Monday, January 30, 2012

multitude monday {evening edition :: once again}

Once again, better late than never :: here's my continuing Multitude Monday post, which all started a while back, right here on Ann's wonderful, amazing blog that I read each day. If you've never checked it out, do yourself a favor and click on over. She's an amazing writer and an inspiration!

"One Thousand Gifts"::

1924. the sky right before the sunrise :: silhouettes of trees with a beautiful navy backdrop
1925. how Sara climbs on everything :: my little monkey!
1926. 6 ponytails in Anna's hair {do you still call them "ponytails" if there are 6 of them? or are they "pigtails"? or maybe some other farmyard animal?}
1927. glorious January sunshine :: warm on my face
1928. a new patching alternative for Joe that seems hopeful
1929. Sonic Happy Hour with Joe following his eye doctor appointment. Listening to "Bob and Larry Sing the 70's" together. All good stuff!
1930. breakfast for supper
1931. Sara's squeezable thighs and cute dimpled butt {I was tempted to say "cute, little dimpled butt" -- but then I realized that description was a little inaccurate so I dropped the "little" part}
1932. a wonderful memorial service for one of the most wonderful women I've ever known {and I know many people who would agree with me on that point!}. Welcome home, Viola! You will be missed. I will miss you!
1933. protection
1934. a winter Sunday afternoon family swim :: Sara is such a water baby. She LOVED it!
1935. a 3-day weekend
1936. lunch at my mom's
1937. encouraging, exciting preliminary tax refund numbers $
1938. the long-awaited Water Park of America visit for the 4 "bigs"
1939. powerful music lyrics
1940. our church family :: they really are family to us
1941. Kirbs new {additional} positions of leadership both at work and at church
1942. Anna singing along with the music -- music that no one could hear but her, since she was listening to it through earbuds . . . in public . . . and the blessing it was to see a women, who clearly thought it was great too, stop and listen to her and say to her husband "listen to that, isn't she adorable?" . . . did I mention it was Christmas music? when it's almost February. Yup, it was!
1943. people who "hear me cluckin' {Jennifer Scott, I first heard that one from you and still love it to this day. So perfect!} and feel my pain
1944. Grace. All is grace!
1945. crafting

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

Friday, January 27, 2012

a day in the life {or just a morning}

3 of the kids were up WAY earlier than usual . . . and way earlier than they should have been, if you know what I mean. It's never a good way to start your morning to have the kids get up before you. {But I usually like to wait until the first number in the time is at least a 6 before I get up.} One other kid got up later than usual, which also has its issues! We were not off to the best start at this point.

Anna {one of the early risers} was whining like crazy and I could, honestly, hardly make out what she was saying. It was something about cinnamon. I had to go to the bathroom, so I went -- how dare I do such a thing, I know! -- She comes up to me in the bathroom with HUGE tears streaming down her face. I kissed her tears from my perch on the toilet {can I not just have 30 seconds, please?} and asked her what the trouble was. She was angry that I wouldn't give her cinnamon. Yup, plain cinnamon. Not on toast, not on oatmeal, not on applesauce. She just wanted cinnamon! Weirdo! Finally she conceded and let me give her oatmeal {which she calls opey-meal, it's ADORABLE!} -- with cinnamon on it. So that situation had been diffused.

Next, a certain pre-teen complained of not having socks to put on. I asked if he had checked for his clean clothes pile in the laundry room and looked through the not-yet-folded stuff in the basket by the dryer. He screamed yes! He did that! He had NO socks to wear! What on earth was he to do? So I checked the clean laundry {and the dirty laundry, to make a point} and there were no socks to be found anywhere. So I reminded him that I don't wash stuff unless it gets into the laundry basket and that, possibly, there were a bunch of dirty socks in his room. He thought, maybe, there might be some, but surely I was slacking on my motherly duties somehow to create a scenario where he had no clean socks. We went, together, up to his room {which I rarely enter} and it was a pit! We found the missing socks . . . almost all dirty. A few pair still balled up, like you do with socks instead of folding them, and in random places in his room -- but none in the sock-and-underwear-drawer where they belong, mind you! He put some on, slammed a few doors, mumbled under his breath and went to the bus.

Next, the first grader of the house decided he didn't really want to go to school {it's kind of his "thing" to not want to go to school}. He told me his leg was broken and he couldn't walk. He wouldn't get up off the floor. I tried to lift him up and set him on his feet and he slumped to the floor like a wet noodle. It was time to leave. He had no coat on, no boots, no backpack, and he wouldn't get up off the floor. SUPER! So Rebekah left without him. {Lydia is home for the 4th day this week with the crud. We've been to the doctor and I guess it's just viral, so they can't do anything. Fever, sore throat -- her voice doesn't even sound normal -- and generally achey.} Our kids usually walk, but there is a bus that comes to the apartment building a couple doors down from us and picks up kids and takes them to Falcon. So after talking to his dad on the phone {who miraculously with a few well-spoken words, possibly the same ones I had already said, can make things better -- which, if we're being honest, just pisses me off more} he agrees to get on the bus.

So, now I'm down to "just" 5 kids {one baby, one sick 4th grader, a 3-year-old dressed up as Minnie Mouse and 2 "extras" who don't live here, but who are practically like family}. This afternoon I have a funeral to go to.

At least the dryer started today {it doesn't always start} . . . there's always that! Gotta wash some socks, dontcha know?

Happy Friday!

{In the spirit of keeping up the appearances of normalcy on the blog -- even though you may have noticed I totally blew yesterday off -- here's an old picture. Enjoy!}::

{Don't freak out and worry about me. I'm fine. Really. I was just a yucky morning. I'm pretty sure you've had one or two of those too, right?}

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

it must be january

. . . the other day when I got to the Y all the treadmills were full. ALL of them. There are lots! Then yesterday when I got there, the childcare was at capacity. They gave me a pager and told me I was #2 on the waiting list and they'd page me when enough kids had left that I could check mine in. Crazy! Oh well, it should settle down a bit pretty soon. Right?

Monday, January 23, 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 I read each day. If you've never checked it out, do yourself a favor and click on over. She's an amazing writer and an inspiration!

"One Thousand Gifts"::

1905. getting my favorite parking spot at the library (yup, I have a favorite parking spot -- it's wider than the rest, perfect for my HUGE van!)
1906. watching the snowfall out the window :: a real live snowglobe! so beautiful!
1907. shoveling when it's not too cold and the snow is light and fluffy (I think I could have swept it with a broom!)
1908. sisters practicing violins before school
1909. the 550-piece orchestra festival the girls were part of :: it was wonderful!::1910. a long-overdue coffee date with a friend
1911. Bible study
1912. people with whom we can be honest, vulnerable, transparent and authentic . . . and enjoying, so much, our time together
1913. a MUCH-NEEDED haircut for my shaggy pre-teen
1914. each time the dryer starts :: what a blessing!
1915. turning in early
1916. my hard-working husband
1917. church
1918. fabulous workout music that makes the workouts fly by
1919. Joey heading to school this morning without complaint
1920. the privilege of having known (and been blessed and prayed for by) Viola Carlson and the joy of knowing she is home with the Lord. The world is a much, much better place because she was here!
1921. him coming up to me after our adult Sunday School class yesterday (where I had gone WAY beyond teary -- teary, for me, is no longer shocking to anyone who knows me well, but this was a whole other story! -- at the memory of a wonderful, wonderful woman gone to heaven much too soon) and giving me a hug, telling me that he knew his wife would have given me one if she had been there that morning and he thought she would want him to give me one from her (great man you've got there, Catherine . . . but I know you already know that!)
1922. prescription drugs
1923. Sara's sweet voice as she learns new words

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

Saturday, January 21, 2012

big girl

Well, Sara had her 15-month check-up a couple weeks back. Turns out, she's growing just fine . . . and that's an understatement!

At 15 months::
  • she weighs 26 pounds, 3 ounces {90th percentile}
  • she is 31-1/4 inches tall {75th percentile}
  • her head is 18-1/2 inches around {75th percentile}
  • she eats just about anything we put in front of her {and LOVES it!}
  • she clearly knows when she's full and will vigorously shake her head "no" and refuses to open her mouth anymore
  • she walks, runs and climbs
  • she can say :: momma, daddyyyyyyy, ama, hi, hot and up -- and a version that we can understand of :: Joey, Bekah and Lydia
  • she can sign :: more, please and all done -- and she waves too
  • she still doesn't sleep through the night regularly {typical of our kids, unfortunately}
  • she prefers her daddy when she gets up in the night and has been known to go from standing up, calm and quiet {but awake!} to going limp, melting into a puddle and resuming her crying when she sees my silhouette instead of her dad's at the side of her crib in the middle of the night -- once she even scooted way into the corner of her crib, thinking maybe I couldn't reach her or something. Silly girl!
  • she is magnetically drawn to the dishwasher and the bathroom, whenever either door is left open she is there in an instant!
  • she is an easy-going, happy kid!
  • we adore her!

Friday, January 20, 2012

flash{way}back friday

Some Stoll family history.

Joe & Anna Stoll had 17 kids::

Fern was born in 1918 followed by Paul in '19, Ruth in '20, Ella in '22, Ivan in '23, Carl in '24, Doris in '26, Lorna in '29, Lloyd in '31, Joseph in '33, Warren in '35, Ronald in '38, Donald in '39, Raymond in '40, Roger {my father-in-law, whose first name is actually Henry. Roger is his middle name, but it's what he has always gone by} in '42, Roy in '43 and Carol in '45. Anna was pregnant with her 18th {which, I heard once, was known to be a girl} when she died.

I have always found it so interesting {and a little bit funny} that of all the names in the world, they chose to name their first boy Paul Stoll. {Say it out loud. But don't pronounce our last name like "stole", otherwise you won't get it.} See, it rhymes. I mean, if it were boy number 11 and the name options were running a little thin, that's one thing. But to start with the rhyming name right off the bat has always made me laugh a little.

Ok, on with the pictures.

This one is of the family during music hour, or some such thing::

Here they all are together for a more formal picture::
And here is everyone {well, I heard that one brother wasn't actually there, but was "photoshop-ed" in {or the 1960's equivalent} with their dad and step-mom. Fanny {their step-mom} was some kind of saint, in my opinion, to marry a man with 17 kids and jump right in, having never had any children before. I love this picture of my father-in-law. He looks SO happy . . . and handsome. {He's the one on the bottom right}::

How many kids did these 17 have, you might wonder? 84! Starting with Merlyn in 1944 {all Fern's kids had names starting with "M"} and ending with Dale in 1980. Every single one of the 17 had kids. Ray only had 1 and Doris "wins" with 10. Everyone else was somewhere in between with 6 and 4 both being quite common. Kirb is grandchild #78 for Joe & Anna {although Anna wasn't around to know it -- she only had 3 of her 84 grandkids before she died}.

There is a Stoll reunion every 3 years {and 2012 is a reunion year!}. My first Stoll reunion was in 1994, before Kirb and I were even married. This summer will be my 7th reunion. At my first reunion, I heard it announced that there were close to 500 direct descendants of Joe & Anna. I would imagine there's about 1,000 by now -- Aunty Arlene {Llyod's wife} would be the one to ask, she's the family historian and record-keeper. Plus, when Kirby is on the radio, she always calls in to the radio show and says "Hi". She's fabulous!

I hope you've enjoyed this little Stoll family history lesson. What a heritage!

Thursday, January 19, 2012

thankful thursday

I'm so thankful for help, support and encouragement; this "village" of support in raising our kids. It's a tough, tough job and we couldn't do it alone, that's for sure! Joe is having a tough time lately. Poor little man is just completely wearing us out with his misery, pessimism and stubbornness. But we aren't in it alone. We have each other. We have the Lord. We have many friends and people around us loving us, loving Joe, giving suggestions, helping out and and praying us through. I just got off the phone with Falcon's school social worker. I've probably spent at least an hour on the phone with her this week. She is one of our "helpers" through this. It's great to know that Joe has so many wonderful people in his corner.

This picture of him {taken while waiting in line to get in to Night Trains a couple weeks ago -- by Rebekah, I think} makes me smile. I love it! That's my boy::

Monday, January 16, 2012

multitude monday {evening edition :: once again}

Better late than never {twice in a row, now} :: here's my continuing Multitude Monday post, which all started a while back, right here on Ann's wonderful, amazing blog that I read each day. If you've never checked it out, do yourself a favor and click on over. She's an amazing writer and an inspiration!

"One Thousand Gifts"::
1881. hearing Joe and Sara "chatting" and laughing in their room in the morning
1882. a massage
1883. annual girlfriend overnight with some WONDERFUL women
1884. Sara holding my finger with her chubby hand
1885. book club
1886. 54 degrees and sunny on January 10th
1887. a great husband
1888. people excited about things I made them
1889. the power of music
1890. being introduced to the music {and powerful, true lyrics} of Rend Collective {you don't want to miss this video, even if just to hear their fabulous, addictive Irish accents. LOVE! -- it'll be 5 minutes well-spent, I promise!}
1891. a challenging message from Francis Chan {as wonderful and powerful in person as you might imagine after reading his writings}
1892. Sara's smile
1893. Costco
1894. old photos of our house from the 40's and 50's
1895. generous people
1896. friends
1897. the guy at the auto parts store who took pity on the not-yet-showered, harried mom with 2 little kids {one still in her jammies} and offered to put my new wiper blades on the van for me. bless his heart!
1898. fresh snow
1899. visits from out-of-town family
1900. date night
1901. 25+ years of friendship -- a lifetime of history and loyalty
1902. being home again and seeing my family after my 24 hour vacation
1903. sleeping in on a no-school, no-work day
1904. helping out some friends in the wake of a sleepless-night, sick-kid crisis

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

Friday, January 13, 2012

flash{way}back friday

here the old pictures of our house that I became the proud owner of last week
{if you don't know that story, you can read it here}::

our backyard in the winter {neither of our neighboring houses were built yet}::

Our garage {although it's been moved closer to the house since this picture was taken -- same building, though} and the west side of the house::

Well, would you look at that, there used to be a little entryway on the north side of our house. It's not there anymore, though. that door there leads to the side door that goes into our kitchen -- I wonder if that coal shoot was still in use when this was taken. it's still there, but has been all sealed up!::

The front of the house and 3 of the little people who grew up here {anybody know what year this might be, based on the super cool car in the driveway?}::

The backyard and the southwest corner of the house -- the frame for that swingset is still sitting in our backyard {sans swings, teeter-totter and ladder}::
I also have a picture of 3 little kiddos {the same 3 from the front yard pictures} bathing in a beautiful clawfoot tub in our bathroom {the tub isn't here anymore, but the bathroom still is, thankfully!}. But I decided it was in bad taste to publish naked pictures of others on the internet -- dontcha think?

Thursday, January 12, 2012

thankful thursday

I'm so thankful that I get some kid-free girlfriend time this weekend. I'm looking forward to it. I'm also very thankful for my wonderful husband who will be far from kid-free while I'm away. Thanks, babe!

Monday, January 9, 2012

multitude monday {evening edition}

Better late than never :: here's my continuing Multitude Monday post, which all started a while back, right here on Ann's wonderful, amazing blog that I read each day. If you've never checked it out, do yourself a favor and click on over. She's an amazing writer and an inspiration!

"One Thousand Gifts"::
1870. a wonderful play {Wizard of Oz at the Children's Theater}
1871. awe in the eyes of a 6-year-old while watching live theater
1872. coming in to the living room first thing in the morning to see a pre-teen boy, Bible in hand, starting his day with devotions
1873. friends {life is with you is half as hard and twice as good}
1874. hanging laundry on the line in January
1875. encouragement when parenting is extra-tough
1876. snuggling a newborn {ahhh, that smell! i LOVE it!}
1877. night trains {a winter family favorite. so very magical!}
1878. my budding photographer
1879. a glorious Sunday afternoon walk
1880. volunteering together as a family {well, the 2 little girls didn't come along, so it wasn't quite the whole family. so wonderful to work together for such a wonderful cause}

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

Friday, January 6, 2012

flashback friday

january 2008
{i needed this picture today, since this little man is REALLY giving us a run for our money these days! isn't he sweet?}

Thursday, January 5, 2012

thankful thursday

Yesterday two women stopped by our house. Sisters. They had stopped by once before, probably 5 or 10 years ago already. I had almost forgotten about that visit. I wasn't home when they first got here yesterday. My mom was watching the kiddos while I was out for a bit. I called her on my way home and she told me about the visitors that were here waiting for me. When I arrived at home 5 minutes later, there they were. In my kitchen. In their kitchen. They did their growing up here. In this house. They were probably in their 60's. 70's maybe. They brought some copies of pictures of our house from the 40's and 50's. Some inside, some outside. Some including naked kids in a clawfoot bathtub. A fabulous old car in the driveway of one of the pictures. They said I could keep them. They brought them for me. Their family lived here from 1945 until sometime in the early-mid 70's.

The house was built in 1927. We moved in in 1998. I think that their family was the 2nd family to live here. I think we are the 5th. I know a teeny bit about the family that built the house (the Peterson's) and now I know quite a bit about the 2nd family. We bought it from my good friend, Carol's parents, so I know quite a bit about them too. I was at this house quite a few times over the years before I even had an idea that someday I would raise my family here (my junior high and high school years). It's so fun to know so much about the history of our home. It just makes me love it all the more.

I was thankful that, yesterday, the house was less than the complete disaster it often is in the middle of a week day. It was actually pretty clean! We looked at the pictures they brought and chatted for a bit. When they showed me a picture of some kids near a swingset, I told them that the frame from that exact swingset was still in our yard. We looked out the window and I pointed to it. It was here when we bought the house and we didn't have the first clue what to do with a huge, substantial, metal swingset frame, so there it sits along the fence in our backyard. Current day swingset makers should take note. That puppy is probably at least 60 years old and still as solid as can be. The younger sister said that she was often afraid to go upstairs to bed at night and wanted to stay downstairs until someone else went up there with her. Just. like. Lydia! It was so fun to hear their stories.

They saw a stack of (4 copies) the same book on the hutch and asked me about it. (Kirb said later that maybe they thought I was an author. Who else has multiple copies of the same book?) I said it was the book that had had the greatest impact in my life and I always keep a few copies on hand to give to people. Would they like one? I think they were surprised at my offer, but seemed genuinely excited and took a copy -- but only after offering to pay me for it. I said no, I would love them to have it. I gave them my usual warning that the book starts out really sad (I would have appreciated a heads up on that fact before I started reading it in a public place!), but if they could make it through the first chapter they could continue reading without a box of tissues right by their side (well, maybe keep one tissue available, just in case. It is cold season, you know).

As they were leaving, the younger sister asked me if I would pray for the older sister because she has cancer and isn't doing well. She wants to keep getting treatment, but her platelets are low and they have had to stop the treatments for a while until the platelet levels come back up. I told them that I would pray and that I was dealing with low platelets at this exact time last year. She said she could tell that we were believers, otherwise she never would have asked. I was touched deeply by that comment. What an unexpected blessing they were in my day. I'm praying that Ann's book blesses them as much as it has blessed me and many others!

We just got a new computer (our old -- and it was old -- one died with the ending of 2011) and it isn't hooked up to the scanner yet, far as I can tell. As soon as I get the fabulous pictures scanned in, and in digital form, I promise to share them with you. They're SO fun!

Monday, January 2, 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 I read each day. If you've never checked it out, do yourself a favor and click on over. She's an amazing writer and an inspiration!

"One Thousand Gifts"::
1858. after-Christmas bargains
1859. dinner with good friends
1860. singing carols around the player piano with friends
1861. trips to the library
1862. good books
1863. many, many fun games of Qwirkle
1864. a 48-hour family double date to ring in the New Year
1865. bowling . . . and a few strikes even
1866. ice skating on the backyard pond as a family :: it wasn't a pretty site {we're not too good!}, but we sure had some fun
1867. a NEW year
1868. a beautiful dusting of snow to welcome 2012
1869. being home again after a couple days away {see #1864}

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