Friday, November 28, 2008

flashback friday

once there was a boy who looked . . .

. . . like anna!

the first picture is jacob (at about 1) & his momma in the spring of 2000. the next one is a flashback (to) friday (ok, it was sunday the 16th, but i was trying to tie it in, so give me a break!) are they siblings or what??

Thursday, November 27, 2008

happy thanksgiving

praise God from whom all blessings flow.
praise Him all creatures here below.
praise Him above ye heavn'ly host.
praise Father, Son & Holy Ghost.

we have SO many blessings for which to thank the Lord. we wish you a great day of remembering yours!

happy thanksgiving!

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

guess who called?

so, guess who called me this morning about 7:30 or so? give up? God.
really. i learned about this cool new thing where you can get a phone call each day with a little 1 or 2 minute devotional thought with a few verses of scripture. God has called for 5 straight days now. what a nice way to start off the day. (oh, if you don't get up early, just let him know what time you want him to call and he can call then . . . wouldn't want to wake you!!!)

Sunday, November 23, 2008


today was our thanksgiving service at church (since thanksgiving is so late this year and next week is the beginning of advent already, we decided to have our thanksgiving service before thanksgiving rather than after). this service is, arguably, my favorite church service of the whole year . . . even though i had a nasty headache at the end from all the crying! (i cry most every sunday in church . . . um, you could probably take out the "most" in that phrase and it would be more true! but even more than usual today!). at the thanksgiving service we always have a few microphones at the front of the sanctuary and have time for people to come and share things they are thankful for. it is always such a moving service. i was touched by each person who shared this morning! also, kirbs did a bang-up job of singing "praise you in this storm" as part of the service and my good friend, shawna, brought a great children's sermon too (in which lydia made a long-winded, rather off-topic comment). i am so thankful for our wonderful church family. central is really a very unique place and, in my opinion, the best church around!! what a wonderful family of believers we are surrounded with there . . . people who pray for, support. love and encourage us through life. they struggle and rejoice with us and are behind us 100%. my kids have tons of extra "grandma's" and "grandpa's" there to love on them and the people of central truly are our family.

bff's reunited

well, rebekah got to see evelyn today for the first time in about 12 days. i don't think they've gone that long without seeing each other in quite some time!! often, rebekah calls evelyn the minute she gets off the school bus . . . after having spent the whole day together. so she was thrilled to have a little time with her friend. ev enjoyed showing off all her presents (and she has QUITE a few!). ev is doing well and will be back at school with her 2nd grade class when they return from thanksgiving break! praise God!

a preview

i think most of you know this, but just in case there is someone reading this who doesn't here goes:
when jacob was not quite 1 we wanted a family picture to put in our christmas card. we took quite a few and the one we liked best was of the 3 of us laying on our bed. the next year it was just the 3 of us again and we decided to try and recreate the picture since it had turned out so cute . . . and thus began an unintentional stoll family tradition of the bed picture. as one of the peterson girls (beka, i think) said one year "they did it on the bed again." and they found it extra funny when they read our christmas letter, after the comment about the picture, and discovered (for the second year in a row) that we were (again) pregnant! as a side note, that was the christmas letter of 2001 and we announced that we were pregnant with the little person that would turn out to be lydia in that christmas letter. no one, not even ONE person (except me and kirb) knew of our pregnancy before getting our letter . . . not even our parents! and since rebekah was only about 8 months old it was a shocker to most everyone. us included (although our shock came a few weeks before everyone elses . . . and not in the form of a letter). so, 2008 marks the 10th anniversary of the stoll family bed picture. 9 years and 4 more kids later, we're all still on the bed for the christmas picture. my mom (our photographer . . . THANKS MOM!) was worried the bed wouldn't hold all 7 of us, but since kirb has lost at least 1 kid's worth of weigh over the past 6 months or so (way to go, babe!) the bed held, and no one was injured. i think i counted 34 pictures that my mom took shooting for the big goal of 1 where all 7 of us are looking at the camera and appear half-way decent. here are some of the attempts:

in case you can't tell, joe has a piece of gum (which SHOULD be in his mouth!!!) between his fingers. you know how fun it is to play with gum? in the rest of the pictures he has returned it to his mouth! yeah!

and the winner is . . . .

honestly, did you think it would really post the winning picture here? you must not know me too well. no way! you'll have to wait for your christmas letter. and if you are a blog reader, the christmas letter will probably not be nearly as fun as usually since i have been posting the funny kid quotes on the sidebar for a while now. although there are probably a few that will make it that are not listed, so make sure to read them anyway! they're pretty much always good for a laugh or two!

Friday, November 21, 2008

flashback friday

i think this may be the least flattering baby picture ever in the history of the world! yikes! but it sure makes me laugh. anyway, that's joe (mohawk and all) at about 3 weeks!

and just so you know that he WAS a sweet baby, this one was taken about the same time. (may 2005) check out those cheeks . . . and the hair!!

Thursday, November 20, 2008

she's home!

well, miss evelyn came home this afternoon! she is digging out from under all her cards and presents on her couch in the living room! yeah! praise the Lord!

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

evelyn update!

evelyn is doing better all the time (although a little slower than everyone would like). she moved out of the PICU yesterday onto the regular floor. that was WONDERFUL news. she got to see her brother and sister for the first time yesterday and hopefully she will be coming home soon . . . we'll have an extra something to be thankful for next week, that's for sure.
here is the caring bridge update that ing wrote yesterday. i loved it:

"The Top Ten Reasons It's Clear Evelyn is Feeling Better:

#10 -- no more screechy, witch-like, this-would-have-been-great-for-Halloween voice telling nurses and parents to 'shoo' and 'hush'
#9 -- conversations overheard between Evelyn and stuffed animals
#8 -- a complete description by Evelyn to the respiratory therapist as to what the nurse needed to do before she did 'her thing'
#7 -- giving mom direction as to how to cut the pizza triangles at the correct angle
#6 -- telling mom that she really needs to see Don (the guy that cuts her hair) 'to get rid of this rat's nest in the back of my head -- maybe he could give me little curls all over with the curling iron, too!'
#5 -- conversations overheard between Evelyn's stuffed animals (narrated by Ev)
#4 -- telling mom that she'll wait for dad to go for a walk (this has to do with the softer nature of the latter, believe it or not)
#3 -- the character analysis of Sharpay (from High School Musical) 'Mom, she really does not talk kindly to others! She does get nicer at the end, though.' (Do you have evidence from the film to support your ideas, Evelyn?)
#2 -- trying NOT to laugh when Hugh was there visiting for the first time (because it still hurts!) and telling Frances about the new names she picked for her stuffed animals
And the #1 reason ... lots and lots of smiles from the notes, gifts, food, warm thoughts, and prayers of hope, courage, strength, resilience, and healing. We thank you SO much for all you have done."

Monday, November 17, 2008

oh joe!

warning: parental advisory on this post. slightly inappropriate use of humor . . . just don't say i didn't warn you:

joey loves hats! he loves this hat. he's had it since he was a baby. i thought maybe this year anna could wear it, but joe doesn't seem to want to give it up. he wore it ALL DAY on friday . . . inside and out! and over and over, all day while he had it on, he kept saying:
"when i jump my balls jiggle!"

he's talking about THE HAT, you see it has little balls on top . . . ok, enough said! have a great week!

evelyn update!

i don't have tons of info on evelyn, but she keeps headin' in the right direction. i talked to ing this morning and she said she's had a couple rough nights and a couple pretty good nights, she's been up and walking around a little and will hopefully move out of the PICU today! she (evelyn that is) is crabby, (although ing also has every right to some crabbi-ness in my opinion), it turns out, in evelyn's case, that this is a good sign!! thanks so much for your thoughts and prayers!

Saturday, November 15, 2008

super saturday

what a fun [but VERY busy & tiring] saturday we all had. the big girls and i went with my mom and my cousin brie to the mall of america for the grand opening of the newest american girl store!! a year ago at thanksgiving my parents and i took the girls [there were only 2 of them at the time . . . well, i guess anna was there too since i was pregnant] to chicago to go to american girl place there! it was great and they LOVED it and were thrilled to learn, this summer, that we were getting an american girl store in minnesota! what big news! anyway, it opened at 9, so we wanted to be there before that. we arrived at the mall about quarter to and actually go to the american girl store about 8:50 or so. well we saw a big line in front of the store . . . a couple hundred people i would guess.

we went up to one [of the many] security guys and asked which was to the end of the line and he said, "the overflow line is over there" and pointed around the corner to another group of a couple hundred people lined up in a totally different area! yikes!

there was a lot of estrogen in that place . . . tons of girls carrying tons of dolls [some girls even matching with their dolls], tons of excited moms, lots of grandmas and even a few dads and brothers [but not TOO many!] it wasn't as big or as much of an "experience" as the chicago store, but it is great to have a store close to home. [no more "shipping & handling" charges!!] my mom commented that there sure didn't seem to be any sign of a recession at that particular place today! lots of money was being spent . . . you had to wait in another horrendous line to pay for your purchases. amazingly we got in and out without spending a penny . . . but christmas lists WERE made! i promise you that!

then we shopped a little before heading across the street to ikea for lunch. a super fun surprise awaited us there when we saw a facepainter who was fancy-ing everyone up! rebekah went over to ask how much it costs and she said "just a big smile" so we got in line. now this was no run-of-the-mill facepainter . . . this lady was an artist! here's a little proof:

lydia was a princess (that's a crown) and rebekah was a butterfly! i got my face painted too, but i won't blog that one . . . if i would have thought of it in time i could have had her disguise that big zit on my face, but i never think of that kind of stuff at the proper time. oh well!

a super fun day was had by all . . . kirb took the boys, and anna, to the nwc football game. it was chilly and they didn't win, but it was an experience and it wore the kids out. hopefully a good nights sleep will be had by all! nighty night!

Friday, November 14, 2008

flashback friday

since it's been an evelyn kind of a week i thought i should include her in flashback friday. here is part of the orange city soccer team from the summer of 2006. fran (evelyn's sister) is on the far left, evelyn is next and that's rebekah holding the ball on the far right. i can't believe how much they have changed and grown up in just over 2 years!

have a great weekend!

Wednesday, November 12, 2008


praise God! ev is doing great and already got her breathing tube out (they thought it would be in until morning). something that rebekah wrote on the caring bridge site made her smile, ing said. you can check her caring bridge site if you want updates straight from the the source. otherwise, i promise to fill you in to as i get new info! the address is thanks SO MUCH for all your prayers!

she's out!

well, i just got a short little caringbridge update, here it is:
Evelyn is successfully out of surgery. The surgeon said that everything went well. She'll sleep through the night with a breathing tube to keep her blood pressure low.

Pam (Ing's sister)

so, that's what i know. i haven't had a chance to talk to ing yet . . . i'm sure she has a million other things on her mind. praise God all went well! thanks so much for all your prayers, i'll let you all know when i have more info!

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

what's new?

well, we're hangin' in there around here. it's sleeting and nasty outside, yuck . . . but here are a few new things in our lives:

we're praying for ev and her surgery in the morning. if you think of it we would appreciate all your prayers as well. "the prayer of the righteous is powerful and effective" you know!! (it says so right there in james 5:16). and this one is especially meaningful today: "above all else guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life." (proverbs 4:23) we're looking ahead to hearing a good report tomorrow and seeing her back in full evelyn-form soon! (if you know her at all then you know that "full evelyn-form" is quite a thing to behold :)) we love you ev!!!

we're all a little under the weather, but not totally sick. kirb came home early today and is taking a nap . . . as are joe and anna who also aren't feelin' 100%. hopefully it won't get any worse and they'll be back up and at 'em soon. also, we're hopin' no one else catches it (especially the MOM!)

the blessings just keep comin': you might remember the miracle washing machine. just today we got a free refrigerator. believe it or not, we have a thing for getting free appliances (we got a free dishwasher in 2007 that was also a huge blessing . . . but that was pre-blog). my grandma and her sister bought a townhouse together recently and the previous owners had done a kitchen remodel and got new appliances (sounds familiar . . . much like the washing machine story). anyway, turns out 2 women in their 80's don't have much use for an extra frige in the basement so they said we could have it. it also turns out an extra frige in the basement DOES come in handy for a family of 7!!! i washed all the shelves and drawers and bins and stuff this morning and hopefully soon it will make it's way into our kitchen and the old one will move to it's new home in the laundry room. if we can get the water piped over to that part of the kitchen we might even be blessed with an ice-maker . . . will wonders never cease?

Friday, November 7, 2008

flashback friday

only in minnesota!!

most of this week temps were in the 70's . . . right now it is snowing!

tooth update

they broke through yesterday . . . both of them. hopefully she'll feel a little happier now!

Thursday, November 6, 2008

a tooth-y week

it's been a toothy week at our house. sunday night lydia lost a tooth that had been "just about to fall out" for about 2 weeks . . . literally! i can't believe it hung on so long. anna has 2 teeth just about to cut through. they are so close. you can see them and you feel them (a couple times this week that has been noticed in a rather unfortunate sort of way by a part of my body i will refrain from mentioning on my blog . . . but if you're smart you may be able to figure it out). i expect them to finally pop through any minute. i'll let you know when they arrive . . . maybe even post a cute toothy picture!

as it turns out it must have been a busy tooth week in places other than our home because the tooth fairy was SO busy on sunday night that she could not make it to our house. wait, maybe she doesn't work weekends! whatever the case she did remember (. . . um, make that catch up on her route) on monday night and lydia was very understanding! ooops!!!

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

surgery update

evelyn had her pre-op appointment this afternoon and the surgery is going to be rescheduled for wednesday 11/12. i think the change was due mainly to the surgeon's schedule. they had the chance to ask a few questions though, and the answers were surprisingly optomistic. (in my opinion anyway). they think ev will be in the hospital less than a week and that she should only have to miss about a week of school. she can go back to dance class about 2 weeks post-op they thought! anyway, i expected her to miss WAY more school than that. so that is wonderful! evenly was excited to miss some school though, so i hope she's not bummed! :) so, now we'll wait until a week from tomorrow and get this show on the road. i'll try to keep you up-to-date, but if you want detailed medical information, you aren't gonna get that from me. (i'm not that smart!) i expect ing to do a good job giving helpful info (medical and otherwise) on the caringbridge site, so feel free to check in there too!

election day

well, the 5 kiddos and i headed to the polls before school this morning. the wait was not as long as i anticipated (only about 20 minutes . . . yeah!). kirb happened to be there the same time as us -- a little ahead of us in line. the 4 big kids stayed with him and i took anna to the back of the line. kirb voted and had the 4 big kids all finished voting at the "kids vote" booth just as i was done with my turn. perfect timing. joe, being the sweet boy that he is, voted for me for president. hopefully he is the only one because that is NOT a job that i want! now we wait . . .

all the kids at falcon heights elementary got to vote today too . . . so, my 3 big kids voted twice. we'll have to talk about how that is not normally ok. anyway, obama took falcon by a landslide: 303 to 97. now we'll see what the grown up world decides. (my kids were a little bummed to learn that their votes didn't count).

update: jacob might have to go to bed soon, before he has a nervous breakdown! he is totally addicted to the election coverage and is getting a little overly stressed about it! relax babe, you are only 9, you shouldn't let it get to you quite so much!

Monday, November 3, 2008

what's on evelyn's face?

what's that on ev's face? you may ask. it's just left over whiskers from her tiger costume from halloween. i took the pictures on saturday and it just hadn't all come off yet . . . nope, inefficient hearts don't cause weird blackish lines on your cheeks!! just in case you were wondering.

calling all pray-ers

one week from today, at almost this EXACT time, rebekah's best friend, evelyn, will be having open heart surgery. ev and rebekah met in preschool and have been the best of friends every since. long story short: evelyn was born with a heart defect and had 4 open heart surgeries her first 3 years of life. she got a transplant in february of 2004 (open heart surgery #5) and is now getting ready for sugery #6 next monday morning (11.10.08) at 7 am. here is what her mom wrote about the surgery (i'll just use her explanation since my medical knowledge is not so vast!):

"Basically, Evelyn has a piece of muscle tissue just below the aortic valve that is causing her heart to pump inefficiently. Her pressures below that part of her heart are exceedingly high because she has to force blood past the tissue and then through the valve. This is a problem that her surgeon fixes 10-11 times a year and he said, "It was a matter of time that we'd see it in a transplanted heart." Of course, Evelyn will be the first to have it fixed in a transplanted pediatric patient. Her doctors are certain this is the best plan for her and have researched the options since discovering the problem in August.

The surgery is scheduled for Monday, November 10th at 7:00 am. She will have her pre-op appointment this Tuesday. We'll find out more as far as the surgery itself and expectations for recovery. When we met with her surgeon, he said, "Let's do it Monday, and we'll get her home for the weekend." We'll see...Evelyn plans to tell her classmates that she'll be gone next week. I asked her how she'd like to handle it and she said, "I'll just ask Mrs. Huffer for a few minutes before our morning meeting Monday." Evelyn is not fearful of this, but she knows other people may be worried about her. We told her that people pray for those having surgery and give them hugs, gifts, etc. We ask that you respect her eight year old perspective, though, and the work we've done to make certain she has positive feelings about the hospital. She knows she's had five other surgeries, and she is having this one to make her heart work better.

We thank you -- in advance -- for your support."

so there you have it. rebekah does not seem too concerned yet and is excited for the chance to visit evelyn in the hospital. the girls (it just so happens that lydia's best friend is ev's sister frances, which works out nicely for us) spent almost all weekend together. they were here on saturday and at their house on sunday. they had a great time together! these are a few pictures i took on saturday. ev & rebekah are quite a pair, as you can see!!!

please pray for evelyn, for her older brother, hugh, and younger sister, frances, her parents ing & dennis, the surgery, the doctors and all that stuff!! it's a big deal, but she's a trooper and we trust all will go well. thanks so much for joining us in praying for this great family. if you want you can also visit evelyn's caringbridge site. there is a link on the left hand side of my blog, or the address is we appreciate your prayers so much!!

very impressive!

good job on the cow guessing everyone . . . somehow i thought it would be harder, but you did great.

in case you would still like to know, or need clarification, the cows are:
1. Anna ('08)
2. Rebekah ('01)
3. Jacob ('99)
4. Joe ('05)
5. Lydia ('02)

yeah to all the winners! i promise you some sort of prize in the somewhat near future. good job!

here are the winners (in the order of response): ama (my mom!), megan, kelli, amanda (who gets some sort of extra credit for guessing by both nickname and year! what an overachiever!), kirby (good thing he got them right!!), margaret, luke (jenn & haddon too!), mary and allison!