Monday, December 31, 2012

Multitude Monday

Here's my continuing Multitude Monday post which is part of a series started years ago on Ann's wonderful, amazing blog that is a favorite of mine. If you've never checked it out, do yourself a favor and click on over. She's an amazing, gifted writer and an inspiration (not to mention a mother of 6)!

"One Thousand Gifts"::

since it's been over a month since last I posted my thousand gift list, so I'll just highlight some of the "gifts" from the past month instead of listing them all ::

2814. glorious sunrise
2815. a fun, successful craft sale weekend
2816. having #2815 behind me
2817. peace that passes all understanding
2818. prayer
2822. my house
2823. great, understanding, mature, compassionate kiddos
2824. friends who cry with you in the aisle at Costco
2825. friends who stop in/text/call/email to check on you
2826. hugs
2829. Jacob immediately donning his pink football socks
2830. a working dryer again on the exact day that I really needed it (puke!) :: God is in the little things too
2831. prayers, support and love felt on all sides
2833. sunshine on fresh snow :: so beautiful
2834. the smell of a live Christmas tree in the house
2835. pink chocolate chip cookies baked on the other side of the country :: with a side of prayer!
2839. CaringBridge
2842. a full mailbox
2844. 20 people singing carols around our player piano :: good friends who join us for dinner and fun at the last minute
2846. a skilled, caring, humble surgeon
2849. good initial reports and successful surgery for my mom
2851. that sparkly, beautiful, glitter-like snow glistening in the moonlight
2852. a evening driving around looking at Christmas lights. the 8 of us and my parents
2855. a mother-daughter-mother-daughter coffee date :: laughter, tears, presents, coffee (and one hot water) and lots of LOVE
2857. dinner with the Lawrence family
2859. siblings excited to give gifts to each other and genuine happiness at what they received
2860. the joy of giving
2863. needing to shop for new jeans because even my "skinny" ones won't stay up
2867. Sara's humoor
2868. snuggles from Joe
2871. Lydia's hair finally long enough to donate :: it means even more now (now we just need to find a time to fit a haircut into the schedule)
2873. Kirb and the 2 big girls singing at the Christmas Eve service
2874. snuggling with the 3 sleepers (Joe, Anna and Sara) as Christmas Eve turned to Christmas Day :: watching the candle light encircle me as I stayed in my seat and everyone else made a circle of candle light around the sanctuary. I loved that perspective
2875. a not-too-terrible run following more than a month without running
2877. small world connections
2878. preschool Christmas programs (our 10th one at Roseville Lutheran!)
2880. shoveling for neighbors who are out of town
2882. fun baby news!

I started 2012 with gift #1858 (which was "after Christmas bargains"). That's more than 1000 gifts this year! God is good!

Happy New Year! May you realize all the blessings the Lord brings your way in 2013 and take the time to make note of them.

Monday, December 24, 2012

Merry Christmas

Wow, it's been more than a month since I've posted anything here. For those of you who know me well, you know why. Just after Thanksgiving my mom was diagnosed with breast cancer and it's been a whirlwind of a month. We did our best to pretend we hadn't found out this news for about a week or so, since I was having a big craft sale at my house the weekend after the news and my mom was in charge of all the food for our church's Advent Brunch that same day :: a traditional Swedish brunch meal for a couple hundred women . . . she sure is exceptional, that lady!

Since then our family has had Christmas programs, concerts, a HUGE snowstorm and now we are somehow at Christmas Eve already. My mom had a mastectomy on the 13th of December. The surgery went well and the initial results from the lymph nodes they are testing looked good, but we still don't have the complete report on that yet. She is looking as fabulous as ever and is up and around quite a bit. She walked her Christmas packages in to town to mail, has babysat my kids a time or two, braved a couple trips to the mall, attended Christmas programs and went for a long (and painful :: lots sibling bickering and one particularly grumpy Stoll kid who was pretty much set on ruining everyone else's fun) drive last night with us to look at Christmas lights. The lights were beautiful :: our favorites were the Lake Phalen light show that runs from 5:30 until 10 from now until New Years Day and this super cool, enchanted forest-type property on S. Owasso Blvd. It is the very coolest private lights display I've ever seen -- we discovered it probably almost a decade ago and have driven by at least once a Christmas season since then. Last year (or was it 2010?) they didn't do it and we were afraid maybe they'd sold their house or had just quit, but we were thrilled when we drove around the corner and saw it all lit up last night! There may have even been clapping and cheering -- which further irritated the scrooge in our midst!

The day after my mom's surgery our nation (and the world) shared in some deep sorrow at the news of the Connecticut school shooting. That news, too, hit extra close to home for our family because my dad attended Sandy Hook Elementary School when he was about the age of a couple of my kiddos. I don't know that that connection makes it any more devastating for us than it is for anyone else, but it does hit a bit closer to home for us knowing that my dad walked those same halls as a little kid and learned in those classrooms -- we were looking over his Sandy Hook Elementary report cards (I don't know how my Grandma managed to save all that stuff -- as a fellow mother-of-6. I don't know that I could even come up with the current year report card for all my kids -- let alone have them all organized 50+ years later :: although I guess she only had to keep track of them for about a decade, and then my uber-organized mother took over the job of keeping track of them) the Sunday after the shooting when we were over at my parent's house for lunch. My dad has always been a very intelligent, academic, studious type and that was reflected even in those early report cards -- with the exception of music, in which he got a C. So my lack of musical giftedness is a genetic "gift" from my father and any gifts my kids have in this area are not genetically linked to their Grandpa Carlson, I guess. Although we will credit him, in part, for their intelligence, skill in visual arts and love for riding a bicycle.

So, it has been a month full of regular December craziness coupled with a lot of extra emotions, information and doctor appointments. I have been so thankful for friends (and mere acquaintances) who have gone above and beyond the "I'm so sorry" to really reach out and encourage, support, pray for, cook for and give practical help to us during the past few weeks. God is so good and so are his people.

Even during this hard month, we have found many, many things to be thankful for. Even more of them, I'm certain, than we would have found without this cancer diagnosis in our family this month. Most days I (and I can only speak honestly about my own feelings) have felt very peaceful, hopeful and optimistic about this whole thing . . . but there are have those other-end-of the spectrum moments that have been hard and I've cried (sometimes in the middle of the Costco aisle) and wondered why her. I adore my mom. She is wonderful and I couldn't love her more or imagine a better mom. She is probably the healthiest person that I know (she eats great, is in fabulous shape, exercises, and I can't think of a single vise :: she doesn't smoke or drink -- no alcohol, pop or even coffee). Not that life is fair, or cancer is fair. I know that it isn't. But it just seems even a bit more unfair that it would come to her. I think that the hardest part, for me, of this whole thing was telling the news to my kids (and I didn't even tell them, Kirb did. He's my hero.). They adore their grandma and she is such an integral part of their lives. Overall, they took the news well, but I thought I had them pegged as to how each one would respond, and they surprised me. It was harder on a couple of them than I expected, and the 1 or 2 that I was most worried about did better than I expected. Thankfully, we had oblivious Sara, dancing around and singing, as the rest of us were crying, to lighten the mood a bit! I have been so grateful to Kirb through all of this. I know he loves my mom so much too, but he has been strong for me and for the kids and has pretty much done everything around here for the past month -- which, if we're being honestly, isn't that much different than any other time.

This feels a bit disjointed to me, but I want to close by wishing you a VERY Merry Christmas and a New Year filled with blessings.

The Stoll Family 2012 :: taken on Thanksgiving Day

 So, here is an excerpt from one of my very favorite books, The Jesus Storybook Bible by Sally Lloyd-Jones (pick one up if you don't have it. Yes, even if there are no children living at your house!). It is her paraphrase of Isaiah chapters 9, 11, 40, 50, 53, 55 and 60.


Dear Little Flock,
You're all wandering away from me, like sheep in an open field. You have always been running away from me. And now you're lost. You can't find your way back.

But I can't stop loving you. I will come to find you. So I am sending you a Shepherd to look after you and love you. To carry you home to me.

You've been stumbling around, like people in a dark room. But into the darkness, a bright Light will shine! It will chase away all the shadows, like sunshine.

A little baby will be born. A Royal Son. His mommy will be a young girl who doesn't have a husband. His name will be Emmanuel, which means, "God has come to live with us." He is one of King David's children's children's children. The Prince of Peace.

Yes, Someone is going to come and rescue you! But he won't be who anyone expects.

He will be a King! But he won't live in a palace. And he won't have lots of money. He will be poor. And he will be a Servant. But this King will heal the whole world.

He will be a Hero! He will fight for his people, and rescue them from their enemies. But he won't have big armies, and he won't fight with swords. He will make the blind see, he will make the lame leap like deer! He will make everything the way it was always meant to be.

But people will hate him, and they won't listen to him. He will be like a Lamb -- he will suffer and die.

It's the Secret Rescue Plan we made -- from before the beginning of the world!

It's the only way to get you back.

But he won't stay dead -- I will make him alive again!

And, one day, when he comes back to rule forever, the mountains and trees will dance and sing for joy! The earth will shout out loud! His fame will fill the whole earth -- as the waters cover the sea! Everything sad will come untrue. Even death is going to die! And he will wipe away every tear from every eye.

Yes, the Rescuer will come. Look for him. Watch for him. Wait for him. He will come!

I promise.

Love, God

Friday, November 23, 2012

flasback friday

puffer vest and cords :: I was a pretty hip 6-year-old {if you disregard the hair, that is}

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Happy Thanksgiving

Psalm 100

A psalm. For giving thanks.

Shout for joy to the Lord, all the earth.
2Worship the Lord with gladness;
    come before him with joyful songs.
Know that the Lord is God.
    It is he who made us, and we are his;
    we are his people, the sheep of his pasture.
Enter his gates with thanksgiving
    and his courts with praise;
    give thanks to him and praise his name.
For the Lord is good and his love endures forever;
    his faithfulness continues through all generations.


Have a wonderful Thanksgiving. May you find much for which to be thankful today.

Monday, November 19, 2012

multitude monday

Here's my continuing Multitude Monday post which is part of a series started years ago on Ann's wonderful, amazing blog that is a favorite of mine. If you've never checked it out, do yourself a favor and click on over. She's an amazing, gifted writer and an inspiration (not to mention a mother of 6)!

"One Thousand Gifts"::

2795. my Bible study girls
2796. lots of crafting
2797. Pandora
2798. mother-daughter time with my mom
2799. Beka's generous donation of 13 inches of gorgeous curls to make a wig for a cancer patient ::

 
 
2800. celebrating a life well-lived, although much too short
2801. coupons
2802. Anna practicing her piano lesson
2803. my bestie home safely from a 15-day work trip to Asia and back with her family
2804. a fresh-looking and less-shaggy 13-year-old after a much-needed haircut
2805. our thankful tree from my mom
2806. a winter-ready garage
2807. beautiful weather well into November :: not something to be taken for granted as a Minnesotan
2808. my husband's servant heart
2809. clean sheets
2810. hanging laundry on the line in late November without even getting numb fingers
2811. sunshine
2812. Jeff :: the girl's soccer coach
2813. a fun second-grade concert

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

Monday, November 12, 2012

multitude monday


Here's my continuing Multitude Monday post which is part of a series started years ago on Ann's wonderful, amazing blog that is a favorite of mine. If you've never checked it out, do yourself a favor and click on over. She's an amazing, gifted writer and an inspiration (not to mention a mother of 6)!

"One Thousand Gifts"::

2778. hope
2779. wrinkly baby foreheads peeking over shoulders :: I can hardly stand it!
2780. how the grain of wood looks after soaking up a bit of stain :: so beautiful
2781. the great energy in church on Sunday
2782. answered prayer
2783. Evelyn home again, after spending the week in the hospital
2784. seeing Clarence back at church on Sunday
2785. tear-inducing laughter with friends
2786. determination and dedication
2787. light at the end of the tunnel
2788. my hard-working, dedicated husband and his amazing {God-given} leadership skills
2789. encouragement and affirmation from others
2790. game night with girlfriends. Boxers or Briefs :: such and fun and funny game!
2791. a great 6.23K with Kirb and the 3 big kids. great way to start off a Saturday. {Jacob finished WAY quicker than I expected him to and Kirb -- who doesn't run and hasn't been training  and running for a year and was wearing JEANS for crying out loud! -- was ahead of me nearly the whole race, although I beat him in the end. My bitterness and jealousy get a bit of a break due to the fact that he is still ache-y 2 days later, whereas I feel just fine, and have since I stepped out of the shower. So extra proud of my boys! The girls had a great time too, and Lydia has declared her desire to run lots more 5Ks with me.}
2792. new, updated pictures of Melvin in the mailbox
2793. Sara Groves. Live!
2794. waking up to our first dusting of snow

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

Monday, November 5, 2012

multitude monday


Here's my continuing Multitude Monday post which is part of a series started years ago on Ann's wonderful, amazing blog that is a favorite of mine. If you've never checked it out, do yourself a favor and click on over. She's an amazing, gifted writer and an inspiration (not to mention a mother of 6)!

"One Thousand Gifts"::

2760. starting the day off in the pool swimming laps {not so hard on the knees and hips}
2761. crafting success following a failed attempt
2762. the excitement and joy of cousins being reunited
2763. thrifting with my niece and sister-in-law
2764. getting into bed after a long day :: good and tired
2765. compliments from strangers
2766. morning in Buffalo with my mom and the little girls
2767. inspiration
2768. celebrating a friends 40th
2769. safe travels for a friend {now praying she gets home as smoothly and safely in a couple weeks}
2770. creating
2771. beautiful fall days
2772. the delicious dinner for 13 Kirb made the other night
2773. nap time
2774. the thrift store
2775. our church
2776. long, warm showers
2777. an extra hour {theoretically to be spent sleeping, but that doesn't usually work out so well when young kids are in the house -- but I'll take the extra hour, even if I can't enjoy any extra sleep}

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

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

multitude monday { . . . or tuesday}


Here's my continuing Multitude Monday post -- albeit a day late -- which all started years ago on Ann's wonderful, amazing blog that is a favorite of mine. If you've never checked it out, do yourself a favor and click on over. She's an amazing, gifted writer and an inspiration (not to mention a mother of 6)!

"One Thousand Gifts"::

2735. Joe singing in church :: normally he doesn't sing, so it brought my heart a whole bunch of joy
2736. lunch time in an elementary school cafeteria
2737. bookstores :: stacks and stack of books!
2738. the library
2739. autumn :: my very, very favorite
2740. a 2-year-old with a fresh haircut :: being able to see her cute eyes again
2741. hand-me-down costumes
2742. Kirb bringing home a latte for me
2743. being home with no one but a napping 2-year-old when my book took a sorrowful turn and I was crying {dripping nose and all}. no need to explain my crazy weeping over a death that was fictitious.
2744. the funny things our kids say
2745. checking the online grade book and being pleasantly surprised
2746. friends
2747. chalkboard paint
2748. a fabulous {although painfully long} swim meet for our 3 swimmers
2749. brave kids overcoming fears
2750. backyard fires in fall
2751. book club night
2752. seeing a friend's new studio space
2753. my grandma
2754. protection for Sara :: a fall that could have been much worse than it was
2755. Joe on the couch engrossed in a book
2756. carpools
2757. my Bible app and quiet minutes in the morning
2758. a girl smiling, having fun and forgetting her struggles for a few hours while playing four-square {or three-square, as the case would be} with her friends :: being a little girl again for a while and forgetting her adult-size sadness
2759. Jacob picking up Anna from preschool :: the big brother and his little sister walking home down the block together

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

Friday, October 26, 2012

Monday, October 22, 2012

multitude monday


Here's my continuing Multitude Monday post, which all started years ago on Ann's wonderful, amazing blog that is a favorite of mine. If you've never checked it out, do yourself a favor and click on over. She's an amazing, gifted writer and an inspiration (not to mention a mother of 6)!

"One Thousand Gifts"::

2708. brushing Beka's hair
2709. kids fresh from the tub
2710. a fun visit from the far-away grandparents
2711. a walk around the lake with my mom on a beautiful afternoon
2712. hay rides
2713. kids riding in the tractor cab {"helping" to drive the tractor}
2714. the fun of a corn maze :: and making funny inside-{family} jokes with the kids that make them roll their eyes and chuckle
2715. orange and pink stripes in the sky
2716. a daughter who jumps up from the table, leaving her breakfast, to grab the camera and capture the fleeting beauty of the moment
2717. Sara singing her ABC's all the way through
2718. Jacob home safely after a great 4 days in Chicago
2719. Sunday night youth group
2720. 70 and sunny in late October!
2721. a HUGE pile of leaves in the yard
2722. a post-bedtime movie with Kirb
2723. the amazing talent and creativity and depth of Tyler Perry's work
2724. picking up beautiful leaves on my walk
2725. the fun and excitement of being "boo-ed" and "boo-ing" in return {it's kind of the fall version of a May basket}
2726. Trader Joe's
2727. muenster cheese
2728. pumpkins on our doorstep
2729. the beauty of fall colors :: they seem extra vivid this year
2730. unparalleled youth pastor longevity {the fact that he took me on the same Chicago trip Jacob went on over the weekend more than a quarter century ago is amazing and so fun!}
2731. kids high up in trees
2732. helping move furniture, even though you wish you could do more to really help the hurting
2733. a neighborhood baby shower
2734. really, really fun, exciting pregnancy news!

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

Friday, October 19, 2012

flashback friday

Two of my favorite football players :: Luke & Jacob
Fall 1999

Monday, October 15, 2012

multitude monday


Here's my continuing Multitude Monday post, which all started years ago on Ann's wonderful, amazing blog that is a favorite of mine. If you've never checked it out, do yourself a favor and click on over. She's an amazing, gifted writer and an inspiration (not to mention a mother of 6)!

"One Thousand Gifts"::

2685. 2 years of life for Sara
2686. a good nights sleep for all 6 kiddos
2687. easier nights for Rebekah
2688. the amazing blue of the late-afternoon sky
2689. good swim practice for Joe
2690. pink cups at Dunn Bros.
2691. football players in pink socks ::
2692. double coupon day at the gas station :: $6.25 saved
2693. Joe's new glasses ::
2694. clean laundry
2695. the library
2696. Sara's mispronunciations that I love
2697. a little bit of rain for the thirsty ground
2698. protection on the football field
2699. looking forward to some company from out of town
2700. a new baby born to a friend on 10.11.12 :: how fun is that?
2701. lots and lots of creating
2702. a good end to Jacob's 8th grade football season ::


2703. an attentive sister and divine protection for Sara when she choked on a pistachio shell while we were in the van :: thank you, God, that Rebekah noticed her choking and for Kirb's lightning quick response and throat sweep that took care of what could have been a completely different situation with a terrible, terrible outcome. Praise God! We are so very thankful!
2704. some much-needed rain
2705. the sound of rain on the roof :: it had been so long, I'd nearly forgotten
2706. enjoying a good movie with my love after the kids were in bed
2707. Jacob's fabulous football coach :: encouraging, positive and kind. Jacob loved him!


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

Friday, October 12, 2012

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

40 + 2

It's been a big week around here.

This guy turned 40 ::

And this girl turned 2 ::

Here are a few little snippets of what you are like at age 2, Miss Sara ::


  • you have some really cute mispronunciations that I will be sad to see go someday soon :: J-bud for Jacob, down-sit for downstairs, while-ee-bee for library
  • you say "I 'cited about." all the time. I ask you, "what are you excited about?" and you answer, again, with "I 'cited about." (hello mom! I already told you!)
  • you always want to be on the go :: I go outside, I go in my carseat, Let's take a walk -- are phrases I hear many times a day
  • you love your carseat, and going places -- and you're very curious about everyone else's carseats too. you especially love to go in your Ama's carseat
  • you run and play and jump and ride your bike and do a pretty good job keeping up with those 5 older siblings you've got
  • you sleep in a big bed
  • you gave up your nuks a couple months ago, but still talk about them and miss them -- but you're doing great without them!
  • you finally are sleeping through the night more often than not
  • you love books :: being read to and looking at books are some of your favorite things to do
  • you know most of the words to your 3 or 4 favorite books, and can sit down alone with a book and tell yourself the story
 
  • you "raise the roof" and "head bang" when rockin' music comes on
  • you still sit (extra safe) in a rear-facing car seat. I plan to get it turned around forward facing in the next couple weeks -- you'll be "so 'cited" to face forward, I think
  • you STILL adore your Daddy. you love me too, but you're crazy about him (not that I can blame you!)
  • you're fearless
  • you love babies (just like your momma)
  • you are our favorite 2-year-old on the planet!
  • we love you so very much -- all 7 of us (and then some)

I can't believe this was two year ago already ::

We are so glad to have you in our family!

Happy Birthday to the oldest and the youngest members of our family!


Monday, October 8, 2012

multitude monday


Here's my continuing Multitude Monday post, which all started years ago on Ann's wonderful, amazing blog that is a favorite of mine. If you've never checked it out, do yourself a favor and click on over. She's an amazing, gifted writer and an inspiration (not to mention a mother of 6)!

"One Thousand Gifts"::

2642. folding Jacob's laundry and tucking in a little love note
2643. Sara napping with the covers pulled WAY up over her head and her adorable little toes sticking out the bottom
2644. the gurgle of the coffee pot
2645. the hum of the washer
2646. a productive crafting day
2647. a big win for Jacob's football team
2648. Rebekah's tender heart
2649. a good night at swimming for Joe
2650. goggles, swim cap and Minnie Mouse dress on Anna
2651. walking home from preschool :: Sara knee-deep in leaves at the curb, crunching with each step
2652. a good, productive PSC meeting for Kirb :: getting closer
2653. Paul Healy, Bethel University alumni of the year. I can't think of anyone better for the honor
2654. blazing reds, golden yellow, deep purples, glorious oranges :: the beauty of fall
2655. a night with all 6 kids at home
2656. Joe reading to his little sisters
2657. an idea in my head that turned out even cuter than how I imagined it
2658. lots of orders this week
2659. Lydia's smile
2660. a great -- although chilly -- 4th 5K
2661. my best time yet
2662. time with dear friends
2663. people willing to watch out kids so we can have time away without them
2664. a great football coach for Jacob
2665. another win for Jacob's team
2666. playing Qwirkle
2667. memories
2668. the 1980 Sears wishbook we had fun looking through and laughing
2669. 40 years of life for my favorite person ever born :: Happy Birthday Kirbs!
2670. REALLY hard laughter
2671. beautiful fall colors
2672. the continued blessing of our new basement space
2673. the blessing of hand-me-downs
2674. the fabulous "village" of people that help us raise our kids -- and who drive them places when there are more things to go to than our family has drivers
2675. quiet
2676. creativity
2677. no more crib in our house :: and me being ok with that
2678. sweaters and warm socks
2679. the faithfulness of God
2680. Lois doing so well. Seeing her back in church again
2681. PSC progress :: a light at the end of the tunnell
2682. Paul Healy's head towering above everyone else in church on Sunday morning :: always great to have him home
2683. making and creating things
2684. a beautiful sunset over downtown

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

Saturday, October 6, 2012

no. 4

So last Saturday morning I ran my 3rd 5K. With Rebekah, Lydia and Joe. I was Joe's "buddy" and our finish time was 46.48. Not my personal best! It was a beautiful day, though, and we had a fun time. It got into the 70's last Saturday, but was still a little cool in the morning. A perfect day for the run!

Fast forward 7 days.

This morning I ran my 4th 5K. It was Bethel's Homecoming 5K. A bunch of students and alumni met at the SRC at 9 o'clock for a 3.1 mile run around campus.When I got there, I think it was 36*. Brrrr. Much colder than last week. Also, I didn't bring any kids with me.

Here are a few of my post-race reflections ::

  • I must hate the cold even more than I hate running, because I ran this one in 33.04. My best time ever by a long shot.
  • If it wasn't the cold, maybe it was my competitive nature :: trying to keep up with all those young college pups or something.
  • Or maybe it wasn't really 5 whole Ks. (which is the thought that kept going through my mind after I got my time)
  • That campus is somehow WAY more hilly than it was when I was 18! Ouch!
  • There's nothing like trail-running along a lake in the glorious beauty of fall. What a beautiful campus -- I also don't remember it being that beautiful when I was 18 either.
  • I nearly tripped and biffed it on my face because I was so distracted by thoughts of all the projects I could make when the route took us by a HUGE stack of pallets back behind the football field. So glad I didn't biff, that would have been almost as embarrassing as when I slipped and fell while the ENTIRE football team was walking toward me, returning from practice, when I was a freshman!
  • Freshman hill still brings back fun memories.
  • The campus has changed a lot in 20 years -- heck, the name has even changed. I went to Bethel College, but the kids I was running with go to Bethel University.
  • I'm never very glad to be running, but I'm always glad to have run -- I like to think of it as a bit like childbirth. Once I'm done and have caught my breath, I don't remember it being quite as terrible as it was in the moment and I decide I'm glad I did it, even though it was tough . . .and then I decide I might as well just do it again (that in no way indicates that I am having another baby. Just in case you thought it might.)
  • I shouldn't have put the race shirt they gave me on over the 3 layers I was already wearing. By the end I was too hot!
  • Tomorrow is the Twin Cities marathon. I have a couple friends running it. That's like almost 9 5Ks one right after the other. Honestly, I don't know how they do that! I always say I don't even like to drive that far (since I am the kind of person who prefers to stay within walking distance of her house 95% of the time -- sometimes I do feel the need to go to IKEA, you know.) Best wishes, marathoners. I'm proud of you!

Friday, October 5, 2012

flashback friday

What a handsome crew :: the Carlson family, circa 1978.

Monday, October 1, 2012

Multitude Monday :: evening edition


Here's my continuing Multitude Monday post, which all started a while back, right here on Ann's wonderful, amazing blog that is a favorite of mine. If you've never checked it out, do yourself a favor and click on over. She's an amazing, gifted writer and an inspiration!

"One Thousand Gifts"::

2626. the smell of fall :: dusty leaves
2627. the sounds of fall :: dusty leaves crunching underfoot
2628. fall sunshine
2629. 5K with Rebekah, Lydia and Joe to start off our Saturday
2630. beautiful night sky
2631. first time at Target field
2632. grand slam for the Twins
2633. successful garage sale
2634. laughing so hard you need to fish your inhaler out of your purse to be able to breathe
2635. harvest moon
2636. clothes fresh from the line
2637. the smell of brewing coffee
2638. my hard-working husband
2639. celebrations
2640. carpools
2641. Anna's flu shot bravery

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

Friday, September 28, 2012

flashback friday

my grandparents :: taken when my grandma was pregnant with my dad {sometime in 1947 or '48}

Monday, September 24, 2012

multitude monday


Here's my continuing Multitude Monday post, which all started a while back, right here on Ann's wonderful, amazing blog that is a favorite of mine. If you've never checked it out, do yourself a favor and click on over. She's an amazing, gifted writer and an inspiration!

"One Thousand Gifts"::

2599. the early-morning sound of the paper guy backing out of the driveway
2600. the way Anna calls the newspaper "the news" :: i.e. "The news is here mom."
2601. our annual neighborhood block party/potluck
2602. meeting the newest neighbors {a new couple who moved in down the block and a 10-day old baby from across the street that I hadn't met in person, only in pictures
2603. a visit from Kirby's brother
2604. bike day at preschool
2605. 45 kidless hours to celebrate our anniversary
2606. sleeping in
2607. 11 hours of uninterrupted sleep
2608. 16 years of marriage
2609. watching Jacob's football game :: coffee in hand, Kirb by my side and no kiddos to keep an eye on
2610. shopping at i like you
2611. massage
2612. long-standing, meaningless-to-the-rest-of-the-world traditions between me and Kirbs that make us both smile
2613. dinner at Chatterbox
2614. my sacrificial parents and their willingness to stay with our lively brood!
2615. coming home to our half dozen
2616. transferring birthdays and special dates into my new 2013 calendar {that I almost paid full-price for, but then saw the exact one I wanted in the clearance section for 70% off :: someone had written on about 3 pages of it and then returned it, so it was "used" . . . hey, I've got white-out!}
2617. checking things off "the list" that have been on there for MONTHS
2618. Sara singing Toby Mac
2619. great finds on a trip to Goodwill
2620. re-affirmation that the book is always better than the movie
2621. "Step into Africa" with the 4 bigs. a fabulous experience. SO glad we went!
2622. writing a letter to Melvin
2623. new babies
2624. 5K coming up this weekend for me, Rebekah, Lydia and Joe
2625. "for all your goodness I will keep on singing. ten thousand reasons for my heart to find" :: love it!


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

Friday, September 21, 2012

flashback friday

A little jeopardy for ya ::

answer :: 1.6 decades, 5,842 days, 140,208 hours, 16 years -- long enough for :: 6 kids, 1 apartment, 1 house, 1 major remodel, 6 jobs, 78 birthdays (16 for me, 16 for Kirb, 13 for Jacob, 11 for Rebekah, 10 for Lydia, 7 for Joe, 4 for Anna and 1 for Sara), 16 Christmases, at least a half dozen er visits, 2 extra-long family road trips, 1 pet, 9 vehicles, 2 different centuries . . .

question :: what is, "How long have Shana & Kirby been married?"


Today marks our 16th anniversary! I love my hubby even more today then I did on that (slightly rainy) September day in 1996! Thanks, Kirb, for 16 wonderful years of being my husband and best friend (you've been my best friend for over 20 years now, actually!) our life . . . it's quite a crazy ride. I'm so glad we're on it together! I LOVE YOU!


I hope you all enjoy these pictures of 2 little kids who were (and are still) very much in love! If you were there with us on that day, thanks for stickin' with us through the years! Take a minute to remember the yummy leaf cookies, the VW bug convertables, the flower girl who fell asleep almost immediately after walking down the aisle, the slideshow of baby pictures (which wasn't something everyone did, back in the day . . . it was new & exciting!), the live 4-piece string ensemble, blowing bubbles in the rain and the miriad of really cute little girls who charmed all who were there . . . just to name a few things. If you have other Carlson/Stoll wedding memories, I'd love to hear 'em!







So, were you there? Did you come celebrate with us? I know that many of you did! If you have a memory, any memory at all, of that day I would love to hear it: funny memories, random memories, sappy memories, cute memories . . . bring 'em on. I would love to know what it is you remember about our wedding day.

A BIG "Happy Anniversary" to my wonderful husband and, also, a BIG thanks to our family and friends who were there, took part and made the day so wonderful for us. The biggest thanks of all to the Lord for seeing fit to bring us together . . . I couldn't be happier!

Monday, September 17, 2012

mutltitude monday


Here's my continuing Multitude Monday post, which all started a while back, right here on Ann's wonderful, amazing blog that is a favorite of mine. If you've never checked it out, do yourself a favor and click on over. She's an amazing, gifted writer and an inspiration!

"One Thousand Gifts"::

2580. fresh sheets dried on the line
2581. a glorious late-summer day
2582. running with Joe
2583. safety when I got rear-ended {I was pretty shaken up, but neither me nor the vehicle were injured -- although I can't say as much for the car the guy who hit me was driving}
2584. the Sunday morning bird choir
2585. now these 3 remain :: faith, hope and love. but the greatest of these is love.
2586. hope!
2587. prayer
2588. climbing into bed at the end of the day
2589. shared tears
2590. successful transition to a big girl bed for Sara :: I'm AMAZED at how smoothly it went!
2591. re-arranging, cleaning and de-cluttering the girls' room
2592. a good sale on toilet paper right when I needed it!
2593. finished projects :: after months and months of having an idea in your head, it's nice to see it come to fruition
2594. my really, really, really hard-working husband
2595. perfect weather
2596. friends
2597. the fact that my husband loves me -- a fact I am especially thankful for during the times when I'm not very loveable {which, believe it or not, is quite often!}
2598. old pictures

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

Friday, September 14, 2012

flashback friday



December 2005 :: Matchy girls :: Rebekah 4, Lydia 3
Totally reminds me of Anna and Sara these days!

Thursday, September 13, 2012

you might want to grab a kleenex {or maybe that's just me}


In early 1999 -- January. Maybe February -- we started. Crib shopping, that is. Our first little bundle was scheduled to arrive right around April Fool's Day and he or she would need a place to sleep, right? So the two of us "kids" {me not even a quarter century old and Kirb just barely ahead of me} went crib shopping. We found one we liked after much discussion {drop side? sleigh? dark wood? light? painted? one that converts to a toddler bed? -- so many options} and took it home and painstakingly set it up. Then we took some pictures of the finished, bug-themed nursery and waited for the baby. That baby arrived a little earlier than we expected, but we were ready. Beginning the night of March 25th, 1999 -- the day we came home from the hospital with little Jacob -- our crib went to work. That was nearly 5,000 nights ago. Most every night since then {with the exception of times we were away from home} a Stoll baby has slept in that crib. First Jacob. Then Rebekah {who got kicked out at 14-months to make way for her new sister}. Then Lydia. Then Joe {who had the longest run in the crib -- nearly 3 years}. Then Anna. Then Sara. It has served us very well and has been more than worth whatever it was we paid for it.

But last night that crib was empty. We weren't out of town. No vacations or anything. We were here. We were here and it was empty.

Last night Sara slept in her big girl bed. A twin bed. She looked so big under those covers!

She went to sleep without problem and didn't even try to get out {she was, however, extremely tired!} About 4:30 I heard some little footsteps. She doesn't usually sleep all night, so it didn't surprise me that she would wake up, but I was curious as to what she would do when she was awake and able to escape. No longer a prisoner in that crib, she plodded along in the dark and ended up in our room. She came to my side of the bed and announced :: "I dit out. I sleep a Daddy's bed." So I gave her a little boost and she crawled up, snuggled in and joined us for a couple hours.

I'm not sure how tonight will go. If she'll sleep in the big bed again, or if she'll be in her crib. We're not committed to totally going cold turkey {like we did with the nuks a month or two ago} or anything. We're just at that transition point. Maybe two steps forward and one step back. Who knows. We'll see. But it certainly is the end of something. I'm not quite ready to take the crib down and live in a crib-less house, but that time is fast approaching. Weird! I've always had a baby, it seems, and now I don't any more. I'm certainly a bit sad, but it feels ok too. You can't keep them little forever!


Monday, September 10, 2012

multitude monday


Here's my continuing Multitude Monday post, which all started a while back, right here on Ann's wonderful, amazing blog that is a favorite of mine. If you've never checked it out, do yourself a favor and click on over. She's an amazing, gifted writer and an inspiration!

"One Thousand Gifts"::

2555. the warm weight of a sleepy toddler snuggled on my chest
2556. a fabulous start to the school year
 
 
2557. terrific teachers
2558. long-overdue shelf paper replacement in our most-used corner cupboard
2559. a fun, unexpected meeting while walking home from preschool {it's a long story involving meeting Sara Groves' bass player and having a nice chat}
2560. a morning in Buffalo with my mom and "the littles"
2561. a new craft
2562. the glorious blue of the sky paired with the pure white of the clouds
2563. trampoline soccer with Anna
2564. coffee delivery from jenn
2565. fresh cucumbers picked, cut and immediately packed in lunches
2566. the stillness and quiet of daybreak on a Sunday
2567. a HUGE flock of birds overhead
2568. perfect day for a trip to the orchard
 
2569. finding a really fun new park
2570. kids climbing trees
2571. post-workout shower
2572. 23 months of Sara
 
 
2573. the sound of coffee beans grinding
2574. Sunday afternoon nap
2575. laundry out on the line
2576. things crossed off the never ending to-do list
2577. a toddler jumping on the trampoline in nothing but a diaper
2578. a walk around the lake
2579. spotting "the monkey man" {the guy who walks around Como with a monkey on his shoulder} and chatting a bit. so interesting!

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