Thursday, December 31, 2009

Thankful Thursday

Today I am thankful for the year we are completing.
2009 :: What a great year it was.
Filled with blessings and memories :: Watching our kiddos grow up even more each day. Anna becoming a walker and a talker. Making cards, cards and more cards Rebekah's summer swim team. Celebrating 13 years of marriage to a most-wonderful guy! Time with friends! Hitting the {not-so-big} 3-5. Keeping up with finding 24 verses to ponder, reflect on and {pretty much} memorize this year. Ava joining our extended family. A new job. Lots of crafting. Family camp at Trout. Time in Warroad with Kirby's family. Overall health for all 7 of us.
So much for which to thank the Lord!

Looking forward to what 2010 will hold for me and for our family.

Blessings to each of you as you begin the new year!

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

The Big Reveal {girls bedroom facelift}

In 2007 {when Joe was scheduled to move downstairs to his "big boy bed" and share a room with Jacob since Anna was soon-to-arrive and render him room-less} my parents gave the boys room a makeover as a Christmas gift. They painted, we bought new bunk beds, they got fun new bedding and a great mural on the wall. It was great!

Well, this summer we swapped rooms with the girls and they have been enjoying their new, bigger room, but it was really in need of a spruce up and some TLC. We had never painted the walls in the upstairs bedroom as long as we had lived here {we moved in in 1998, and since the Gardner's -- who lived here before us -- didn't use the upstairs it might have been quite a while before that when last it was painted!}. So, the first order of business was new paint. We decided on a color; I know it has a "prettier" name, but we call it orange:
Then my parents {my dad mostly} got to work painting:
Finally all the paint was done! My mom and I painted some circles on the wall as a border behind their beds. My parents {my mom mostly} got some new bedding and fun pillows to coordinate with the new "big girl" theme. We hung stuff up on the wall and straightened up a bit and when the kids got home from school just a couple days before Christmas we lead them up the stairs for the big room reveal.

They were so excited:

Thanks, Ama & Bop Bop, you guys are the best and we love you!
The girls are loving their new room and have been spending lots more time up there playing and reading and just hanging out. What a great Christmas gift . . . one they will remember and "use" every day for a long time to come!

Monday, December 28, 2009

Multitude Monday

Here's my continuing Multitude Monday posting, which all started here. So, without further introduction, the next installment of my "One Thousand Gifts":

42. history
43. neighbors who clear the snow off your driveway out of the goodness of their heart while you sleep in and watch the snow fall {while listening to the noisy snowblower right out your bedroom window!}
44. chats with friends
45. family
46. giving gifts
47. a warm home
48. being able to sleep in a few days in around until the clock flipped over to the 8 o'clock hour {I can't remember when last that happened}
49. wii soreness
50. singing "Happy Birthday" to Jesus with those I love most
51. really exciting news!!
52. fresh snow on the ground
53. safety while traveling the scary roads we've had around here for the past week or so
54. sleepovers, and the excitement of girls
55. Christmas surprises
56. an exceptionally thoughtful husband
57. kids who are generous, grateful, thankful, sweet and kind
58. a Lord who came as a baby . . . for me!
59. dr. pepper
60. creativity
61. a toddler in pigtails

Alrighty, that's it's for now. Tune in next Monday for installment #4 and feel free to join in if you'd like. {It's good therapy!}

holy experience

Friday, December 25, 2009

Flashback Friday

christmas 2005

merry christmas to you!

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Thankful Thursday

In those days Caesar Augustus issued a decree that a census should be taken of the entire Roman world. (This was the first census that took place while Quirinius was governor of Syria.) And everyone went to his own town to register.
So Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to Bethlehem the town of David, because he belonged to the house and line of David. He went there to register with mary, who was pledged to be married to him and was expecting a child. While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born, and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn.
And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them, "Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ, the Lord. This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger."
Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying, "Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to men on whom his favor rests."
When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, "Let's go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about."
So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in the manger. When they had seen him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child, and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them. But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart. The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things they had heard and seen, which were just as they had been told.
On the eighth day, when it was time to circumcise him, he was named Jesus, the name the angel had given him before he had been conceived.
{Luke 2.1-21}

How could I not be thankful?
Merry, Merry Christmas to you!

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Lunch time prayer

Joe prays the best prayers, so I thought I'd try to capture one on video today at lunch . . . pretty great stuff from a kid who is still wearing his pj's in the middle of the day! You'll be happy to know that shortly after lunch he changed out of his pj's and in to swim trunks {it's in the teens and there's lots of snow here!}. Silly boy!

You can hear {and see -- it's entertaining how he plays with a car the whole time. Eyes wide open and hands not the least bit folded} his prayer here :: enjoy {and maybe have a few kleenex handy just in case!}


Yesterday was Joey's preschool program. He was excited {actually we all were}:
Here he is doing his "big" line:

Monday, December 21, 2009

Multitude Monday

Here's my continuing Multitude Monday posting, which all started here. So, without further introduction, the next installment of my "One Thousand Gifts":

19. a wonderful weekend
20. reading Christmas books together on a Sunday afternoon
21. a much-desired nap
22. great Christmas music
23. mail
24. making gifts for others
25. date night!
26. pictures
27. mod podge
28. a vehicle to drive while shopping for a "new" one
29. a wonderfully {divinely} timed bag of hand-me-downs
30. reusable grocery bags
31. fresh snow
32. a couple more days of school for the kids, so I can get the rest of the stuff done
33. kids who make me laugh
34. a wonderful church service yesterday!
35. abilities
36. friends home from afar (Hi Ya Yash! we love you!)
37. pandora
38. hulu
39. "elf" {and laughter}
40. sleeping in
41. music

Alrighty, that's a pretty good start. Tune in next Monday for installment #3 and feel free to join in if you'd like. {It's good therapy!}

Sunday, December 20, 2009

A little of this and a little of that

The Santa Baby in the picture from Friday's post was Joe. Most of you got it right; way to go! Congrats to Amanda, Rachel, Jenn, Mary, Melanie, Sandy, Tricia, Michelle & J who all guessed and/or answered correctly. We had a few other great guesses {those Stoll babies can be tricky, they all look so much alike at first . . . when I had Rebekah, I literally said to Kirby, "I already had this baby, I thought I was getting a different one this time." She looked, as a newborn, SO much like Jacob had it kinda freaked me out!} I'm not random-number-generator high tech or anything like that, but I asked Rebekah to pick a number between 1 and 9 {since there were 9 correct answers} -- I would have asked Joe since he was the subject of the whole contest, but I'm not completely confident in his ability to really know what numbers there are between 1 & 9 so I went with Rebekah since she is completely capable of counting correctly all the way to 9! She picked 6, so the lucky winner is Sandy. Way to go, my dear! I'll send you your super fantastic Shana-made prize ASAP . . . maybe it'll even arrive in time for you to re-gift it to someone you forgot to get something for. Don't hold your breath, it won't really be all that terrific, but I'm sure you are honored to even win, right?

In case there wasn't enough going on right now, we've also embarked on this project:
Actually my parents are doing all the work. Giving a facelift to Rebekah and Lydia's "new" room is my parents Christmas gift to them. {they redid the boys room for Christmas in 2007}. Don't tell, but tomorrow fun new bedding will be added to to the makeover! The room is not quite done yet, but the painting part is all completed. Now we just need to finish putting stuff back where it belongs, hang a few things on the walls and make up the new beds and it will be a very Merry Christmas indeed! Here are a few pictures as things are now:
Here's the color we went with. I don't know what it's officially called, but we call it orange:
The Sara Groves Christmas concert on Friday night was absolutely wonderful! I just love her music, her storytelling, her passion, her adorable kids {the oldest of which is named Kirby!}, her style and what her music has meant to me and in my life. In case you don't know her music {shame on you!} these are a few of my favorites: this one is so moving, this one is so very true and this one is like the story of my life {and it's Rebekah's favorite!} and every parent can relate to this {hilarious!} one. Her music resonates with me like nothin' else I've ever heard! Amazing stuff! The concert was wonderful, worshipful and long {3 hours!}. Worth every penny . . . and even more, but don't tell her that or she might up the prices next time around and I'm all about a good deal! But if, per chance, you know her well enough to actually tell her that anyway, next time you talk to her tell her I said "Hi" and that I think if we actually met {well, I guess technically we have met . . . twice . . . but standing in line the night of a concert when she met 80 zillion other people doesn't quite count, I don't think!} we could be quite wonderful pals!

Christmas is in 5 days and I still have quite a few gifts left that I need to finish making! Yikes! I had a huge chunk of time yesterday to work on making Christmas gifts. One project that I had never attempted before, but wanted to make for 4 or 5 people on my list was a total bust. I couldn't get it to work out at all and after a couple hours {ok, maybe it wasn't a couple hours, but it felt like it!} of success-less work I gave up and scratched that idea . . . but now I have to come up with something else for those people. They were gonna be so cool too . . . I'll try again when I have a little more time to experiment. I'm determined to get it to work! Then, the next thing I attempted was also something I had never made before, but I had made other very similar things so I knew I could pull it off. What I didn't calculate correctly was how very long it would take. It turned out amazing. Fun, cute and exactly how I wanted it to turn out, so that is great. Unfortunately, though, it took about 5 times longer to make than I expected it would. So, that shot my big chunk of time. I should actually be working on the rest of the stuff right now and not blogging, but alas . . .

Joey's preschool program is tomorrow. It's gonna be so cute. My grandma {the kid's GG -- you know, Great Grandma} is going to accompany the group and she is just as excited {if not more so} as Joe! I can't wait!

I can tell I've been spending lots of time downstairs working in my office {where my computer also is} because I just got an email from Pandora saying that I was close to approaching my 40-hour limit of free listening for the month of December. Since I don't want to pay the 99 cents for unlimited listening for the remainder of the month I'll just have to pace myself or actually listen to my own music or just work in silence or something.

For about the past 2 weeks or so Anna has reverted to not sleeping through the night. She's been waking up a time or two each night. The kicker is that when she wakes all up crying all she wants is Zho Zho {think Zha Zha Gabor . . . that's kinda how she says "Joe Joe"}. As it turns out {thanksfully} "Zho Zho" is usually sleeping at 2am, so we don't really indulge that desire! But, boy does she want him and she's all the more mad when I tell her he's sleeping . . . and, as it turns out, so is the entire rest of the family. Hopefully she'll cycle back to sleeping all night again real soon. But for now I find it sweet how enamored those 2 are with each other. None of our other kids have ever been quite so love-y with a sibling. It's pretty cute. What a pair!

Well, I think that's all the weekend updates that I've got. Kirb isn't feeling 100%, so I hope he doesn't get much worse and I really, really hope he doesn't get what I had. That would be terrible!

Merry Christmas to all and to all a good night!

Friday, December 18, 2009

Flashback Friday

Santa baby::
guess who!

I'll pick a random person from all correct answers {or guesses, whichever the case may be} to win a fun little {handmade} prize.
Guess away {or, if you're feelin' confident, then just tell me who it is!}
Ready. Set. Go::

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Thankful Thursday

I am so thankful for these . . . and SO excited to use them tomorrow night with my favorite person around! Just. can't. wait!

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

That's a wrap . . . Verse #24

I can't believe it. Verse 24. A whole year has somehow gone by since I started this. That is amazing to me. When I started Anna was still a babe. Now she's a big girl! Time sure flies. So, without any further wallowing about the speed of life, I present to you verse #24 ::
One thing I ask of the Lord,
this is what I seek:
that I may dwell in the house of the Lord
all the days of my life,
to gaze upon the beauty of the Lord
and to seek him in his temple. {Psalm 27.4}
Isn't that wonderful! If you don't know about my "resolution" to memorize 24 scriptures in 2009 and you want to know what in the world I'm talkin' about, you can check it out here. I've got a little more room in my spiral, so I might just keep going. We'll see!

Monday, December 14, 2009

Multitude Monday

I read this a little while ago, but hadn't had time to get on the wagon with Ann until now. This is right up my alley and I'm excited to get started. So, without waiting another minute let me get started with my own "One Thousand Gifts":

1. unexpected treats
2. the sound of a sleeping child
3. silent, beautiful falling snow
4. a cozy blanket
5. the ability to read {and a good book!}
6. an amazing, wonderful husband and partner in life!
7. friends that mean so much to me
8. my camera {such a fun way to capture time and memories}
9. my kiddos
10. christmas cards in the mailbox
11. a loving God
12. thoughtfulness expressed
13. "just to say hi" phone calls
14. the color of my walls
15. my garage
16. antibiotics
17. creativity
18. smiles

Alrighty, that's a pretty good start. Tune in next Monday for installment #2 and feel free to join in if you'd like. {It's good therapy!}

Friday, December 11, 2009

Flashback Friday

It's amazing to me that I took this picture of Anna just over 2 weeks ago . . . outside. Coatless {and wearing a sundress . . . over jeans and a long sleeved shirt, but still, a sundress}. It was in the 50's that day. Today is a completely different story altogether! The temps have dropped nearly 60 degrees since then. I thought you could maybe use a little perspective today too. Crazy, huh? Minnesota, you never know what you're gonna get! Maybe by Christmas we can wear our flip flops again . . . but I won't hold my breath!

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Thankful Thursday

I had a dentist appointment at 7 o'clock this morning.

Strange way to start a Thankful Thursday post, I know!

It made me thankful for my life: Thankful that I do have to get up and out the door before 7 very often {or EVERYDAY, as many people do. The first place I usually have to be is at the bus stop at 9:10 and even that is optional as I sometimes just watch from the window. Plus it wouldn't be unheard of for me to walk them out there in my pj's anyway, so presentable is also optional until at least noon on most days}. Thankful that I don't have to drive in yucky traffic each day. Thankful for my "morning off" as my way-way-more-than-capable husband got little people up for the day, packed lunches {I'm not sure exactly why, but I especially dislike packing lunches and since Jacob can't eat school lunch, I pack at least one every single morning}, welcomed Vince when he arrived, fed breakfast, threw some sheets in the laundry {following an unfortunately overnight incident!}, got 1 of the kiddos all showered and field trip-ready for her extra-fun day at the Children's Theater, administered some Benadryl for a few mysterious hives on an itchy chin and took out the trash because, after all, it IS Thursday. Thankful for my shiny, extra clean teeth and no big lecture about my need to floss more often {I must be doing better. Mom, I'm sure you are very proud!} Thankful that I don't need to be out much on this chilly, windy winter day {the thermometer in the van read -3F this morning on my way home from the dentist}, the errands can wait. Yup, I'm thankful for my life!

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Bedroom Makeover

We swapped rooms with our 2 biggest girls this summer and moved downstairs to a new room. {We've lived in this house for over 11 years and I don't think I'd EVER slept in this room before. It started out as a guest room and then became Rebekah's room and then Rebekah & Lydia's room and now it's ours!} But for the 3+ months since we moved in we hadn't really made it "ours". Nothing on the walls, no real personality in the room . . . but all the changed over the past few weeks and I LOVE the way it turned out. Hardly any money invested at all and we've got a fabulous new {albeit kinda tiny!} room. I made most of the stuff or salvaged it from elsewhere in the house/basement/garage/dumpster. I did spring for a new quilt at a black friday sale {regular price $150 -- which I wouldn't have paid EVER, but well worth the $29.99 I got it for at 3 am at Herbergers!} but otherwise it was a mostly free room remodel. Enjoy!

Here's my favorite addition: A cut up 2x10, painted, sanded and a big picture of a sweet kiddo mod podged on the front. Total cost for all 5 was about $25, including pictures!
The stars {we have 4 in different places in the room} came from my Grandma {as did our "summer quilt" and our new kitchen light}. I spray painted them black and sanded them a little. The window was in the rafters in our garage and was green. I painted it black, sanded it a little, etched our initials in top pane of glass and hung a cute wooden s in the bottom pane.
Old piece of wood from the backyard + spraypaint = something cute for above our dresser:
More of the grandma stars, my "letter wall" and the mirror from our room upstairs polish off the new look.
I love it! {Plus the timing was nice, since I spent much of the first 10 or so days post-makeover in bed with "the plague". At least I had a nice place in which to be sick!}

Monday, December 7, 2009

I survived!

Hey, in case you missed me you'll be happy to know that I am back among the living {pretty much}. I was the sickest I can remember being in a LONG time the last couple weeks. 3 trips to the doctor. 3 prescription drugs. 10 days with absolutely no voice at all {lovely for parenting 5 kids!} and 2 more days of pretty minimal voice. Pneumonia. Pink eye. Bad cough. Sore throat. Yucky sinus stuff. Sleeping sitting up for 3 nights, since laying down resulted in obscene amounts of coughing. Much breathing trouble {the last doctor I saw was pretty sure I have asthma now too, and wants me to get evaluated when I'm not quite so sick}. Lack of bladder control due to out of control cough {sorry, I'm aware that was too much info, but I decided to add it anyway!} An order for 1040 cards that I should have been working on all that time . . . oh, and add to that 4 days of overnight guests {my in-laws}!

I'm so thankful to finally be feeling better. Not 100% yet, but SO much better than I had been. I'm pretty sure last week was the first time I ever missed a Thankful Thursday or Flashback Friday post . . . and I missed them both. I probably won't have time to catch up, but I'll get back to some regular blogging again soon.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

sneak peak

we had our annual family christmas picture photo shoot tonight. this is our 11th "bed picture" . . . we just can't stop! if you want the history behind the bed picture, read this. here's a little preview for you of the 2009 picture. none of these were the "winner" though, you know! for that you'll have to wait. (you might want to click on that top picture there to make it bigger. the look on anna's face is pretty priceless!)

if you want to see past years' bed pictures, look no further than this. which year is your favorite bed picture?

yup, i did give our "new" bedroom a little makeover . . . thanks for noticing!

verse 23

Verse #23, I'm almost, almost there. Amazing: I Peter 5.7::
Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you. {I Peter 5.7 NIV}
Isn't that wonderful! If you don't know about my "resolution" to memorize 24 scriptures in 2009 and you want to know what in the world I'm talkin' about, you can check it out here.