Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Christmas with the S.Family

We celebrated Christmas this past weekend with the S-Family. The holiday meal was d-e-l-i-c-i-o-u-s. Gift-opening was a bit chaotic; isn't it always? It was kind of funny not to have even a hint of snow in the air. Jonathan even ran a few miles Nashville-style (in shorts! in december!).

It was a bittersweet moment as Anissa 'unpacked' her stocking for the last time; she's the oldest grandchild so was given not only the stockings' contents but the well-worn/well-loved sock itself.

Alexander got a saw/tool set that he saw at a discount-store several months ago. After informing him that we did not have money to purchase the item, he confidently stated, "Mom. I'm gonna put this on my Christmas list. Gma S. will buy it for me." She did! :)

Elijah waiting for his turn...

these two were often seen together (L) bundled up to play outside 'an explosion of pink' cowgirl (i.e. pink cowboy boots, not pictured)

i'm not even sure what this is called but kept Zachary occupied for hours!opening his long dreamed-about saw/tool set

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Christmas Story Skit

My niece, Anissa, coordinated a really fun skit with the 'grands' at our family Christmas celebration.

Alexander did not quite get the concept of individuals taking turns saying their parts but when prompted, he was able to remember his lines. He started out as the innkeeper, "There is no room here. We're full!" and especially liked the required slamming-the-door action. He then morphed into a sheperd for the remainder of the play, saying with much enthusiasm, "What's that?" when referring to a lamp improvising as a bright star and then shouting, "Did you hear what they said?" followed by throwing himself onto the floor with the other shepherds.

Yeah, I know not much of that is exciting but well, here are some pictures. While I did not get great shots of the always-on-the-move 2YR olds, Savannah and Lavell, were adorable in the sheep costumes.

miss savannahthe angels, as played by Karissa and Moriahjonah trying so hard to remember his linesthe little shepherd boy...(with Mary/Emily in bottom left)

Friday, December 23, 2011

WANTED: New Delivery Boy!

Alexander and I delivered some cookies to the neighbors tonight. No, ours did not look as delightful as the plate above but that is (mostly) besides the point. The X-man was SO excited to be the delivery boy, carefully carrying the small plate in his hands as we trooped thru the yard. When Alice came to the door, he brightly said while jumping up & down, "Happy Merry Christmas!" and then to my great & complete embarrassment added with a solemn tone, "They didn't turn out so well." Oh my goodness!

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Nighttime Conversation...

We've been having issues with the X-man settling down for bedtime the past couple of weeks. First, he wants more 'friends' in his bed; Mr. Elephant and Big Cat are afraid to sleep alone, I guess. Then the covers need to be JUST so. The music needs to be turned up; no, just a little bit more. And the pitter-patter of little feet is often heard scampering about way after the lights are out.

This was a recent late night conversation.

BWS: You will not get out of this bed. Do you understand?
X: Yes, dad.
BWS: I don't want to hear any noise when I go downstairs.
X: Oh. So, so, if I do get out of bed, I should tip-toe. Right, dad?

Monday, December 12, 2011

Three Years Ago...

...we arrived at our local airport with this sweet bundle of boy. How our lives have changed since that day! I pray we will never take for granted this most precious gift.

We love you, Alexander!

Money Saving Tip: Capturing Memories

If you've not noticed (wink! wink!), I enjoy capturing memories thru pictures. Since I am not a paper/glue/stickers kind of scrapbooker, I have made it a goal to create a yearly photobook for Alexander.

I created his first 8x8 hard-cover book using and a free coupon code. Because I am kinda big on consistency :), I wanted to keep his collection of books as similar in size/construction as possible while also keeping the costs low. Long story short (or at least, shorter) I struggled to find a reasonable deal on books the following year. The 20-30% off coupon codes I found could not be combined with free shipping ($7.95) so the bottom line was still a bit higher than I wanted to pay. If I used a different online photo-site the standard book size was slightly larger/smaller, the deal only included a discount on soft cover books, etc. So, while Alexander's 2010 book was complete and in my Saved Projects, I delayed in ordering.

This past fall, while searching for something totally unrelated, I discovered you can purchase Shutterfly coupon codes on (!). I was able to purchase FOUR free 8x8 hard-cover coupon codes for less than $6. Since only one code per order is allowed, I did have to order each of the four books seperately and pay shipping + tax for each ($8.65). All in all, I spent $40.60 on four books instead of the $154.56 (!) normal retail price.

I like deals like this, so I thought I would pass the tip along in case you have some 'memory capturing' on your ToDo list. And, hey, if you have a similar or even better deal, do share!

Saturday, December 10, 2011

First Preschool Program (Over!)

We are finding our not-so-shy little boy to be a not-so-willing on-demand performer/participant. His first Sunday School program was a total bust! While walking to the front of the church, he spotted his daddy & grandpa and raced into the familiar arms of two of his favorite people.

This past Thursday was his first preschool program. We invited GmaS. After routinely telling me, "I am NOT doing it, mom. I am not," he nervously entered the classroom searching for a familiar/friendly face. I thought he might break line & run across the room when he spotted Gma but he stayed front-and-center the whole program. Whew! I have been told that I should not take his hesitation personally/negatively, but I have to say it is proving to be difficult.

The Christmas Program at our church is this evening. Here is hoping & praying he has conquered his stage-fright jitters :)

P.S. Yes; there are also girls in his class but I think the (wise) teachers sandwiched the rowdy boys in between the more willing-to-participate girls left to hold down the ends of the performance line. Since I was focused on my little man, my pictures captured the boys :)

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Christmas Is Coming...

...and this little boy cannot wait! :)

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Family Expansion

Our holiday card, possibly coming to a mailbox near you, includes some news about our plans for a family expansion -- old news to some, new news to others. We have been on the waiting list for child from Ethiopia since November 9, 2009.While we had hoped to share news of our referral/child match this summer (2011), based on decisions by the Ethiopian government to process adoption cases at a dramatically slower rate beginning this past March, our agency's current projection is that we will have a new child in our family sometime in 2014-2015. How's that for planning ahead?!

I will most certainly be talking more about our second adoption journey in the coming weeks/months/years but to be honest, right now there is not much to say. We are simply waiting. We believe a child will be born in Ethiopia in the next couple of years whom God has hand-picked to place within our family. The exact details are unknown but we know His plan & His timing is perfect.

In the meantime, this past week we received some good news. Our family was selected to receive a $2500 matching grant from Lifesong for Orphans, a non-profit Christian ministry dedicated to help meet the needs of orphan children around the world. What does this mean? Basically, Lifesong for Orphans will match dollar-for-dollar any gift received in our adoption fundraising account by January 9th, 2012 (up to $2500 amount).

It is humbling to ask for your assistance. We do so because there are some large financial gaps in our adoption expeditures & our bank account and we believe THRU YOU, God can fill in those gaps. We have also come to understand that not ALL are called to adopt orphans but MANY desire to be part of God's work in bringing children into forever families. So, consider our journey, YOUR journey. We are glad to share :)

If you would consider partnering with us, you can send a check, payable to Lifesong for Orphans with 'Stahl #2343' indicated in memo line, to the following address:
Lifesong for Orphans
Stahl Family Adoption #2343
PO Box 40/202 N Ford Street
Gridley, IL 61744

NOTE: Your gift is tax-deductible (and if post-marked by December 31st, 2011 eligible to be claimed on this year's taxes). 100% of funds raised will go directly to cover adoption costs. In following IRS guidelines, your donation is to the named non-profit organization. This organization retains full discretion over its use, but intends to honor the donor's suggested use.

Friday, December 2, 2011

Early Morning Conversation with X-Man

X: Mom. My heart is not working. Its battery is broken.
ME: Hmmm...(remember, it was really early!)

X: But, it's okay, Mom. God is charging it for me.
ME: Hmmm...