Thursday, February 04, 2016

Thankful Thursday!!

Well, it has been an eventful week around the Steckly household, that's for sure! And it's getting late (procrastination wins again!), so I'll jump right in.
This week I am thankful:

1. For neighbors who organize and invite us to awesome sledding parties! Daniel was gone last weekend, but our neighbor invited us over. We hadn't been to their house before, and we had such a great time. Sledding, hot chocolate, hot dogs, and great company until much later than we had planned on staying.

2. For days spent together as a family. We had a lot of fun on Monday, despite Sadie's trampoline incident :(

3. For a doctor who was willing to see us at 7:30 at night when Sadie got hurt on Monday. She couldn't be x-rayed until the next morning, but it was reassuring to have him look at her leg and give us things to watch for.

4. For my friend Jacqueline who came to my house today to watch the girls while I went to my appointments in town. I felt bad leaving Sadie with such a fresh injury, and I felt bad for Jaquelin leaving her with a toddler in a cast, but it all turned out ok, and I could rest easy knowing the girls were super well taken care of :)

5. For my customers. My humble little business wouldn't exist without them. This past month I decided to expand my business a little bit more to include selling fabric. The response has been overwhelmingly positive, and I am once again humbled by the support. And by support, I mean supporting my own fabric addiction, lol. I'm glad my customers and I are all in the same boat :)

6. For Addison and Tegan. I'm thankful for many things about them, but this week it's specifically the help they have been. I won't say it has come without attitude. I won't even say it has come without bribery or threats of taking iPods away....but the point is, they have been helpful. I appreciate the fact that they can do so much. Tegan cleaned the kitchen so well last night, it was wonderful. And Addison has helped with laundry, watching Sadie, and she also makes the best
chocolate chip cookies on the planet....which is very important :)

7. For Sadie's kisses. I may have mentioned this one before, but seriously, it's the sweetest. She grabs my head to turn me towards her and kisses me all over my face. And she gives the tightest hugs too. It's perfect.

8. For Myka's attitude this week. Since she started school, we have had a bit of a fight on our hands every morning. She never wants to go....bit we have realized that the reason is that she would rather just stay home and play with Danica. Which is understandable, but frustrating at 7am when we are trying to get her out the door. This week has been different. I don't even know what changed, but she has gotten ready quickly every day, with minimal complaining, and no tears. I am grateful for each day that she goes to school like that...and j hope that it just gets easier next year when Danica can go with her :)

9. For kickboxing. It is the only exercise I actually really love doing, and I do it because I truly enjoy it. But, life gets in the way, and I hadn't gone to class since August. I've done workouts at home, but it's not the same. They all feel like work, lol. Tonight I worked it out and went to class again. It felt so good to be back there :)

10. For long chats with good friends. It is so refreshing to talk about life with someone who is so encouraging :)

And now with half an hour to spare, I'll post thankful Thursday and go to sleep. The mornings come too early around here!
Have a great week everyone :)

Thursday, January 21, 2016

Thankful Thursday, When I Don't Really Want To.

It was one of those days today. You know, the kind I talked about last week, where I really just need to reset and start fresh. Nothing terribly bad happened, but we woke up late, and the day just kind of stayed at a high frustration level from there. I got home at 5pm and felt like it had been a super unproductive day. Oh, and while I was driving home I remembered it was Thursday and I needed to write this tonight. Hopefully by the time I'm done I'll realize why I NEEDED to write it :)
This week I am thankful for:

1. Sadie snuggles. She can be a handful, but when she snuggles me, she wraps her hands around the back of my neck and pulls me close as she buries her face right in the dip between my collarbone and neck. She usually softly hums while she does it too. It is the sweetest thing, and it never fails to make me slow down for a second and breathe it all in.

2. Myka's sense of focus. This one has been a bit of a struggle for me this week. The thing about myka is that she can be polar opposite with focus, depending on the day. Many times she is in her own Little world and doesn't even hear what I say, let alone obey. I'll send her to clean her room and she goofs around for an hour instead. BUT....sometimes she goes into Super Myka mode and is the most helpful, sweet kid there is. This week during one of those times, she filled the entire woodbox herself, and another, she cleaned her room almost better than I would, complete with mopping the floor. I'm learning how to bring a bit of balance to how we do things, and I know she is too. I love seeing how proud she looks when she does something completely and does it well :)

3. Watching Danica turn 5. It never gets easier to watch your children grow up, but at the same time, it's really exciting. She has such a fun personality and says the most adorable things. We had a really fun party for her birthday, and almost all of her friends came to help her celebrate!

4. Salted caramel biscotti and coffee. There's some days where I can't even fight it, lol. I mean, why would I?

5. My customers. We all know that the oilpatch is going through a slow time right now. I expected my sales for LLB to follow accordingly, but to my surprise, January was busier than I expected. I'm especially humbled by the amount of local business I'm still getting. I know my products aren't cheap, and it blows me away when local families still support my business in that way. I'm so honored by it all!

6. The girls' school phys ed program. We are blessed to have the girls go to a pretty great little school. One thing I've really come to appreciate is the principle. He is very active and outdoorsy, and he teaches most of the gym classes. He doesn't do boring stuff either. This month the girls have learned some judo, and cross country skiing.
Today Addison woke up really sore from skiing this week, so I wrote her a note to excuse her from gym, and she didn't even use it. That's how awesome their gym class is :) I'm very thankful for that! I think it's super important for kids to get lots of physical activity mixed in with the academic side of school.

7. My mom's new job! She got a great new job last week, and I am so proud of her. I was proud of her before too. I don't want to get into her personal life on here, but I will say that she deserves any recognition she is getting now. Love you mom :)

8. The chance to get my hair cut today. It was so nice to get to go kid free and visit with my friend/hairdresser for as long as I did :)

9. God's grace when I feel overwhelmed. I feel that way more than I would like to admit. When things pile up in my life, I tend to get very anxious and completely lose focus. God says, "come to me, all who are weary and burdened and I will give you rest." But to be honest, most days I don't feel worthy of that. I feel like I need to just suck it up and push on....but when I do that without going to God first, things suffer. My family suffers because I get unbearable, I'm sure. When I try and push through everything that is overwhelming me by my own power, I end up screaming at people and ugly crying.
Ok, that's really personal, and I'm embarrassed by it, but it's true. It is a constant discipline to learn to take it to God, but when I do, I'm left with peace, a bit more patience, and focus (probably my biggest weakness). Why I don't automatically default to that is a mystery. But it's a promise i definitely need to grab hold of and use more often!!

10. Sweet, sweet sleep. Did I say that last week? I don't remember, but lately our days have been so full of tasks, noise, and general hulabaloo, that by the time bedtime comes I am more than happy to enjoy the peace and quiet of the night.

Speaking of which, That's where I'm heading now. Have a great night and a great week!!

Thursday, January 14, 2016

Thankful Thursday, Rebooted.

My time hop app has been doing a good job of reminding me about thankful Thursday. I don't even really remember when I quit posting it, but I know that I miss it. Writing what I was thankful for each week helped me. It was a quiet change, but now that I look back, I think it changed my outlook on things. A grateful heart is a good thing to refresh once a week, I think :)
It reminds me of that one wonderful year where we hired a house cleaner. It was the first year of Sadie's life, and Daniel hired our  tenant (a housekeeper by trade) to clean our house once a week to help me out. It was so weird at first, having another woman come into my home to clean. And by "at first", I mean until the second I walked in my door after she had been there for the first time. After seeing my spotless, clean smelling house, all the weirdness left, and I just fell in love. (Ok, maybe not ALL the weirdness left :p).
Anyways, my point of that is this: I looked forward to that moment every week, where I would walk through my door, and my entire house was reset back to zero. Garbages were out, the floors were clean, the kitchen was clean, and I could just start from there. It also motivated me to set short term goals for my own cleanliness. "If I can keep it tidy for two more days, then she is able to do more deep cleaning and less tidying, so it's more worth it!"
A week was a good amount of time. I think the same goes for gratefulness and a happy heart. Today, for example, I'm finding myself feeling overwhelmed by the problems of the week. I can pray about it here and there, but unless I take the time to sit down and write stuff out, that's where it ends; the odd prayer of thanks, a whispered plea for peace, or strength, or patience. Before I know it, months have gone by, and I realize that there has been no real depth to my relationship with God. No growth. It's like he's become a gumball machine of attributes I would like at the time.

This week I am thankful for:

1. Having a day to spend alone with Daniel today. Sure we were cutting firewood, but we had a good time, got lots done, and had a nice lunch afterwards, so I call it a win :) it's nice to take a break from being parents sometimes, and just be with each other.

2. Our funny day yesterday. I don't know what was in the air yesterday, but a few things happened with the kids that still make me laugh when I think of them. A couple are kind of embarrassing to post, but at the end of the night last night, after the girls had been bathed and I was braiding mykas hair, Sadie came over and laid in mykas lap. "Mmm, Sadie, you smell like a rice bag!" Mykas said, followed with, "and you are hot like one too!"

3. Tea with friends. It's just good for the spirit :)

4. Almost every morning, I struggle getting myka out the door for school. She's always super happy once she is there, but she is NOT a morning person, and often complains right up until the bus comes. This morning she didn't. Not even a peep. She happily got ready for school, ate her breakfast in just a few minutes, and ran out the door yelling "bye!". I'm so thankful for stress free, fight free mornings :)

5. Our wood stove. There's nothing like a cozy fire when it's cold outside!

6. On Sunday our friends invited us over for a dugout skating party and a hotdog roast. We had so much fun. The dugout was huge and the girls loved skating all over :)

7. My bed. We got a new duvet for Christmas, and it makes our bed so cozy. There's nothing better than snuggling up in it after a long day. I've learned to never under appreciate sleep...or time without a toddler crawling on me! Lol.

8. Speaking of toddlers, Sadie is learning new words every day, and for that I'm thankful. She still whines, but now she will make an effort to stop whining and try to tell me what she wants. It's super cute most of the time too :) three days ago, as she left my bedroom, she waved and said, " bye bye, La loo!"

9. I have also found myself being very thankful for the friends Addison and Tegan have. They are both coming into a new stage of life, where they want to spend more time with friends and less time with mom. There are lots of great kids that live out in this area, and for that I am so thankful!

10. The weather. I know it's winter, and I'm not normally a winter person, but this year I feel like we live in Narnia. It has been absolutely gorgeous here. The skies are often blue, the snow isn't too deep, and the sunsets are stunning pink. The trees have been continuously covered in a thick layer of whoar frost, and it has been almost magical :)

What are you thankful for this week?

Monday, December 14, 2015

An Unexpected Gift

Have you ever met someone that changed you. Or taught you something without even realizing it? I met a woman like that recently. Just by being herself, she gave me a gift I would not soon forget, and made a hard situation a little bit easier to handle.

Two weeks ago our 18 month old got sick. At suppertime Sunday night her voice was getting hoarse, and by 3pm the next day she had a high fever and I had a hard time keeping her awake. I figured I should take her in to emerg to quickly get checked. I knew it wouldn't end up being "quick", but in the end we ended up staying there overnight.
Anyways, when we first got there, the nurses took her vitals and decided almost right away that they wanted to take blood and possibly start an IV.
I don't know if you've ever had to be there when an 18 month old is getting blood taken, but it's so hard, both emotionally and physically. Three of us had to hold her down while the tech tried to take the sample, and my heart was breaking as she cried "mommy" over and over. I don't know how long it lasted; it felt like an hour, and they never did get a sample or start an IV.
In the aftermath of that slightly traumatic experience, we were sitting and snuggling on the ER bed as best we could. A few minutes later a woman poked her head through our curtain. She was not a nurse...I assumed she was a relative of a patient in the ER. She smiled kindly and handed a box to Sadie. It was a brand new set of mini Disney princess figurines. "That sounded really hard on her. I thought she might enjoy these" she said. I teared up a bit at her kindness and said ,"thank you".
She was right, Sadie did enjoy them! She immediately started methodically putting them into and taking them out of the bedpan that was beside her bed, and it kept her busy while we waited to hear from the Doctor.
As it ended up, we were in the ER all night for observation. After the medicine kicked in, Sadie was in much better spirits and tried to run everywhere...and she didn't stop until 1 in the morning.
During that time I started visiting with the woman who had given her the gift. I had been grateful when she gave it to us, but when I heard a bit about why she was there, I was truly humbled. It touched my heart so much to meet someone like her. Someone who had experienced tragedy and ongoing struggles like she had, and chose to respond with complete kindness and selflessness towards others. Someone who played peekaboo with my energetic toddler at midnight because neither of them could sleep.
We got discharged the next morning, exhausted, but with Sadie on the mend thankfully. The woman, who had been there for days, was still there. I'll never forget her. Or how she helped us that night.
I will admit, I struggled with bitterness a bit through that experience. It was hard to see my baby get poked, it was hard to try and keep her contained to a tiny bed all night, when I thought she seemed well enough to go home. It was hard to get no sleep. I felt so foolish as we left though. Here I was, relieved to be through a very inconvenient night, when it was nothing compared to what some people experience.
In the days since then, I've thought about it a lot. We see generosity and selflessness more at this time of year for sure. However, I know that the woman I met at the hospital would have demonstrated the same level of generosity to anyone, at any time of year. It was both humbling and refreshing to meet her.
Not only that, it has become an excellent reminder to me. There are times when my circumstances are less than ideal, but it is still completely, 100% possible to love others. In fact, I believe that being nice to others when we really don't feel like it can be healing. And no matter what, it doesn't hurt!
Merry Christmas!

Saturday, October 17, 2015

The "I Did" List

My friend jennie, who pens a hilariously real blog,


challenged me in an interesting way yesterday.

Do you make To Do lists? I loosely do...and don't usually get everything crossed off. Or if I do, it's because there was only a couple things on it, and it makes me feel pretty unproductive.
What jennie challenged on her blog was to write an "I did" list instead, to gauge what you actually did that day and show that it is probably a lot more than you think!
Today was a fairly lazy day around here....myka is at grandma and grandpa's, and Addison and Tegan were gone until about 4 pm at sleepovers.
After writing this out, I feel slightly more productive about my day, lol. Thanks for the confidence boosting idea Jennie!!

-washed, dried, folded and put away four loads of laundry
-swept my entire house and vaccuumed the living room carpet
-washed the hallway walls with Sadie
-wrote a new verse on my chalkboard
-attempted to make a healthier brownie to satisfy my chocolate craving while being on the 21 day fix. Fail.
-cooked meatloaf and mashed potatoes for supper
-finished up a Little Lily order, and delivered it when i went to town
-grocery shopped at 8:30pm
-had a friend stop by and bring me a pre-dinner appetizer of boursin cheese and crackers. She is the sweetest ever!!
-organized the fabric for the stockings I want to make our family this year
-talked on the phone with myka twice (she's visiting grandma and grandpa :))
-cleaned my room (mostly)
-picked up almost every thing that Sadie took out of drawers today. It's pretty much a full time job lately.
-watched in awe as Danica built an impressive Lego horse with a fence around it

Given that my day started at 6:22am with an overly energetic toddler, this explains why I was ready for bed at 4pm :)

I'm too tired to write an in depth post about a possible deep meaning to this, but I will say this. After a certain number of days where I have felt less than productive, and have been kind of discouraged, writing this post makes me feel better :)
Write your own! I'd love to see more "I did" lists!

Thanks for the idea Jennie!

Saturday, October 03, 2015

Everyone's crying

And here's why (to the best of my knowledge):
Addison and Tegan don't want anyone in their room.
Myka and Danica each want their room to themselves for some "alone time".
Everyone wants to play with one of the two kittens
No one wants to share
Myka is mad that the older two won't let them play with a kitten
Danica is crying because Tegan only brought in one kitten from outside and didn't grab "hers".
Danica won't let myka hold her kitten.
Each girl thinks the kittens are hers
Neither the older two or the younger two will let Sadie into their rooms.
Sadie wants up, wants down, wants to drink my coffee, wants to play with the girls, and I'm sure, wants a nap?
Myka now is starving beyond all measures and needs a snack NOW.
Sadie can't figure out how to put the breast pump together (you read that right).
I need a nap.

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

34 Reasons You're The Best Person Ever

34 years ago one of the best people was born. I wouldn't meet you for another 19 years, but since I did, my life has never been the same. I'm pretty sure that most people who meet him feel similar. You are an amazing husband, father, worker, and friend, and you leave every person and every place better than when you found it.
Happy birthday Daniel!! The girls helped me put together this list of 34 reasons you rock :)
We love you!

1. You tickle the girls
2. You build stuff with the girls
3. You give the best hugs!
4. You do the absolute best you can at your job
5. You work hard so that you can provide a pretty amazing life for us
6. When you come home from work, no matter what your day was like, you always talk to the girls about their day
7. You call me during the day and ask if I want to go on a date with you that night. I love last minute dates :)
8. When someone you know needs help, if there is any way you possibly can, you help.
9. You spend so much time working on our home and yard to make it look nice and work well for us
10. You look really hot when you ride your bike.
11. When the girls are really interested in something, you do everything you can to help them do it.
12. You enjoy the same movies as me
13. You send me hilarious texts
14. You have a strong relationship with God
15. You show God's love in the way you treat other people
16. You always look at the big picture before jumping to conclusions
17. You give people the benefit of the doubt.
18. When I get crazy, you gently remind me to "calm down babe, don't worry about it"
19. It is what it is. That's your motto, and it really helps put things in perspective
20. You are the best problem solver I know.
21. When one of the girls is super emotional, you are better at calming them down than I am
22. When one of them is throwing a tantrum, you discipline and correct them without yelling....always in a much calmer manner than I would have!
23. You walking through the door at the end if the day is the happiest part of our day
24. You take the girls shopping by yourself sometimes...and they love it
25. You take us on pretty epic adventures
26. You take Danica to the river to look for cool rocks, because that's her favorite thing ever
27. You renovated our house from the ground up almost all by yourself
28. You can pretty much do anything, and do it well
29. You are always thinking of the most innovative way to do things
30. I have never met a person who doesn't think you are awesome.
31. You kiss me and tell me I'm awesome pretty much every day.
32. You made some pretty gorgeous little girls :)
33. You always think of others before yourself
34. Family hugs!!

Wednesday, September 09, 2015

Five Lessons I Learned This Summer

Is it just me, or is it harder to adapt and adjust to things as we get older? I find that I really like my groove, and when something challenges that, it takes me longer than it used to to accept the change. Over the summer this happened a few times. Some of the lessons I learned are more trivial, and some I'm still adjusting to! I suppose that's all a part of growing though, right?

Here's five things that have stuck with me:

1. Addison and Tegan grew way more than I was prepared for.
The last time I bought them shoes and paid attention to the size, they were a size 2 and 3. We have bought them shoes since, but they were clearance rack shoes and I just bought what fit and didn't notice the size. This past week when I went to buy them school shoes, they were a size 7 and 8 in women's! I couldn't believe it, so I put Addison's foot next to mine, and sure enough, it was just a bit shorter! Between that and the "tween" stage hitting them, I'm having to adjust a lot, emotionally. Toddlers I'm used to, but being the mother of pre-teens? Am I even qualified for this?

2. Gardening is hard for me, and I felt like I failed at it this year, yet again. Myka made me feel better about it though.
Since I've been married, I have dreamt of having a lush, fruitful garden. Well let me tell you, the learning curve has been steeeeep with me! For one reason or another, I've never had a garden that produces more than a couple meals worth of veggies. Some years it has been nature's fault...but more often than not, it's mine. Seriously, do I HAVE to make every single mistake to learn not to do it? Can't I just research something, then do it right the first time?
Apparently not. This year, I left my freshly planted, black dirt garden for two weeks while I went to my in-laws. I came home to a jungle of weeds. Awesome, I know. It took the rest of the summer to even find some of my plants, and when I did, the results weren't great. Most of them got choked out, but a few scrappy veggies managed to hang on. I got four beets, one bunch of kale, a shopping bag of mini potatoes, a few beans and peas, and zero carrots. I felt like a failure once again. One day I was out there on the verge of tears, mentally lecturing myself on all the things I should have done differently. Myka, Danica and Sadie were searching through the mess of pea plants and finding a few.
Myka's voice snapped me out of my pity party. "Mmmm, mom, your garden is so delicious! I love it!"
At first I huffed and asked myself "what garden? I suck at this!" But then I stopped and watched them. They got so excited every time they found a pea they would break it open and eat the peas, and then show Sadie how to open and eat hers. It was pretty sweet, and made me appreciate the fact that my girls don't ever expect me to be perfect. They don't hold me to the same standards that I hold myself, and they have so much fun with much simpler things than I expect them to have fun with. Maybe the fact that my garden was more of an easter egg hunt than a harvest made it more fun for them, lol. Does that make sense? It made sense to me that day, and I think (hope) it will change the way I garden next year.

3. Fifth babies don't always equal "easily adaptable" babies. Sadie is spunky, and she hates sleep.
I just don't even want to talk about this one. I love that girl dearly, and she is so so much fun. She also apparently never needs to sleep.
I can't be too mad. It has gotten better in the past couple of weeks. It's about time, Sadie! Lol

4. The simplest things are the things that brought me the most joy this summer.
The day in the garden I mentioned above? That day was pretty awesome once I adjusted my attitude.
Some other days that made me happy this summer..
-having a BBQ with Daniel's side of the family on my in-laws deck.
-a quiet BBQ with a  couple from Daniel's job, just getting to know each other's families
-long visits with my mom, grandma, and sister
-sitting by the fire in our yard roasting marshmallows
-friends with kids coming to our house for a few hours...and sitting drinking iced coffee while the kids played.
-watching as all five of our girls played an elaborate make believe animal game on the trampoline. It's amazing how five kids can stay so entertained in a 14 foot diameter space for so long. Kids' imaginations are the best!
I appreciate good conversation, good humor, and good food. This summer was full of all three...and it went by much too fast!

5. Learning how to make cold brewed coffee is one of the smartest things I've done.
A friend told me about it years ago, but I really only started implementing it this year. It's awesome though.
-buy course ground coffee (my fav is the Folgers french vanilla infused coffee)
-pour about 2 cups of grounds into a large container. When I say two cups, I'm totally guessing, I never measured. I also used the Costco cereal Tupperware containers to make mine. I am not sure how much they hold....lots though.
-Fill container with cold water, put the lid on and leave at least 8 hours, or overnight in the fridge.
-using a fine strainer, strain coffee into jars or any other container. I used tall glass apothecary type jars from fills two of them
-store it in the fridge. When you want an iced coffee, put a couple ice cubes in a glass, squirt some syrup to your liking, fill about two thirds of the glass with coffee and the rest with milk. Perfection!
Maybe one day I'll do a proper tutorial with, you know, measurements and stuff, but for now, you get the point.

And now summer is over. The kids started school today, and our routine will return. I hope that means better sleep for Sadie!
Like I said, it went by way too fast, and I'm already looking forward to next year! I hope your summer was awesome, I have loved looking at everyone's photos on FB and IG over the past couple months :)


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