Saturday, April 26, 2014

Mini Van!

As soon as we decided to have a third kiddo, we knew we would need to get a bigger vehicle!  Our two sedans fit the four of us and our dog "snugly", especially on trips where we brought along fishing or hunting gear...but there was absolutely no way a third car seat would fit!

Our debate about whether to get a mini-van or a SUV spanned quite a few months.  While I preferred the "look" and "style" of an SUV, really the only thing I REALLY cared about was that I wanted all three kiddos to sit in the row behind us (not 2 kids in one row and 1 kid in a different row).  If you know my kids at all, you know they are both chatterboxes, and I wasn't sure I would be able to understand/hear either of them very well if they were in the third seat.  Furthermore, I often am handing back water, snacks, sunglasses, etc while I am driving and would not be able to reach the third seat from my spot in the front.  For these reasons, I really wanted to find a vehicle that would seat three carseats across the backseat.  After researching vehicles, I came across this awesome blog that outlined which vehicles (and years and models of those vehicles) would safely do this.  Paul preferred a mini van for several reasons including more trunk space for hauling, more space for the kids on long trips as they get older, more room to cart around the kids' friends to sports practice, and better gas mileage.   I agreed with him on each of these reasons, so when I found that there were actually a few models of mini vans that would seat 3 across the second seat (vs. the two captains chairs), we found a few vehicles (namely the Toyota Sienna and the Honda Odyssey) that would meet both of our criteria.  The Sienna got better ratings for long-term reliability, and since we were buying used, we decided to make the Sienna "the car" we would look to find.

After watching car soup and craigs-list for months for a van that would fall in our agreed-upon price range, and having one Sienna be sold literally hours before we arrived to look at it, we found our current one at a dealership in Mankato, a little over an hour south of our home.

This morning, we packed up the kiddos and their breakfast and headed to see it.  (We got there just in time as another person was coming to look at the exact same vehicle only 2 hours after us!)  While it was a bit dirty on the interior (which we both felt could be easily fixed), it was otherwise perfect!  We traded in Paul's car and drove our new van home.

We spent the afternoon vacuuming, steam cleaning, and washing down both the Sienna and the previous family car which would now become Paul's work car.

In the evening we headed out to use the gift card to Olive Garden that the saleslady gave us when we purchased our Sienna.  We had a perfect relaxing fun family dinner with lots of laughs :).

I am so excited to now have a car that will fit our new little girl too, when she comes.  I love the space it offers and I love that I don't have to bend over (especially pregnant) to buckle in Colton- he is right at my level now!  I also love that the doors slide instead of swing open- no more worrying about knicking other cars, and I can even open the doors from my remote (yes, I feel pretty cool!).

While I never thought I would say this, I am VERY excited to be a mini-van mom and I absolutely love the family that fills it!

Monday, April 21, 2014

Colton 2 year stats

Big Boy Colton

We had Colton's 2 year check up today.  He weighs 29 lbs (62nd percentile) and has a head circumference of 19 inches (39th percentile).  I kind of wonder if they measured his height wrong however because they say he is 3 feet tall (which is 2 inches taller than I measured him at home!) and in the 90th percentile!  No matter his height, he is healthy and perfectly good to go for a whole year now until his next appointment.  He was great for his appointment--(it helps that we "play doctor" at home with Summer's doctor set)-- he knew exactly how they would look in his ears, mouth, etc.  He even did great for his blood draw, and didn't cry at all--we talked about Thomas the Train the whole time ;).  He cried a little bit for his one shot, but it was over almost before he knew it!  Yay Colton!

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Happy Easter!

 One of the best parts of Mommy-ing is that when I focus on the real meaning for a holiday for my kids, it benefits me as well!  Summer and I spent a lot of time reading various accounts of the Easter story, talking through her her Resurrection Eggs, and preparing through conversation for all that Easter is.  We purposely rarely discussed the concepts of the Easter bunny, Easter baskets, or Easter candy (not that there is anything wrong with any of those things, but I just really wanted to focus on the real meaning this year.)  I love Summer's excitement for ANYTHING celebratory and she counted down the days :).  According to Summer, we started celebrating Easter on Thursday and Sunday was "the last day of Easter"! 

Here are a few pics of us coloring eggs on Thursday night...

On Friday night we went to church.   Summer requested to go to the Good Friday service with us this year instead of the childcare program.  Paul and I discussed with her that it was a sad service, talking about when Jesus' died, and that we weren't sure if she would go this year or when she was a little older.  Paul discussed the service with our Pastor that evening, and there were no violent portions acted out this year in service, so we let her come.  It turned out to be the perfect service for her to attend.  The chairs were set up in a U-shape around several tables that held props pertaining to various times in the Bible where the coming of a Savior had been predicted.  As our pastor walked among the tables and discussed each story foreshadowing Christ, Summer followed along with the stories, whispering to me about how she knew that story :).  I was glad she was there for the "sad" service as it makes Easter that much more exciting! 

On Saturday evening we celebrated Easter with the Kirkwoods/Bjorklunds, followed by a game of family Dominoes after the kiddos went to bed :).
Cute pic of Summer and Grandma Kirkwood (who happened to match!)

Auntie Kristin and Uncle Eric gave Colton his belated birthday present, a hockey stick.  Not sure who had more fun playing with it...Uncle Eric or Colton ;)
 On "actual" Easter, we had brunch at church.  Then our family greeted, and Summer and Colton did a great job of (literally) exclaiming "Happy Easter!" to the people that came in the door.  Summer is a natural at greeting, and Colton follows his big sisters' lead :).  After church, we grilled out BBQ chicken (it was SOO nice out today!!) and while dinner cooked we did our annual egg hunt.  The kids love looking for eggs, and after the hunt was done, they took their eggs and hid them again for their sibling to find--cute to watch :).  Here are a few pics of the egg hunt, followed by a little video.  Each year they get older is more fun!

After lunch and naps, we played at the park, played outside, rode bikes, drew with sidewalk chalk, and basically "lived" outside enjoying one of our first really nice spring days.  So much fun!

As Summer learned to say today...
"He is RISEN! He is risen INDEED!"

Life and Learning Lately

Library books continue to be a huge part of our lives...Summer loves all books!  Last week she went up to librarian Ms. Sarah and asked her to help her find books about shells so she could identify the ones she plays with.  Ms. Sarah helped her find her shell books :)

Colton loves anything car/truck/train related, Curious George, and learning about tigers :)

Summer has been very interested in large numbers and peoples' ages lately, so we decided to an activity based on the number "100"... 

We listed the numbers so she could see how many "100" was, colored the squares, and then found peoples' ages on the chart.

Summer has been enjoying math lately using flashcards that have numbers on one side, and that number of "dots" on the flip side.  She makes up her own problem with the cards such as "2" "+" "5" "=", writes it on her paper, and then flips over the cards to count the dots and write the total.  It is a nice activity for her to do on her own.
Colty has started to show an interest in helping in the kitchen...dumping in ingredients and stirring...

One of the favorite zoo animals-- the crocodile...

Water break at the zoo!
Our first dinner outside this year!!!
One of my almost daily prayers for my kiddos is a strong conscience.  I desire that they learn right from wrong and desire to do right from the inside out, so that when they leave me to go to school, friends' houses, etc that they will do right even when I am not watching/directing.  I'll share a quick sweet story about each of the kids in how I see God working in their lives in this area:

Summer's conscience has been so sweet since last October when she invited Jesus to be her Savior.  I really don't have to discipline her much anymore, as discussion will bring her little heart to sorrow at her wrongdoing and she wants to change and do right.  An example was at church recently when Ms. Pam was giving out candy after church.  Summer came up to me while I was chatting with a friend and asked me if she could have some, and I told her she could have one piece...just one...(so as to leave some for other kids).   She came back to me with two pieces.  When I questioned her about it, and reminded her what I had said, she told me that Ms. Pam had told her she could take two.  Her answer made sense to me, as I pictured the likelihood of Ms. Pam telling each child they could pick two, and we resolved the situation saying that one piece of hers could be for Colton.  In my mind, the situation was resolved and done.  On the car ride home, she brought up the situation on her own, and told me that Ms. Pam actually hadn't "told her" to take two, but rather Summer had "asked" if she could take two and Ms. Pam had said yes.  We discussed how her actions were wrong, and then I thanked her for being honest.  When I peeked back in the rear view mirror, she was crying.  No punishment had been issued...she was crying because, in her words, "I am so sad at myself.".  Her little conscience was disciplining her more than I ever would!  What a sweetheart.  We prayed together and she asked Jesus to forgive her for her disobedience, and I told her that Mommy and Daddy forgave her too.  I praise the Lord that he is working in her heart and giving her a strong conscience.

Colton is, a very two-year-old-boy, currently.  He gets frequent time outs for pushing his sister (often for no reason--I think just because he has energy and doesn't know what to do with it positively and also because Summer gives a fun reaction!).  He also has been testing boundaries lately-- a LOT!  While he is an adorably sweet kid, he definitely shows remorse over consequences rather than over his disobedience ;).  Since these flare ups of frequent testing moments have begun, I have been praying specifically for his little heart not only during our morning Bible reading as usual, but also each time I tuck him in.  I saw my first glimmer of hope that God was working this past week.  After a timeout for pushing his sister, we came back downstairs and he was putting his boots away like I asked him.  I heard crying in the coat closet, and went to see what was the matter.  He told me, "Mommy I want to "pway", to which I responded, "You can play after you put your boots away, Colton."  He continued to cry and said again, "Mommy, I want to pway".  I then realized he wanted to "pray".  I had forgotten to pray with him after his time-out!  (Normally we try to pray and have him ask Jesus to forgive him for his specific infraction and then help him to do the opposite in the future.)  I almost melted I was so grateful for his little heart wanted to come to Jesus before he did anything else, and as he sat on my lap and repeated his prayer after me, I hugged him close as I silently thanked God for working in my little guy's heart.  Sure enough, after he said, "Amen", he was the happiest little guy and ran off to play.  So sweet.  Thank you Jesus for working in Colton's heart!

I'll end this post with the verse of the week--I'll just include Summer's video this time, because Colton has been doing his verse in a "monster voice" lately and you can't even understand what he is saying!  Oh, Colty ;).

Monday, April 14, 2014

April 12th, Colton's family party

Our lucky little 2-year old had 3 celebrations in a row!  Woah!  This weekend, Colton's grandparents and uncle and aunts, and GeeGee Sandy showered him with so much love and generosity- I feel so incredibly blessed to have them in our lives in such a big way.  Most importantly, I am so grateful for the godly example and prayers they lift up for our little guy.  I am seriously, soooo blessed.  Thank you to all of you who came to celebrate with us!  Here are some pictures from the day (special thank you to Grandma Kirkwood and Grandpa T for taking such great pictures and sharing them with me!)
The very blessed birthday boy!

The wonderful big sister

Thomas the Train bag!

Woah, what is in there?!

After opening his train table, he was basically glued to it for the rest of the day...
...and has already spent hours playing trains both by himself and with anyone who will play with him :)

He also LOVED this Cars theme water bottle and carries it all over!

When asked what he got when he opened this box, he exclaimed, "WHEELS!"

When did he get so big??

The grandpas were put to work assembling Colton's bike and train table while we made lunch :)

love this shot of Summer and Uncle Eric :)

Menu was an easy choice Cheeseburgers and French Fries...some of Colty's FAVORITE foods!

Our amazing family members that were able to come celebrate with us...Auntie Kristin and Uncle Eric, Grandma and Grandpa T, Summer, Grandma and Grandpa K, Colton, Uncle Javonte, GeeGee Sandy, Daddy (and Uncle Ty and Auntie Sarah came over after work).
Here is a video of everyone singing to Colton:

The birthday boy was talking about this Thomas the Train cake for literally DAYS beforehand!

 Grandma and Grandpa T, Javonte, and GeeGee Sandy stayed all weekend and made lots of memories with the kids.  Both Grandma and Grandpa T are such fun playmates for the kiddos...they played cars, tracks, and trains for a veeeeery long time, read lots of books, had a tractor coloring contest with the leftover tractor coloring sheets from Colton's tractor party, played basketball, and generally "played hard" all weekend ;). 
Reading books
We moved Colton's basketball hoop up to the living room for the weekend and ALL the boys had fun shooting hoops...Colty especially loved using his new Cars theme ball!

Cute picture of Daddy and Grandma T...definitely can see the resemblance between the generations!
Happy Birthday, Buddy!

Friday, April 11, 2014

April 11th, Colton and Ian's Kiddie Tractor Birthday Party

Kaity and I co-planned Colton and Ian's 1 year birthday party, and we both decided to do it again for the boys' 2 year party!   My amazing mom took pictures to document the party, so all that I will share here are from her (thanks mom!).  Also a HUGE shout out thanks to "Papa George", our family friend and farmer, who drove his tractor to the party and gave the kids rides.  That was definitely the highlight!

"Farmer Colton" playing at the party :)


Summer and Adry on the scooters

Summer and Adry riding bikes

Pin the wheel on the Tractor

Colton's turn!


Chocolate donuts were "tractor tires"

Rice Krispie treats were "hay bales"

The utensils were pitch forks, saws, and shovels


Papa George on his tractor

Colton's turn to drive!

He was LITERALLY all smiles!

Beautiful Summer took a turn!

Colton and Amelia

Papa George gave the kids rides.  Summer (being not at ALL shy) showed the other kids how it worked ;)

Summer smiled the whole time!

Colton's turn...

Colton took his driving very seriously, and Papa George even let him do the evidenced by the swervy path of the tractor!

Some kids played in the backyard while others waited in the front yard for a turn on the tractor with Papa George

Papa George with his sweet wife Evelyn

Lunchtime!  Sloppy Joe's, MacnCheese, Clementines, and Goldfish

Picture with Mommy and the Birthday Boy!

Me and my awesome hubby!

Family :)

And one last shot...with the photographer :-)
Here are two of each of the kids with their turn for the tractor ride with Papa George...