Thursday, October 8, 2015


Walking to school with friend Laney
Summer has been LOVING school!  One of my favorite parts of the day is after school when we sit and finish her lunch (she doesn't get it all eaten in the time allotted!) and I get to hear ALL about her day!  I am very thankful she likes to talk :).  I have also been loving each time I get to be involved in her class at school.  My favorite was when I got to help their class make applesauce, and I got to watch her teacher in action.  Mrs. Davis is AWESOME!  I am seriously so amazed by anyone out there who can keep so many kindergartners on task and learning in such a fun way!  I also love getting to know her classmates when I come eat lunch with Summer on Thursdays.  I am also so stoked that I get to help some of her classmates with math on Thursdays (seriously perfect huh?!? :) )  A huge thanks to my mom for watching the younger two on Thursdays so I can be a part of Summer's kindergarten class :). 

One fun bit of news from this week was that Summer got to be on the daily announcements!  The kids at Southview (thanks to a grant applied for and received by our awesome principal) have a leadership focus this year as they work through a version of the 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, for kids called The Leader in Me.  Each week they learn about one of the principles from that book.  This week they learned about the Win-Win principle, which talks about finding a solution to a problem where everybody "wins".  Summer, all on her own, thought up an example, wrote it out (only requesting help on spelling the word "friend"), and told her principal what she made as she was locking up her bike before school (the principal often waits outside before school to welcome students, and Summer is pretty outgoing ;). 

Summer's Win-Win example
 Her principal then asked her to come read her example on the announcements that morning, and then posted a picture on the Southview facebook page!  Pretty fun.

I have been very proud of Summer as she navigates the road of standing up for herself in a kind way.  We are continuing to work on how to guide her leadership qualities to be a leader in love, as opposed to being bossy, and I see her positively growing in this area as well.  I love her heart for truly wanting to do the right thing.  She has such a tender heart.  Another area I have seen her grow in lately is how she writes her name in lowercase letters.  She is getting much better at her "u" and "m"

Summer's two favorite areas of the kindergarten classroom are the reading corner and the art table (big surprise!), and will usually pick one of those two areas during her free time.  At the art table this week there were steps on how to draw the pigeon from "Don't let the pigeon drive the bus!"  I thought she did a pretty good job drawing it...

Besides school, Summer has also been enjoying AWANA Sparks.  I have been LOVING being Summer's Sparks leader and getting to spend each Wednesday evening with her in a special way.  I love to see Summer's friendly personality shine as she has brought two friends to Sparks the past two weeks and has already invited another kindergartner to Sparks for next week!  These are a few pictures I took on her first AWANA night after she earned her Sparks vest...

She has done an amazing job of loving on her brother when she gets home from school and we are all excited for her first day OFF of school tomorrow for teacher workshops.  I am so pumped to have her home all day tomorrow!  Wahooo!  :)


I have been LOVING (seriously LOVING!!) all my special time with Colton lately.  He is so much fun, such a sweet boy, so smart, and has such a fun sense of humor.  With his big sister at school, we converse so much more, just the two of us, and we get special Mommy-Colton time each day while Larkyn naps.  I am seriously cherishing EVERY SECOND of this time with him, as I know the two years I have with him before he starts school will go so fast!  Colton and I have a lot of similarities in our personalities, and I have always understood him really well - how he ticks, why he responds how he does, and the like.  He and I get along in a really special way, and I truly love spending time with him.  Here are a few snippets of life with my lil dude over the past few weeks, starting with some stuff we've been up to and ending with some things we have been working on/learning in at-home preschool.

Visiting the Lutz Railroad Garden -  We only had 45 minutes, but he was completely mesmerized the entire time!

Checking out a new regional park 20 minutes south of us - whitetail regional park.  They have an awesome "natural" play area including areas to build forts.

Inside the fort

Looking for frogs at whitetail regional park with buddies Kellen, Zander, and Corbin

As part of the natural play area at whitetail regional park, there is a sand pit along with pumps to get water from the ground and make channels/etc.  Colton loved it!

Playing basketball at open gym

Legos at LegoLand Mall of America

"Doing drills" with MN soccer team (MN United) coach as part of Toddler Tuesday at Mall of America

Taking a tour of our local fire station - Colton was intently listened to everything Fireman Pat said!

Colton with other members of Mom's Club at the tour

Colton's thank you note he mailed to Fireman Pat (the red picture is a firetruck!)

Explorer Colton, hiking


Colton bikes with us to drop Summer off at kindergarten each day, and then bikes home with me.  Biking over a mile each morning provides the perfect way to release his energy right away in the morning!  He has been focusing and learning so much in our preschool together and I think that this is definitely a factor!

One activity we have been doing in preschool is a sorting game working on the difference between b, p, d.  Just for fun I also made one "q" who we fondly call "Q-man" because I made the cards out of snowman post-its (so that we wouldn't have the trouble of flashcards rotating).  Colton loves Q-man and always looks for him first!
 Q-man Video

We have been doing many different games with our calendar pieces, sorting them, playing search and find games, etc.  Colton can now name all of the months in order and knows some fact about (almost) every month.
 Months of the Year Video

Colton's art is... interesting ;)  He made this picture for Summer.  (He wrote Summer's name at the top...backwards ;))  I think he said it was "Summer and Colton eating a pickle" haha ;)

He gave this paper to me to give to Summer when I went to have lunch with her at school.

Colton has been working on which feet to put his shoes on, and he is getting better. However, I had to snap a picture this day because after being told he put his shoes on the wrong feet, he moved his feet and posed like this saying that now they were ok ;)

We have been practicing two speech sounds with Colton over the last few weeks...his "r" sound (which he pronounces as a "w") and his "th" sound (which he pronounces as an "f").  It is so exciting to see how much he is improving!!!  I have been loving an app I put on my phone called Articulation Station and it has flashcards and games like Memory that have him practicing his words (you can pick any letters you want to work on and just download those).  I have seen a dramatic improvement as we work on them and he loves to use my phone!!  I also have tapped into the "Grandma" resource as we work on Colton's speech.  Grandma Kirkwood went to school for speech pathology and audiology, and she knows tips to help kids make sounds they don't know how to make.  After struggling with how to teach Colton how to make the "th" sound, I printed out flashcards and made a game for Grandma and Colton to play when she came over.  Within no time Grandma had taught Colton how to make the correct sound!  (Thanks, Grandma!)  Here is a video of Grandma teaching Colton his "th" sound.

Here Colton was practicing writing the names of our family

Here Colton his working on one of his CVC puzzle books (he has done "at" words and "ap" words).  After cutting apart the pieces, he completes the puzzle to make a picture like a map, or a cap.  Then he sounds out the word below the picture, finds the matching word in his book, and tapes it in his book.

Colton has been doing amazing with sounding out words.  This week, for the first time, he started putting the sounds together all by himself to form words.  Here is a video from the first day he "learned to read".

We have been working on numbers 1-100 with Colton, and also counting by 10's.  He is starting to see patterns among the numbers and is starting to be able to read 2-digit numbers. (I really like this app for both lowercase letters and practicing 2 digit numbers, and Colton loves the space games!).  He counted to 100 for the first time this week, using his number chart... getting sillier by the number ;)

Video Counting:

I have always loved reading with the kids and we continue to keep our large library book basket in our living room full of roughly 30 books at a time ;).  I have to admit one of my favorite parts of reading with the kids is the cuddles:).  I love curling up on the couch with Colton and snuggling under a blanket together reading books like "I Stink" (about a garbage truck) or "Hot Rod Hampster" to name a few of his favorites from our current library trip.  I also have been having so much fun playing all sorts of games with Colton during Mommy-Colton time (while Larkyn his napping) such as Candyland, Kids Monopoly, Trouble, Cooties, and Guess Who.

I love this lil dude
 Well, besides library story time (Tuesdays), Cubbies (Wednesdays), and sports camp (Thursdays) that about sums up the last few weeks with my favorite Middle and me :).  Love ya, Buddy!

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Team Run For Tracie - Twin Cities Marathon

Paul and I so respect, admire, and look up to an amazing family from our church, the Morrisons.  Tracie is a mentor to me in many ways on how she runs her family.  Last January, Tracie was diagnosed with stage 4 malignant melanoma.  Because she and Jae have 6 kids high school down to age 4, we all grieve especially deeply with her diagnosis.  However, she herself, has been nothing but positive, hopeful, trusting in God, and a complete light to the world in how she is handling everything!  She faithfully believes that "God's got this" and is a complete inspiration!  We have found many ways together with our church family to help them, and one of those ways, suggested by Dale from our church, was to raise money for Tracie's family and all their medical bills by running the Twin Cities Marathon.

Both Paul and I were part of this team that to date has raised over $9000 for Tracie (still time to donate at this link!!) and we so appreciate all of YOU that helped this cause!!  For me, training provided the perfect time to pray for Tracie (no interruptions), reminder to consistently pray for Tracie, as well as many ideas of how to pray for her, as there are many similarities to training for a marathon and fighting an illness, such as needing perseverance, strength, endurance, etc.  While our marathon is over, hers is still going strong, and therefore my prayers will continue and I love that I am now in the habit of praying for her each time I work out :).  Love you, Tracie!  Thank you for being an encouragement and inspiration to all of us!  We are praying for complete healing and strength til the end for you!!

Here are a few pictures of our marathon from this past Sunday, October 5th.

Part of our team as we met at church to carpool to the race



High five-ing grandparents and my kiddos just before crossing the finish

Paul - finish in sight!

Some of our amazing fans along with the BEST signs made by Paul's dad (could see the signs from far away because they were unique, tall, and bright!).  Paul's dad also took lots of fun race pictures, including the ones pictured above.  Thanks Grandpa T!!!

Paul's brother, sister, and brother-in-law also ran the marathon!

Paul's amazing supportive family and world's best cheerers!

My amazing supportive family who got the kids up, fed them, and brought them to the finish line!  Thanks Grandma and Grandpa K!

Our family of 5 :)
One of my favorite things about this marathon was all thousands of fans lining almost the entire 26 mile route with signs, cheering, etc and how they literally cheered for you the whole race.  It was incredible! SUCH an awesome experience.  All I could think about was how as Christians, we encourage each other so much in the walk of life and how we are not meant to do life alone!  I am so thankful for my brothers and sisters in Christ, both near and far.

Hebrews 12:1
Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us.