Stephens Family

Stephens Family

Friday, November 20, 2015

100 Pennies Part I

I haven't blogged in like a million years...or maybe 10 months.  But still.  Life gets busy and this mama's alone time is few and far between!  And when I do get a second or two 'lazy Ali' takes over and -- to be honest -- I just don't feel like blogging, or anything for that matter.  Until lately, the itch to have my voice heard once again is gaining strength.  And today, I figured I would do some scratching.

So hello bloggy audience!  You might be disappointed to know that after 10 months of nothing, this post isn't even going to be about my kids!  Gasp, right!?!

Hebrews 13:1

This {4 part} post is near and dear to my heart.

This post is intended for all my girlfriends -- whether they know me or not.  I pray it reaches the right screens.  I pray that my other '100 Pennies' girlfriends read this and know they aren't alone in their journey.  I pray that my '4 quarters' friends read this and gain an understanding of what its like to a 100 pennies girl.  I pray for my 2 quarters + 50 pennies and dollar bill friends too! :)

So what is this 100 pennies talk anyway?  In September I attended a dotmom conference in Nashville.  During one the general sessions two authors and coincidentally also best-friends spoke of what it means to be a true friend.  One of them, Melanie Frankle, mentioned that having 4 quarters is better than 100 pennies -- meaning that quality friendship is better than quantity friendship.  Not a concept people are unfamiliar with, right?  I mean in almost every circumstance quality is better than quantity.  Yet in that moment, I thought is God speaking to me right now?  Do I need to lessen my breadth of friendship to increase my depth?

My thoughts turned to earnest prayers.  I've always longed to belong to a group of best-friends who told their secrets to each and hung out every other day.  And, over the years I've had glimpses of this. And, don't get me wrong, God has provided me some of the BEST girl friends that this world can offer.  But the type of group friendship I've always pictured to be 'perfect' (think Rachel, Monica, Phoebe) I've never attained.  I used to wonder, what is wrong with me? until I came to a realization:

God made me a 100 Pennies Girl.

God made me welcoming.  God made me inclusive.  God made me compassionate.  God made me relational.  God made me a connector.  God made me community-centered.  God made me accepting. God made me with a heart for those who don't always fit in.  All of these qualities make me, me -- which is a 100PG.

And, being a 100PG is a blessing and burden wrapped up into a joyous calling.

Stay tuned for
100 Pennies Part II: The Burden
100 Pennies Part III: The Blessing
100 Pennies Part IV: The Calling

Much love,


Thursday, January 29, 2015

Eli's 3 Year Update!

Could my baby boy really, truly be THREE years old?  (Okay, 3 Years and 4 months old??  -- late as usual! :)


I can't, can't, refuse to believe this!  Time is flying!  He was a cute, chubby and LITTLE baby yesterday, right?  Oh my, I must have blinked on too many times because he is such a big boy now!  Tall and slender but and oh so handsome!  Just last night I couldn't believe my eyes when he stood up in the bath and seemed so big, so not little.  It is bitter-sweet watching him grow.  EVERY single stage just keeps getting better and better but I already miss him: miss him as a newborn laying on my chest, miss him as rolly-polly baby putting any and everything in his mouth, miss him as a one year old toddling around the house and pulling drawers open and contents out, miss him as a two year old who could watch construction trucks for hours on end with awe and contentment!  Deep breath.  He is growing up, he will continue to grow thank the Lord.  But, God could time slow down?  I just don't want to miss a thing.  I want to remember all of the beautiful moments of his life -- his little life.  And, if I were honest I would tell you...

I don't remember much from the last year.  That is right, I'm a bad mom.  So many precious moments of my two precious little kids -- gone.  Gone, gone, gone.  Yep, between Eli's second and third birthdays, there just isn't much I can remember.  It was a tough year.  Probably the hardest year of my life.  Ellie was -- to say the least -- a challenging and demanding baby (God bless her! And, Lord knows I love her!).  Poor Eli got the brunt of this.  Being stuck at home with a very fussy sissy, we watched a lot of TV and missed out on beloved of playtime with friends. :(  He was a trooper and I know he won't remember these "trying" times but my mama heart still feels really bad for him.  I wish I could have done more with him, for him and about him.  :(  On top of Ellie's demands,  this year Mike was down for a couple of months with a major lung illness and surgery and then our beloved Sammie became very ill for a few months and we ended up having to say goodbye to her in June.  Sad, stressful and lonely are three adjectives I could use to describe MY year.  On the other hand, Eli would probably describe HIS third year as fun, fun and big, definitely big.  "I am not a baby, I am a big boy, a really big boy!!" was a phrase I heard more than a few times. ;)

With my tank of memories running on low I am SO thankful for my iphone camera!  These photos are my treasures!  As a was going through them for this post memories began to flood back and my heart was full thinking about how much fun we actually had!  Eli is SO right.  There isn't an ounce of baby left in my big boy!


You are three.  You are adventurous and daring!  You are curious and proud.  You are sensitive and caring.  You are social and love your friends.  You are competitive and brave.  You are kind and cuddly.  You are my big, big boy! And, you are my baby.  Sorry, but you always will be.  I love you a million times to the moon and back!  How wondrous of a God we have that He created you, so special, so unique -- with a heart for others and made for a purpose!  Never forget that buddy!  XXXXOOOO


Pre-school games like red light - green light, tag, hide and seek
ball play, but attn span is still pretty slim
trucks (beginning to fade)
Most TV shows he is exposed to -- Paw Patrol and Jake and the Neverland Pirates are favorites!
Fruits and milk shakes -- I know...
Daddy, grandpa!
puzzles -- still needs quite a bit of help but enjoys
Legos with guidance
Friends, did I already mention this?  Cause Eli is a social butterfly!

Mile stones:

At three Eli still would say, "me" want to play with you!  He started saying I at 3 years 3 months.

He can (pulled most of these from a list of 3 year old milestones).
  • Can pedal a tricycle
  • Has a vocabulary of several hundred words
  • Speak in sentences of three or more words
  • Count to 10 and 20 with some help
  • Use plurals and pronouns (he/she)
  • Often asks questions
  • Can dress himself
  • Has a longer attention span
  • Feed himself easily
  • Act out social encounters through play activities
  • Leave his mama with out any type of complaint (most of the time)
  • Fears imaginary things
  • Knows own name, age, and gender 
  • Starts to share
  • Has some cooperative play, trucks, superheroes
He weighs 35 lbs and is 3ft 3.5 inches tall.  Our pediatrician said he is doing a lot of 4 year old skills. He is my BIG boy and I am so proud of him!  

A month by month look through Eli's year!


He still had white-blonde hair,
and we still napped together! 

I bought an elmo for my parents house,
backfired and he wanted both to sleep with
for most of the year!  Now, he is fine with out
them!  :(

A transporter for came in the mail for his
2nd bday from his Oma and Opa O! He was


After!!  What a change!! He looked so much
older but so handsome too!

Both smiling?!  They were so little!

Go Chiefs!!

Watching football with Daddy!  Could daddy's heart be more full?

He loves his sister!! (look at that girl-hawk!)


I love this picture!  Sporting their Big Bro, Lil Sis shirts!

 At Hardee's celebrating the life of my great grandma Ockee!
She would have been 104!

Play date with Neighbors!

Mike's Birthday:

Mike's Father, grandfather and two brothers came to KC 
for a weekend of fun to celebrate Mike's 30th birthday!
We snuck in sometime with them too!

Eli helped me make daddy's cake!

Eli and Kate going to town on a Pizza.  They really
started to enjoy each other at this age!

Hayride time!

 Milking a cow!

 Library-craft time!
 Crazy Mom!
 Eli and his best buddy Zach!

 Daiper babies!  This would last 8 more months!

 First horse ride!

Mommy finally got a double stroller!  What a blessing it was!

I love you sissy!

Halloween at school!

Halloween 2013:
Pebbles (Kate) and Bam Bam at the LS Parade!  My mom (grandma) made their costumes!!

Costume change!  Eli was a monster for the night of Halloween!

Halloween through the years!


Fun at Paradise Park with cousin Kate!

Craft time!

Learning how to make a bubble beard@

Future Quarterback?!  So very handsome!

An unexpected visit from Oma and Opa:

Mike's parents came out mid-November to help be with him and support us during his lung surgery.  It was a scary time and I am very thankful they got to be here with us.  Eli didn't know really what was going on but he enjoyed seeing his grandparents!

Fun with Friends:



Fun with Carson at the Zoo!

Watching trains (for hours) at Union Station.

Thanks for the Frosty pancake mom!

All of the sudden he is my BIG boy going down BIG slides!!!

Its was cold but he enjoyed the sledding!

Street sledding with neighbors!!


Grandma reading The Night Before Christmas!

New Years

Happy 2014!!


Sharing a cart for the 1st time!  

This makes me both happy and sad!

On our way to Sesame Street Live!

Eli lasted about half of the time and then wanted to move!

I remember this moment, BOTH of my kids playing together!!

Everyone in mama's bed but mama!

He steals my heart!

I lost all my iphone pics from the end of January through the middle of March :( :( :(  Luckily, I took some photos for Valentine's day on our camera!

Valentine's Day:

St. Patrick's Day
My little leprechaun!

 Eli and Ellie on St. Pat's Day 2014

Fun with Nate at his birthday party!

Scooter time!

St. Patrick's Day through the years!


Easter through the years!

Making Easter eggs with cousin Kate!

Hold my hand Kate!

Sprawled out with Sammie

I'm winning!

I'm stuck and find it hilarious!

Now this is the real downward dog pose!  ;)

Cousins at the aquarium!


Neighborhood buddies!

Feeding fish!

Reading before bed with daddy!

Catching a chicken at grandma and grandpa's house!

Mother's Day!

Trip to CA

In the Sequoia Mountains

Fun with Cousins Taylor and Connor in Oma and Opa's hot tub!

Cousins at the zoo!

At Pier 39 in San Fransisco

Memorial Day 2014

He sure loves his daddy!


Gotcha Ellie!


Whole family after Ellie's blessing

These were from our trip to CA -- we took a detour to run in the Pacific Ocean!

At Ellie's 1st birthday party!

This may be Eli's last good photo with  Sammie!

At the carnival!

Just taking my baby sis for a tractor ride!


He still loves his Elmo!

Watching the goats while mama adores those curls!

Lunch... and kiss for cousin Kate!


A firetruck came to visit our neighborhood!

First face painting - A sneaky snake!

Look mom!

Ellie and I will share a seat!

Eli and Zach!

Trip to TN
We drove 13 hours to Gatlinburg TN for my dad's family reunion.

 Practicing his cheering with Daddy!

 Fun at Dollywood

Those curls!

He LOVES Spiderman now!

The hedge ball fell off our tree and it Eli straight in the face!  He wasn't very happy when it happened!

Watching Daddy play softball!

Lake fun!

I can't believe my baby boy turns 3 this month!

He is growing up too fast!!

Watching Elmo with sis!

Its Party Time!

Xoxoxo  I love you Eli!  <3 Mama