-tiered, mechanically turning little girls' flip flop display with its neon signs on my way out of the store. Instead, I counted my blessings that my little boy really is content with his one pair of flip flops for this summer.

Heaven help me if they break. I may have to have my mom MAKE him a pair. :)