Sunday, June 30, 2013

46 Years

Happy 46th Anniversary to my mom and dad. Here's hoping for many, many more!  

Thursday, June 27, 2013

The Picture of Health

Sterling had his 6th grade physical today. I knew it had been a little while since he'd been to the doctor, but I started wondering just how long when we walked into the office and Sterling said, "So this is the doctor's office?" doctor moved to a new office 3 years ago and Sterling had never seen it. Curious, I asked the nurse just when Sterling's last appointment had been...

Here's a picture of him from this year, age 11 --

And here's a picture that would have been taken within a month of his last visit to the doctor --

Yep, Sterling was 4-years old the last time he went to the doctor in 2006!! For the record, that was also a school physical so he wasn't sick at that visit, either. Talk about a healthy kid! The irony in this situation is that Sterling is terrified of being sick. He hates it when we talk about illnesses of any kind. I guess he can officially stop worrying about that!

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Bumper Crop

I've been thinning our peach tree over the past couple of days. I heard that there should only be one peach per branch so that the tree has enough energy to produce the biggest, best fruit. As you can see I have a lot of work to do! I'm not complaining -- this is a good problem to have, but it's going to take a while!

Fortunately, there is one who is happy to help dispose of the discarded peaches. This fat guy was sitting on our deck rail eating what was certainly not his first peach. I only hope he gets his fill on these little green ones. The ripe ones are spoken for! :)

Monday, June 24, 2013


Arguably one of my favorite times of year is when the fireflies come out. That's usually June in my little corner of the world. Fireflies are such a happy bug. They are the only insect that I'll willingly let in the house, and I don't mind if they crawl on me. They fly fairly slow so they are easy and fun to catch. I love driving near the corn fields at dusk when they start to flash their light -- it looks like the fields are full of glitter. Fireflies are one of my favorite perks of living in the Midwest. Definitely my favorite bug!

Saturday, June 22, 2013

Officially A Runner

Savannah is a runner! She hated running when she started (who doesn't?) but she stuck with it and pushed herself pretty hard to be ready for her first 5K today. She said it was harder than she expected -- she hasn't trained on hills and there were several hills in the race -- but she didn't quit and you can see the smile on her face after it was all said and done. Way to go, Savannah!!

Friday, June 21, 2013

Heart to Heart

Savannah needed a gift for a special friend who moved from our little corner of the world clear out to Utah several years ago. Savannah found this idea on Pinterest and I made my best attempt to duplicate it. I think these mugs turned out pretty cute and I like that both girls have one so they'll remember each other every time they use them. (Each mug has exactly the same design so that when they are put side by side, you see the whole thing.)

If I were to do it over again, I'd use mugs that were not tapered. The slope of these mugs made the vinyl design curve down and it turned the states crooked. Not a deal breaker, but something to consider. Otherwise, I'm happy with how they turned out!

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Goodbye Again

You might remember when we said goodbye to Absa last fall. She has been with two other host families since then and has completely overcome her homesickness, played on the undefeated girls' soccer team (JV and Varsity), and had a great year at school. She's made many friends and speaks English so well that she thinks and dreams in English now. She's had a great year during her exchange, but all good things come to an end. Tomorrow Absa heads to Washington DC for a couple of days before she leaves for her home in Senegal. We were able to say goodbye again on Sunday evening. A few of the kids' friends came over so they could say goodbye, too. It was a fun evening with plenty of laughter.

Absa with friends and "family"
We'll miss you, Absa. You'll always be a part of our family. We wish you all the best in Senegal and hope that you have many opportunities available to you because of the things you learned here.

Now go and set your little corner of the world on fire!

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Farewell to Anatevka

Sterling with Tevye (Jack Milo) from Fiddler on the Roof
Today was Sterling's last performance as the Fiddler on the Roof. He had a great show and I heard many positive comments afterward by those in attendance. One man was convinced that Sterling couldn't possibly be playing that music himself. He kept watching the pit expecting to see the violinist playing it and Sterling just going through the motions. He finally concluded that Sterling was the real deal and was impressed by his talent.

Most days, when it was my turn for carpool, I just dropped Sterling and the others off for their performance and then returned after the show to pick them up. Wanting to see the show one last time, today I stayed.

The final performance was a matinee at 2:00. Well, it was 2:00 or a little after when the artistic director and stage manager came in the theatre to find me. "Mrs. Stowell, Sterling has a bloody nose and he wants you."

Oh my. The show can't start without the fiddler.

I ran back to the green room to find a very tearful Sterling with a tissue and an ice pack on his nose. Apparently he had accidentally hit himself in the nose which is why it started to bleed. The good news is that Sterling's nose bleeds never last long. The rest of the cast were so kind and accommodating. No one seemed rushed or agitated. As I helped him settle down and get cleaned up, a few of them started chanting, "We love Sterling!" In all, the ordeal was over in a matter of minutes and the show started only about 10 minutes late.

I told Sterling that the little distraction at the start was a sign that the show was going to be awesome.

I was right.

Saturday, June 15, 2013

Double Digits

My buddy is growing up!

I know birthdays are supposed to be happy and all, but how does my little friend go from this
to this

overnight? I need to stop blinking.

Happy 10th Birthday, Soren! Thanks for being such a happy, funny, creative, smart, pleasant kid. I'm thankful for you every day.

I hope this is your best year so far!


Excuse the blurry photo below, but I had to share this birthday coupon Sadie gave to Soren. Too cute!
"One coupon for one small DQ Blizzard or McD's ice cream cone. -Sadie   Only use when I have enough money." 

Thursday, June 13, 2013


{Way to go, Sadie-bug! I knew you could do it.}

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Summer Boredom Busters

It may not be pretty, but I threw this poster together one afternoon for those days when we just can't think of anything to do. It gives us plenty of ideas for a quick outing, a fun meal, or an afternoon activity. I hope it's a long and memorable summer!

Saturday, June 8, 2013

Meet the Fiddler

                                 Sterling (the Fiddler), Golde and Tevye    (Photo credit: Ken Trevarthan)

Is that the cutest little Fiddler on the Roof you've ever seen? Yep, that's my Sterling up there on that roof.

Tonight is Sterling's sixth performance as the title character in Fiddler on the Roof with a professional theatre company in a little town about 30 miles from here. Nine more shows until the end of this little adventure. It's been a whirlwind with long rehearsals and lots of driving, but he's been surrounded by some of the kindest people and it's been a really good experience for him. I've been impressed with how quickly and efficiently they put this show together - only 2 weeks of rehearsals! We all went to the dress rehearsal on Tuesday night and loved, loved, LOVED the show! Oh, it was SO good!

I wish you could see it!

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Cousin Fun

It's no secret we love company! We've had a houseful this week with 10 kids and 4 adults all together. My brother, Dave, and his wife and 4 kids braved the long journey from Utah and it's been one big fun fest! We've laughed, stayed up too late, eaten plenty of good food (and way too much junk food), played games, and just plain enjoyed ourselves. Since they left, I keep thinking of things we meant to do while they were here but didn't get to. I guess that means they didn't stay nearly long enough and will just have to come back! :) Their cute kids completely stole our hearts and we can't wait to see them again.

Good thing we're heading out to their little corner of the world next month. Yay!

Thanks, Dave and Tanya, for braving the drive and spending time with us. Hurry back!