Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Happy Birthday Casey!

Casey turned 12 on May 19th. Things have been busy so I am just getting to his birthday post.
He is growing into a young man and I want him to stop! Casey is a good boy. He reads his scriptures every night, he always remembers his prayers, and he is so helpful with his sisters. He always does his chores without complaining. He is fun and always up for an adventure! His dad is his hero and when Jesse is home you will find Casey close behind.

Casey has always been sensitive to clothing. We have to cut tags off of everything or they drive him crazy. When he was about 2 years old every day around 5 pm we would find a little pile of clothing and Casey completely naked! That was as long as he could take it and he had to strip.

Casey...making one of his many goofy faces

Crazy Monkey

Casey loves he is in a helicopter brought to La Crosse from the crew his Uncle Jared flies with. That is Jared standing to the left.
Casey is a happy kid... I love how his eyes sparkle when he smiles!

Casey, I love you. I love your willingness to help, your kindness, your love for your family, and your obedience and strength. Happy Birthday!

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Happy 9th Birthday Riley!

Here comes the cake...
Contemplating a wish...

That's a lot of space to cover with one breath!

Two stories about Riley...

When Riley was born, Casey was so happy to have a little sister. He loved her so much he couldn't keep his hands off of her. In the car he was always grabbing her hand. She didn't like that. She would try to wiggle her hand loose unsuccessfully, get frustrated and scream! When she was about 6 months old she came up with a plan. Her other hand was able to move freely so when Casey would grab her hand and not let go she would use the other hand and the toy she was holding to hit him and relieve her frustration.

This pattern continued for many years. Riley was now four. Casey still "pestered" her relentlessly. Not in a mean way, but she still didn't like it. Once she reached her boiling point someone better be near by to intervene and save Casey. I heard the usual escalation beginning. It quickly developed into a full boil. Casey was up and running. Riley was in hot pursuit. Down the hallway they went, all the while Riley was yelling like Adam Sandler in Water Boy. When Casey nearly reached his room and safety she knew she had one chance left and she jumped through the air and grabbed hold of his ankles. Casey came down hard on his face. As soon as I quit laughing I corrected Riley and comforted Casey even though he had it coming!

She has her limits.

Here are a few pictures that demonstrate this funny, sweet, stubborn, adventurous little girl.

We call this picture "Crazy Eyes"

Riley came up with this headdress all on her own.

Rock on!

Monkey Girl

Happy Birthday Riley. I love you! I love your strength, I love your tenderness, I love how fun you are to be around.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Be Still My Soul

We love to spend any time we can at Riverbend. The sun was shining so we spent about an hour playing and soaking up the sun. Something about the sunshine brings peace to my soul. Being away from the phone & housework may have something to do with it too. The world seems to slow down a bit when we are at Riverbend.

Here the kids are in their rubber boots wading to the little island that was created by the high water.

We can spend hours there enjoying simple pleasures like... making waterfalls, digging holes, drawing maps in the sand, collecting rocks and exploring. It is heaven on earth for this family!

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Welcome to the two newest members of the Stoner family:

Canon Everett Stoner

Born March 3rd to Bob and Jessica

Theresa Marie Stoner (Tessa)

Born April 14th to James and Tera

...and Congratulations to Dana and Pam (Stoner) Meserve

who are expecting a baby in November!

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Happy Birthday Beaux!

Friday, March 27th was Beaux's 18th birthday!!! It is both exciting and terrifying! The next night was his senior prom.

Beaux and Sami

We were talking and Beaux said...

"I can't believe I am 18. I am an adult now! I am responsible for myself...I have to get a job and work for the rest of my life...If I get into any trouble it is no longer a slap on the wrist I will go to jail!"

Beaux and Sami's funky shoes

Hallelujah, he has regained his senses! For any of you raising a teenager and are in the depths of "will they grow up and ever be a responsible member of society?" there is a light at the end of the tunnel!

Casey, Emma, Beaux & Riley

Beaux, I love you. I love your smile, I love your hugs, I love how fun you are to be around. I love how kind you are to your brother and sisters. Happy Birthday!

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

The 4th Child

When Beaux was little I chose his clothes every day. Everything matched all the way to his undies. He had more shoes than I did. If ever he thought that something didn't quite match the rest of his clothes (at the age of three) he would go find something that did. He always had the latest hair cuts to match his cool uncles. If he ever had a speck of dirt on him or a hair out of place it was fixed in a jiffy. I always had baby wipes. He was picture perfect. He was the first child...

Let's just say things have changed! This is the t-shirt Emma decorated herself. She used a purple pen she got from the dentist. She was so proud of her work. So I let her wear it to school. She took the pen with her and let all of her friends sign it too. Such is the life of a fourth child. By the fourth child Mom and Dad have learned to relax. Jesse once took the kids to Walmart in costumes. Casey was Superman, Riley was a cheerleader/ballerina, and Emma was dressed in her Christmas dress...purse, hat and all.

Life is easier for a fourth child. Life is easier for Mom and Dad.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Tender Mercies

Now and then I become too focused on me and forget to look outward. My life has been so blessed even when I am undeserving. I give a little and receive tenfold. I feel foolish for the last post. A little boy in a Colfax family was burned on his leg due to a smoldering brush fire. I ache for this family. It makes me see how fragile our perfect lives are. It makes me look at a bigger picture and forget the silly things I dwell on sometimes. I see the tender mercies God bestows upon me and my family daily. I pray for tender mercies for this family. I pray this little boy will heal quickly and not experience too much pain. I pray for this family's comfort and peace during this trial. And I thank God more fervently for the blessings I have.

Monday, March 2, 2009

All's well that ends well

Last week everything seemed to go wrong. Each day brought more bad news. I did my best to keep my head up until Thursday when the little cabin we had planned to build on the river side of our property got nixed. Come to find out that that side of the land is not just flood plane, but it is considered the river bed. That means nothing... not the barn we have planned for the pasture area, not a cover for a future picnic area at the campsite, and definitely not any sort of dwelling could be built, absolutely nothing! Well, what can fix a bad mood... only chocolate and lots of it! Jesse went to the store, got a movie and chocolate while I laid on the floor wallowing in self pity in front of the heater. Oh ya, it also snowed that day. Casey asked if there was anything I wanted him to do. Everyone seemed to sense that mom was done for. (Maybe I should do that more often) I promised them all that I would be just fine and I would "suck it up" and get over it soon.
I am happy to report that the chocolate, movie and a good night's rest made it all better.

The week ended well... Saturday was great. We had my brother David's kids for the day. We don't see them very often so this was a fun day of spoiling them! We went to a movie, McDonald's and home to play dress ups and video games! They are so sweet and it was fun to have the opportunity to form a stronger bond with them. Bella and Gracie really took to Jesse. When it was time to leave they ran to him to give him a big hug and bypassed me both on the way to him and on the return. That's okay, he is the fun one. I got a hug before we left from Mary, Bella and Grace, and a high five from Nathaniel! (He is at the no hugging stage) Here is an adorable picture of the cousins at McDonald's.

All's well that ends well!

Friday, February 20, 2009

Table Manners

We have tried to teach table manners to our children. The hope is that when they are not in our home they will hear our voices in their heads... "Don't talk with food in your mouth, use your fork correctly, don't take too big of bites, keep your elbows off the table etc. etc. It seems an impossible feat sometimes. I have considered using my Dad's method of teaching... stabbing the back of our hand with a fork if we reached in front of him or used our fingers instead of our utensils. (FYI he never drew blood) It worked though and I can confidently say that most of the 9 children in the Stoner family have successfully mastered table manners. We have tried triangles placed above their plates that we remove when a rule is broken. Three strikes and you leave the table. That worked for a little while. I would love to hear any suggestions of what works for you because this is how things go in our house...

We were at the dinner table and Riley was three at the time. She burped loudly and I reminded her that...

"We do not burp at the table, you need to be a lady and use your manners."

Her reply was "Mom, can you be the lady? I am just a little girl that likes to burp and fart."

(She may have been switched at birth... the Stoner family did not discuss such things let alone do them in front of people and when you did them by yourself you were still ashamed)

Fast forward five years.

Me - "Riley, we do not eat with our fingers"

Riley - "Maybe you don't"

Two weeks later.

Jesse - "Riley, you need to take smaller bites that will fit in your mouth"

Riley - "The big ones fit too, see..."

Needless to say, she has missed some privelages lately. (She is sweet and tender a good 80% of the time and secretly I think it is funny to see this side of her personality, but don't tell her that.)

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Beaux's Senior Pics

Here are a few of Beaux's Senior pictures. We went down to Lewiston and had them taken by Mike McElhatton of Digital Arts Photography. I got the senior picture package on a radio auction last summer. I think they turned out really well. The last one is my favorite. It is the smile that shows his personality the best. What a handsome kid!

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

A rough start

I hate to pump gas. We all jumped in the car to head for school the beginning of last week. The little bell went off to indicate it was time to get gas. It had been going off for days...I just kept thinking it will make it a little farther. I knew it was time though and was going to stop on the way to school. As we headed for school the car started sputtering. I begged...just a little farther PLEASE! Well, we only made it as far as the Courthouse half way through town. I sat there cursing myself for putting off the trip to get gas. What to do now? I was in my slippers, some of Beaux's clothes, crazy hair and yesterday's makeup and I had not brushed my teeth. Not unlike many other mornings. I saw a car coming that looked like Shannon King's so I jumped out to wave her down. It wasn't Shannon, but it was someone I knew and she asked if the kids needed a ride. "Yes, please". Then Emma and I got out of the van to walk for help to my great embarrassment and shame! I only had to go a block to our mechanic's shop. Luckily Dan had about a dollars worth of gas in a tank that would get me to the station. Do you know how embarrassing it is to run out of gas on Main Street as a grown woman?...and then add the crazy clothes I was wearing and the fact that all the other parents were bringing their kids to school too! I just hung my head in shame doing my best not to make eye contact with the cars passing by, because if I didn't know how many people saw me I could pretend they didn't. That worked all the way until I got to the bank and one of the tellers mentioned seeing me stranded along side the road. She said " I thought you looked totally hot, but I could tell you hadn't brushed your teeth" Thank you. Please rub salt in my wound. =} She was teasing ofcoarse.

The week got better though. Friday we went to Beaux's game in Colton. They lost, but he played with a smile on his face and had a good time and made some points and pulled down a lot of rebounds.

Saturday the kids pooled their money and bought themselves a go cart. It really zooms! It is so funny to hear them giggling and yelling while they are speeding off.

Football and Basketball season have kept Beaux from coming home on weekends a lot. Thankfully b-ball is nearly over. Sometimes Beaux just has other plans to spend time with friends. Friday I was expecting him to come home with us, but he had other plans. Since he is a senior we have granted him freedom. More than I would like. So he didn't come home. I miss him so much and I hear the clock ticking very loudly counting down the time he has left with us. This is the change of a season for him and he will soon be on his own. I laid in bed crying Sunday morning thinking of wasted time I couldn't get back. I have vowed not to give him guilt trips about it or to nag or beg. Last night he called just to talk. It melted my heart. There have been many things he has done and said lately that have reassured us that he will be alright. Teenagers do come to their senses and I see my sweet little Beaux again.

Sunday after church we headed to Riverbend for a "long explore" and s'mores. The explore was not very long due to the cold weather and we gathered around the fire to keep warm. There is a peace there, a quiet, like being able to breath again. It is good for our souls and we can handle another busy week ahead...

Monday, February 2, 2009

The S-H- word

It was time to leave for school so I sent all the kids to the car while I put my shoes on. When I got in the car Riley said:

"Mom, Casey said the S-H- word."

"WHAT! Casey, you do not use that kind of language!" and I gave him a pop on the top of the head.

Casey just grinned at me and said "Mom... I said shut-up."

"Oh..., well don't use that word either."

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Our lives at a glance...

Emma is in Kindergarten this year. She has wanted to go to school since she was born it seems. She loves to learn and absorbs things like a sponge. She is always prepared and is totally responsible for all her own homework and anything that is needed for school. She always has her back pack ready the night before. She gets that from Jesse. She also has many of his other personality traits. She will break into song and dance at any moment and she writes all of her own "material". One of her songs goes like this: (Imagine this being sung by Jack Black in ACDC style.)

"When your bum bum sits the ground
It don't know where it's goin'
'Cuz it don't got no eyes
It's just cheeks, It's just cheeks"

This is always accompanied with an air guitar and yes, she is aware that this is incorrect English, but that's the way Jack would write it in "School of Rock"!

Riley is in 3rd grade this year. She has discovered that she is really good at Math and always passes the first spelling test given for the week. Riley likes to write books. Some of her titles include "Riley the Wrestler", "A Ponies Life", "My Family Tree", and "The Clubhouse". The books are all illustrated by her as well. They are so cute and I will keep them forever! Riley was baptized this summer at Jared and Heather Martin's pool. It was a small family/friend gathering and was just the setting we had hoped for. She was beaming! She is a fun mixture of contradictions. Stubborn and sweet, tomboy yet girly, obsessive but unable to focus. Sometimes I fear the future with her, but it will be an adventure.

Casey is in 6th grade. I often tell him to just freeze right at this age. I know he has to grow up but I hate the thought of the distance that comes with the teenage years. He is a good boy, a sweet brother and just a happy kid. He has some funny quirks. At night we have to follow the same exact routine or he cannot sleep. Just as I leave his room he always says "Hey Mom" and then one last comment before I say goodnight again and I love you one last time. He is a voracious reader. He speeds through books sometimes in a matter of a few hours. We got him a book that has six of the "Lord of the Rings" books in one. That has held him for a couple of months and when he is bored of it he will pick up a smaller book that he can read in a day. He is also goofy like his dad and when the mood strikes will break out in dance...accompanied by a silly grin.

Beaux is a senior this year. I can't believe it. He goes to school in La Crosse and so he lives with Jared and Heather during the school year. I miss him and my heart aches with the thought of him being off on his own. He is having a good year. He played football and the team won the State B Championship. It was a very exiting, nail biting game to the very last moment. They also had an undefeated season. He is playing basketball and though the season is not going as well as football it is always fun to watch him play. He is high scorer for most of the games and fouls out of most of them too. That is the curse of the tall guy on the team... their fouls are more visible. Or so I think.

Jesse and I celebrated our 12th anniversary on January 4th. I am still crazy about him and miss him every moment we are apart. Jess stays busy with work, fixing the house and serving in the Bishopric as 2nd Counselor. He feels humbled by this calling, but is learning so much from the men he serves with. He is getting to know the ward well and has a greater appreciation and love for the members. I keep busy doing vinyl projects, house projects and just doing what moms do. I am currently in the nursery at church and love it. It is my favorite calling though sometimes we are forgotten up there and feel disconnected from the adult members. Still there is nothing like sweet little children.
Well, that is it for now. We look forward to this new year that will bring two new additions to the Stoner family (so far).