Ben is finding it hard to do anything besides study and do assignments, so after being gently reminded by a great many people that our blog has not been updated since early December, I decided to learn how to do it. Unfortunately sometimes when a person learns something it then becomes their job, which I'm guessing might just happen in this case...
We thought we’d better mention something we noticed about our recent blog posts: they tend very heavily to pictures in Saskatchewan and very few to none in North Dakota. The reason for this has nothing to do with our affection for family members in North Dakota, but with the fact that our family in Saskatchewan take pictures while we are there and send us pictures which we then post to our blog. If the pictures on our blog were all from our taking, there would be few from Saskatchewan either. Just in case people were wondering why they weren’t seeing the Stegman side of the family on the blog page. :)
For the past 18 months I have almost daily realized the need for a journal, but have yet to start one. One month after Emily was born I remembered I had such good intentions of keeping a journal while I was pregnant, but was forced to rely on my not so good memory to start a journal for her...hence the reason there are only 3 days of "memories" written down. Why am I rambling? In case I accidentally remember something wrong, I have a caveat.
Life has been very busy since December 16th. We enjoyed a great many long discussions with both families in ND and SK, bringing back so many memories and stimulating questions about Christian agrarianism, where to go in the future, NAIS – INTERRUPTION
Ben just informed me that it was high time I wrote something since for the past 18 months his blog has said "Thoughts, News and Ruminations of an Iowa Veterinary student, his wifely side kick and his daughterly protégée". Emily would get her 2 cents in but is busy in her jolly jumper trying to get a spoon in her mouth but not succeeding because her jumping causes her arm to bounce up and down and her mouth never opens in time to catch the spoon as it goes by.
And now I’ve forgotten what I was typing about! Oh well..
We enjoyed a very busy first week working at the clinic, Emily and Tia included. Tia and Emily slept till almost noon every day before waking up for an hour or two to visit, entertain clients and then fall asleep till closing time, making it very easy for me to do inventory. As she only takes 2 short hour cat naps per day now, I can’t imagine taking her to work and getting much done. Not to mention trying to keep her quiet as she’s developing new vocal talents which include low guttural grunts and high pitched shrieks while she talks to her toys.
Christmas Eve came and with it a lot of enjoyment from a variety of hand made gifts and an evening of indulgence with Grandma Barnes, Aunt Tina and Uncle Sam’s delicious gifts of cheese, crackers, goodies and the like.
Christmas Day came bright and early with lots of wild trading and haranguing at our annual Christmas Breakfast. For those that don’t know, Christmas morning is when the Hudson’s Bay trading company opens in Stegman’s Isaiah building. Everybody gets in their requests for their favorite foods which may mean you get a huge block of cheese and a gallon of chocolate milk, while somebody else gets the crackers and chocolate cookies (yes, it is all highly nutritious;). So you trade to get a ... balanced meal ;) – or you don’t trade and you hoard all your goodies. It is all done in fun and by the end of the day everybody is giving things away because they never want to see another Oreo cookie or raspberry cream chocolate. Unfortunately Eric, Lance and I got sick that day, so not much looked very good to us – although it benefited the others greatly. :)
Boxing Day (December 26th to you Americans) saw us on the road to Saskatchewan. We had a wonderfully peaceful trip compared to the one at Thanksgiving when the van broke down 10 miles from Cavalier, and then started to die 10 miles after we got into Canada, requiring us to turn around and go back to switch it for our hastily licensed truck.
We had a wonderfully lazy week in Saskatchewan and enjoyed an East Indian feast on my birthday. I had tried to make a pitiful version of it for Ben last year, but Mom did it right and I believe he enjoyed it far more than my Americanized version. I opted not to ride the horse bareback the way I did at Thanksgiving (I had forgotten how many muscles have been "resting" the past 18 months ...), but instead trimmed his hooves (reminding me of another set of unused muscles), wandered around the farm reminiscing, de-wormed cats, spread straw for the steers and even recorded a few songs for Grandma and Grandpa Norton. Ben and Stephen recorded a couple of beautiful guitar pieces, and we were wowed after being given a quick listen to some of the boys finished songs that are going onto their cd, which they hope will be finished soon.
We came back to Iowa early for a veterinary law course Ben was taking and after spending the weekend with a smoking van, a quick call to the local service center and $98 dollars later we had a $1300 estimate on a cracked head gasket. So on Thursday, we had a short visit from mechanic brother Andrew who brought the truck and trailer down to haul our dead van back to ND to be fixed at a more reasonable price. We had hoped the van could be fixed in time, but found a few extra problems while taking it apart, so our faithful little white minivan is back with us in Iowa. We have many things to be thankful for, the least of which is having the van not die on us while we were driving to Iowa!! After trying to help Andrew fix the problem, Ben and I had newfound appreciation for those in Andrew’s line of work. Ben has often told me that of the entire specialties one could do in veterinary medicine, the least enjoyable, and job he would never want would to be a surgeon. After a few hours of helping Andrew he said being a mechanic rated about 10x worse than being a surgeon. :) So many thanks to Andrew for his patience with our vehicle problems!!
We are down to one cat after Veinerschnitzel ran away from home in November. We were almost down to none as Frankfurter (ie Frank, Franklet etc) decided to disappear the day we left ND for Iowa. Buddy cat and he conspired to make sure we left him in North Dakota that time, but we got the better of the two this last trip and locked Frank up the night before we left – ha!
5 month old Emily is growing like MRSA (if you don’t know what this is – ask Ben!) and getting the sweetest little voice and cutest head of blond hair. She is sure a lot more active and rolls back and forth all the time. She spends a lot of time in her jolly jumper and little high chair playing with things and yelling at the top of her lungs. She and Auntie Anna Nasby will get along splendidly some day. (Auntie Anna is also known to be very loud when she plays) While I haven’t been able to convince her to stomp on the piano keys, she finds the computer keyboard very interesting and loves to sit and help me type...
Jkjajh;hh - there we go. Emily’s 2 cents.
We are also starting to teach her to leave things alone, as she finds assorted things very interesting and tasty.
"You have given birth to a goat," was Ben’s comment when she shoved a place mat into her mouth the other night. She also likes bubbles, shirts, weights, hair, and bits of bread, and dislikes potatoes and fruit and most other edible items.
Here it is already 11PM and ½ hour past her bedtime. God has been good to bless us with so many friends and loved ones who support us in this sometimes trying and stressful venture. City life gets hard for those who long for life back in the country, and professors, exams and lectures get old, but we see the light at the end of the tunnel and sense God’s direction every step of the way.
Heather, Ben, Emily, Tia and Frank.