Stephens Family

Stephens Family

Saturday, February 26, 2011

The Day We Found Out.

January 10th 2011.  The BEST DAY EVER.

It all started when I (Ali) woke up and got into the shower.  During my daily routine I noticed a tingling in my lip and immediately I knew I was going to have a big, gross cold sore make its way to the surface with in a day or so.  As you can imagine this caused me much frustration.  To make matters worse, it was Monday and my school had a scheduled teacher in service on Friday -- I was going to have to face my faculty with a (like I previously said) big, gross cold sore.  Yuk!  How embarrassing!  I got out of shower and, of course, wanted to tell Mike about my dilemma.  He tried to be sympathetic but was too tired to listen.  So, I called my next confidant -- my mother.  As I was telling her my sob story, she informed me that my school district had declared it a snow day.  This made me feel a little bit better.  I let her go and decided to go back to sleep.  However, I was so worked up that I couldn't sleep.

That is when I remembered!  In my previous research -- I was a little obsessed at browsing through "two week wait symptoms" on the Internet -- I saw that several women posted that one of their early signs of pregnancy was the appearance of a cold sore.  I wasn't hopeful, because I had been so many times in the past to no avail, but I decided to go ahead and take the one pregnancy test we had left.  I snuck into the bathroom and peed on the stick.  As I watched the test in action, I couldn't see any line appearing.  However, I continued to watch -- and then, to my amazement I could see a very faint line appear.  I closed my eyes and looked again.  It was still there!  I immediately started jumping up and down and giggling almost uncontrollably.  :) 

                                          *Look hard - there IS a second line, just very faint!  :)
Mike was awake by this time and had decided to work from home because of the inclement weather.  For a second, I debated whether on telling him right then or trying to think of some creative way to inform him he was going to be a daddy!  That didn't last long because I was so excited and there was no way I could wait.  So, I walked into the office and said, "We are having a baby in September!"  He was like, "Really?"  I gave him a nod and he stood up and gave me a big hug.  He put his hands on my belly and prayed for our little one. 

I was very excited to tell my parents but wanted to do it face to face.  It was a bummer that the weather was so bad or we would have driven out to their house at once.  I knew I had to think up a plan.  I called and asked them to come in and meet us for lunch.  My mother was not very keen to the idea so I asked to speak to my father (who is a little more easy going).  My dad wasn't so sure either -- I had to give him some incentive -- so I told him that he wouldn't regret meeting us.  He immediately guessed I was pregnant.  I told him I wasn't going to say anything and to please not say anything to mom.  He agreed to come in to Lee's Summit and meet us at 54th Street for lunch.

I had a couple of hours to devise a creative plan to share the good news with my parents.  In the mean time I had a dermatology appointment.  While I was gone -- unbeknownst to me -- Mike called and told his mom and dad.  I would have loved to have been there to hear their reactions but it makes me feel good that he was so excited to share our pregnancy with his parents that he just couldn't wait.  When I arrived home he told me that they were both SOO excited for us!  I began to work up my plan.  I drew up a fun picture and placed it in a professional portfolio...and informed Mike on how we were going to break the news.  I knew my dad already had an inkling that we were going to tell them we were pregnant so our plan was to throw them off.

We met my parents at 54th Street and my dad had a big smile on his face!  When we had been sitting for a few minutes Mike and I told them that we were going to explain why we wanted to meet them for lunch on a day like it was (snow, snow and more snow).    Mike told my parents that his company (Euronet World Wide) had offered him a significant raise if we were to relocate to Great Britain for 18 months.  He continued to explain that his company would rent our home for us and pay for the relocation.  I could see my dad was a little disappointed but they both seemed to be happy for us.  We put the portfolio infront of them and told them that the contract and details were inside.  When my mother opened it up there was the picture I drew along with the positive pregnancy test.  She immediately started to cry and my dad couldn't stop smiling.  We had a great rest of our lunch and had fun talking about baby stuff.

That day we also announced the good news to my sister and brother-in-law and Mike's brothers and sister-in-law.  They were all soo excited for us! 

Oh, and if you were wondering the cold sore never made its grand appearance.  So, I like to believe it was God's way of prompting me to go ahead and take the test!

Friday, February 25, 2011

Our Story: Then and Now


Mike and I met in 2003 at Graceland University in Lamoni, IA.  He was praying before his meal in our college commons and I was impressed that a big-shot football player bowed his head infront of his team mates and peers.  Ofcourse, being the outgoing girl I was, I immediately introduced myself and told him how cool I thought it was that he openly prayed before he ate.  That year we only would talk a couple more times as we didn't really hang out with the same crowd.

Mike was unable to attend GU my sophomore but, fortunately, returned my junior year.  It was this year that we would become very close friends.  I was the house president for the all female floor I lived on -- Paloma -- and my duties kept me from attending off-campus social activities.  Mike was going through a transitional time in his life.  He was reading the Bible daily and truly seeking the Lord.  Because of our circumstances we spent plenty of nights studying and hanging out in my dorm room.  That year we: spent Thanksgiving week together, went to house-sponsored functions together, prayed together, dyed his hair together, went to the library together, went to church together, watched movies together, and almost kissed.  :)  By the end of the school year, people were asking, "Why aren't you guys together?"  However, we spent the summer apart and actually dated our on and off long term significant others. 

*** May 2006.  At a Paloma "Fun in the Sun" function.  Still just friends.  :)

By the time our senior year started we both started to think about one another as more than just friends.  It only took a few weeks and Mike and I couldn't deny our intense feelings for one another.  We started dating and we both will witness to the fact that we knew from the start of our relationship that we would get married.  This being said, we spent our every free moment together -- literally.  I remember how much I missed him when he had to go to away games for football.  Mike and I first expressed we loved one another in October 2006 when I went to visit my friend, Carrie, at her University in Indiana.  I had such a good time but couldn't stop thinking and missing Mike back in Iowa.  It was so nice to finally say the words I had been feeling for the last couple of months!  That semester we enjoyed making dinners together, going to COSA events together and watching Grey's Anatomy together.  However, our grades began to suffer!  In December I flew to CA and spent 4 weeks with Mike's family while completing my middle school practicum.  It was lots of fun and I got to see how loving the Stephens' are -- which made sense because Mike was always so loving. 

***October 2006.  At a Stewart Manor function in Des Moines. 1 month into dating. 

Our last semester in college flew by as I was doing my student teaching as well as writing my senior thesis and Mike decided he wanted A+'s in every class.  Mike got a job with a company in Kansas City and shortly after I was offered a job in Excelsior Springs, MO teaching 11th graders American Government.  On May 15th 2007 Mike asked me to marry him by sending me on a walk-down-memory-lane scavenger hunt that ended with him riding up to me in a Knight's costume on a white horse!  Ya, you heard it right, a white horse! We graduated 3 days later and spent the next month in CA for Mike's brother's and best friend's wedding.  Once we got back to KC we started to wedding plan immediately because we had set the date for that October!  To say the least, the next 3 months were crazy! 

***January 2007.  At Pismo Beach, CA.  The first time I saw the Pacific Ocean.

On October 20th, 2007 (13 months after we started dating) we were married in Geneseo, IL by my father.  It was a beautiful, 75 degree day and both Mike and I will testify that the Jesus Christ was the center of the ceremony.  Our first year of marriage was incredibly busy and I'm not quit sure we were prepared for what the "real world" had to offer.  However, we managed to get by and had lots of great experiences.  We lived in a tiny 500 square foot appartment in North Kansas City enjoying its many perks such as large pool and tennis courts.  We bought our precious Sammie girl right before Christmas and fell in love with her the fist time we held her in our arms.  We traveled to Jamaica for our honeymoon that July -- it was so beautiful and such a blast.  We both changed employers and moved into my parents retirement home while they finished their last year of work in Illinois.

*** October 2007.  Our Wedding day -- a few minutes after we said, "I do."

Our second year of marriage was also busy but we were getting the hang of cohabitation and the thing our parents and teachers had warned us about -- real life!  We both had 30 minute commutes to our work places and living out in the good ol' Missoura country had its perks and draw backs.  Mike liked being able to walk around the house naked and I liked the space my parents house afforded us.  However, we both agreed that living 20 minutes from civilization sucked!  That year we: went to CA for Christmas and celebrated Mike's mom's 50th!, visited my sister and her husband in Frederick, MD, and bought our first home in Lee's Summit, MO.

***June 2008.  In front of the White House while visiting Lib and Dave in MD.

We spent the first half of our third year remodeling the home we bought.  God really blessed us in the fact that we were able to get 1/2 off the morgage through a government program for teachers called, "The Good Neighbor Next Door Program."  Remodeling was crazy and a lot more time consuming than I thought it would be.  For me, it was terrible -- I still can't look at a can of paint with out some ill-feeling.  For Mike, it was a lot of hard work, a lot of learning, and sort of an adventure -- although, I know he got sick of it too!  Fortunately, he had some good friends helping him most of the time.  In December, we moved in!  Hallelujah!  After that, we couldn't bring ourselves to do a home project for a good 6 months!  In January, we started to attack our student loan debt again and began to examine our budget for future family planning; as I was anxious to get started and had "baby fever" to say the least.  We decided to start trying that summer (2010).  I was soo excited!  Mike still had concerns, especially financial but he too was amused thinking about being a father.

***November 2009.  Taking a break from our home remodel. 

Soo...that is what we did!  Once June rolled around we started trying for a baby.  Unfortunately for us, pregnancy was not a bing-bang-boom -- you've got two lines on the pregnancy test -- kind of a deal.  In fact, it would take us 7 months to see that second line!  During that time we (especially me) had a lot of highs and lows.  However, God taught us (especially me) a lot about patience and faith in our journey to pregnancy and I am certain that it was His plan for us to get pregnant at the time we did -- December 27th to be exact.  Our 4th year of marriage started in chaos.  I was in my 4th season of coaching cheer, finishing up my masters, and worrying about my grandmother's health (She died in November -- I had the BEST grandmother anyone could ever ask for and I will forever miss her).  Mike was also busy at work closing out 3rd quarter and traveling to Mumbai, India.  We feel God knew that even though we wanted a child that it was just not the right time.  And, now I can't imagine having a baby in a month (which we would be doing if we were to have gotten pregnant that 1st month).  I am thrilled thinking Mike and I still have 7 months to prepare and enjoy just the two of us (3 if you count our Sammie girl).

*** January 1st 2011.We were 4 days pregnant in this pic and didn't even know it!  :)