Saturday, December 10, 2016

"Designated" Christmas Eve and Christmas Morning

This year we have Christmas three weekends in a row!  We celebrated with our nuclear family this weekend (December 9-10), celebrate next weekend with Grandma and Grandpa T, and celebrate on Christmas weekend with Grandma and Grandpa K!  Anyway, we had a lot of fun this year on "designated" Christmas Eve and Christmas Day.  We treated Friday evening as Christmas Eve and after a yummy meal of crockpot pesto ranch chicken and noodles (kids' choice), we made our traditional graham cracker houses. 

Just like last year, we had a boys' house and a girls' house, only this year was Larkyn's first year being big enough to help!

They turned out pretty good!

The girls did a great job decorating the walls of the house!

Daddy and Colton made a cool one with gummy bug sidewalk ;)

Kids in bed and ready for Christmas morning!

We started the morning with new jammies: Minne Mouse for Larkyn, Elsa for Summer, and Paw Patrol for Colton.

Then (as the kids love to do) we reenacted the Christmas story with the Little People nativity.

I was the narrator and everyone had their parts.  My favorite this year was when Larkyn (the angel) said her part "Do not be afraid, I bring you good news!" in her little Loo voice!  She knew it by heart and I didn't even have to tell her the line!

After reading about Jesus' birth in Luke 2, we bumped to Matthew 2 and read about the Wisemen.  Our Wisemen above are traveling from afar...

After traveling from far (many laps around the coffee table) our Wise Men finally got to Baby Jesus!

Stocking Time!  This year (as in the past) their stockings were filled with coins.  We also added gifts in the love language "words of affirmation" this year as each kid had 5 notes of things Mommy and Daddy love/appreciate about them in their stocking to read together.

Summer made her siblings notepads out of construction paper with sweet notes!

This year, for the first time, we took the kids shopping to buy presents for each other.  We took them to the dollar store last weekend and they each brought their own money.  It was a bit of a circus with three kids and only two parents juggling who had what kids in order to keep all the kids' presents for each other a secret but we did it!  All three kids wrapped their own presents for their siblings and put them under the tree, and the kids were most excited to open each others' presents and wanted to do that first!  Summer picked out a wand and crown set for Larkyn and a construction vehicle for Colton.

Larkyn picked out a paw patrol puzzle for Summer.

Larkyn got  a Lighting McQueen Christmas book for Colton.

Colton bought a little baby for Larkyn

Colton picked out a recorder for Summer

All three kids got books with their current interests - Larkyn got Daniel Tiger, Summer got the "Case for Christ for kids" series books, and Colton got Paw Patrol Books.

They all enjoyed their books, but Colton's response to his Paw Patrol books was my favorite!  He LOVES Paw Patrol right now (can you tell by his jammies and hat??)!

He looked at them throughout the buzz of the morning whenever he wasn't opening a gift!

Larkyn was most excited about her purple pony!  Originally Paul and I hadn't gotten this gift for her but she picked it out for her angel tree gift (for a kid in need) and kept talking about it over the past few weeks and wanting to go "pet it" in Mommy's room, so we ended up changing out what we were going to give her and giving her one of these instead.  It was a total hit!

She loves combing the "tangles" out of pony's hair and using the mini hairdryer :)
Summer's favorite gift was a magic show set where she can learn tricks to put on shows for family and friends.

She got right to work learning her tricks!
Colton was pretty excited about his new car mat rug.
and his Mac truck for Lightning McQueen

After presents, it was pancake and bacon time...with a the favorite toppings!

Daddy makes awesome pancakes!
All three kids got family games, and we had so much fun playing all three games after breakfast!  Colton got a Lightning McQueen matching game and we all had fun with that!

Larkyn got a Kids version of Sequence and loved it!

Then little Larkyn was ready for a nap.  I love capturing how she looks with her blankie and her fingers in her mouth as this is a common way to find her!

While Larkyn was napping the big kids and the parents had fun with Summer's new game called Blokis.  Really fun for all of us!  We also read some Paw Patrol as we cuddled on the couch :). 
It was truly a great family time, and I am so thankful for my family and for the reason that we are celebrating - God's Son Jesus!  HE is why we celebrate!

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Tommerdahl Christmas Letter 2016

Merry Christmas Family and Friends!

Whether you follow this blog regularly or this is the first time you have visited via the link on our Christmas card, we hope you are doing well and we love hearing from you!  Each day we look forward to getting your Christmas cards and updates and hanging them on a wall in our kitchen :).

 Here are a few updates on our family from this past year:

Summer is 6 years old and in 1st grade at our local elementary school, Southview Elementary.  She is learning to play piano, attends Wednesday night Awana in the Sparks program, and enjoys her gymnastics class.  Her favorite activity is reading, and she is fascinated with all forms of story including a keen interest in United States history.  She has a very caring and empathetic heart, as well as the ability to make fun wherever she goes, incorporating creative games into all aspects of life and involving those around her in the fun!  She loves to play pretend with her brother and loves anytime she gets a chance to help take care of her little sister.

Colton is 4 years old and is learning a lot at homeschool preschool with Mommy.  He attends Bible Study Fellowship (BSF) with Mommy and Larkyn, Awana Cubbies with Daddy, and runs some of his energy off in his weekly Amazing Athletes class where he practices 11 different sports.  He is not lacking in energy (mom and dad often assign him burpies, laps, or trampoline jumps!), but also has an amazing focus and persistence.  His favorite activity is playing with anything that has wheels, including his cars, planes, and trains.  He also LOVES wrestling with Daddy, and will take advantage of the opportunity any chance he gets!  He also looks up immensely to his sister Summer in everything and loves to play with her.  He has always been so sweet and gentle with his little sister, and enjoys playing with her too.

Larkyn is 2 and is a total spark plug!  She keeps up with the family as best as she can both physically and verbally, and keeps the family laughing at her one-liners and facial expressions.  Along with going to BSF with Mommy and Colton, she absolutely LOVES going to her weekly Mommy-n-Me gymnastics class and looks forward to it all week long.  She loves being outside, playing doll house with Summer, or doing anything the big kids are doing.  Her enthusiasm and smiles are the best.

Paul and I are really enjoying this stage of life with kids aged 6,4, and 2.  We are exiting the "diapers and naps" phase and entering a really fun more independent and interactive family stage that has truly been lots of fun!  The kids definitely keep us on our toes, for sure!  We loved taking a trip just-us-two to Mexico this past spring and enjoyed both relaxation and adventure.  Paul PRed in the Twin Cities Marathon this year and also started a new job with Thrivent Financial in Minneapolis.  I continue to love being home with my favorite kids all day, tutoring math in the evening, and volunteering in various ways at Summer's school and at church. 

The most important thing to our whole family, is Jesus Christ.  We read his Word daily together, talk to him in prayer, and strive to be like His Son Jesus.  Without Jesus' death on the cross and resurrection 3 days later, we would be completely lost in our sins.  We are forever grateful for his grace to us.  This Christmas season, we pray that you understand His love and experience His grace.  Jesus is the reason for the season, and we celebrate God sending us his only Son this Christmas!


The Tommerdahls

*Photo Credit: Everlasting Photography

Monday, December 5, 2016

Crayola Experience

We had a fun family day at Crayola Experience this past weekend.  At Mall of America, Crayola opened an activity center recently.  I had heard amazing things, found a few months ago, and we went on Saturday.  It was a blast!  We spent 4-5 hours there!  Some of the fun things the kids did included:
  • Creating their own coloring sheet with the kids' picture on it
  • Creating their own color crayon and naming it, and getting to take it home
  • Watching a live presentation on how crayons are made
  • Coloring a digital image that is projected on a giant wall
  • Designing a fashion outfit and/or racecar that then was projected onto a large screen in an "actual" fashion show and "actual" car scene
  • Coloring a puppet, setting it on a magnetic stage, and watching it dance
  • Creating wax spinner art from melted crayons
  • Watercolor ornaments
  • Creating crayons in the shapes of cars and rings and watching the melted crayon fill the mold
  • Playplace
  • Giant LiteBrite
  • and more!  I can't even remember it all!
Here are a few pictures:

The little fairy in the top right was colored by "us" :)  We scanned her in and she flew around us and we took our picture with her :)

Creating a design....

...the design we made "flew" around the wall!

Waiting for her watercolor to come through the dryer

Watching their "puppets" dance

Watching the fashion show where the kids' scanned designs were "worn" by animated people

Colton designed a car instead of an outfit :)

Making different shaped crayons in the molds
 It was such a fun family day, topped off by dinner out at MOA.  I would definitely recommend Crayola Experience!