Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Cheer Camp

I've tried to upload the videos from the girls' cheer camp upteenth times, and the videos just refuse to sync with my blog. So, for now, I've decided that it is time to skip the videos, that I should tell you a blurb about the cheer camp, and that blog life should move on. I'm going to do that now.

The girls loved cheer camp last month. They got to practice with real high school cheerleaders, and then got to perform at a real high school basketball game. They looked so cute mimicking their high school heroes, and I loved watching them. My favorite part of the whole cheer camp was at the end of every cheer when they are supposed to yell, and kick like a cheer leader. Watching a first grader (Lydia) and second grader (Julia) uncoordinatedly kick and yell like mini cheerleaders makes said first and second graders look like babies again. So cute. Because the girls were on opposite sides of the gym, and too far away for a good picture, Just got a bunch of weird pictures looking like this:
 I don't have any pictures of Lydia like this one of Julia. I just have a great up close video. I wish I could show it to you. Maybe sometime.

Anyway, I wish I could say we were less busy these days, but I guess that's not the way our Stewart family chooses to live. We jump from one event to the next. Last week, Dave and I spent the week in Houston, while my girls stayed with my sister at her house in Wyoming. Dave had a training, and I decided to help plan an event for the brokerage I used to work at. Driving to and from Wyoming, flying out of the Denver airport, visiting family and as many friends as possible, and working while in Houston made for a whirlwind of a week.

Saige was potty trained before our trip, but decided while we were gone that going to the bathroom in her diaper is much more convenient. So, re-training my toddler this week has been exciting to say the least. It's a battle of the wills at times.

Julia and Lydia are looking forward to summer, and with today's temperatures, so am I! They are ready to be out of school, and I am ready for my face not to hurt when my skin collides with North Dakota wind.

Dave is planning to hold down our fort this weekend while I go on a women's retreat with the ladies from our church. I believe he has a video game night with friends tentatively planned. (This reminds me of a movie I watched recently: "A Mom's Night Out". I'm sure it won't turn out like the movie did though.) And, I hope he has a good time with our girlies and his friends.

Anyway, I plan to get blogs posted more regularly, so please come back. Thanks for reading! -Amber

Saturday, February 7, 2015

Yesterday

Yesterday was one of the craziest days we've had in a while. The girls had a field trip in Bismarck at a little ski hill there. My friend, Amy, and I followed the bus of kids from Dickinson to Bismarck, and enjoyed visiting while our kids watched a movie. I wouldn't have made it to Bismarck without her. (Thank you Jesus for friends.)

Once we got to the ski lodge, I paid for the girls to ski, rented some skis for them, got them to the bunny hill, helped them get on the bunny hill lift, and watched and helped them get down the hill a few times. My friend, Amy, watched her little kids and Saige while I helped Julia and Lydia, and her older boys get comfortable skiing for the first time. One of the other moms at the girls' school let me know that a ski instructor would be coming shortly to help our kids learn more about skiing. (And I kept thinking...MAN! Field trips are in North Dakota are really different than the field trips my girls went on in Houston. Really different.)
Ski Julia
 I didn't see the teen behind Julia until now. Photo bombed!

Sweet Lydia Skier

Stick your booty out and GO! Yay!

Up the Bunny Hill
After the bigger kids were well situated, Amy and I went back to the lodge and started to give our littles some lunch. After a short while, I went to check on my girls. And as I was finishing up with checking on my bigger girls, I saw Amy coming towards me with the smaller kids. Saige was crying, and I assumed she was just missing her mama. But, then Amy told me that the dog that was running around at the lodge had nipped my poor Saige on the nose.

My Poor Sad Saige
(Did you notice she's still wearing pajamas? Yes, I was still getting around to getting her dressed.)

So, after drying Saige's tears, and asking the ladies at the lodge to put the dog up, Amy and I sat with our kids and visited. Then, we lost Saige. While we were doing our thing, she decided to wander off and lay on her blankets in the snack bar of the floor. She often lays on her blankets on the floor at home, but she also usually answers me when I call her name. I was looking everywhere for her, inside the lodge and out, calling for her and trying to remain calm. God answered my prayers, and I found that girl. Whew. Another bullet dodged.

Unfortunately, there were a few more bullets to go for the day. After Julia and Lydia ate a little bit of lunch, they were ready to take on the big hill. (There are only two hills to ski on at this little slope.) So, Amy's son, Connor, and Lydia headed to the top of the hill. We waited for quite a long time, and then saw Connor come down the slope. But still no Lydia. Julia went up soon after, and then Connor went up again. After another long wait, Connor came back down the hill. We still had no Julia or Lydia. I asked several people about where Julia and Lydia were, and everyone continued to tell me that Julia and Lydia were fine, that they weren't crying and they should be down the mountain/hill soon. Finally, finally, finally, I saw Julia come down, and I was relieved. But then I remembered Lydia was still up there. Were was she? What was she doing? About two minutes later, just as I was about to alert ski patrol, one of the older boys in our group came snowboarding down the hill holding Lydia in his arms. I was so excited!!!! Thank you!!! (I made this guy cookies today to be delivered tomorrow as a thank you. He really saved us.) Evidently, Lydia was up at the top of the hill. And everyone who told me they saw Lydia (including Julia), failed to mention that she hadn't started skiing down the hill yet. She was just standing at the top looking down for probably a good 30 minutes. Don't kids know that moms worry?

Lydia was sent back to the bunny hill to ski. Julia was too, but she didn't end up staying there for long. She decided to take on the big hill again, and went up and down several times. She did great! And Lydia did great on the bunny hill. I checked on them periodically while trying to keep track of our ever-defiant toddler. I was really ready for a nap. And a burger.

Just about the time we were wrapping up to go home for the day, one of the teachers at our school told me that Lydia had been hurt. So, I asked Amy to watch Saige and I dashed out to check on my Lyd. She was cold and shaking and her leg hurt. And the ski medic was assisting her and telling me they needed to check her leg for a hairline fracture right above her ski boot. Good grief. That wasn't fun to hear. I could tell that Lydia was being really brave. But I could also sense that she was going to be alright. God gave me some great peace. I think I may have come unglued otherwise.

As I sat on the snow, allowing a cold wet to seep into my jeans, I stroked Lydia and talked to her about how she got hurt until the other ski medics came and carried her off the bunny hill. (She hurt herself on the lift. As she was being pulled up, one foot went one way, and the other leg went the other way. Her little injury occurred when her right leg twisted and her ski pulled her right root in the wrong direction.)
Buckled Up and Ready to Ride
 Doesn't this picture make everything look so serious? Like her leg is really busted up?

Chillin' in the Medics Office

Her Temporary Cast

The ski medics got a lot of information from me and instructed me to take Lydia right to the E.R. But, it was already 5 pm and I knew that trying to find the E.R. in Bismarck, and then waiting to be seen would leave us in Bismarck over night. I could tell that if she was really hurt, that she would be crying and showing a lot more signs of pain. Sure her leg was little hurt, but I didn't think it was rush to the E.R. hurt. I could tell.

So, I left Lydia with the medics for a bit, and Amy and I rounded up our kids and their gear and got in the van. We planned to pull around to pick Lydia up at the back of the medics office. And we did. But first, we got stuck on the side of the mountain. Thankfully Amy was with me to help me navigate the icy/slushy roads. And thankfully I didn't panic. And thankfully we didn't slide down the hill. And thankfully we got unstuck, and got back to where Lydia was. We loaded her up, started a DVD in the mini and drove straight to a drive thru. Thankfully, Saige and Amy's younger kids instantly fell asleep as we drove. Thankfully, they all three slept through the drive thru experience, and thru me filling up my gas tank. (I have a lot to be thankful for.)

But, I was most thankful that we got back to Dickinson in one peice. We had a few bumps and bruises, but we survived. And I was...thankful. I realized after we got out of the van that Saige peed herself and her car seat while sleeping in the car, but oh well. We lived.

Lydia's leg is totally fine. We carried her around last night and she had to miss gymnastics practice, but she was up and walking around this morning. She has no lingering pain. Her leg isn't swollen, and she even went to cheer camp this evening. (More on cheer camp, more back-up blogging and new re-purposing tips are to come.) Please stay tuned and thanks for coming by!!! -Amber


Tuesday, January 20, 2015

The Nutcracker (Back-up Blogging)

Dave found some inexpensive Nutcracker tickets last month, and we decided that driving to Bismarck and seeing the performance was the right thing to do! And it ended up being a lot of fun. We kept the whole thing a secret from our girls so that we could surprise them. Unfortunately the performance was a little long for Saige because it was during her nap time. When Dave took her to the back, though, she twirled and danced and tried to be just like the ballerinas on stage.

We Brought this Nutcracker Home
 I remember going to see "The Nutcracker" as a high school student. But, I really didn't understand what it was about and I think I even fell asleep during the performance. (I was a sleep-deprived teenager. It's easier staying awake during a performance as a sleep-deprived mom because you have children crawling all over you.) However, at this performance, each act was explained in the handbook, so before the acts, Julia and Lydia and I read about what was coming up. It helped me understand the whole story which was a good thing!


The Beautiful Performance Hall
 The majority of the dancers in the performance we attended seemed to be high school age or younger. So, it kind of seemed like we were watching the equivalent of a high school play, but I think it helped the girls identify with the characters even more than if we had watched adults perform. The kids that played sheep and other small rolls were adorable.
A Daddy and His Girl
 Of course, after the performance, all three girls exclaimed their desires to grow up to be ballerinas...
Intermission
The girls loved getting dressed up in Christmas clothes, and so did I. I am hoping we can go again. Maybe every other year. :)

Blessings, and thanks for baring with me as I try to catch up! -Amber

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Julia's Birthday (Back-up Blogging)

Julia had a wonderful 8th birthday. We celebrated on the day of her birthday (that takes place the beginning of December), and then we celebrated with a little pajama party over the weekend. On her actual birthday, we opened presents had a Julia requested dinner of mac n cheese with hot dogs and salad, and then she opened presents from grandparents and her loving and devoted parents (me and her dad). We also allowed her to have breakfast in bed.



Here is a video of her and her "big" gift:

Lulu has already been living with us for a few days now. She loves our girls, and the girls love her. I think I am really liking this "family gift" thing we started with Lydia's birthday last summer. I wonder what the family can get for Saige's birthday? Fabulous pots and pans....a new knife set, a macbook....

Any way, back to Julia's birthday....her party was a lot of fun. She had some friends over, and we had a pajama party. (Not a slumber party though...thank goodness.) The kiddos came, watched a movie in their sleeping bags and pajamas in our basement, then they had popcorn, snacks, cake and ice cream, and then they all went and slept in their own beds! I got to visit with the moms upstairs while drinking decaf, and the kids were sufficiently preoccupied in front of Rio. As far as kids parties go, this worked out pretty spectacularly. 

Julia and her cake
 I can NOT even believe my girl is 8.

Always A Funny Face Shot

Goodies...

My Kid Covered Basement
We had tons of fun celebrating my eldest last month. I love her so much...

---Julia, if you ever happen to come upon this blog years from now, please know that I love you more every single day, and I always will. You amaze me. I am so thankful God gave you to me. Love you to the moon and back a thousand times, Mom.---

Thanks for coming by, Amber

Monday, January 5, 2015

Love My Lyd

Dave took an unprompted video of Lydia last month. I love it! 


Thanks for stopping in. -Amber

Post Christmas Back-up Blogging

Well, the dust from traveling and celebrating the wonderful Christmas holidays, has barely settled, but I am all too aware that I have fallen embarrassingly behind on my blogging. Please stay tuned for some awesome back-up blogging of Stewart events including: Julia's 8th birthday and her birthday celebration, Christmas fun, Christmas Day, Our new pet Lulu, and many other riveting December 2014 past times. Thanks for coming by...there will actually be some stories coming soon....but for now, I will leave you with some fun Christmas pictures. Please enjoy:










Sunday, November 30, 2014

Happy Thanksgiving!

Throughout the years, we have had many different circumstances and events around the holidays. We've spent some holidays with parents, some with siblings, some with friends, and some all by ourselves. This Thanksgiving, we had some wonderful friends come and eat with us, and we thoroughly enjoyed it. We played games, ate a delicious meal, enjoyed different traditions, watched the parade and the football games, and enjoyed the fellowship. It was awesome. And, I can't wait until my girls are old enough to be responsible for making some of the yummy traditional dishes right along side me.

This year, I also prepped a lot! It made the actual day go by so much more smoothly. I don't think I hardly sat down before we served lunch, but that's better than being frantic and worrying that not everything will get done. Right? Right. I pray that in the years to come, I will have the same opportunity.

Here are some pics of our turkey and ham filled festivites.
 Yummy pre-turkey snacking...
 I did NOT brine the turkey. It turned out pretty well in the turkey bag. Maybe next year I will have the wherewithal to order a fresh bird a few days before Thanksgiving. We shall see.
 So, even though eating is a big part of Thanksgiving, an even bigger part is actually giving thanks. I have so much to be thankful for! And, I want my children to begin to realize how much they have to be thankful for as well. So, one of my favorite things we did on Thursday was to make these wreaths...
I just took a small styrofoam wreath, wrapped it with fabric and added the top leaf with some straight pins.

Then, we wrote what we are thankful for on leaves, and added them one by one to the wreath. It was a such a blessing of a time.

 A lot of the things the girls said surprised me.




I got the idea for the wreaths on some morning talk show, and I hope it's a tradition that carries on in some form or fashion for years to come. Of course, it's yet another thing I'm not sure I'll ever be able to toss. Such sweet memories...

Now, we are on to planning a fun little birthday party for our oldest girl, Julia. She's turning 8 this year. I seriously do not understand how I've been a mom for that long, but I'm so glad I get to be a mom to her. Amazing.

Happy leftovers eating! -Amber

P.S. Thank you for celebrating with us Bacas! And thank you for bringing all the wonderful foods, treats and games! You are a blessing to us.

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Dining Room Tables in the Living Room

Can you believe Thanksgiving is so close? I barely can! I have the pumpkin pie in the freezer. It is  living right beside the 20 pound turkey. I also have the pumpkin cookies in batter form in the fridge, and have been meal planning and prepping for the big day for about a week. (The excellent recipe I use for Pumpkin cookies is a Martha Stewart recipe that you can find here.)

Whipped Cream to Come
We are super excited to host friends for a our Thanksgiving lunch this year, and I was concerned about seating for everyone.  But, one afternoon, I was looking on a local furniture fb page, and I found a great table! It looked so nice, and would be great for extra seating. I planned to ask Dave to carry up and down stairs when we needed it, but after pick up, we realized the table is much to heavy to haul around. This ended up being the solution:

Remove the Clutter and You Have Extra Seating
The table lives in our upstairs living room now. And, it is working perfectly. Since we've been home from our last trip, we have rearranged half the rooms in our house. The girls bunk beds have been separated, Saige's room finally got some attention to furniture placement, and both our living rooms have been changed up. But, I think that I like the new upstairs arrangement the best. The table doubles as a workstation for your laptop, or for studying cookbooks or any other books. It also works wonderfully for Monday Night small group at our house. We have more spots to stick drinks and goodies and/or for Bibles to be laid open on. I just love it.



What do you think about having a small table in a living room? And, don't forget to give me advise about my turkey. To brine, or not to brine. That is the question!

Turkey, turkey!! -Amber




Wednesday, November 12, 2014

The Never Ending Blog Post

I'm sorry it's been a while. We have been to visit family in Oklahoma and came back to a wonderful and full schedule, so my blogging has been falling behind....but here is a look at some of the fun we had OK:

Zebra, Tiger and Lion at Granny's House
The girls dressed up on Halloween and got to go to the carnival at the church we used to attend in Bartlesville. Fun, fun!
Mimi and Papa Joined in the Fun

Grandma Christie (Daisy Duck), Cousin Charlie, and My Girls

Early Birthday for Julia at Granny's
We got to see a lot of friends on family the week that we were in OK. It was so nice, and such a blessing to us all. I also got to visit a place I used to work at called McCoy's Jewelers. They checked my jewelry and verified that the prongs that are supposed to hold my diamond in place is doing just that. Yay!I am free to clean my jewelry with a toothbrush, knowing that my diamonds are secure! Check out this tip and one more in the picture below:



Do you see the bottom one about baby powder on chains? I love this one! I have a necklace from when I graduated high school that has been tangled almost the whole *gulp* 14 years I've had it. Here it is after about thirty minutes, and a couple tablespoons of baby powder.
This Was Once a Matted Mess.

This thing was so matted, that it was actually stuck to another piece of jewelry I owned. I'd worked for hours trying to un-knot this thing, and I thought I'd never have the two pieces separate again. I almost threw away both pieces of jewelry when we moved here, but now I'm so grateful I didn't. And, I plan to let my McCoy Jewelers people know how well this works! Untangling chains is definitely something we worked on!

--And, now that you know my chain untangling secret, and now that we are back in ND, I want to share what's been happening the last few days.You can call this the never ending blog post if you'd like.---

It's finally happened, the cold has snapped here in ND! We are loving the snow, and bundling against the cold. I have a lot of coffee and hot tea everyday, and wish there was a way to convince my daughters to eat soup every night with out complaint. Snow pictures are here:
At a Stop Sign. Beautiful.

Bundled for a Snowball Fight!

In Action
More Action Shots

Snow Angels:
Julia

Saige

Lydia
Sampling Snow at the Library

Came in From Playing Cold and Frowny

We've been having so much fun! We haven't made any Olafs yet, but I'm sure we will have a small herd of them soon. 

Our New Favorite Evening Activity
Thanks for reading! Stay warm!!!!

-Amber

P.S. If there are any typos in this post, it's because my hands were too cold to type.
P.S.S. I love the people who read my blog!!!