Sunday, September 28, 2008

half way there

"i love birthdays"

well, today marks anna's 6-month birthday. "happy half birthday babe!"
i can't believe we're already half way to her first birthday.
i'm a little sad today that my baby is growing up so fast.
check out these cute pictures of her from today. what a girl!

"what, 6 months, already?"

i'm sad too, honey! but it'll be ok!

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

child abuse & other ramblings

now that i've got your attention (and possible been flagged by some child protection organization) it's not the kind of child abuse you are thinking of. in fact it's altogether the opposite. i have a few rather large (about the size of a quarter) bruises on my upper thighs from my child . . . he abuses me!! so, what child? you ask . . . since i have so many. i'll give you 5 guesses! actually, you might only need one if you know my kids at all (ok, so there might be 2 options, i guess -- oh, wait, i said 'he' earlier, so you probably figured it out). so, anyway it's joe! lately he has been quite a stinker (i told a couple people on monday that i was considering posting him on craigslist . . . for free!) and he is also very strong willed. so, when i need to physically restrain him to get him to a time out for, let's just say, kicking one of his siblings in the head or something minor like that, i have to pick him up and bring him to his room (and usually hold the door shut while he cools down for a minute). the whole time i am carrying him he is kickin' the living daylights out of me! thus the bruises. (i would post a picture of the bruises, but i'm quite certain noone wants to see a picture of my thighs . . . yuck! it's not pretty!) he's not 100% horrible or anything and many, many times is a very sweet, funny, wonderful kid. but he does have his nasty moments.

so, i have lots of "mandated reporters" in my life, but is there a cps (child protective services) equivalent to protect abused parents, i ask? let me know if there is.
now to speak to the nasty things he does to get himself in trouble. he is to blame, but he must share that blame, at least a little, with his siblings who love to provoke him . . . and know exactly how to do it. listen in . . . (this is just an example, not an exact word for word incident that actually happened. just a culmination of many things that have actually happened in the past weeks and months in our ever-so-peaceful home)
jacob, in a very whiny, crying voice: "joe is kicking me"
me: "jacob, you are 9, he is 3! just go away!"
jacob: "but i can't get away, he just comes after me."
(poor jacob! honestly . . . i think you can figure it out, but whatever!)

doesn't he just look like trouble?
anyway, that's enough of that.

i haven't said too much about anna lately but, man do i love that girl! she is so sweet and adorable and laughs the best big laughs. she totally lights up our lives (and lots of other people's too, i'm pretty sure!) she has just started eating cereal. i can't believe it! i don't want her to be big enough for that, and, i must admit, the whole baby food thing is not my favorite stage of mothering. i love nursing them and having them be tiny. i love this age in general, but my least favorite thing of all is eating time from when you start giving them food until they can actually pick up solid stuff (not ground up, mushed up yuck) and put it in their mouth by themselves. now, i've done this 4 times and i know it is short-lived and that there really are less than 6 months of having to feed them yucky "baby food"-type stuff, but still i don't like it. the bibs, the multi-colored drool and spit up all over, the spitting it out all over you, the big messes it makes, blah, blah, blah. she's still not sure about this whole cereal thing. she's just not sure she likes it. most of what goes in comes right back out, but with time and lots of effort, most of it gets down eventually. i'll have to actually photograph the whole ordeal and post one. when not sitting in her highchair to spit stuff out at me, anna is a mover. she's crawling with more skill every day and can pretty much get wherever she wants to go. she not to skilled, though, at going from a crawling position (hands and knees) to her back (for whatever reason she may want to be on her back). so, yesterday i'm in the kitchen and anna is crawling around the living room where some of the other kids are and i hear this loud thump. i ask what happened and rebekah is upset when she tells me that anna flipped over and thumped her head. anna is not even crying yet at this point (although she starts to a little bit after everyone starts checking on her to make sure she is ok -- she's learning to playing it up at such a young age!!). i guess she had been way up on her hands with her arms extended to their full (really long, i know) capacity when she flipped over onto her back. ouch . . . that would hurt. anyway, she's fine so don't worry, but we find her to be a very fun, very entertaining girl.

rebekah is rebekah. she is so mothering and nurturing and caring and sensitive. not that i am all those thing in as wonderful a way as she is, but, honestly, in so many ways she is completely and totally ME! yikes. it's like a double of me, but with curlier, nicer hair! (who looks like a girl version of her father!) she is great and i love her.

jacob is great too! 4th grade is tougher than 3rd and he is a little frustrated by that. he is mad that he has so much more homework than the girls (hello, do you remember 2nd grade and 1st grade, buddy? you didn't have much homework either. their time is coming). he loves to play with legos, read, listen to adventures in odyssey, play outside and ride his bike! he is also a sensitive kid and kirb says that jacob is exactly like he was as a boy; which might make his childhood a little tough but if he turns out like his dad in the end, will make him a wonderful, wonderful man as some point along the way!

lydia is lydia. what more can you say. she is totally her own person, with thoughts, ideas and fashion that i never would have come up with! she is a good friend and has fun at school. much to my surprise, her teacher told me that she has made friends with a set of twins in her class who are selective mute (they have never, ever spoken one word at school). this surprised me quite a bit and seemed a little out of character for my lj. i asked lydia how she "plays" with them if they don't talk and she said "we just point at stuff." well, good for you, honey. i'm sure you will be a good friend to them. she is a fiesty little thing though (even if she doesn't always look the part), so don't mess with her!

well, that's more than enough for now! bye bye!

Sunday, September 21, 2008

4,383 days

a little jeopardy for ya:

answer: 1.2 decades, 4,383 days, 105,192 hours, 12 years -- long enough for: 5 kids, 1 apartment, 1 house, 5 jobs, 49 birthdays (12 for me, 12 for kirb, 9 for jacob, 7 for rebekah, 6 for lydia, and 3 for joe), a dozen christmases, 3 er visits, 1 pet, 7 vehicles, 2 different centuries . . .

question: what is: how long have you been married?

kirbs, today marks our 12th anniversary! happy anniversary, my love. i love you even more today then i did on that (slightly rainy) september day in 1996! thanks for a dozen wonderful years of being my husband and best friend (you've been my best friend for nearly 17 years now, actually!) our life . . . it's a crazy ride. i'm so glad we're on it together! I LOVE YOU!

blog followers, i hope you enjoy these pictures of 2 little kids who were (and are) very much in love! and if you were there with us on that day, thanks for stickin' with us through the years: take a minute to remember the yummy leaf cookies, the vw bug convertables, the slideshow of baby pictures (which wasn't something everyone did, back in the day . . . it was new & exciting!), the BIG glasses that chuck wore as he pronounced us "husband and wife", the live 4-piece string ensemble, blowing bubbles in the rain and the miriad of really cute little girls who charmed all who were there . . . just to name a few things. if you have other carlson/stoll wedding memories, i'd love to hear 'em!

i can't think about my anniversary without thinking of ron & mary (allison's parents) who have graciously shared this special date with us through the past 11 anniversaries . . . today would have been their 40th. mary died in may. ron & mary celebrated their 28th anniversary at our wedding (watching allison as the best maid-of-honor ever!) and each year on this day i have thought of them too, as i think back to our wedding and remember our anniversary! mary is missed deeply by many and will never be forgotten. ron, allie, justin & sam (ava too) . . . you are in our thoughts and prayers today (as you are all the time). we love you!

Saturday, September 20, 2008


so, joe just pooped in his pants (peed too, in case you wanted to know). yuck!. no dr pepper for you, buddy! i thought we were doing so well. oh well, such is life with a 3-year-old.

Friday, September 19, 2008

funny boy

note: this post will only make sense if you read the one titled "oh crap" from about a week ago. if you didn't read that one, read it first or you'll just think i'm generally a gross person who likes to tell stories about poop. really, that's not who i am . . . overall anyway, but an occassional poop story can be known to lift the spirits and make me laugh! i have a good one i could tell on jacob from when he was about 1, but i will restrain myself!! (if you really, really want to know, i guess i might tell you. but you'll have to ask real nice!)

listen in on this lovely conversation that took place in our home this afternoon . . .

joe: "mom, where are you?"
mom: "in the bathroom."
joe: "mom, are you goin' poop?"
mom: "yes."

joe comes into the bathroom to join me (what fun!!!)

joe (very excited): "good job mom. you get some dr pepper! i'll get you some"

so, that's just a small peek into every day life around here. just makes you want to come on over and join the fun, doesn't it? the perk that came out of this, though, is that joe decided that he wanted to share my reward dr pepper with me and he pooped too (. . . on the toilet, which is still a big deal around here! yeah joe!)

Thursday, September 18, 2008


haddon came over for a visit today (um, jenn came too i guess) to celebrate his 3-week birthday stoll-style. that might not be completely true . . . it may have had more to do with the fact that his parents wanted me to matt and frame a picture for them, but i'm not 100% sure on that! maybe it was just because haddon missed me so much he couldn't stand it anymore.
well, lucky me jenn had to make a quick trip to the store and deemed me worthy to watch him for a little bit. (YEAH!) i seized the opportunity and pulled off a little photo shoot.

are they cousins or what? notice how they even hold their arms exactly the same. funny, huh?
i think they're pretty much the cutest babies around!

ok, maybe they won't be bff's. nice upercut, haddon! but watch out buddy, she has 4 older brothers and sisters so she's pretty tough. you might not want to mess with her!

haddon & joey: sweet boys!

alright buddy, i get the hint . . . haddon grew a little tired of his auntie taking his pictures and wanted to move on to something new.

we had a great time with him and hope he comes back again soon!

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

miracle of the week!

God is so good, God is so good, God is so good. He's so good to me!
He cares for me, He cares for me, He cares for me. He's so good to me!

Praise God from whom all blessings flow . . .

so, usually doing laundry doesn't make me want to burst out in song (and since i'm not the best singer around, i'm sure my family appreciates that) but today doing the laundry brings these two songs to mind (and ALMOST to my lips too, but anna's sleeping so i'll hold myself back). this is our "new" washing machine. it was delivered, FREE OF CHARGE, to our garage yesterday and last night kirb and my dad lugged it out of the garage, down the basement steps and hooked it all up in my laundry room! yeah! our 10-year-old washer broke about 2 weeks ago and we'd been hunting for a replacement, but without much extra cash to spend on it, that was a little tricky!

now, this is kind of a long story, but it's good so stick with me: my mom was talking to her friend peggy, and mentioned that our washer had "died" (she may have mentioned it due to the fact that in the interim between the old washer breaking and getting the new one my mom had been our laundry lady . . . picking up dirty baskets full and delivering them back to us clean and folded: admittedly i had a pretty good gig going) now peggy's husband, bob, is buddies with gary who does remodeling work. (i've never met gary in my life) now peg knew that gary was remodelling a house on lake of the isles (this is a good sign!!) and that the homeowners had ordered some new appliances to go with the remodel (sounds rough, i know) and they had asked gary to "get rid" of the old ones . . . are you still with me? well, when peg heard my mom say our washer had broken she got really excited and told my mom she knew where we could get one and told my mom about gary. as it turns out gary was out of town fishing and she woudn't be able to get a hold of him for a few days. peg left messages on all gary's various phones and when he got back to town he called her and she told him of our plight. gary, who was planning to sell the washer (and dryer . . . did i mention we got a "new" dryer too?), took pity on us because back in the day he had 5 little kids too! (thanks anna for tippin' the scales for us and bringin' us up to a 5-kid family!) and said that he would give them to us and that he and bob would even deliver them to our house the next morning . . . he had to have them out that exact day! what a miracle. (thanks again mom, peg, bob, & gary . . . and God!!) do you believe it?

so the washer (which is only 2 years old!) is in and hooked up and has already been tested (the laundry had piled up just a little even with my moms hard work . . . 7 people make lots of diry clothes!!) and the clothes are comin' out cleaner than they went in and there isn't a trail of water coming out from under it . . . praise the Lord! (which was what happened with the old one). so we are thrilled!! since we got a "new" dryer out of the deal too, we have an appliance repair guy (who is a friend of my brother's) coming to make a new gas hook up in our basement so that i'll have 2 dryers, which is great because if you know anything about laundry you'll know that it takes longer to dry than it does to wash, so this way i can just keep the laundry flowin' and stuff can get cleaner and dryer faster then ever! plus he'll take away the broken washer (and a broken dishwasher that's been sitting in our garage for quite a while!) while he's at it. anyway, what an unexpected answer to prayer, a blessing and a true miracle our family got this week. we are so grateful! (plus anna's cute little butt is grateful too . . . she usually wears cloth diapers, but given our situation had switched to disposable for a time and she got a nasty little diaper rash. just one day with the cloth ones back and her little butt is rash-free and cute as ever! yeah!)

note: i realize that a new washer does not make my yucky laundry room that much prettier, so just ignore the ugliness of the unpainted sheetrock behind and just look at the washer. also, note the pile of CLEAN laundry on the dryer . . . yeah! we're back in business!

Saturday, September 13, 2008

oh crap!

well, today is a banner day at our house . . . joey pooped on the toilet (ok, it was the potty chair, but as long as i didn't have to wipe it off his cute little butt i'm not going to be picky!) we've been trying for months now to get to this day with absolutely no cooperation from mr. joe! we've tried most every kind of bribery we could think of and all we got was whining and begging every time we went to the store to "please buy me some more diapers, mom!" anyway, i guess he finally decided it was an alright thing to do because he did it all by himself while the rest of the family was eating lunch (appetizing, i know. but we didn't care!). rebekah went to wash her hands when she was finished with her food and came back screaming "joey pooped, joey pooped!", so we all gather around to check out the poop (and the stink!! yikes! it was huge and it stunk up the whole house!) and cheered him on with hugs and high fives and all sorts of fanfare!

this can of dr. pepper (the whole thing) was his reward. he was THRILLED with that since he is a major fan of caffeine (you know, average 3-year-old stuff . . . coffee, dr. pepper, coke, lattes, coolers, tea: anything brownish in color . . . he has some eerie 6th sense for anything caffinated: somehow he knows to completely ignore stuff like, say, root beer which has no caffeine. i don't claim to understand this at all!) warning: for those of you easily grossed out by dirt or germs and stuff, you might not like this story: i found him once crouched over our recycling tub (outside, mind you!) putting every single pop can up to his lips in hopes that there was just a couple drops left in there that he could savor. he's like some sort of desperate addict!

anyway, yeah for joe and the poop!

laundry, laundry, laundry

alright, so our washing machine is broken. argh! last night we went out research shopping for a new one . . . did you know they make $5000 washing machines, yikes!! how can it possibly be that wonderful? at this point my mom, bless her heart, has been taking baskets of dirty laundry and bringing them back clean and folded . . . maybe it'll take a while to replace ours??? it's a pretty good gig, thanks mom! seriously though, if you love your washing machine, or if you hate yours, i would love to know. any advice and input you have in this decision would be helpful. i got some wonderful advice from an appliance repair guy on a few brands to stay away from in his opinion, which is always great to know. anyway, laundry is one thing i will NOT be doing today, i guess.
enjoy your weekend and the amazing fall weather . . . it's my absolute favorite!!!

Thursday, September 11, 2008

brownies anyone?

joe "helped" me make brownies this afternoon. tough work, huh bud?
a little clean up at the sink.
the brownies are very neccessary to combat the new back-to-school get-fit regimine that my friend tricia and i have embarked on. tomorrow is day 3 of "body pump" class to try to get a little bit toned and maybe drop a pound or 2. i ache all over (and have since monday when we kicked off this insanity), but from what i hear eventually i will actually enjoy it . . . i'm not holdin' my breath for that one though! i'll try and kept you up-to-date on the progress! for now the brownies should do a good job of reversing any positive effects from the first 2 workouts!


today it was joey's turn to bring the surprise bucket to preschool -- what fun!!! he put a toy school bus (huh, surprising choice!) and an elmo in there . . . that is, after narrowing it down from the 7 things he started with (you can bring 1 or 2 items for in the bucket). he loved having a chance to bring home the bucket and has talked about little else in the 48 hours since he took it home from preschool dreaming of what to fill it with. i can't believe it's over already, he'll get another turn but not for a few months.

here are all my kiddos waiting for the bus to come this cold, dreary morning. also today is picture day at falcon, so i hope they all got inside before the rain came and made them look like drowned rats. if not, oh well, most school pictures aren't of amazingly great quality anyway so i won't hold my breath! i had to promise joe some candy to even be in this picture, thus the lack of smiles from him, but that's just the way it goes.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

the great minnesota get together

so, in case you didn't know we are BIG state fair people (and part of our "big-ness" comes directly from the fair thanks to cheese curds, mini donuts, pork chops on a stick, french fries and yummy stuff like that)! we went to the fair twice this year, both times for about 9 hours and yes, we had all 5 kiddos with us for all of those 18+ hours! (i would have loved to sneak back one evening with just the hubby, but that didn't happen . . . maybe next year). here are a few pics from our times there. enjoy!

the kiddos all set for day #1 of the 2008 state fair. they are ready to begin "fair-ing" after a quick stop at the biffy after approximately 45 seconds inside the fairgrounds. since we just walked through the gates they are still pretty clean and perky (at least rebekah is!)

so, the little guy in this picture who doesn't quite look like a stoll isn't (everybody sing . . . one of these things is not like the other, one of these things just doesn't belong). his name is sam and we love him as much as any stoll. he is the adorable son of my best friend allison (although she goes by "allie" these days and i'm having a hard time conforming on that one after over 20 years of habit. i usually just call her al) and her wonderful husband justin. sam wants to have "7 brothers and sisters just like shana's family" -- i'm with ya on that one, buddy, but there aren't quite that many kids here, although often it seems like there are!

here's the whole wonderful family: justin, sam and allie, aren't they cute!! -- everyone say "ava" (ava is sam's sister who justin and al are in the process of adopting from korea. she's not even really born yet, but her name will be ava. now if we could just speed up the process and get her here that would be splendid!)

here is one of me with anna and a couple in the background who have a lot of their money invested in various body art . . . ahhh, the people watching one can do at the fair. anna was a good sport and spent lots of time in the sling at the fair since she's not really super fond of the stroller! sorry no pics of kirbs since he was the official camera operator of our visit to the fair!
we hope you made it to the fair too and had a great time!

he can bring home the bacon . . .

i realized today that i have completely neglected to post a picture of (or even mention) the most important member of the stoll crew . . . kirbs! ok, i know we're all important, but really . . . he makes the money, cooks the food, keeps me sane and just generally is the best guy around. so, here he is! my best friend, my husband, the love of my life, the world's greatest dad, super-duper worker person, man of God . . . and the list goes on!

i love ya, babe! welcome to the blog!

Friday, September 5, 2008

the new kid in town (ok, minneapolis, but we'll forgive him!)

introducing . . . haddon christian carlson! we are thrilled to have a new little man in our family. my brother, luke, and his wife, jenn, (actually mostly jenn!!!) just had this little guy and we're in love already. haddon was born exactly 5 months after anna and i know they are gonna be best buds! (in case you aren't keeping up on anna's exact age, he was born on 8/28). welcome, precious haddon. we love you lots and are thrilled to finally have a cousin who doesn't live a days drive away from us!

I guess it's getting chilly

after listening to one of the kiddos complain yesterday morning about being "freezing!" at the bus stop she decided to wear her winter hat to wait for the bus today. um, this is minnesota honey, it's gonna get a lot colder than this pretty quick. anyway, whatever, wear the hat! i'm not sure what kind of arctic gear she's gonna need in january! that hat is pretty much what she's got to last through the winter . . . and to think a few days ago we were sweating buckets and turning on the ac! that's life in mn for ya, i guess!

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

school is here!

i don't know who edgar w. howe is, but i just read a quote of his the other day that i answer with a resounding "amen"!: "if there were no schools to take the children away from home part of the time, the insane asylums would be filled with mothers."
i adore my kiddos, but everyone around here was pretty excited for school to start this year. jacob is in 4th grade, rebekah in 2nd, lydia in 1st and joey is off to his first year of preschool -- although he was very, very disappointed that he didn't get to travel there by bus! bummer bud, i'm sorry. just give it a couple years and you'll be on there with 'em!

Monday, September 1, 2008

on your mark, get set, go!

so, anna is pretty much a crawler now! yikes!!! i wish she would stop growing, but so far no luck with that. life is about to get even crazier (if that's possible) with her on the move!

we're "out there"

well, the stoll family is "out there" in cyberland now. if you want to get little bits of wisdom, funny stollisms and general stories from the craziness of our lives you've come to the right place. enjoy!!