Friday, December 31, 2010

flashback friday

2010 in pictures

Blog year in Review

My most-read posts of 2010 {by pageviews}::
  1. End of year teacher gifts {568 views!}
  2. Texas, Beth and Friends
  3. Reality
  4. Multitude Monday {August 9th}
  5. Introducing
  6. Introducing {same title, different post -- guess I need to be a tad more creative!}
  7. Summer List
  8. Flashback Friday {May 28th}
  9. Big Reveal {Girl's Bedroom Re-do}
  10. Thankful Thursday {July 22nd}

Most commented on posts::
  1. Texas, Beth and Friends
  2. Introducing
  3. Reality
  4. Introducing
  5. We interrupt your regularly scheduled blog post . . .
  6. Oh, what a night::
  7. End of year teacher gifts
  8. Never a dull moment!
  9. it has come to this::
  10. I'm quirky

Hope you enjoyed the blog year in review. Have a blessed ending to your year and may 2011 hold many new blessings for each of you!

Thursday, December 30, 2010

thankful thursday

I'm thankful today for LAZY. Well, maybe I should say relaxed. That sounds better. Plus, I've been getting quite a bit of stuff done. But I've been a tad lazy too. Sleeping in {heavenly!!}. Reading. Wii-ing. Running errands all by myself. Taking myself out to lunch.
Kirb took this week off {well, sort of . . . he's not going in to the office, but still managed to put in about 5 hours of work on Tuesday}. My parents took the 2 big girls away for a bit. My grandma has taken each of the "bigs" for a whole day of "GG {great grandma} camp" where they ride the city bus, visit Goodwill {which is conveniently located right across the street from where my grandma lives and is also her favorite place to shop}, talk her into making them whatever they want to eat, watch movies, do crafts, have a piano lesson . . . it's a pretty fun time for everyone involved! Tomorrow afternoon we'll head to our dear friends place for our 3rd annual New Year's Eve slumber party. The kids look forward to it all year! It's been a great week so far and I'm already a tad bummed that it will be ending very soon. A little downtime is such a blessing!

Monday, December 27, 2010

multitude monday

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

"One Thousand Gifts":

1045. time with family1046. spending an entire day in your pj's
1047. fun Christmas lights {and since we had a coupon, it was free too!}
1048. our "Bob & Larry sing the 80's" CD. It's a huge hit with the whole bunch
1049. this picture::{the extra-cute hat was made by my sister-in-law}
1050. no more dripping coming from the ceiling {after probably close to 8 hours spent on ladders and the roof, Kirb got all the ice dams mostly taken care of -- at least temporarily, there's supposed to be freezing rain a few days from now, so we'll see if it starts "raining" inside again}
1051. my mom::1052. the 11pm candle night Christmas Eve service at our church -- always one of my favorites
1053. friends visiting from afar::1054. the excitement that Rebekah had about the gifts she was giving this year -- what a thoughtful, generous girl she is!
1055. our new wii fit {even if it did basically tell me that I'm fat . . . "speak the truth in love" is its motto, I guess!}
1056. sunshine
1057. open spots in each of the 4 swimming lesson classes I wanted to sign up for {unheard of since I waited until the last minute to sign up!}
1058. thoughtful gifts both given and received and the joy that comes from each1059. a good first appointment at the psychologist for one of our kiddos; seems to be a great fit {he's even a Falcon Heights Elementary alumni! How fun is that?}
1060. a visit from Santa on Christmas Eve . . . very exciting!!::1061. birthday party {complete with cake -- did you know Jesus was turning 7? Well, I think that's what that 7 candle in the middle of the cake means, but I could be wrong.} for Jesus on Saturday afternoon::1062. half price paper towels {with winter prints on them} -- among other things -- at the after Christmas sale at Target on Sunday morning. Who doesn't love getting stuff you need and would use anyway for 50% off? . . . shopping with 5 wonderful women, great deals and then relaxing with a little Starbucks before heading to church.
1063. having Kirb home all week
1064. relaxing days with nothing on the schedule!

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

Saturday, December 25, 2010

flashback friday {a day late}

Merry Christmas
from a certain little Stoll Santa baby from the past::
{check out those cute little "toofers"}::
Hope you are enjoying time with loved ones and the celebration of the birth of the Savior of the world::
With love, hugs and a little drool,
The Stoll crew

Thursday, December 23, 2010

thankful thursday

Today I'm thankful for :: grace.

I have been gifted with grace many times. By my family {daily . . . often even hourly, or more}. By my friends. By my God!

Today I'm thankful for grace from you. I got about 80% of my Christmas cards out of my house and in the mail about 2 weeks ago. The other 20% are still on my dining room table. Well, honestly, I didn't really check my list when ordering {OOPS!}, so I ran out. But then I made some more {since the minimum order for the picture cards we got the first time around was 50 and I didn't need 50 more -- but then again I didn't count the second time around either, so maybe I did need 50! -- I just decided to make the remainder, with a re-do of my 2008 card adding Sara's name to the list and calling it good!, instead of re-ordering the picture cards}, but I haven't gotten around to actually addressing and mailing them . . . and Christmas eve is tomorrow!

So, here is the Stoll Christmas letter 2010 and our 12th annual bed picture. Enjoy! {and if you are one of the 80% that did get yours you can skip this all together or read it again. It's up to you.}::

A is for Anna: Anna will be 3 soon and is (mostly) delightful. She is funny and pretty cute and we love her lots!

B is for Blessings: Our lives are so full of blessings. We have much to be thankful for!

C is for CBC: We worship at Central Baptist Church in St. Paul, and love our church family there!

D is for Dad: Kirby, the dad of the house, better enjoy the coming year as it marks his last full year in his 30’s!

E is for ER: 2 ER visits in 2 weeks this summer. Staples in the top of Jacob’s head and stitches in Anna’s forehead. Both are healed up just fine!

F is for Falcon: 4 of our kiddos are attending Falcon Heights Elementary this year. By the time Sara heads to middle school, one of our kids (if not 2 or 3 or 4) will have been there each year for just shy of two decades!

G is for Grade 6: That’s what grade Jacob is in this year. (I can’t believe next year he’ll go to middle school.) He is a bus patrol, plays trumpet in the band and loves all things football!

H is for Home: We still live in the same place. We love our house, our neighborhood and our community. Stop over and see us anytime; you’re always welcome here!

I is for Internet: I continue to enjoy updating the world on the life of our family through our family blog. Come visit there too, if you want!

J is for Jesus: We are so thankful for our Lord and Savior, and celebrate His birth this Christmas.

K is for Kindergarten: Ready or not, Falcon now has Joey bursting through its doors each day. It’s a struggle to get him to head off to school most days, but once he arrives he LOVES it. He’s doing great, continues to be the family “ham” and necessitates earplug use for the other 7 of us much of the time!

L is for Library: Our neighborhood library was closed for a year while they remodeled. It re-opened this summer (twice as big) and we’re so glad to have it back! I LOVE to read and am, I imagine, one of their better customers. The “littles” and I enjoy storytime there each week.

M is for Mom: That’s me, the mom. I keep plenty busy and most days (though not all) enjoy the crazy life we lead! Card-making, MOPS, Target trips, friends, reading, Caribou, church, a date here and there, the Y, PTA, ECFE: that’s my life!

N is for Nephew: Our newest little nephew, Schaeffer, was born to my brother Luke and his wife, Jenn, in August. He joins Haddon to round out their extra-good-looking family. We are glad they live close and the kids have nearby cousins to play with, grow up with and love!

O is for October 9th: The very best day of our year, without rival, was 10.9.10 when we welcomed our new little bundle. (more on her under “S”).

P is for Parents: We both have wonderful parents and continue to enjoy the time we spend with them, and our families in general. As always, we wish we were able to spend more time with Kirby’s parents (and extended family), but no one seems to be moving, so I guess we’ll have to make due. We continue to be thankful to have my parents (and my grandma!) so close, and for the fact that they are such a HUGE part of our lives!

Q is for Quotes: We hope you enjoy the annual Stoll Quotes from 2010 (they’re on the back)!

R is for Rebekah: Rebekah is in 4th grade and will soon turn double-digits. She continues to be the mom of the family — I’m pretty sure she is more nurturing than I am. (It’s good she doesn’t lactate or I’d be completely out of a job!)

S is for Sara: Sara Evelyn is a delight! Everyone is head over heels in love with her and we are thrilled God saw fit to bless us with this little doll!

T is for Third: Lydia is in 3rd grade this year and continues to love life more than most . . . except, that is, when she’s mad and then, watch out world!

U is for Ugly: Ok, so it’s not really ugly, but it sure does stand out in a “crowd”. We traded in our mini van for a 12-passenger Chevy Express last spring and now the whole world knows when I’m at Target, since you can spot our big van from most anywhere in Roseville!

V is for Vince: I continue to do daycare for a fabulous little man every other week while his mom goes to work. We love Vince and he has become a regular member of the family!

W is for Work: Kirb just started his 9th year of work at Northwestern College. We are thankful for his job and all it means to our family.

X is for X-tra great: We have been blessed with an extra fabulous circle of family and friends who love and support us through life. If you are reading this, then you are a part of that circle and we are thankful for you!

Y is for YMCA: We continue to enjoy being part of our local Y. We enjoy the free childcare, the activities and the opportunity to keep our bodies in some semblance of “fit”. We love spending the summer at the outdoor pool with friends and watching Rebekah swim on the swim team.

Z is for zzzz: Hopefully reading the Stoll ABC’s hasn’t put you to sleep, but sleep is something each of us at the Stoll house could benefit from a little (or a lot) more of, but such is the life of a big family with little kids, right? There will always be opportunities for more sleep at some point in the future, I’m hoping!

The Stoll kid quotes that are on the back of our Christmas letter are, conveniently, located right over there ------------------------> on the sidebar, so I won't list them here again.

Merry, Merry Christmas from our family!

Monday, December 20, 2010

multitude monday

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

"One Thousand Gifts":

1025. the beauty of falling snow
1026. my first shoveling stint of the winter {not-too-cold temps and light, fluffy powder}
1027. quick healing for my sister-in-laws broken ribs after a little {unplanned} tumble down the stairs
1028. coming upon scenes like this:1029. Christmas music {my current favorites are Emmanuel by Chris Tomlin and Winter Snow Song by Audrey Assad with Chris Tomlin -- gotta love Chris Tomlin and it goes without saying that I adore anything from Sara Groves' O Holy Night album}
1030. this face {couldn't you just eat her up?}::1031. a little Christmas crafting
1032. Sara finding her voice
1033. "snow" much winter fun {check out those snow banks}::

all that sledding will wear you out . . . good thing we're equipped with snow "beds"

1034. this silly girl::1035. her gangsta sister::1036. 2nd generation BFFs::1037. Joe's play that he performed for us {he's quite the ham, in case you weren't aware}::1038. a super-fun evening with some wonderful, wonderful life-long friends
1039. planning :: the anticipation is half the fun -- at least {our kids and the Newman's watching the Disney Vacation Planning video. They were completely engrossed and we weren't even really there. Can't wait!!!}::1040. 4 generations of my family lighting the advent {love} candle at church yesterday and that fact that all 4 generations of us worship there together each week
1041. children singing their hearts out for the Lord
1042. TONS of hand-addressed envelopes in my mailbox today
1043. online shopping {with free shipping -- and no crowds or malls!}
1044. my {can I still call it new?} camera

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

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Weekend update::

Nope, not the SNL kind, the SFL (Stoll Family Life) kind. So, "Live. From Roseville. It's Saturday afternoon"::
  • Sara had her 2-month check up yesterday {a little late} and all looks good. She's a tall {can you be considered "tall" if you are unable to stand up? I'm not sure.} skinny thing. An ounce short of 10 pounds {9 pounds 15 oz. for you non-math people} which is the 25th weight percentile for girls her age. 23 inches "tall", which is the 75th%. I say she's not any heavier because she's always movin'. Kicking her little legs and waving her little arms and using those facial muscles to flash us adorable little grins all the time! She's like a little calorie-burning machine, I guess. Plus, she poops with unbelievable frequency!
  • I showered today. For the 3rd day in a row. That's some kind of record for me, I think, as I am not a daily showerer {usually every 2nd or 3rd day or so}. I think I've had a strong desire to shower more frequently lately because I'm so cold and a nice, hot shower takes care of that.
  • I wonder who put $1.25 in my kiddos! You know the saying "Who put a quarter in you?" Well, multiply that by 5 and you've got $1.25. And my house!! 5 crazy, wild kiddos are running around here and being loud and silly today . . . while their baby sister naps peacefully in her crib despite all the noise and commotion!
  • Kirb and I had our first date in about 3 months last night {the last time I remember us having a date was for our anniversary. In September. When life was a whole lot different than it is now!}. We went to Costco. Then we ate across the street at Chili's {we had a gift card!} before heading to his boss's {is that how you correctly make the possessive form of boss? I'm unsure, seems like a whole lot of s's!} house for his office Christmas party. Not a super high-excitement date, I know, but we're working our way up slowly. Plus, we loved it! so who really cares that many would consider it a tad boring?
  • The mailman finally started delivering our mail again today. Yesterday we got a slip telling us that the mail would not be delivered again until we cleared the snow away from our mailbox. 10 feet in front of the box. 10 feet behind the box. And about 4 feet in {from where the plow stopped and where the mailbox was}. When the snow banks are about shoulder height on a 6 foot tall man, that's a WHOLE LOT of snow. Where exactly are we to put it? And, do they really expect us to stand in the middle {ok, the edge} of a busy street to do this? I guess so. I understand now why the people directly across the street from us {who also live on a corner} had their address officially changed from 19-something {74, I think} Lexington Avenue North to 11-something Ryan Avenue West. They pulled out their mailbox and now have their mail delivered right to the box attached outside their back door. It's a tempting thought. I have no idea what goes into a {rather major} change like that. I imagine it's kind of an ordeal. I don't think I could change our address. I feel like it might hurt the feelings of our house {yes, I DO realize that houses don't have feelings}. It's been known by "1973 Lexington" for a long time now. Nearly 85 years, to be exact! I think we'll just "deal".
  • I'm not really a slipper kind of girl. They just aren't really my thing . . . or so I thought. I slipped Rebekah's on today {did you know she wears a women's size 10 shoe? Honestly, she's not even 10 years old yet . . . you shouldn't have feet bigger than your age, that's truly unfortunate} and guess what? Slippers totally keep your feet warm. Who would have thunked it? Next maybe I'll decide I want a bathrobe! What is this world coming to?
Alright, I think that's it! Have a great weekend!

Friday, December 17, 2010

flashback friday

I love this picture; LOVE it!::
Me, my good friend Jill and our babies, Anna and Jude, with our extra-great friend Kris being silly in the background (see her there -- you might not even notice her if you weren't really looking, but the picture is just so much better with her in it). It's just one of my very favorites.

December 2008

Thursday, December 16, 2010

thankful thursday

From Isaiah, chapter 9
1 Nevertheless, there will be no more gloom for those who were in distress.
2 The people walking in darkness have seen a great light;
on those living in the land of the shadow of death a light has dawned.
6 For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
7 Of the increase of his government and peace there will be no end.
He will reign on David's throne and over his kingdom, establishing and upholding it with justice and righteousness from that time on and forever.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

tuesday stuff

Last night I was at Target with the 2 big girls {they needed some Christmas gifts still. It's so sweet to see them buy things for their siblings}. On the way out to the van one of them mentioned something I wasn't aware of::"The Ryan's play 'Stoll Haul'." That made me curious, so I asked what "Stoll Haul" was {other than one of the nicknames for our van, that my friend, Ing, came up with -- genius that she is!} Turns out it's much like "Slug Bug", but rather than straining to spot little VW bugs, you get the slightly easier task of spotting huge {12 and 15-passenger} vans and then punching your sibling -- or whoever is nearby -- and calling out "Stoll Haul". Feel free to play in your vehicle too. It could be fun. All credit for this fabulous game goes to the 3 Ryan kiddos, who are much more inventive than most . . . not to mention sweet, kind, smart and adorable!

How cute is this? She's working hard on that head control. Here is our bobble head baby::

His superpowers haven't been much help in fighting the bloody noses that the dry, winter weather has caused our favorite family superhero to have most nights lately. And since the teeniest drop of blood on his sheets freaks him out, I've washed his sheets twice in the past 3 days. And it's a bunk bed {well, more accurately, a loft}. Have you changed sheets on those buggers? I almost always end up broken out in a sweat {even when the temps are below zero, as they are today}. Changing Superman's sheets was not on the list of things I wanted to do with my day, but oh well!
That same superhero is having a really, REALLY hard time waiting for Christmas {I know this is not abnormal for a 5-year-old, but we've never experience it to this extreme at our house before}. Today he literally screamed at me::"I. WANT. TO. OPEN. A. PRESENT!! If I can open a present, I will be nice. If I can't, I will be mean. Do you want me to be nice or mean?" Alas, I still haven't let him open one. {Note: we refrain from putting gifts under our tree until the time has come to actually open them. But one extra-generous kiddo in our family has purchased -- or made -- presents for everyone, wrapped them and placed them nicely under the tree. I know she didn't do it to torture her brother, but that is what the result has been. It is no fun at all, as we hear about it, literally, without ceasing!}

My husband was on the air today on the radio program "Connecting Faith" with Stephanie Kay. Although the topic was not one I was super interested in {Kirb is the "money man" around here after all, which is why they didn't ask ME to be on the radio talking about investments, planned giving, taxes and year-end-giving}, I did listen to the whole show. The kids weren't very understanding of the fact that I was trying to listen to the radio and not miss the times when Kirb was actually talking {there was him, the show's host -- hostess, actually -- and another guest, so he only talked probably a quarter of the time}. It was so funny to watch the kids yell into the stereo speakers "Hi Dad!" "Dad, can you hear me?" "Did you get my message, Dad? I left you a message." I guess they have a ways to go before they have a completely understanding of the concept of a radio vs a phone {which, I guess, is perfectly logical, since the only other time they've heard his voice and not been able to see him was over the phone. And, in that case, it works great: when you talk, you get a response. Not so this time around, however!} Another fun thing about the show was that Kirb's aunt {who is married to his dad's brother} was listening to the show in northern Minnesota -- I guess she's a dedicated listener of "Connecting Faith" as Stephanie seemed to know her by name -- without knowing that Kirby was going to be on. So, she called in when she heard his voice {it was a call-in show} and chatted with him a while. Not about the topic of the show, mind you, just to say "Hi". She also asked if he brought his horn to play on the air, then went on to tell the whole listening audience about what a great job he does playing the horn and what a beautiful singing voice he has. I found it to be the most entertaining 2 minutes of the hour-long show, myself! Auntie Arlene brings fun to any situation in which she finds herself though, that's for sure! In case you are interested, I think you can listen to the show here.

Monday, December 13, 2010

multitude monday

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

"One Thousand Gifts":

1015. surviving the blizzard of the century (ok, not quite, but the worst one in about 20 years!)
1016. the beauty of 23 inches of fresh powder (provided you don't need to shovel it or go anywhere!)
1017. a helpful neighbor with a snowblower
1018. the actual activities of the weekend after most of our plans for the weekend got completely thrown out
1019. trudging down the block in our coats and hats and boots and mittens to attend a church in our neighborhood after our church was canceled -- only to find out it was their children's Christmas program. How fun is that!!
1020. having the van FINALLY come to a stop just inches from the car I was certain I was going to hit this morning when I came upon a red light and found myself on an ice rink rather than a road. note: big vans with only one person in them are NOT good in the snow and ice!! (I'll have you know I was being a very cautious driver and was probably going less than 10 mph when I tried to put on the brakes -- not slam, mind you, just ease them on. so much for that strategy!)
1021. my dad arriving home safely (just ahead of the storm) from another stint of work at Trout Lake Camp
1022. 48-hours of time alone with the grandparents for Rebekah who was "stranded" at their house for a couple days and enjoyed every minute of it!
1023. Christmas sing-a-longs around the player piano -- do you know all the words to "It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas"? I thought I did too. Chances are good you might not actually know them all like you think you do!
1024. Christmas cards in the mailbox

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

Friday, December 10, 2010

flashback friday

the story behind the picture:

In case you haven't heard . . . or have forgotten, I give you the story behind our traditional "bed picture" at Christmas time:: When Jacob was not quite 1 we wanted a family picture to put in our Christmas card. We took quite a few (non-digital, I might add!) 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." (which caused many a giggle, since Beka was probably not even in high school yet at that point) .The Peterson's found it extra funny when they read through 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, 2010 marks the 12th anniversary of the Stoll family bed picture. 11 years and 5 more kids later, we're all still on the bed for the annual picture.

more than a decade worth of stoll christmas pictures. enjoy::

kirby, shana, jacob: 1999
kirby, [pregnant] shana, jacob: 2000

kirby, jacob, [pregnant] shana, rebekah: 2001

rebekah, kirby, jacob, shana, lydia: 2002

kirby, lydia, jacob, shana, rebekah: 2003

kirby, [pregnant] shana, lydia, jacob, rebekah: 2004

jacob, kirby, joe, shana, rebekah, lydia: 2005

jacob, kirby, rebekah, shana, joe, lydia: 2006
kirby, jacob, rebekah, joe, [pregnant] shana, lydia: 2007

kirby, lydia, anna, joe, shana, jacob, rebekah: 2008

jacob, anna, kirby, rebekah, joe, lydia [not quite pregnant] shana: 2009

The first batch of this years Christmas cards are already in the mail. So, those of you who actually know us, and get our Christmas card will see this years picture soon. It'll probably be a few more days until I get them all in the mail, but the wait won't be too much longer! If you read this blog, (which, clearly, you do!) the Christmas letter won't be nearly as funny as usual, since, rumor has it, the most popular part of the Christmas letter each year is the page of Stoll kid quotes. But, since those are on the sidebar of the blog and you can read (and re-read) them anytime you please, I apologize for the lack of side-splitting laughter at your home this holiday season! You'll have to find someone else's family to laugh at this year.

My personal reflections after looking through 12 years worth of pictures of our family::
  • We were all (well, the 3 of us, anyway) babies in 1999.
  • I should not have bangs. Jill, if you are reading this, don't let me talk you into cutting bangs on my head again. Hold me accountable on that one, ok people?
  • If I do have bangs, then I should absolutely not curl them as I did in 2002!
  • Rebekah's hair didn't get curly until 2003.
  • I love Rebekah in the 2003 picture. SO cute!
  • Our bed has pretty much reached capacity at this point!
  • Kirb's hair used to be MUCH bigger (and darker and thicker!)
  • My hair was best in 2009. Can I get an amen? (but I can pretty much guarantee you that on that particular day in 2009 I hated my hair and thought I needed to do something about it. What's with that anyway?)
  • It would seem I over-think hair?
  • The matching stripe-y turtleneck idea was better the first time around.
  • How cute was Jacob in 2006 showing us his missing tooth?
  • 2005 . . . that's SO Lydia!
  • Joe was kind of a chunk at 18 months (2006). I had forgotten that.
  • Anna must be the opposite of Beka, since her hair just keeps getting less curly as she ages! (see last years picture)
  • My mom is a fabulous photographer! I am amazed each year that we even get one remotely decent picture. Thanks, Mom!

Thursday, December 9, 2010

thankful thursday: two

Well, our sweet little bundle is 2 months old today. Those 2 months sure have flown by! We are so very thankful to have her in our family.

Happy 2 month birthday, sweet Sara::
I love that she still tucks her legs up once in a while when she sleeps. They look so big once they start stretching out all the time.

Seems like we might have another thumb-sucker on our hands::

Monday, December 6, 2010

multitude monday

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

"One Thousand Gifts":

994. fresh, beautiful snow
995. sleigh rides on a perfect winter morning {pulled by reindeer, no less}::996. a successful Christmas-card-picture photo shoot
997. a house that smells of Christmas
998. time this week to make some cards again {it had been awhile}
999. my mom being well enough to go to church again {for the first time in weeks} and start back at work a few hours a day{after not having taken a sick day in the better part of a decade, so has taken two entire weeks worth all at once}
1000. {nearly} a year of counting my many blessings! When I saw that today would push me over the 1,000 mark, I looked back to see when I started this journey and it was 12.14.09. Almost exactly 1 year and 1000 blessings counted {and more than that even, but you can't "count" them all}
1001. night trains: magical and fun! {no matter who you are or how old, you really should take the time to go; you'll be glad you did}::1002. time to sit and chat with friends
1003. shared commiseration
1004. my wonderful husband bearing an almond latte for me at the end of the day
1005. laughter
1006. watching my "baby" mother my baby::1007. a husband who decorates for Christmas
1008. singing carols around the player piano {I took out some trash while the carolling was in process and you can hear the piano from way out by the street, even with the house completely closed up. Yup, it's kinda loud! -- but really fun.}::1009. Christmas tree "shopping"
1010. the kids decorating the tree
1011. a nap to help with a nasty Sunday afternoon headache
1012. warm blankets
1013. advent candles, Christmas carols, poinsettias . . . church during Advent
1014. email from Poland

Alrighty, that's it's for now. Tune in next Monday for the next installment. {You didn't think I'd stop just because I reached 1,000, did you?}

Saturday, December 4, 2010


We had our annual {rather painful -- although not as bad as it could have been} Christmas card photo shoot today.
In our bedroom, of course.
On our bed.
Donuts were used to bribe certain {nameless} uncooperative Stoll kiddos to be a part of the picture. Some people just don't value the importance of tradition!
In the end, though, things turned out ok and we even had more than one workable choice. And, no, none of these are the "winner" for 2010.
Yup, one picture needed to include Batman. He's an important part of our family, you know!