Friday, July 30, 2010

flashback friday and pregnancy update

Here I am just a few weeks before Anna was born in early March of 2008::

And, here I am just last weekend at the Kelley farm::
Generally speaking, it's not the best picture ever, but it's the only recent one I have of my belly. If you want to see it bigger {the picture, that is}, just click on it and voila, it will get huge!

I am 29 weeks pregnant.

That means I have 11 weeks to go before my due date.

I went to the doctor on Wednesday {I go every other week these days} for my checkup. Everything looks pretty darn good. My glucose screen came back {as it always has} to show that I don't have gestational diabetes {phew!}. All the levels in both my blood and my pee looked just dandy. My weight gain is completely within normal ranges {and is slightly below what I normally have gained by 29 weeks . . . maybe that has something to do with it being summer and not the dead of winter?} However, at each appointment they measure your belly {among other things} and that number should correspond pretty closely to the number of weeks along you are {isn't that a cool fact. I love when God thinks numbers are cool, just like me: I must have gotten that from Him!} Well, guess what I measured? You would think that the first sentence in this paragraph might be hint, but if you thought that you would be mistaken. Nope, not 29 {like would be expected}, but rather just a hair under 35! Nice! I guess I shouldn't be surprised {and, really, neither was my OB} because I have big babies {my smallest was 8 pounds and 4 ounces -- and he was nearly 2 weeks early! and my biggest was 10 pounds 2 ounces -- although a week late. The others have hovered right around 9 pounds. Give or take.} But, since I have 11 more weeks of growth ahead of me {and the largest, most rapid time of growth is still to come!} I'm pretty sure I'll be HUGE long before the baby is ready to make it's grand entrance. Oh well. I've done it before, I guess I can do it again. Right?

On another, pregnancy-related, note, I have had a few charlie horses in the night over the past month or so. Those are NOT fun! Also, I had my first bout of nasty late-pregnancy heartburn this week::let the good times commence! I know the end is approaching when these things start to begin. Still to come are::can't get up from the couch, can't get comfortable enough to sleep well, completely out of steam, "I can't be pregnant for one more minute!!!", Braxton-Hicks contractions all the time and back pain. Oh, the joys! {but so worth it!}

Also, the baby and I {mostly me, the baby was no help, and sometimes even a hindrance} finished the Lazyman Triathlon at the Y {so did Kirbs, by the way!}. That means we biked 112 miles, ran/walked {I opted for WALKED!} 26.2 miles and swam 2.5 miles over a 5-week period. It was more of a challenge this year than it was last year, but I'm glad I finished. I need some motivation to do something or I'll opt for sitting poolside and reading a book while the kids swim rather than getting in there and doing a few laps myself!

Here I am with my Lazyman finisher t-shirt::
Alrighty, that's all. Enjoy the weekend!

Monday, July 26, 2010

multitude monday

Here's my continuing Multitude Monday post, which all started a while back, right here.

"One Thousand Gifts":

674. the cute way Anna says "a-cuz" in answer to most every question
675. a nice long chat with a friend {Hi Catherine!}
676. the ending of band camp for the summer {having Jacob busy from 10:20 to noon every day threw a kink into any all-day plans for summer fun}
677. a fun visit to the Kelley Farm
678. a nice, relaxing weekend
679. friends who put up with my absent-minded pregnant brain and still love me
680. Sunday afternoon nap . . . and the wonderful husband who let me take it
681. friends who offered us their CSA share while they were on vacation {thanks Young's!}
682. great coupons coupled with good sales!
683. the sprinkler
684. happy, muddy kids
685. a good book
686. movies from the library
687. another week of our unborn nephew remaining unborn!
688. my brother {it was his birthday last week!}
689. a super yummy "birthday" dinner to celebrate me, my dad and my brother {who all have birthdays in the same week}
690. a fabulously thoughtful woman who kicked me out of the nursery yesterday, worked my shift for me and told me {sternly} to "Go sit and enjoy the service!" {thanks Phyllis!}
691. Costco and stuff in bulk {for families with children "in bulk"}
692. family fun around a backyard fire

Alrighty, that's it's for now. Tune in next Monday for the next installment.

holy experience

Saturday, July 24, 2010

it blows my mind . . .

Don't ask me why this thought came into my head. I don't know! But it did, and I can't shake it::6 years from now, in the late-summer of 2016, I will be preparing to send my first-born off to his last year of high school and my baby off to kindergarten. I'm already a mess thinking about it! What a year that will be::a senior, a sophomore, a freshman, a 6th grader, a 3rd grader and a kindergartener. Yikes! Watch out, I'm quite sure I'm going to be a big puddle over it all! A little financial tip::you may want to buy extra Kleenex stock. {on a related note, I also figured out -- being the geeky, numbers girl that I am -- that by the time baby #6 graduates from 6th grade, we would have had at least one kiddo at Falcon Heights Elementary school every single year for 17 straight years. And Jacob didn't even go to kindergarten there. If he had, we'd be at 18 consecutive years. Do you think that qualifies as some kind of record?}

Friday, July 23, 2010

flashback friday

who are those kids anyway?
{i'm not sure exactly when this was, but i'm guessing 1993-ish}

Thursday, July 22, 2010

thankful thursday

I'm so thankful for my {mostly} kind, caring, sensitive, thoughtful 9-year-old. This year, for her birthday, Rebekah wanted to have her "party" at Feed My Starving Children. If you've never heard of, or don't know much about, Feed My Starving Children take a minute to check out their website. It's a fabulous organization!

So, Rebekah's birthday was in March. You may remember {shame on you if you don't!} that there was a major earthquake in Haiti about 2 months before Rebekah's birthday. FMSC did a push to pack meals for Haiti and when I tried to schedule her birthday party, I was completely shut down. All the volunteer slots were full for weeks and, even, months out. People must have thought that, especially during a recession when monetary funds might be tight, this was a way that they could tangibly help the people of Haiti. Anyhow, she really, really wanted to do this for her birthday party, so I told her we'd make it work. Well, we did::we made it work by putting off her birthday party until the summer. A few weeks ago we {Rebekah and I} designed and made some pretty fun, cute invitations and sent them out to her friends. On her invitation she asked for no gifts {honestly, it was her idea. She said to me "Mom, there isn't really anything I need and I already have too much stuff to pick up and put away and keep clean" . . . amazing to me how she can be so mature one minute and completely flip out at her 2-year-old sister the next minute for something completely "no big deal!" . . . sorry, I digress!}. Instead of gifts, she asked her friends to bring a donation {monetary or tangible -- paper towels, toilet paper, batteries, hair binders, etc.} for FMSC.

So, the other day 7 of Rebekah's friends got dropped off at our house at 11 a.m. and got busy packing themselves a bag lunch to eat in the van on the way to the FMSC site in Eagan. {I was hoping that having them eat lunch while on the van ride might keep their mouths busy enough that the noise of 7 girls -- and 3 chatty moms! -- wouldn't be deafening. I was wrong on that assumption. It was quite loud in "The Stoll Haul"}.

all loaded up, buckled in and ready to go::
{holy cow, Sophie looks EXACTLY like her mother in this one!}

When we arrived at FMSC we unloaded all the kids and donations and headed inside. We got in and sat down on the benches to await our introduction to FMSC, some great facts and the instructions on what we would be doing while we were there {our shift was from 12-2}. About half the girls had been there before {with Girl Scouts or church or other birthday parties}. The little video clip they showed got me all teary {not surprising!} and we were all excited to get to work when the time came. We packed plastic bags with between 380 and 400 grams of dehydrated food {chicken stock, veggies, soy & rice} that will be cooked in water when they arrive at the designated country. If I remember right, the boxes from the week we volunteered were off to Tanzania. Each bag feeds 6 hungry kiddos.

here are the girls in their hairnets, ready to get to work::

I won't go into all the details, but each person has a job at their "station" and you pack as much food as you can during the time slot you are volunteering. Our little group packed 6 boxes::each box holds 36 bags and each bag feeds 6 precious kiddos, so that adds up to just under 1300 kids that will get a healthy, filling meal because of Rebekah's decision to have her party at FMSC! Isn't that great? Are you a tad teary at this point too, or is it just me? Adults would probably have been a tad more efficient as each kid wanted a turn with each of the jobs {because, as you know, scooping a cup of rice is completely different than scooping up a cup of soy!!}. But what a great learning experience, lesson and emphasis on the fun of volunteering, giving and helping others for those precious girls to have. Anyway, after our actual work time was through {it went SO fast} we came back to the front room and sat on the benches where we got to sample the meals we had been packing to see what the children we were feeding would be eating soon. They also gave us stats on how many boxes and meals we had done during our shift {the site wasn't full, they could have handled more volunteers, but there were about 5 or 6 groups there at the same time as us}. Then they called Rebekah up and asked her how old she was and the whole group sang to her. They even gave her a FMSC t-shirt for having her party there . . . that was a fun bonus we hadn't expected! Then we drove home and had a little DQ birthday cake and played until the kids got picked up at 4 {if I had it to do over again the party would have ended at 3:30, that last half hour, with no real planned activities, was nearing the edge of what this pregnant momma could handle on a hot summer day!}. They have adult to kid ratios, based on age, for groups that include children, so I am indebted to my wonderful friends Tricia and Ing who came along with me to help with the all the fun! {and even wore hairnets!}

Happy Birthday, Rebekah::

If you are local to the Twin Cities, I would highly, highly recommend getting a group together and volunteering at Feed My Starving Children. It's a wonderful organization, you're doing a wonderful {Biblically-mandated} thing and you'll have fun. I promise! If you're not local, or you don't have time, you could just send them your money. They'd love that too!!

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Nice one, Anna!

Look at that sweet, cute, fun, innocent face . . . how could any trouble possibly come from her? Just read on::

Anna has a new fascination::pockets. Actually it's not too new. She's loved pockets for awhile now . . . for putting her hands in, but she has just recently discover that you can put "stuff" in there too. The problem begins when over the last week or so, even if the clothes she is wearing have traditional pockets, she just stuffs things in the front of her diaper/pull-up/underwear (depending on how cooperative she's being in the bathroom department) and tells me she's putting them "in my pocket." {it's possible you can already feel where this story is going} . . . so, this afternoon I find her munching on a pretzel. Lunch has been over for a while and all the leftover food has been put away. It's possible someone could have dropped it during lunch, and she decided to snack on it off the floor, but when I ask her where she got the pretzel she answers, "In my pocket". NICE! I suppose a crotch-dwelling pretzel isn't the very worst thing she could eat, but it's right up there in my book! Yuck!

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

story problem answers . . . and a winner . . . or not!

Here are the answers to Sunday's story problems. {click here if you didn't see the quiz. The answers make more sense if you know what the questions were!} Nice attempts, everyone::
  1. 2/3 {we are of the mindset that unborn people are people nonetheless, so -- WHOO HOO -- more bed space for me. At least theoretically.}
  2. 1/2, via the same logic as #1:: {4 people in the bed. I "house" 2 of them and thus, get half -- 2/4 -- of the bed.}
  3. 17 {ok, try to follow along, this one is tricky::all 5 kids get put to bed initially -- early, at that, because they were all extremely tired and/or extremely crabby! +1::Anna is all weirded out by the change of having the kids home or something and will NOT stay in her bed or keep quiet -- we haven't had this problem since day 2 of "big girl bed" a few weeks ago, so I move her, temporarily, to a pack 'n play in the basement because it is driving her 2 sister/roommates insane. +4::we move the 4 remaining children, who are sleeping, to the basement when the tornado sirens are going off in our neighborhood -- also, someone reported seeing a funnel cloud near the intersection of Snelling & Larpenteur, which is SUPER close to here, although I never heard actual confirmation of that. +4::we move everyone back into their "normal" places for sleeping, except for Jacob who is comfy and says he wants to stay in the basement. +1::Joe decides, later, he would prefer to join us in our bed. +1::Joe is grinding his teeth, which makes his mother come dangerously close to the brink of insanity, and, it is her birthday by this point, after all, so she asks for his relocation to his own bed once again. Her wonderful husband obliges. +1::Jacob returns from the basement where he claims there are scary bugs. He has reasons for not wanted to go upstairs to his own bed and thus chooses the couch instead. 5+1+4 +4+1+1+1=17.}
  4. 36
No one got them all right -- Kirb was the closest, but we came up with different answers for #3 and since it's my quiz, my answer is right and his is wrong! Better luck next time, I guess! Thanks for trying everybody!

Monday, July 19, 2010

multitude monday

Here's my continuing Multitude Monday post, which all started a while back, right here.

"One Thousand Gifts":

655. a wonderful birthday and lots of much-appreciated birthday wishes
656. a great nearly-day-long date with my hubby
657. a timely sermon
658. safety amidst a nasty storm
659. the fact that the HUGE branch laying in our yard after #658 didn't hit anything but the lawn . . . it could have done some serious damage
660. a fun family dinner at my brother's house
661. my little nephew still growing safely in his momma's belly
662. the joy of a good read!
663. a great evening with friends {thanks Malloy's!}
664. welcoming new neighbors with a pitcher of lemonade on a hot moving-in day
665. a great week at camp for our 2 oldest kiddos
666. the anticipation of excited children
667. my free birthday lunch at Noodles & Company the other day . . . yummm!
668. the joys {and even the tribulations} of parenting
669. an 8-year-old spending the day with her great grandma
670. mailing off packages to brighten someones day {hopefully!}
671. photographs
672. coupons
673. my dad!! {it's his birthday today}

Alrighty, that's it's for now. Tune in next Monday for the next installment.

holy experience

Sunday, July 18, 2010

story problems:: a pop quiz {prize involved!}

Think you are "Smarter than a 5th grader"? Try your hand at these story problems::
  1. Shana and Kirby share a bed. They believe that all people, regardless of age, are entitled to the same amount of space in the bed. If this is true, how much of the bed should Shana get?
  2. If Joe joins them in bed -- until being removed for teeth grinding -- how much of the bed should Shana get then?
  3. How many times, on the night of July 17th/18th did the team of Shana & Kirby {heavy on the "Kirby"} put a child to bed?
  4. How old is Shana today {well, technically, not until later this evening . . . but, you know!}? Yup, it's my birthday. Happy birthday to me!
Answer all 4 questions correctly and win a prize. If more than 1 of you get 100% on your pop quiz, I'll have to randomly pick one of you to get the prize {nope, I don't know what it is yet}, but just know in your heart that you are all winners! Answers posted later this week, when I'm done with all the stinky post-camp laundry! You have until then to enter. Ready? Go!

Saturday, July 17, 2010

little things

I'm not nearly as "green" as some people, but I am quite a bit greener than most people I know. Here are a few little things that I do to make a positive difference on the state of our earth . . . or, more accurately, less of a negative difference, I guess::
  • We have a dehumidifier running in our basement in the summer {it's MUCH needed!}. Instead of just dumping it down the drain when it's full, I use that water to wash our clothes . . . I do laundry most days anyway, so it's no big deal to empty it into the washing machine instead of down a drain, and that way I save {or actually, recycle, I guess} a bunch of water. Similarly, if someone doesn't finish their water at a meal, we dump in it a house plant, rather than down the sink.
  • I don't use my dryer for about 6 months of the year {I think I've used it once since April}. We love our little clothesline and hanging our stuff outside. We even have a clothesline in the basement to use in the winter {a great way to humidify the house during a dry winter}, but mostly in the winter I use the dryer. Don't have a clothesline? Don't worry. Inexpensive drying racks are great . . . dry your clothes inside or move them around in your yard to "chase the sun" and get that stuff dry in no time!
  • We recently got a backyard composter. We haven't reaped any benefits yet, {the stuff takes time to "cook"} but have sure dumped a lot of stuff in there. It's nice to know our organic waste has somewhere else to to.
  • I bring bags with me to the store. I have some pretty nice re-usable bags, but you don't even have to spend the 99 cents they charge for re-usable bags to make a difference . . . just bring the ones they gave you last time back. I'm not sure about the stores where you live, but around here, almost every store will give you 5 cents off your bill for each bag you bring in to re-use. I'll take that!
  • Say you finish a box of cereal . . . we can go through a box a morning around here easily if everyone is in the same cereal mood . . . the box part you can put in your recycling, but what do you do with the inner bag? Probably you toss it in the trash, right? Not me! This idea all started because of my general laziness, I'll have you know: our trash is under the sink. Under the sink has a child lock on it. So, to get to the trash you have to not only bend down, but also undo a ridiculously difficult child lock thing. So I take that inner cereal bag {or an empty chip bag, or whatever} and stick it on my counter -- or usually in one half of my sink -- and load it up with the day's trash. It's usually full by the end of the day and someone runs it out to the garbage. It's not pretty, I'll admit that, but if someone you want to impress stops by you can either just stick that bag into your under-the-sink garbage or just run it outside quick-like. Maybe, maybe I empty the trash that is actually under the sink once a week, but more likely it's once a month. My kids actually get confused about where to put trash if there's not some kind of bag in the sink . . . which leads me to a funny story.Wanna hear? It's related on more than one level.

Here goes: when I was little, our neighbor was a garbage man {I'm sure that's not the politically correct term, but I'm not sure what is, so we'll go with it . . . he was a man and he did drive a garbage truck}, rather than put our garbage in a can and stick it at the end of our driveway once a week {our garbage day is Thursday, how about you?} like most people we walked our bags of garbage through the back yard and just tossed them in the back of his truck. I'm guessing he didn't charge us for this service, but at 6-years-old, or whatever I was, that wasn't my main concern. Mom, you can correct me if I'm wrong! So, anyway, well after I should have been old enough to know better I just assumed that EVERYONE carried their garbage to the neighbors house and tossed it in the back of a garbage truck. Now, however, the truck comes to me . . . although I have to pay him for it. But, thankfully, I don't have to live next door to a parked garbage truck . . . I do, however, have to live next door to a really big RV that blocks my view of our neighborhood and makes it hard to back out of our driveway because you can't see around it . . . but, I digress. Plus, the RV doesn't smell nasty, so I guess that's a perk! I did happen to find out {thank you Facebook} that the son of our neighbor from when I was growing up {who was -- and still is -- my age} has taken over the family garbage business. I don't know where he lives, but I'm guessing he might not park his truck in his yard. But, I could be wrong! {It's happened before}.

Ok, that's more than enough for today. I'm impressed you've read on this far! Hopefully something in there sparked even a tiny little idea for how you can lessen your impact on the world. What "green" things do you do?

Friday, July 16, 2010

Thursday, July 15, 2010

thankful thursday

I am thankful, today, for family! We spent most of last week in {extreme} northern Minnesota visiting Kirbs' family. They live more than 350 miles north of us. Which, when coupled with 5 kids {or even when it was just the 2 of us}, makes for a REALLY long drive. We try to get up there about 3 times a year. We were there for Easter {you may remember that wasn't our most pleasant family trip ever. You can read most of the nasty details here if you missed it.} and the kids were itchin' to get back and see their grandparents and spend some time with their cousins. {there are 13 -- almost 14 -- Stoll grandkids ages 13 & under}.

We had a nice time "up nort". The weather was beautiful, we had some great times with family, we ate some yummy food, most of us woke up really early one morning to watch the sunrise on the lake and I even got included in my nieces family birthday party {as did my sister-in-law. We are exactly 7 days apart.}

We wish somehow that Warroad could move a little further south, so that seeing Kirbs' side of the family wouldn't involve quite so much time and driving and planning and so that we would be able to see them more often. But, such is life. We live here {and aren't planning to go anywhere} and they live there {and aren't planning to go anywhere either!}, so we have to make due.

Here are a few pictures from our time. Enjoy:

walking out to the end of the world for a great view of the rising sun::
it was well worth the early morning wake-up, the chilly air, chattery teeth and all the waiting::
we visited Kirbs' aunt and her family and their beautiful farm::
Kirbs and me on the beach in Canada
{where the 2 of us went to dinner one night with Kirby's parents. It was so nice to have some kid-free adult time with them on our little double date. Plus, the food was fabulous and we had an amazing view of the water from our table!}::
we wanted all the grandkids laying on the grass with their heads together for a picture {we did it a couple years ago and it was really cute}, but we wanted to get #14 in there too, and a couple of the younger ones weren't super cooperative, so that was what we ended up with::
and here are the 13 of them cooperating a little bit better for a picture inside::
{Evan (10), Andrea (13), Katie (13), Jacob (11), Tommy (10), Rebekah (9), Jillian (9), Anna (2), Lydia (8), Bethany (7), Katrina (4), Joe (5) and Caleb (3)}
Kirbs' siblings, spouses and parents::
our kids with Grandpa & Grandma right before we headed home::

And when we unlocked the house and stepped inside I was even MORE thankful for family. As an early birthday present my mom had cleaned {really cleaned} my house {stove, oven, sinks, tub, floors . . . were all sparkly clean!!}, stocked our bathrooms with some new towels {ours were in some really sorry shape!! -- who has time or money to buy new towels with 5+ kids to worry about?}, fresh, new rugs on the kitchen floor and entryway, vases of fresh flowers on the counter and dining room table, milk and fruit in the fridge and a big, cute "birthday house cleaning" sign hanging from my cupboard. There's not much I need in this world, as far as material things, so that was the best birthday present ever! Thanks Mom, you are the best!

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

my apologies . . .

I would like to take this opportunity to apologize {in advance} to the future wife of my 4th born child. The kid is cute as can be, quite funny and very sweet. I'm sure he'll make a fabulous husband some day {especially if he takes after his dad!}, but along with all that you will have to share a bed with him. And that, let me tell you, is not so fun! He, somehow, takes up the entire bed. Also, he flips around and thrashes so often that it's a wonder he gets any rest at all. Plus -- and this is the worst part, in my opinion -- he grinds his teeth like mad. It's pretty much the worst sound you can imagine!

He had a little trouble sleeping when we were visiting his grandparents last week and I ended up sleeping with him one night. Wait, that's not right: I lay, miserable, in bed next to him wishing the grinding and the movement would stop so that I could have a teeny little chance of sleep in the smallish space left for me after his 5-year-old body took up the vast majority of the surface area of the mattress!

Anyhow, as further proof of my lament, I share with you this picture:I rest my case . . . or not, depending on who I'm in bed with.

You gotta love the little man anyway though! God bless his future wife. We're praying for her already!

Monday, July 12, 2010

multitude monday

Here's my continuing Multitude Monday post, which all started a while back, right here.

"One Thousand Gifts":

630. safe travel "up nort" and back home again
631. my mom -- she is THE best!
632. a BopBop {grandpa} at camp as a volunteer during the week our 2 biggest are there {makes a slightly worried momma feel better knowing they can get a loving hug if they need one}
633. time with family
634. an unexpected {early} birthday party -- thanks Annie!
635. being home again! {I LOVE being home!}
636. coming home to a super duper clean house {see #631 -- she cleaned the whole place and bought fresh towels for each bathroom and rugs for the entryway and kitchen as an early birthday present. I can't imagine a better birthday present, can you?}
637. looking forward to a {slightly} quieter house and pace of life this week
638. a beautiful sunrise {and sunset} while we were up north

639. crossing "watch the sun rise" off our summer list
640. a nice evening walk with 2 sisters-in-law
641. my mother-in-laws super yummy pancakes to fill our tummys before a long day in the van
642. sleeping in my own bed!
643. my wonderful husband
644. "girl time" on the road, non-stop adult conversation for 3 hours {Kirb took the van, still more full than most people's vehicles with kids, home from camp with our youngest 3, and I got to ride KIDLESS with a couple girlfriends who had dropped their kids -- and my dad, who rode up with them -- off at camp too}
645. being home again {oops, did I already mention that?}
646. sorting through nearly a weeks worth of mail, messages and email after the kids were in bed.
647. getting the laundry started {yup, laundry is the household task I enjoy most. Honest!}
648. seemingly wonderful counselors for both kids this week . . . praying they will both have a wonderful week!
649. "cousin time" for the kiddos
650. fun, matching painted toenails on all the girls
651. the baby kickin' up a storm in my belly . . . the constant reminder of the new life we are so excited about!
652. my last few days of being 35
653. showering in my own shower!
654. the library is OPEN!! {and BUSY . . . oh well, at least it's open}

Alrighty, that's it's for now. Tune in next Monday for the next installment.

holy experience

Friday, July 9, 2010

Thursday, July 8, 2010

thankful thursday

Sing and make music in your heart to the Lord, always giving thanks to God the Father for everything. {Ephesians 5.19-20}

Monday, July 5, 2010

multitude monday

Here's my continuing Multitude Monday post, which all started a while back, right here.

"One Thousand Gifts":

609. towels and suits hung on the line, reminding us of fun had beating the heat

610. this extra-cute 4th of July-ready girl

611. 4th of July parades
612. a whole city of people dressed in the colors of our country
613. fireworks
614. marching bands

615. sitting and watching the orange glow of the fire in our backyard
616. modern medicine
617. a still un-born little nephew who tried to make an early entrance last week, but was thwarted by lots of prayer and some #616 . . . keep cookin' little man, we are so excited to meet you, but would prefer it not be for a few more weeks, at least!
618. our new backyard composter
619. the St. Paul farmer's market on a Saturday morning
620. a 9-year-old trying to find the best price on the green beans she was so enthusiastic about
621. donuts
622. coffee
623. family time
624. some great worship, even though we had skipped church . . . a better kind of worship even!
625. more tasks crossed off the list
626. a visit with a friend who lives too far away
627. the thought of packing my 2 biggest up for their first week-long, away-from-home camp experience . . . the nervousness and the prayers {and the laundry} that goes into it
628. excited over date night tonight! yeah! {it's been a while}
629. being able to count on one hand the number of days until our local library re-opens {I can hardly stand it I'm so excited!}

{I can't believe I'm well-past half way to 1,000 already. I have loved being more intentional about counting both the big and small blessings God has placed in my life, and the awareness that being intentional brings!}

Alrighty, that's it's for now. Tune in next Monday for the next installment.

holy experience

Saturday, July 3, 2010

happy 4th!

If you've got a couple minutes, check this out. The Pioneer Woman has an amazing photo assignment entitled America. Some of the pictures are breathtaking. Enjoy!
Have a fun and safe 4th of July!

Friday, July 2, 2010

Thursday, July 1, 2010

thankful thursday

I'm so thankful -- this week especially -- for my motivated and hard-working husband. On Saturday we had a pretty open day with not much going on . . . wait, let me back up::

We moved into this house more than 12 years ago. Just the 2 of us. We have 4 bedrooms: a big one and a teeny-tiny one upstairs {our house is a 1-1/2 story} and another 2 {pretty normal sized} on the main floor. Since Kirbs and I were the house's only inhabitants when we moved in, we took the big upstairs room. It seemed a pretty logical choice. When we found out baby #1 was on the way the teeny-tiny upstairs room right next to ours seemed to be the logical nursery choice.

Fast forward 11 years and nearly 5 kids later and things have changed. Mostly little changes here and there. The first, more major change came last summer. We had decided 5 kiddos seemed to be a good fit for our family and we weren't planning to have anymore {I am reminded of Proverbs 16.9} so we moved to one of the downstairs bedrooms and the 2 older girls took over the big upstairs room. The boys continued to share the other downstairs bedroom and Anna was in the nursery. Well, fast forward again and we decided that having the newborn in the "nursery" upstairs and the momma downstairs {as opposed to right next door} wasn't the best set-up. So we tried to figure out how best to re-distribute people in bedrooms.

Now, back to last Saturday . . . I don't remember there being any intentional decision {or even discussion of such} toward a major whole-house overhaul, but alas, somehow, it happened. A crib, set up more than 11 years ago in a sweet upstairs nursery, was disassembled. Countless pieces of furniture were moved, vacuumed under {YIKES!} and rearranged. Drawers were emptied and their contents moved to a new room. Toys and clothes were sorted through and there was lots of purging! {Whoo Hoo!}. By bedtime on Saturday Anna was going to bed in a "big girl bed"{my white iron-framed big girl bed from my childhood, to be exact} in the big upstairs room where all 3 girls now reside. Jacob {finally} had his own {little} room and was arranging and re-arranging his things to make it just right. {He's back where he started his life . . . in the "nursery" that he moved out of 9 years ago to make way for his little sister -- who is now bigger than he is}. Joey now has the downstairs room to himself until the little bundle arrives in October to occupy the crib that was re-assembled on the west end of his bedroom {under the tree with the bats . . . hope they don't scare the wee babe!}.

Kirb did the vast majority of the work, while I sorted through stuff and got rid of bunches of stuff that we didn't need cluttering up our house . . . and our life! He did all the major lifting, moving, vacuuming, disassembling, reassembling and hauling. Also, he provided the motivation when his tired, burnt out, pregnant wife plopped down on the couch with a book!

We're not 100% settled yet. Some clothes are still in the wrong places {heck, some of my clothes are still in the closet upstairs and we moved downstairs nearly a year ago!} and some re-organizing still needs to be done. But, a transition that I hoped to finish by the end of the summer is very nearly done before we even flipped the calendar to July. Isn't that great?

Had I known when she got out of her crib on Saturday morning, that Anna wouldn't ever get back in it, I would have been pretty bummed and spent much of the day grieving, but doing things this way -- without a plan, I didn't have time for any of that. She is still learning {it's only been 5 nights!} to stay in her bed when we put here there, but she's been sleeping all night in her big girl bed . . . once we finally get her to fall asleep, that is! Tuesday night she only got out twice before falling asleep. She was really, really tired though, which helped. Gotta love summer days {and no more naps -- at least lately} for completely wearing a 2-year-old out!

Here are a few pictures of the transformation of the Stoll house. Enjoy::

Anna sleeping in one little corner of her new bed on Sunday morning::
We'll work on staying at the "head" of the bed later, maybe . . . along with using your pillow and actually covering up with something {although it is summer!}
Jacob's new pre-teen pad::
Joe's room {he now sleeps on the top and can play underneath, where he used to sleep}::
Crib ready for baby #6 {these 3-or-so months will be the first break this crib has seen in over a decade. For nearly 11 and a half years someone has slept in it every night. It's been worth every penny of what we paid for it in 1999 . . . and then some!}::
Amazing how clean everything is in these pictures. If only it would stay that way . . .

Oh, and . . . Happy July!!