Monday, December 31, 2007

Caedmon Turns Four

Caedmon turns four at 10:00 pm tonight and we're having a birthday party coming up this Saturday to celebrate. This morning we had a family birthday breakfast and put four candles in his pancake.

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We also let him open the present that we got for him.


A Colts football play uniform

Daddy went to work for a few hours and we resumed our regular schedule. I was working on laundry and I noticed that Caedmon was very quiet. He was just laying on the floor staring into space not making one peep. I asked him what he was thinking about and he replied, "Football." I wish I could have seen exactly what was going on in that little head of his, but he was seriously in dreamland. Finally, I told him that it was time to play in his room and this is how I found him in there...


...still dreaming. And when asked again what he was thinking about....football.


Another surprise for you today...Grandpa & Grandma Stoll picked you up and took you to lunch at McDonald's & to the Dollar Store. You wore your Colts uniform.


My Son, Caedmon...you will turn four today...I can't believe it! You were our first long awaited child and it seems like yesterday that I held you in my arms for the very first time. Because of you, I became a mother...a dream come true. You are our strong-willed child and you keep me on my toes, but I pray and can see that this part of your personality will become one of your biggest strengths as you get older. You are the comedian of the family and keep us laughing all the time. I love your laugh! You are doing great with letter recognition and learning their sounds. You are dressing yourself. You love to read books. You love to play games...Candy Land, Hi Ho Cherry-O, Memory and Hide and Seek. You LOVE to watch football with daddy--especially the Colts. You pretend that your matchbox cars are football players and set up the game on our kitchen table almost everyday...even placing an excavator on top of the computer cabinet for the announcer and motorcycles on the sidelines for the referees. I love to hold you in the rocking chair when you wake up in the morning or after a nap and cuddle while you're still waking up. You love Toby Mac songs and make up your own raps. You are learning Bible Stories...one of your favorites is David & Goliath. When we sing the song you pretend that you are Goliath and fall to the ground. God loves you so much and my biggest prayer for you is that you would live for Him. Happy Birthday, Babe! I Love You!

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

The Day After Christmas

It's the day after Christmas and we're feeling the effects of all the fun activities that have taken place over the past several days. Wow, so many fun things to do and what a joy to spend time with family and friends. Last Friday we celebrated the birthday of our friends little girl turning three. Simon & Rachael Picazo invited us to Sweetwater Sound, where Simon works, for the celebration of Kesed's 3rd birthday. She was a cutie pie and all smiles. What a cool place to work...the employees have access to a huge area full of games the whole family can enjoy. Caedmon's favorite was the huge sports interactive screen where you could play soccer, football, golf & basketball. Kaiya's favorite was the mini golf and race car driving. I tried helping her drive, but she was determined to do it herself...and what a crazy & reckless driver she was! The kids had a blast!Saturday morning was spent making final preparations for the family gatherings in the next couple of days. I also did the laundry since Monday is my usual day, so it was nice to have that done. We decided to take our family to a movie that evening. We saw Mr. Magorium's Wonder Emporium at a local dollar theatre. Three bucks for the whole family...can't get much better than that! Caedmon loved it and this has been the first time that Kaiya has been able to sit through a whole movie. After the movie we enjoyed supper at Pizza Hut, then home again and off to bed...we had to be at church early the next morning to practice singing with a choir for special music on Sunday.

We had a wonderful service on Sunday morning and the choir ensemble went well. We sang "One King" along with "God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen". The choir consisted of all husbands & wives. During the worship time this video clip was played.
I love it when God uses ordinary people to spread a huge message and touch many lives...reminds me of an ordinary woman named Mary and an ordinary man named Joseph.

Sunday after church, we traveled to Jonesville, Michigan to have a Christmas meal with my Aunt & Uncle and cousins. Aunt Lorraine cooked up a huge delicious meal and we had the traditional gift exchange that we've had since I was a little girl. It was fun to see them all again and to meet baby Kendra for the first time. From there we traveled to Middlebury and spent the night at Kevin's parents house. Jason & Joyce were there from Alabama with their two kids, Owen & Helen. Monday, Christmas Eve, was spent celebrating with Kevin's whole family. It's not very often that we are all together...there are seven grandchildren age four and under, so you can imagine all the energy that filled the house that day. It was loud, lots of diapers and there were toys, wrapping paper & foam peanuts scattered everywhere (thanks to Curt :) ), but what a joy to watch the cousins all interacting & playing together...that was the highlight for me. Caedmon & Easton wearing two chocolate mustaches
A pajama bath - Owen, Karis & Kaiya
The kids exchanged gifts after a brunch then the adults played "Catch Phrase" while most of the children napped. That evening after supper, Grandpa read the Christmas Story while the kids brought gifts to baby Jesus played by baby Lincoln. Caedmon started nodding off at the supper table and wasn't able to stay awake for the Christmas Story. My mother-in-law, Ruby, did a fabulous job planning everything and making it a very special time. Thanks Mom! Joyce dressed her kids in these shirts...












I saw them on them and didn't even think about what they actually were trying to tell us...they're expecting #3!

After hugs & goodbyes, we drove home. Caedmon sat out cookies & milk for Santa...and Daddy finished wrapping the last couple of gifts while Mommy put her feet up.

CHRISTMAS MORNING
Our family tradition for the past two years has been to have our family Christmas on Christmas morning. Whenever everyone wakes up, we make a big breakfast then open presents after breakfast. This year we had banana pancakes, bacon, orange slices & orange juice. I think Caedmon ate half the bacon and Kaiya ate half the oranges. Before eating, we lit the last candle of our advent ring and sang "Happy Birthday" to Jesus.
Stockings came next. I love taking our time and letting each person open their gift while everyone watches patiently to see what that person gets.

Caedmon got a port set, town set & emergency set to go along with his train & road tracks he has gotten the past couple of years. Daddy also found a remote control firetruck at a garage sale this past summer for a couple bucks that he gave to Caedmon.
Kaiya unwrapped a set of pots & pans & a pretend play kitchen oven. Lately she has been mommy's little helper in the kitchen and loves to pull up a stool during dish washing. This was the perfect gift for her this year.

That evening we went to my parents to celebrate with them and my sister's family was there as well.

Stoll Family Traditions:

Appetizers before supper including sparkling apple punch

Mom serves Prime Rib for supper

Family Pictures
Exchange Gifts
Bingo - Mom & Dad buy cool prizes including several gift cards to places like Target, Starbucks, McDonald's & Burger King

Wow...it's hard to believe Christmas has come and gone already. So much goes into preparing for this special Holiday. What better event could we put so much time & energy into than the Savior's Birthday! Happy Birthday Jesus!

Friday, December 21, 2007

Sixtieth

Yesterday was my Dad's sixtieth birthday and we surprised him with a party at their house. He was just thinking that we were going to have a family meal, but four other couples showed up for dinner. He had no idea. I did the invitations and was in charge of the decorating and kind of panicked on Wednesday when I hadn't thought of what to do yet...then God gave me some inspiration and the ideas started flowing. Amazingly, I had everything I needed at my house and it all matched the green & brown theme. Of course my Mother cooked up an amazing meal...a pork roast, baked potatoes, mixed vegetables and her delicious cranberry pecan salad. My nephew and niece, Jake & Maci, were the servers...Jake even showed up in a suit with a bow tie. I just told people to give their coats to the Butler. That guy is an ornery kid, though. He kept messing up my decorations and it looks like he got a hold of our camera when we weren't looking. He makes me laugh! After dinner, Mom brought out all these beautiful desserts...this woman is amazing. A s'mores cheesecake, butter pecan cake, peanut butter cheesecake, raspberry cheesecake & homemade truffles. Then from 7:00-9:00 four other families came for a dessert bar open house. What a fun night we had celebrating Dad's 60 years! Happy Birthday, Dad...Love ya!Santa Claus even showed up with some presents for us! Kenny Delegrange and his wife Louise are long time friends of my parents and like an Aunt & Uncle to us.Oh, and we also found out last night that my sister is PREGNANT! Wow, we weren't expecting that news at all, but we are thrilled for them and for us...Jake is hoping for a boy this time.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Surgery #2

Well, Kevin thought that my surgery sounded like so much fun and decided that he wanted to have one too. So today he did. He had two lipoma's removed...one from his abdomen and one from his back. It was a minor surgery and he had what they called a "conscious sedation". He was somewhat awake, but it also had an amnesia effect. He convinced me to drop him off at the hospital and pick him up when his surgery was done. I felt kind of bad not staying there with him, but he insisted. So, the kids and I went to Wal-mart & Wendy's to pass the time. Everything went well and besides feeling a little tired and having a little incision pain, he is back to his ornery self. The kids pretended that they were Doctors tonight and took good care of their patient getting him anything he asked for. Hopefully there won't be any more surgeries in the near future for our family. Two in a month is plenty.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

More Snow

This was the view outside our front door this morning. We woke up to a Winter Storm Warning and eight inches of beautiful fluffy white snow.
Our church was cancelled, so we were stuck at home all day.
There's something fun about being snowed in when everyone gets to stay home together. I love it! Daddy made grits for breakfast and later we all played outside.

Sledding down the lane.


We made the snow ice cream this time...it was delicious with sprinkles on top!

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Dancing Queen

Our kids both love to dance and frequently when the kids and I get bored during the day, we will crank up the music and GET DOWN & BOOGIE. It's great exercise and puts a smile on everyone's face. I just keep worrying that the UPS guy will show up sometime without us knowing and get a free show. Kaiya made up some new elbow moves while we were in Alabama...she was dancing to songs from a birthday CD that Grandma Bontrager bought for the Weber's. I decided to catch the dancing queen on video recently dancing in her heels. Oh, and she doesn't like to be bothered while she's dancing...as you will notice from the video.
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Thursday, December 13, 2007

Christmas Cookies

Today we spent the day at my Mom's baking and decorating Christmas cut-out cookies. My mom was so kind and patient with the two littlest helpers. They each got to roll out and help decorate. It took a lot longer because of our two little helpers and we had a few interruptions...like Kaiya telling me she had to pee in the potty every five minutes (almost). I think her motivation is the fact that she gets a little reward...usually something full of sugar, after she goes. She has been doing so well with staying dry, but today was not her day...two pairs of wet panties and one full of poo...you would think going every five minutes would prevent any accidents. Her newest phrase after going potty is "I'm excited"...probably knowing that a treat is coming. Caedmon made a football cookie...doesn't really go with the Christmas theme, but it seems like that is all he talks about lately. Frequently when he wakes up in the morning we will ask him what he dreamed about...you guessed it...football players every night. I guess we'll be having a football birthday party for him coming up real soon. My mom watched the kids while I left to get my hair cut during nap time and sent chili home with us for supper along with two sugar-filled kids. Thanks for a fun day, Mom.

Pay It Backward

My husband called my attention to todays Daily Bread devotional and thought it would be fun to try sometime.


If you do good to those who do good to you, what credit is that to you? —Luke 6:33

Would you pay the bill for the people in the car behind you at a fast-food drive-thru—even if you didn’t know them?
That was the challenge given by a local Christian radio station to change their community. It was called “The Drive-Thru Difference.” The goal was to do a Christlike act of kindness for people who didn’t expect it and to leave a note saying you did it because of your love for Christ.
Why do this? Why spend money for someone else’s food—especially someone we don’t know and who may be hostile to the faith? Why give without any hope of return? It sounds countercultural, but the idea has strong biblical basis.
Notice what Jesus said as He addressed a large crowd: “If you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? For even sinners love those who love them. And if you do good to those who do good to you, what credit is that to you?” (Luke 6:32-33). Clearly, Jesus wants us to do good to people who can in no way pay us back.
Whether we’re paying someone’s bill at Taco Bell or dropping change into the Salvation Army kettle, our concern should be selfless giving—whether we get credit for it or not. In Jesus’ name, who can you bless today?

Be a servant of the Lord
And do not look for a reward;
Not for glory or for fame,
Just give freely in His name. —Roworth

The motive of giving reveals the character of the giver more than the gift itself.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Nativity Play Time

I've been looking for a Nativity play set for the kids for the past couple of years and finally bought one recently. This is the first Nativity set ever for our family...I've felt a little guilty over the past couple of years not having even one displayed in our house over the Christmas season. I guess I wanted to find just the right one at just the right price. I really love the Willow Tree Nativity Set that I've seen in stores recently, but wanted something the kids could touch. This one came in the mail this past Saturday and while the kids were napping I had fun taking all the pieces out of the box and setting it up under the Christmas tree. It was fun to see them discover it when they woke up. Caedmon asked if it was a toy and wanted to make sure it was ok that he play with it. They've been playing with it all week. I've been finding baby Jesus all over the house now...once inside Kaiya's potty chair. I love teaching them about the greatest story ever told.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Chocolate & Vanilla

Four years ago, as we were waiting for our first child to be born, so much excitement filled my heart. His birth mother was Hispanic and his birth father was black so he came out with the most beautiful skin color I had ever laid eyes on. I knew that someday we would probably entertain questions from him about looking different than us and to be honest I worried about that a bit at the time. I think the older he gets, the less I worry about it and actually welcome those questions. We have decided to always be very open with our children and want them to always feel free to ask as many questions as they want about their adoptions. Just the other day, Caedmon looked at me and said "You're vanilla, mom and I'm chocolate". I said "Yeah, you're right". Then he went off playing again like it was no big deal. I'm sure more questions will come and we will answer them as they come. I'm including a couple pictures of Caedmon when he was born. Seems like yesterday...so hard to believe he will be four on the 31st of this month. Caedmon, you have brought so much joy to us. We are privileged to call you our son.

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

First Snow

Caedmon came running out of his room this morning and said "It's snowing, Mom, It's snowing, Mom!". I'm personally not a huge snow and cold weather fan. As long as I don't have to drive in it and can stay warm and cozy in my house, bring it on. Hearing the excitement from the kids this morning when they woke up to snow covering the ground couldn't help but put a smile on my face. It was truly beautiful outside.
All I heard the rest of the morning was "Can we go outside, Mom?". OK, sure...haul out the boots, hats, mittens, coats and here we go. The best part of playing in the snow is that it is self entertaining. You don't need toys, buckets or shovels...just two hands and two feet...throw it, eat it, fall in it, run in it, make a snow angel, make a snow fort, make a snowman...hours of entertainment. We didn't do all those things today, but certainly got two little kiddos worn out and ready for their naps this afternoon. And on the way back in to the house Caedmon asked "Can we play outside again tomorrow?". Absolutely! We just may make some snow ice cream for dessert tonight.

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