Friday, January 30, 2009


In memory of Shannon the Cat Stoll, April 1997-January 2009

I hope that there is a kitty Heaven with a warm radiator for little Shannon to hide behind.

She had the highest-pitched meow of any cat I've ever known. She sounded like a kitten, even as a full-grown cat.

She hated being picked up. And she would not sit on your lap. You could pet her but only if you sat really still and didn't pursue her if she jumped down.

She was wary of any non-catfood offered to her, except tuna. She would eat meat, but only if you weren't looking directly at her.

In every place we lived except our current house, her favorite place was the top of the cabinets. In our house, her favorite place was inside the box spring of our bed.

Monday, January 26, 2009


"Lindsay peed."

I sigh. I am sick, dragging. Ordinarily that last half hour between dinner and bed is stressful anyway. They had been upstairs all of 3 minutes, sent up there to take off their clothes to get ready for a bath.

"Alright Lauren, stop being a tattletale." I croak. "Linds, where did you pee?"

Linds leads me into Lauren's room.


She points timidly.

She peed in the open humidifier. She found herself in the middle of her sister's room, having to pee, and went in the nearest thing approximating a pot. It was sort of adorable. I mean, other than having to clean it up.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Life according to Lindsay

"You see with your eyes..."


"And taste with your mouth..."


"Yeah! Does food go in your ear?"


"Where does food go?"

"In my mouth..."

"That's because you taste with your mouth..."

"Oh ok..."

"And what do you sniff with?"



"I snip with scissors. But only with paper."

Tuesday, January 20, 2009


"And," she continued angrily, as bitterly as a peppy little 6-year-old can muster, her brow furrowed and lower lip quivering, "we didn't even get recess!"

"No?" I glanced up at her in the rear view mirror.

"No. We had to watch the Obama thing."

"Oh, you watched President Obama's inauguration? How was it?"

She folded her arms in front of her chest, "Not worth missing recess."

Wednesday, January 14, 2009


"After everything that has happened, this must have truly seemed like a gift from God..."

I was uncomfortable when this was suggested to me. Maybe that is just part of my ongoing struggle of anticipating perfection. I certainly couldn't have imagined standing in the locale of the picture below just a year before. On January 11, 2008, things were very different. A year later we found ourselves celebrating Lauren and Lindsay's baptism together, not in the perfect glow of every member of my family that I wanted there. But certainly embraced by our church family, surrounded by loving friends, and the best was getting to celebrate with my sister.

In our church, baptisms happen during the regular service so that our congregation can welcome and pledge their support. The parents read a letter they've written:

Dear Lauren and Lindsay,

Daddy and I are so excited for both of you. We know that you will both achieve things in your lives that we can barely imagine today. You will grow up to be wonderful women in part because of the love that binds us together as a family, you together as sisters, and the faith that we are coming to learn about together. Today is a signpost on your path, on your journey of faith. It is a day, as you have heard, that God says “yes” to you, as He always has. It is also a day your family – those who are related to you by blood - your church family - those who are your family in Christ – get to embrace you as their own.

Lauren Elisabeth, Daddy and I sometimes wonder whether we are guiding you in your faith journey or you are guiding us. Your faith is so deep and your love for Jesus is so strong that it heartens us that we have our church family to support us in guiding you. There are times when your understanding is much more profound than mine or Daddy’s. It continually amazes and inspires us. We stand by amazed at night when you read the bible to your little sister and then explain the moral of each story to her. Your nickname around the house – Pastor Lauren – was not given lightly. We are looking forward to see your faith grow as you do, and Daddy and I will always do our best to encourage you to keep learning and asking questions. You will achieve great things with Jesus as your friend and guide.

Lindsay Alexandra, you entered this world kicking and screaming. You are tenacious, demanding and determined, but you know what you want with enviable clarity. We know you’re not old enough yet to understand what’s going on today and that your faith is only beginning to take seed. You get to see so much that goes on here because of the things Mom, Lauren, and Daddy do, and as you get older you will find your own way – which no doubt will be different from your sister’s. Although you may be Lauren’s little sister, you are never in her shadow. You will find your own path, and you will learn to turn to Jesus for guidance and strength in your everyday challenges even as you shout defiantly at whatever obstacle has the misfortune of finding itself in your way.

Today is an important day for you as well as for us as a family. Your baptism marks just the beginning of your faith journey, of God saying “Yes” to you, and our church family opening their hearts to you. You have Mom and Daddy to rely upon, each other, our family, and our church as we all our journeys separately and together in learning, knowing, and striving to be more like Jesus in our lives and relationships. We all love you very much.

Love always,

Mom and Daddy

With Daddy, waiting for the big moment

Pastor Seth and Lauren

Pastor Seth and Lindsay

I look really happy here

Jules singing

Jules sang for the girls to end our portion of the service. Jules has an amazing voice, and the song she chose was "Blessed Be Your Name", which was just perfect. I didn't manage to make it through without crying after all, and thankfully a friend handed me some tissues...

Me, a little teary-eyed but very happy

Lindsay and Lauren with Pastors Seth and Stephanie

Pastor Seth and Lauren

Pastor Seth's sermon was about why Jesus and his followers cared so much about baptism. She is listening intently.

Lauren got to sing a solo during our time of prayer it was: "Spirit of the living God, fall afresh on me". She sang it perfectly FOUR TIMES with Brian playing the piano.

We returned Chez Stoll for brunch with Karen and Chris. Jessie, Nick, and Amina joined us later for brunch.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Dance Party

So full

My heart is very full right now and I have so many things to write and remember, but work is calling my name. I thought I'd leave you with some too funny conversations between Lindsay and Auntie Jules...

"What's that?" Lindsay asked pointing at Jules' pierced lip.

"A decoration..."

"A decoration!" She exclaimed. "It's not Christmas! The Christmas tree is in the basement with the decorations!"


Jules made a fish face at Linds.

"Make the fish face!"

Jules smirked.

"Hey! Be a fish and kiss me! Put on your fish horn!"

"My what? Horn?!"

Jules, singing : "Shake your booty..."

Lindsay, wiggling and shaking her head back and forth...

Jules, still singing, "Yeah, yeah!"

Lindsay, parroting, "Yeah, yeah!"

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Friday, January 09, 2009

Snippets from my day

Lauren and Lindsay's baptism is on Sunday. They got early presents from Grampie. As you can see, Lauren thought the charm, an angel, was just about the coolest thing ever. "Because I am Grampie's angel."
Linds got her very own bible. She was also excited and made Lauren read it to her, of course. Here she is, posing, and refusing to eat her supper...
Today's project...honey whole wheat bagels. You can see I am getting better at consistency in size and shape.
This was yesterday's project, yogurt. Aren't the individual containers cute? This batch is plain, made with 2% milk:

Thursday, January 08, 2009

Tuesday, January 06, 2009

Adventures in babysitting

I didn't properly explain what I meant yesterday. In the middle of our date, which included some great Mexican food, margaritas, and a movie (albeit not a great one), we bought dishwasher soap. Even the loosest meaning of date for me doesn't include a trip to Target, particularly not while buzzed because it is quite possibly the brightest place on earth. If I'd tweeted, "On date, buying soap" perhaps I would've conveyed the silliness...

I took my friend Cassandra up on her offer to watch the girls. I'm really so blessed that I have the opportunity to meet such great young people through my church, because otherwise, I would not have had the chance to meet Cass, who besides being willing to watch my kids has been my purveyor of The Twilight Series. Yes, I have read two 500 page novels in two days. Yes, I agreed to read two more 500 page novels by Sunday. Go read them, you'll understand.

Cass and Lauren have a pretty great rapport from Sunday School. When Lauren heard that Cass was going to watch her, she began counting down the hours. Lindsay also likes Cassandra, but apparently, her desire to dominate was a bit too great. As Cass tucked the girls into Lauren's bed, Lindsay demanded, " go clean the house now!"

Cass blinked.

"Vacuum is downstairs. Clean up the dishes. Okay?"

Cass quietly slipped downstairs.

Sometime around 11 PM, Cass decided she should wash the dishes in the sink. Lindsay had apparently told her that we didn't (wouldn't?) feed her supper, so she'd served her some of the homemade applesauce from the refrigerator. At that moment, the power went out. Although I always make sure to leave our Mini Maglites on the knewls in the summer when our power goes out almost daily, I hadn't done that. Nor had I pointed out where the candles are. So poor Cass stood in the dark, wondering if she was starring in her own version of I Know What You Did Last Summer until the power came back on.

Amazingly, she has offered to return. With more Twilight books. Ahh. Life is complete.

Monday, January 05, 2009

Date night

This struck me as funny on Saturday night. Of course, I'd had 2 margaritas with dinner. Maybe it was just that I was uncomfortable being a bit buzzed walking around the very brightly lit Target to buy soap for the dishwasher before we went to catch a movie at the theater next door.

Thursday, January 01, 2009

The way we spent the final moments of 2008

Chris, finally got the guitar. Can't we play now?!

Neil and Joy entertain Lindsay and Rebecca while Rockband is played. Alec is singing, Ross plays bass, Karen plays guitar, and I'm on the drums...

Lindsay, Ross, Lauren and Lars

Karen, rocking it.