Friday, December 26, 2008

Snuggle Bells

The past couple days have been filled with many joyful sounds during our family Christmas celebration. My favorite thus far is the many renditions of "Jingle Bells" that Ethan has been singing around the house. This one, I believe, he calls "Snuggle Bells: A Christmas Musical Medley"

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We also heard a great RockBand performance of "ABC's" with Ethan as the lead singer...(btw, can you tell he has a cold?)

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And, finally, endless hours of holiday music produced many wild living room dance parties. (Warning: The following video contains nudity and may be inappropriate for some viewers)



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Saturday, December 20, 2008

Where has the time gone?

I have to say, I haven't been so good at keeping up with this blog lately.  I know we have been crazy busy this month. We've done so much, yet I still find it difficult to write about anything. Does this qualify as "writer's block" even if I'm not actually a writer? Anyway,thanks to the inspiring blogs of my dear friends, I've decided to just start typing and see what comes out...

I guess I'll start with Thanksgiving. We spent the holiday down here in FL with our friends,  The Gloriosos, who live in our neighborhood. I was excited for the invite, I was worried that it wouldn't feel like Thanksgiving with just the four of us. They have 2 girls who love Ethan and Salla so the kids had a blast and I got to relax and have some adult company (besides my husband of course!) 

That weekend got exciting as my sister, her family, and her in-laws passed through during their move from Baton Rouge, LA to Tallahassee, FL. We had a full house and Ethan and cousin Joey got to have a little slumber party in his bunk beds (the top bunk is officially "Joey's bed"). The next morning we, the Stegmaier clan, left early to begin our funfilled trip to Disney World! I think I was the most excited out of everyone. Unfortunately, the stormy Sunday after Thanksgiving (and the Sunday after a Florida v Florida State game) was not the best day to drive. A trip that was supposed to take 7 hours took almost 10! And the kids didn't sleep a wink (surprise surprise...) Needless to say we were tired when we arrived, but we tried to stay upbeat, we were in the happiest place on earth! Seth's sister flew in from NY to meet us and we all enjoyed a late dinner at Downtown Disney. Monday we spent the entire day at Magic Kingdom. The kids loved the Tea Cups, Dumbo, Small World and all the other classic Fantasy Land rides. 

Ethan was waiting for weeks to ride Big Thunder Mountain railroad, and with the help of Fast Passes, he got to ride it 3 times. What a big boy. He also thoroughly enjoyed Splash Mountain, which has a crazy drop at the end. We decided not to take a mid-day break and see if Salla would sleep in the stroller (pipe dreams!) so she went her second day in a row without a nap. I was doing my best not to obsess about it and we were able to manage her grumpiness late in the day pretty well. It was so great to have Aunt Liane with us, having an extra adult made our lives so much easier! night we ate pizza at the hotel and after the kids went to bed, Liane offered to stay behind while Seth and I went out. We ended up going back to Magic Kingdom to ride some big rides we didn't make it on earlier. We shared cotton candy, rode rides and got to see Cinderella's Castle all lit up with icicles. Like I said, it was SO great to have Aunt Liane with us!! Tuesday we hit up Animal Kingdom. We started off with the "It's Tough to be  a Bug" 3D show which TERRIFIED the kids. We were scrambling out of that theater within 5 mins of the show starting. I felt so bad and just prayed they weren't too scared to try anything else. We found some low key rides, Salla found some goats to pet (she's an animal fanatic) and Ethan got to ride a train (he's a train fanatic). We were doing great until lunchtime when the adults were getting too grumpy and couldn't seem to make a decision on where or when to eat. After a lot of grumbling, we picked Chinese. Salla got to feed some ducks and we all felt a little better. We then headed over the the new roller coaster "Everest" which involves changing tracks, moving backwards, and an encounter with a Yeti. It was AWESOME, but thank God Ethan was too short because I think we would have had to leave the park after that.  Salla finally gave in to a nap, which was great except she fell asleep in my arms and woke up when I put her in the stroller. So I held her on a bench for 45 min while the rest of the clan rode some more rides.By this point, the adults were REALLY grumpy, we thought ice cream might help, but the incompetence behind the counter just made it worse. We skipped the infamouse Lion King and Nemo shows and made our way out of the park, all wondering how we could be so grouchy at the happiest place on earth, and we soon came to the conclusion that 2 park days in a row is too much with little ones.  We recovered, had a nice dinner out and left for our trip home the next morning. It was really nice to be back!

We had about a week to recover from Disney and get some things done before we left on our next road trip to Cincinnati, OH.We stopped in Atlanta for 2 night to stay with my high school friend Kelly and her family. They have a boy and girl the same ages as Ethan and Salla so we knew it would be a great time.The kids played great together, the adults got to play Trivial Pursuit and we ate delicious homemade pizzas. We had a blast and wished we could have spent more time there.From Atlanta, we drove another 8 hours to Cincinnati. In the Smokey Mnts it was snowing a bit so we let the kids out for a couple minutes to catch snowflakes on their tongues. We had a very smooth drive and the kids did GREAT!Cincinnati was great fun. Seth's grandmother and many many Aunts, Uncles and Cousins still live there (his Mom is one of 9 kids!). Everyone got together at the house we were staying at and it was really the first time I've gotten to sit down with that part of his family. Everyone was so warm and welcoming, and I could tell the kids really felt comfortable there. On Sunday, Seth and his brother, sister, and a bunch of cousins went to the Redskins v Bengals game (where Seth proceeded to get so intoxicated that he had to be removed from the stadium before the end of the first half! But that's neither here nor there...).Seth's Aunt Connie and my sister-in-law Katie and I took the kids to an incredible Children's museum that we didn't want to leave. It was so interactive and perfect for toddlers and preschoolers, Ethan has mentioned it everyday since. We drove back home Monday. It took us 12 hours to get from Cincinnati to Pace, FL and it rained ALL THE WAY. I was amazed. We were SOOOOO happy to be home and the kids enjoyed being back in their own space.

Two days later, Seth's parents flew in for Christmas. They have been a treat to have around and I am in shock at how easy going and receptive Salla has been to them. On the way back from the airport, Salla already said "Pap Pap" and "Grandma". She doesn't even say "Daddy" yet!

Friday I took Salla to the doctor because she was getting grumpy, not sleeping well and hold her ear. Sure enough, she has another ear infection. The doctor mentioned tubes as something to consider since she's had 3. Uggh, I don't even want to think about it...

That brings us to today! Salla is feeling better, took a 2 hour nap and slept 12 hours last night (that's like a marathon for her...) We took them to the Zoo tonight for "Zoo Lights". The whole zoo was lit up, there was music and the train was pretty fun in the dark. 

I'm finally feeling like I can catch my breath and just relax as people come to us for Christmas. 

I guess that's it in a (kind long) nutshell. Thanks for reading my posts, inspiring me to write, and for being my friends even through the miles. Happy holidays and have a safe and warm Christmas with the ones you love!!



Friday, November 21, 2008

Head Shoulders Knees and Toes...I think?

We had just spent 10 minutes trying to get Salla to do Heads Shoulders Knees and Toes for the camera. Instead, this is what we got...


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What a nut! But we love him...

Sunday, November 9, 2008

It's been about a year

It's been just about a year since I started this blog. Looking back it was ALL about my kids sleeping habits! I've tried hard not to bring the subject up anymore so as not to seem too obsessive, but seeing as it's been a year, a little sleep ranting couldn't hurt. Here goes...

In general, we are doing well. There is no more night nursing for Salla. Ethan is sleeping well in his big boy bed. Both kids are typically asleep by 7 and sleep 10-12 hours per night (depending on the night and the child!). My issues now stand with early morning wake-ups and nap times. Salla still wakes up before 5:30 or 6 every morning. The last 4 nights she's woken up around 4:15, but I think she's teething or may have an ear infection because Motrin seems to work at that time, and then she falls back asleep until 5:30 or so. Then, you'd think she'd be so tired during the day that she would need a nice long nap. Not this child. Most days I get 1 45-60 min nap. After that, I can't keep her up much later than 6:30 or 7pm and the whole cycle starts over! Is it possible I have a child that just doesn't require as much sleep as all the experts say?? No fair! I wouldn't be quite as worried about her if her disposition was a little better. But she always seems so spooled up and can throw some royal tantrums. I guess I just want to make sure she's getting the rest she really needs, but I am not sure what else I can do besides put her to bed at the appropriate times. What's that saying? You can lead a horse to water but you can't make it drink? That's where I'm at with Salla.

Ethan is doing great. It's me who has issues. He's giving up his naps. And he's 3 1/2 which is a totally normal age for that to occur. I just can't let go! In the past few weeks I have been more accepting of it and not sent him to his room every day to "try for a nap". The good news is, now I have another tool in my pocket when he's acting up! I just say "Oh, Ethan. Mommy thinks you aren't being nice because you are tired. If I think you are too tired, than you are going to have to take a nap today, so you might want to be nicer..."

So that's my update. Not horrible, but not ideal either. I always like to tell myself that there will be a day when I can't get them OUT of bed...

Thursday, October 9, 2008

What the heck are "Icktions"?

Ethan came out of his bedroom this afternoon and out of nowhere says "Mom, I'm scared of the little icktions in my room." The what? He must be saying something else. I spent the next 10 minutes of this conversation trying to figure out what he was really talking about.

Me: "The what? The itches?"
Ethan: "No,not the itches, the icktions."
Me: "The icktions?"
Ethan: "Ya. the icktions"
Me: "Why are you scared of them?"
Ethan (in his deepest voice): "Because they are very bad"
Me: "Why are they bad?"
Ethan: "Because they are bad because they make a scary noise."
Me: "What kind of noise?"
Ethan demonstrates a clicking sound on a toy.
Me: "That's not a scary noise"
Ethan: "Yes, it is. The icktions fly around and make a scary noise and the power goes out."
Me: "The power goes out?"
Ethan: "Ya, the power goes out."
Me: "Can you show them to me?"
I follow Ethan into his room
Me: "Where are the icktions? Show Mommy"
Ethan points to his comforter on his bed.
Ethan: "See? They are right there and they fly up and around on the track"
Ethan draws the track through the air
Ethan: "And they go down down down into the dark hole."
Ethan follows the track under his bed.
I have him explain this to me 2 more times, each with the same story.
Me: "Wow, interesting."
Ethan: "Ya"
Ethan proceeds to leave his room to go play.

And that's all I've heard of the fearsome icktions since. What an imagination...

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Reason enough to get out of Pace, FL (aka Southern AL)

I was driving home tonight from dinner at a friend's house when I saw a sign outside an office that read "Sarah Palin's Glasses Sold Here!". Umm, ya, I don't belong here...

Sunday, September 28, 2008

This one's for Amber...

Ethan was sitting naked (post-bath) on the sofa the other night while I got Salla into bed. When I came into the living room he smiled at me and said "Look Mom, my penis is an airplane!". Made me think of Tate's Taco quote:)

The Proud Wife

I'm sitting here tonight wondering how I feel such mixed emotions about my husband's career. I'm so proud of him for being dedicated, hard working, responsible, and so good at his job. Last week we found out he ranked #2 in the squadron for the fiscal year out of over 50 instructor pilots. That's amazing! I'm so proud...but wait. They rank them based on flight hours. So out of over 50 other guys, he was at work the most? That's not cool! Why couldn't he fall somewhere nicely in the middle and give me a few extra hours a week with him home? So now I'm a little ticked that he's so good at his job! This is supposed to be our "shore" tour. I'm supposed to see him more now than I did in Whidbey. Between him being such a great pilot and such a dedicated student (did I mention he's taking classes for his MBA at UWF too?) I'm feeling short changed. But those qualities that make him so good at his job are the same ones that make him a great husband and a great father and are the reason I married him in the first place. So let me just grit my teeth and say "Good job, honey! I'm so proud of you!" because I truly am...

Friday, September 12, 2008

Why I'm drinking alone tonight...

It figures. My husband left this morning for a cross country to Cincinnati. (For those none-military ladies, a cross country is a voluntary trip where an instructor pilot and student fly out of the area to get hours and practice in other parts of the country and, of course, to have a fun vacation full of great food, fun bars, and lots of beer, or so I hear. Oh, and don't forget SLEEPING IN.) So he left and my kids get sick. I'm talking diarrhea/vomit sick. Salla, was no surprise. I've been changing poopy diapers on the hour for the last 2 days. She's handling it pretty well, except for the ferocious diaper rash which I've resorted to giving her meds for the pain. Ethan seemed great! He was fine at school and didn't nap, as usual, had a snack and played this afternoon. By the end of dinner I was wiping his bottom and, eventually dodging vomit in the garage as I tried to get them into the double stroller for a soothing walk around the block. After what seemed like hours of bathing, diapering, reading, nursing, brushing teeth, etc...both kids are finally in bed. What do I get to do? Go outside and clean up the garage. So, yes, I'm having a beer. I might even have 2...

Saturday, August 30, 2008

A Few of my Favorite Things...

I've decided to put up yet another post that offers no real insight into my life as Mom. This post, however, does shed some light on my life as Leah. Sometimes I forget that I can be me and not just Mommy! Recently I was inspired in the shower, my (almost) daily sanctuary, to let all my girl friends in on what I think are some the best pamper-me products out there. All Must Try's!



1. Schick Slim Twin Razors
I love these because they have this little button on the top when you push it, all the hair and dead skin gets pushed out from under the blade. They last a couple uses longer than most disposable razors and they are cheap!!





2. GlyMed Plus Gentle Facial Wash & Photo-Age
Environmental Protection Gel SPF 15
This facial wash is amazing. My skin feels so clean but not ever tight after washing it. It removes all my makeup and leaves no residue. The lotion is very light weight but my face never feels dry. I have an array of skin issues (sensitive, dry spots, oily spots, break outs!) and I've never had an adverse reaction to it. While on the pricey side, you need much at each use. I reorder about 3 times a year. I order mine online at http://www.ariva.com/glymed.html




3. Kerastase Nutritive Bain Satin 2 Complete Nutrition Shampoo & Nutritive Lait Vital Proteine (conditioner)
All I can say is, this is true daily pampering for your hair. I tried this line out way back in 1999 when I worked at a salon in college. In almost 10 years, I've never found any other product that made my hair look and feel as beautiful (believe me, I've tried!). It's expensive and harder to find (of course you can find it online), but it's a really great way to treat yourself and it will last a few months.



4. Body shop Exfoliating Skin Towel
I was surprised at how well this thing worked! It was an impulse buy one day at the mall with some sort of promotion. The first thing I loved was how easy it is to exfoliate my back! It was like a really really great back scratch (which I Loooooove). Then, I shaved my legs after using it and it was the smoothest shave ever! It really does an amazing job of sloughing off those dead skin cells and leaving soft, smooth skin behind.



5. Dove Sensitive Skin Body wash (soap free!)
I put this on the list, not because it does an exceptional cleansing job and has a fantastic scent, but because it's inexpensive and treats my sensitive skin really well. I still come out feeling clean and refreshed with no irritations!





Thanks for letting me share!

Friday, August 22, 2008

Friday, August 15, 2008

A little dark humor to brighten your day!

Johnson & Johnson Introduces 'Nothing But Tears' Shampoo To Toughen Up Newborns (click to read entire article)

"You'll notice a difference after just one use," said Michelle Baker, head of new product development. "Whether it's your newborn's more hardened appearance, the way he now approaches people with guarded skepticism, or just that look on his face that says, 'Oh wait, maybe life isn't all hugs and kisses and rainbows. Maybe I need to get my fucking act together.'"

-Aug 15 issue of the Onion.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

6 months later...


OK, so I'm not so reliable in the blogging world. I can't believe it's been 6 months since I last updated, but many of you have started your own blogs, which has inspired me to get started again.

Let's play catch up. Ethan is 3 years old now. He's 41 1/2 inches tall and 41 lbs. I can't believe how big he is. He just keeps growing and growing. He's learning so much so fast and I think he will really love preschool once he starts in September. He will be attending school 3 days a week from 9am to 1pm. I'm not sure what Salla and I will do without him, but I'm super excited for him.

Salla is now 14 1/2 months. She is 26lbs and growing just as fast as Ethan did. She's walking (Yay!), practically running to keep up with her brother. She's not sleeping through the night yet (boo!), and still takes 2 (short) naps a day (who needs sleep anyway?) but in general her disposition has calmed down a bit since infancy. Don't get me wrong, she's fiesty, stubborn. and has quite the set of lungs when she's mad, but she seems to be enjoying life more these days.

This summer has been busy for us. Of course, we try to make it to the beach as much as we can. Ethan loves the water, Salla loves to get sandy. We celebrated Salla's first bithday and Ethan's 3rd birthday. Somehow I pulled off 2 great parties with tons of kids. Ethan took swim lessons and did fantastic for his first class experience. It was fun to sit on the side and watch him with the teachers and the other kids. He did great and passed "Level 1". Next we spent 2 weeks in MD/PA/VA in July. It was a looooooong drive up and back(18 hrs and an overnight hotel stay somewhere in the Carolinas), but better than dealing with flying (remind me to post about our trip in May when we managed to miss a flight out of Atlanta while we were waiting in the airport). We got to see lots of loved ones and friends we haven't seen in ages. Overall, the kids did great and everything went off with out a hitch. Since we've been back, I've been trying to keep us low key and back in routine. Ethan and Salla are playing a lot together, though I feel like a referee most of the time, but it's exciting to see them interacting so much more. He does get physical with her a lot, but most of the time she just laughs. I find myself saying this over and over, "If she's crying Ethan, it means she doesn't like it!". Now I just can't wait for the weather to cool off a bit so we can spend more time outside (it's Africa hot here)...

So that's where we are now. Thanks to everyone who's been keeping in touch and sending me their blogs! It feels good to be back:)

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Inspiration...



http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1yq0tMYPDJQ&feature=related

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Favorite Books

We are taking advantage of our public library... Please share your favorites and your kids favorites!

Saturday, January 12, 2008

A Funny Story

I'll begin this tale by explaining that both my husband and I, in the past, allowed Ethan to play in the driver's seat of the mini-van on many occasions. It provided us with ample time to put groceries away, make lunch, or change Salla's diaper etc...while knowing he was perfectly safe and occupied. Sure, most of the time when I would start the car afterwards, the blinker or wipers would turn on, or at worst, the volume would be turned way up on the radio. Never did I imagine the actual damage he could do...

Last Wednesday morning, after a typical trip to Walmart, Ethan asked if he could sit in "Mommy's seat" in the car. I said, "Sure! but only until I get the groceries put away, ok?". After about 10 minutes I finally told him it was time to get out. All seemed fine as usual and we went on with our day. Wednesday afternoon, I got the kids packed up and in the car to run some more errands and, lo and behold, the car won't start. With a dead battery, I was forced to find some other way to entertain the kids at home while maintaining my sanity for the rest of the evening.

That night, after kids were in bed and Seth was home, we jumped the van. I volunteered to take it for a spin to charge it up. The moment I turned the corner of our street, I started hearing something that sounded like loose change in the steering wheel. Crap. I glanced down at the coin tray. Empty. Heh, oops. I chuckled and thought about how I would break the news to Seth that our 2 year old might have used the steering wheel as a piggy bank. As I got on the highway and sped up to 45 mph. bam, the horn starts going nuts. BEEEEEEEEEP BEEP BEEP BEEP BEEP BEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEP BEEP BEEP BEEP BEEP BEEP BEEP BEEEEEP. Past houses, restaurants, churches, gas stations...All I could think was "oh dear God, make it stop!" I didn't know if I should stop or keep going. After I got several not so nice honks in return from fellow drivers I decided to pull into a gas station and call Seth. It stopped. It started again. It stopped again. I opened the door, it started again. People must have though I was on crack. I was thoroughly embarassed. Seth convinced me to drive home and so sweetly, did not laugh at me as he stayed on the phone to make sure I made it back OK. Thankfully, the coin(s) must have moved and the horn settled by the time I got back on the road. Once home, we pulled apart the steering wheel and shook out a dime. I think there must be more in there, but it no longer sounds like a change purse when I turn the wheel. And, Thank God, there has been no more horn incidents (though I'm still slightly paranoid when I start driving!).

So that's my amusing story for the week. And the moral of the story is: Don't underestimate the damage a 2 year old can do left to his own devices in a parked vehicle!