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Monday, December 31, 2012

2012 In Review

My catch phrases for the year of 2012.  As I sit at the end of it I think these were good choices for me.  When taking on such lofty goals I think there is no way in one year's time to conquer or complete such a task.  I think that is why they intrigued me at the beginning of the year.

Much has happened to persevere this year:

1. Dakota's health after his accident, the tic that he developed and mysteriously went away after a few months.  He got mono in March and had a terrible track season because of it.
2.  The changes in motherhood, knowing that I'd have to let Dakota go into young adulthood and make life altering decisions with a brain that is not developed and pray that the Lord with drag guide him down the correct path.
3. Going to colleges to help decide where Dakota should plan for his future.
4.  Realizing that no matter what we taught our son, he has the agency to make choices that are contrary to all things that we have taught and to know Heavenly Father loves him anyhow.  To know the atonement works for my son just as it does for me.
5.  Our daughter had her first date.
6.  At work we reconfigured and all the growing pains that comes with getting to know new colleagues.
7.  Having a student who requires more than is humanly possible to give, and learning to love him anyway.
8.  Grandma Steigerwalt passed away.
9.  Kayla learning how to drive.
10.  Multiple car repairs and learning that tithing was behind.

Much has happened to endure as well.

When I find myself persevering enduring is just a by product.  I added the disclaimer of doing it cheerfully.  Hmmm.  That my friends is my greatest weakness.  I find myself coming up short on that goal and realistically think that is my life-long battle.  I will also make this a goal in 2013, and it will most likely be a goal for my entire life.  Depression is common in my family, grumpy dispositions, as well as supreme pessimism is frequent.  I have a lot to overcome and persevere through.

There were so many happy moments too.

We had the best vacations this year.  We enjoyed Charleston, SC with our dearest friends the Eichhorns.  We went to our favorite destination of the Upper Peninsula of Michigan and on to be with family in Minnesota.  We lived through senior day with Kota during soccer season.  We had many family outings seeing various movies and eating a various restaurants.  Kyle and Kayla have a great way of bring laughter and warmth to our home that I love beyond measure.  We have to crazy fat cats that although can be irritating will curl up on your lap can purr can only make you smile.

I have endured and persevered and I have come out a better person than in 2011.  I have not completed my journey in these areas, but have made strides along the way.  I will continue to do so in 2013.

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Christmas 2012

 This is the year of Christmas changes on so many levels.  We opened presents at noon instead of the crack of dawn.  Kota had to work on the farm this morning.  He worked 4 am until noon.  He got home about 11:45ish.  The rest of us slept in.  Usually, Kyle is so excited for the kids to open their gifts that he is awake before they are.  Today he was the last one out of bed.

We are beginning the transition to adult children.  Weird.  It sure does feel different.
 Dakota got a truck bed tool box and tools to go in it.
 Kayla got a heater for her room, clothes and an ipod.  She was so happy.  Kyle got me things for the bedroom project I abandoned when company came at Thanksgiving.  Kyle got a new ladder and watch and some clothes.  It was a nice quiet Christmas, just different.

The only tradition we maintained today was to go see a movie.  We didn't even go to the same one.  The boys saw "Skyfall" and the girls saw "Les Miserables."  We had mom and Tom over for lunch today it was great.  Kayla and I loved our movie.

Sunday after church we went to my dad's house.  It was fun watching the little nieces and nephews open up their gifts.  Grandpa Steigerwalt has been living with my dad and aunt Ann since Grandma passed away last summer.  Grandpa has Alzheimer's, he really didn't understand what was going on.  He has no clue who I am.  He kept looking at the tree and trying to figure out why he had gifts in his lap.  He wonders often where Grandma is.  I hope Grandpa has a few moments where he is not confused.  He was always such a wonderful man. I remember many a lesson learned at grandpa's feet.

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Christmas Lessons

 Yaya from Whispering Pines got me this beautiful plate for helping her on a project.  I love it!  It encompasses the way I feel this Christmas.  I have had a beautiful testimony building month.  It seems through trials, life lessons are learned.  I want to preserve this lesson in my journal.

As mentioned before we have a lot of big hits to our budget.  In the midst of all that annoyance, we found out that I had miscalculated the tithing.  We had not paid enough in for our upcoming settlement.  We would have to report this to our church.  Humbling.  Discouraging.  We have been cutting every corner we could making minimum payments, forgoing groceries and using food storage, cutting the entertainment, everything.  We rolled coins, we even withheld allowance for chores that are rarely performed any how.  We scrimped and scrapped and we did it.  We got the money together to make up for my miscalculations.   I feel the love this Christmas.  The warm cozy feeling of knowing you are doing the right thing.  The warmth of the Spirit, whispering reassurances on truths long ago impressed on the heart.  Whispering that all will be well when faith is exercised.  My favorite type of learning is spiritual gifts from the Spirit.
Today, I heated up the oven to make my dad's Christmas present.  No package, box or bag, but instead a homemade German chocolate cake.  This is my dad's personal favorite cake.  My step-mom doesn't bake, so I thought I'd give this a whirl.  I think it turned out okay.  It brought back a lot of memories the smells from this cake.  My mom made this every year for my dad when we grew up for his birthday.  I hope he likes it.  I wish I wasn't the only one who liked this cake in my house.  I certainly do not need to eat a whole one myself.  Lesson learned: it is okay to give gifts of love instead of money.  (things you forget sometimes in the hustle and bustle)
Last lesson of the week, was giving hope even if the talent is in the beginning stages of learning.  Kayla and I finished our first scarves for the pink scarf project.  Kayla made the hot pink one and mine is the pastel.  Each has some imperfections as neither of us our accomplished crocheters.  However, lots of time and love were poured into them.  I kept putting the scarf around my neck to see if the length was long enough and when I got to the finishing point, I could feel the warmth of the hug that is going to be passed on to women having breast cancer surgeries.

Christmas is magical when the love of the Savior is very evident to me. I have enjoyed being less distracted by life this week and being able to hear the lessons being taught.  My heart is full of joy.  I hope I remember these lessons often.  A Merry Christmas it will be.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012


Every Christmas season Kayla's choir has a concert.  This year we listened to songs from Polar Express, The Grinch, Mistletoe Polka and my personal favorite from my youth choir days, the Hallelujah Chorus.  I love listening to choir music and I'm glad Kayla has developed the love of singing in a choir.  My daughter has loved singing she she was a very small baby.  She was often humming and singing as a child whenever she did things.  She has been a delight in my life.
 It seems each year new things are tried some stick and become traditions and others do not.  Kayla made this gingerbread house in family and consumer sciences.  She won first place for most traditional.  I wonder if this will become a tradition in her home, I have never made a gingerbread house.
 Each year at our home we host a Christmas dinner for whatever leadership group I'm working with at church.  This year it is the Primary.  We had 20 people in our house and was busy and bustling, but fun.  I tried a pasta bar this time.  It was fun and easy and everyone seemed to be happy with the food.  Pasta is hard to figure out how much so everyone left with some too.
 I'm not sure that these cupcakes are going to make it to the tradition list, but they were my something new this year.  Red Velvet (from a mix) with cream cheese frosting (from a can).  I added red stripes to the frosting bag before piping them on the cupcakes.  It was okay, a little on the difficult side, and I'm not sure I'll do them again, but they sure are pretty.  The recipe said to put small cupcake papers in a large cupcake pan for unique shaped cupcakes.  They just seemed short, no real unique shape came out of these.

I have yet to make my gingersnap cookies for Kyle.  I have made creamy chocolate fudge, buckeyes, white chocolate macadamia nut cookies dipped in white chocolate, and chocolate covered pretzels.  Most of which I have given away as gifts or used at my party.  I'm not sure how much more baking I'm going to do other than the gingersnaps.  What are your traditions?

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Ba humbug to A Perfect Brightness of Hope

It was a bleak start to the month and part way through we are still getting remnants of bad things happening.  We have had a lot of repairs on vehicles costing our family around $800 in total.  My Christmas budget has been begged, borrowed and stolen by our vehicles.  Every time I think I'm going to have a bit of money to go shopping for family members and kids, Bam!!!! something else breaks.

I was starting to get depressed, then the cats kept knocking over the tree.  The secret Santa at school went from one gift to three.  It seemed like I was become Scrooge or the Grinch.

Funny thing that Grinch.  I in my wallowing in self pity I was thinking about Christmas of past that we had so much less.  Just a year ago our son walked away from what could have been a fatal car accident with literally nothing, but a scratch.  Then the quote, "It not about packages, boxes or bags," came to mind.

So despite the budget crunch and decorating the tree for the third time this season I am going to look at what I do have.  I have a beautiful family who I am grateful to be able to argue with (he he!).  I have presents for my kids, I have a great oven to make the rest and all will be well.

Because it is not about the packages, boxes or bags it is about Christ.  So gifts of love and service it is once again.  Amazing when I took the money pressure away how everything once again became so simple.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Stupid Cats!

Yep, not to impressed.  They have knocked it over twice this week.  The most disappointing thing is they broke most of my glass ornaments.  Glass ornaments are rare now days.

Stupid Cats!

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Grown-up Decisons

Yesterday, we went to Hocking College in Nelsonville, Ohio.  We checked out the Wildlife Officer program and even the Fidget looked at the Equestrian programs.
 The curriculum requirements and post college opportunities were excellent.
 Kayla already fell in love with the horses.  Kota was impressed with the buildings too.
 Then we went into the housing.  Can I give a huge YUCK!!!!  I've never lived in a dorm, but I've been in a few and this was terrible.  Even the brand new building were are torn up.  How can I leave my children live here?  We have friends that live about 40 minutes away.  They said Kota could stay there and commute if he chooses to go to school there.  Thank goodness.

After talking it over, we all like Ely, MN better.  Who would have thought that would happen?  We discussed a lot of tough topics, moving, tuition/room/board expenses, working and school, families while in college, mission, it was a heavy thought day.  Lots of grown-up decisions to make.  It is amazing to me how different this is for Dakota than it was for me.  He will be the third generation on my side to go to college.  He will be the first to do it right out of high school.  He will be the first to live on campus.  Even I don't know the answers to all of his pondering.   
So many grown-up things to think about with a 17 year-old brain.  I pray that he with use Heavenly Father in all of these decisions.  He is 6 weeks from being 18 years-old.  Technically an adult, but so far from.  Interesting the perspective I hold now.  I remember well things I said to my mother...oh how things have changed.  Good luck son, we will love you no matter what.  It is just as hard for me to watch you struggle with the weight as it is to carry it.
With God all things are possible....

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Pink Scarves

Kayla and I are joining Yaya at Whispering Pines, who joined 2 Bags full to make pink scarves.  We are very excited to get started.  We went yesterday and spent our 50% off coupons at Jo-Ann Fabrics and bought some pink yarn.

Kayla is decent at crocheting and I pull out my knitting loom and we are going to town.  Kayla is using this as her Divine Nature 10 hour personal project, and I'm just encouraging her my looping the loom along with her.  This project is an awesome idea and I'm just glad we can add a few scarves to the process.

I look forward to showing off the finished projects.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Gratitude: Employment

I am truly thankful for Kyle working so hard for our family.  He supported me through college.  We have always needed to be a two family income.  We struggled when we both lost our jobs over 10 years ago.  We have literally pinched pennies to get our basic needs.  I'll never forget going to the grocery store with a roll of dimes just to get what we could to go with the things in the cupboards to make full meals.  I love him for always having a positive attitude.  Kyle always makes me look at the bright side.
 Dakota was a lifeguard for a little over a year.  He really did not like that job.  He said it is very boring sitting in a chair watching people swim.  Because of this and many other things I probably don't want to know, he lost his job in early October.  This was very stressful to me because of his accident our insurance almost tripled.  We were having to paid $1200 a quarter. Kota's job was basically paying for gas in his car and insurance.  We insurance shopped and are actually paying less than pre-accident and he has a job he really likes for now.  He is working for a local dairy farmer.  He loves this job.  He comes home very stinky, but he is happy.  Plus, he gets to spend a little of his money on himself and save a lot too.  Win-Win!

 Who can't love a job that allows you go to outdoor school once a year.  I know it's blurry, but I can't put student photos on my personal blog.  There are a lot of challenges being a teacher.  But, when I shake off the uncertainty of the background stuff, I really enjoy the kids.  I love teaching them things they don't know.  I love it when it is time to switch classes and they are complaining that it's time to leave ALREADY.  That means they were so engaged that didn't notice time slipping by.  I am grateful for my job.
This little one had a job interview Tuesday at Bob Evan's.  She has a second interview Thursday.  We didn't have her get a job right away because she was playing soccer.  Then she had play practice.  We told her she had to have a job by January, or we wouldn't fund her gas and insurance any longer.  Good Luck Fidget!

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Gratitude: His Side

 We had a house full for Thanksgiving.  15 of us.  Kyle's Brother Kory came to visit with his wife Jessica and four kids.  My kids were in cousin heaven.  It was nice hearing little ones in the house again.  You don't think you miss it, until they are around.

 Talon is surrounded by a lot of girl cousins in Minnesota.  There are a couple boys, but they are all under the 5 year old mark.  Not as much fun when you are 10.
 Funny when you are cooking the big meal, how you forget to take the pictures of the big meal.  Our turkey was great and all the trimmin's were good too.  Jessica made some mushrooms that are going to become a staple at our house.  Ymmm!  Kayla was the pie maker this year.  She made beautiful crusts just like she did a school.  She was proud of herself and should have been.
 My kids are usually the older ones around here.  So to have a teen cousin was fun for Kayla.  Her and Autumn always get along well.
The best part of this Thanksgiving was hiking in 60 degree weather at Mohican State Park.  We hiked back to Big Lyon Falls.  It was gorgeous.  I was surprised by all the foot traffic on the trails.  It will be a new tradition of us.  I felt so much better than if I laid around in my turkey coma.  Kim was a good sport and hiked down the huge hill of Pleasant Hill Dam.  It was good to run off some energy from the kids.  

I am grateful for big families.  It is fun to be included in Kyle's family.  I enjoyed the company, it felt good to have guests in the house.  I even enjoyed making all the food.  It was a nice treat and I really did feel happy about it.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Gratitude: My Side

Every year we get invited to my little brother's house.  They deep fry a turkey and it is so good!  
 My grandma always made a potato salad with poppy seeds.  Dad has taken over that staple.  Funny the things that you love from family dinners.
 My nephew Carter was cracking me up.  He was playing Super Mario Brothers on the Wii with this grandpa and sister.  Every time the controller wouldn't do what he wanted or he couldn't keep up he would throw a fit.  Tears, screaming and failing not so much fun for mom and dad, but hilarious to me.  I'm not sure why, it just was.
Oh to be able to throw a fit when things don't go your way.  It is good to be five.  I hope that he will get the hang of it to where he will be happy.  I am grateful for my extended family.  I love them all.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Surrey with a Fringe on Top

 Hillsdale High School put on the production, "Oklahoma" Friday and Saturday.  Kayla joined the chorus and enjoyed being part of a production.  I have never seen Oklahoma before and love it.  It was so much fun watching the kids sing and perform.
 My favorite character was the Peddler.  He was hilarious and did an amazing job at capturing the audience.
 The cowboys were entertaining and were fun to watch too.  The boy with the white hat did a flip and landed on the boy with the fringed vest's shoulders.  Great stage presences on these kids.  They did all of this with 6 weeks of practice.

The leads did a great job too.  Overall a fun evening.

Flashback: in high school we had a youth pastor in the church I grew up in we played Win, Lose or Draw, a lot.  Remember that game show.  Anyhow, the youth pastor was drawing and she was up at the chalkboard forever.  We could not figure out what she was drawing.  She finally had to tell us, "Surrey with a Fringe on Top."  Twenty some years later, I finally know what she was talking about.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Remodeling, Awards, Pies and Company Coming

 We have been working on remodeling our bedroom for over a year.  We were in a hurry to get in when we bought it and made the decision to paint over wallpaper.  After living here 10 years the wallpaper started to peel even with the paint on it.  So we have been peeling and scraping here and there for months.  We tried, steaming, stripping, and just plain old scraping was the best.

  Kyle scrapped the last of the wall last week and we finished plastering the cracks and holes.  Kyle had plaster dust every where last weekend.  Literally from head to toe, down the stairs, on the doors, footprints through the house.

Monday he had the day off of work for Veterans Day.  He painted the room.  We chose the Behr paint shade Tidal Pools.  I wanted a beach theme to bring in the ocean and lakes that we have enjoyed visiting over the past year.
 We are not done with the decorating, but abandoned the final details to prepare for Kory and Jessica to come and visit.
 In the midst of getting all the housework done we still have busy teens.  Sunday night BYD at our house.  The youth came over for a discussion with the Bishopric.  Monday night fall sports awards at the high school.
 Kayla is in the school play and has been practicing every night until 10 pm.  We have to see her play Friday night.  Tuesday night I remembered I had to get a baptism program together for my niece on Sunday.  Wednesday night we had Boy Scout Committee and Scouts, plus Kyle and Kota helped a friend move a TV.  Thursday (tonight) we had to pick up a box spring to go with our extra mattress for company.  I'm not sure what else we could pack into this week.  But, the house is really getting organized.
 Kayla has been bringing home homemade pies from her home EC. class.  She was very proud of her apple pie.  It was very yummy.  We have a breakfast quiche to tackle tomorrow.
 Almost ready for our guests for Thanksgiving.  We are excited to see them.  Preparing is never fun, but it is always worth it.
I haven't seen this room cleared of stuff for a few years.  Nothing like guests to make things happen.  I look forward to a warm, full house for Thanksgiving.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Sylis Final Chapter

Dakota got a fox last spring for a senior project this year.  He wanted to "fox farm" and reintroduce red fox into the wild.  He had a plan for taking care of the little critter.  He was going to raise him as a pet and then get other foxes later to breed and reintroduce to the wild.

He payed for vet bills getting him shots.  He paid for a license to have an exotic pet.  He gave it a good go.

What he never could have anticipated was how hard it would be to take care of a wild animal.  Even with all the love and attention he was given from a young age.  As a kit, he was easy to take care of, almost like a cat.  He used a litter box and was cuddly.

As Sylis grew he became less cuddly, out grew his extra large litter box, and would hide his food all over the house.  As he got even bigger he quit using the litter box all together and decided my kitchen counters were a nice dumping ground.

We graduated Sylis from the house to an outside box and a lead line.  He wore a harness and was free to roam the backyard.  He broke 6 harnesses.  We were late to church one Sunday trying to catch him before he got run over by a car.

About a week ago, Sylis slipped his harness again.  Kyle and Kota were working on getting it back on when Sylis bit Kyle's nose.  As much as we like him and gave this a good go, he needed to have a better place for him to be.

We called the man we bought Sylis from and he took him back.  Dakota can go up whenever he wants to to visit and help with his process there.  Dakota in the future when he has his own place can have the pick of a litter and try again at his own house.

Now Sylis will get to live with a girl fox for the winter and have a good life.  This really did have a happy ending.  Kyle's nose is almost healed now.  Interesting lessons we have learned from trying to care for this little creature.

Monday, November 5, 2012

Senior Night (Afternoon)

 Kota traded football for soccer this year.  The differences experienced were many.  The boys team was small compared to football.  Only enough players to play the game, no subs, just 80 minutes of playing.  As boys decided they wanted to join the team the coach gladly took them.  We ended up with 3 new boys and 3 injured players, so the days with subs were few.
 Dakota got to score a goal at one game.  He got moved between defender and midfield.  He preferred midfield.
 I prefer watching boys soccer over girls.  They have a lot of speed and agility.  They were fun to watch.
From game one to game twenty, they learned the game.  Learned to be a team and support each other.  They more they played as a team, the better they did.  They lost most of their games, the final stats I'm unsure of.  But, they ended up friends.  I liked what I saw team wise much better with this small group of kids.  Of the 13 players 6 are seniors.  I'm not sure there will be a boys soccer team next year.  I hope the juniors will do what a few did with Dakota this year.  They recruited.

Reflecting on this experience, I wish Kota would have played soccer much sooner.  He learned a game quickly and did okay.  I think he could have been a great player if he had time and years to develop his skills.  It will be interesting to see what the grand kids will do someday.

I was proud of myself this day, no tears.  This is one of many things that are the last for this year.

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Memory Lane

It seems like life is traveling at light speed recently.  Well, maybe even for years now, but it seems like I blink and two weeks, a month, 1/2 a year have gone by.  I have lots of things to share so I'm going to try to get in 2+ posts a week to make up for the long stretch of breaks.  For now, I am just reflecting on the major things that have happened.

A year ago, I was taking an ambulance ride to our local hospital with a son who got a concussion at a football game.  I will have to admit, soccer was much better on his body this year.

Last March we were enjoying this beautiful view in Charleston, SC.

July we were relaxing in Minnesota and Upper Michigan.
This week we dealt with the edge of hurricane Sandy.  I can't complain about our damage, it is nothing like the east coast, but we did get some damage from the winds.

We had a few pieces of suffet and siding blow off the house.  The rain found some weak points in the roof and we had some leaking.  Like I said, nothing like the East Coast, but slightly annoying.

I survived outdoor school in the after math of the hurricane weather.  (more posts later on that.)  And, I survived parent teacher conference again this year.  I will have to say, this year was I had some very unique experiences.  I have a student whose parents are immigrants from Africa.  They were so appreciative in all the work we do for their child.  He told me thank you in so many ways.  I have thought about what he said to me on several occasions this week.  It really had a profound impact on me.  I also had parents not very happy with me, interesting the contrast.  I teach the same way, have the same expectations, at the end of the day, I know that I do the best that I can, and I'm choosing to feel successful!