Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Christmas Part IV and V - Tommerdahl Christmas and Haack Christmas - December 25-28

On Christmas Day, we drove to Fergus Falls to Grandma and Grandpa Tommerdahl's house!

Larkyn enjoyed Auntie Sarah's beautiful piano playing (as did the rest of us!)
Colton received a drum set from Uncle Ty and Auntie Sarah!
Colton jammed out with Auntie Sarah (piano) and Uncle Jordan (guitar).   TOO cute!  Other favorite gifts included Summer's new doll house accessories including a pony and Colton's car track set with a motorized accelerator.
Summer and Grandpa T on a 4-wheeler ride!

Colton requested another ride with Grandpa for "next time" :)

Auntie Madison and Auntie Sarah both danced up through senior year of high school and Summer LOVED learning ballet from them!

Ballet with Auntie Sarah
Larkyn and "cousin" Walter were the two "early riser" culprits that got their mommy's and daddy's up early :)
On the 26th we spent the day at GeeGee Sandy's house with Paul's mom's family.  We had a delicious turkey and ham dinner.  Along with a gift opening and playtime we took some group family photos that I will include when I get them :) 

We spent a nice relaxing day on Saturday at Grandma and Grandpa's house playing, opening stockings, hanging out, playing games, and eating delicious food!  Here is a video of us making a "human ramp"...

After church on Sunday, and a quick lunch at Arby's, we headed home!

We are so grateful for such wonderful, loving, and fun grandparents and family!!!!
 Thank you, Grandma and Grandpa Tommerdahl for the awesome celebration, generous gifts, fun family time, and for all that you mean to us!  We love you!

Christmas - Part III - Kirkwood Celebration - December 23-24

After the kids woke up from naps on the 23rd, we headed to Woodbury where my parents live to celebrate Christmas with them and with Auntie Kristin and Uncle Eric!

Grandma gave the kids matching Christmas jammies!

Grandpa read the Christmas story to a very captive audience :)

Stockings and new sunhats!

Summer's favorite gift was her new baby doll.  Mommy and Summer got matching Ergo baby carriers!

Daddy and Uncle Eric got MN Wild jackets
Larkyn got a puzzle with her name :)

Colton LOVED his Lightening McQueen pillow!

The kids LOVED their new suitcases and have been either on a trip or playing "trip" almost constantly!

My mom made a fancy Christmas meal - mmmm!

The kids made us all smile during the children's sermon at my parent's church's Christmas Eve service- introducing themselves to the pastor, answering his questions, and making themselves right at home :)

We are so grateful for this amazing group of people that love the Lord and love on our kids!  We love you all!
Thank you, Grandma and Grandpa Kirkwood for the awesome celebration, generous gifts, fun family games, and for all that you mean to us!  We love you!

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Christmas - Part II - Our Family Celebration - December 22-23

We had exactlty 24 hours at home between arriving home from Chicago (Christmas Part I) and heading out the door for Woodbury (Christmas Part III), and we made the most of our time and had a really special family "Christmas Eve" and "Christmas Morning".  We continued our tradition of making "graham cracker" houses on Christmas Eve.  Just for fun I included pictures of our 2013 and 2012 houses below...

3rd annual graham cracker houses (2014) - this year was the most fun yet!  The girls (Mommy and Summer) made one together and the boys (Daddy and Colton) made one together :)

2nd annual graham cracker houses (2013)

1st annual graham cracker house (2012)
 This year after making our houses and we put the kids to bed, Paul and I had a special "Christmas Eve" date grilling out steaks and having an at-home date by the Christmas tree (including Dairy Queen blizzards!)  YUM!

Christmas morning was especially fun because it was Larkyn's first Christmas!  We searched high and low to find the same type of scooter we had given the other two kids for their first Christmases...

Larkyn's first Christmas (2014)

Colton's first Christmas (2012)

Summer's first Christmas (2010)
Here are all the kids on their scooters...and yes they still play with them quite a bit!

Just like last year, I combined our Christmas morning memories into a little video because I like to "experience" each Christmas morning again and freeze time to remember them at these ages.  If you are interested in watching our video, I included it here.  It condenses our memories into under 7 minutes.  The kids and I loved watching last year's video in anticipation of this Christmas so I figured I would make another one this year!  Enjoy!

Christmas - Part I - Obermayer Celebration - December 20-22

On Sunday night we got home from 8 days of Christmas including 20+ hours of driving, 6 sleeping locations, 5 celebrations, 4 suitcases, 3 kids, "2" much fun, and 1 crazy fun week!  We are so blessed to have such an amazing family, extended family on both sides, and extended, extended family on both sides! 

Our first celebration was in Chicago with my mom's side of the family, including our family of 5, my parents, my sister and her husband, my cousin Alison and her family of 5, my cousin Amanda and her family of 4, my Aunt and Uncle, and my Grandma Obermayer.  We spent the 20th driving the 6 hour drive and the highlight - swimming in the hotel pool!  On the 21st we all gathered at my Aunt Nancy's house.

My aunt graciously agreed to host us all, including EIGHT children 6 and under!  Here is a picture of the eight great-grandchildren with GeeGee Obermayer.

Cora (2), Summer (4), Colton (2), Larkyn (5 months), Jemma (3 months), Cruz (4), Rowan (6), and Jade (2)

Growing up, my sister Kristin and I were REALLY close with my cousins Alison and Amanda who were close in age with us.  We lived close together in Illinois and did all sorts of things together!  Even though distance has made it so that we only see each other twice a year, we still remain close at heart :).
Me, Kristin, Amanda, and Alison
Our four husbands have the bond of sports that unite them...;)
Roger, Paul, Nate, and Eric

The kids all get along really well too...
It is especially fun to see how Alison's and my oldest kids (Summer and Rowan) get along so well and have similar personalities!
Amanda and my youngest kids, Larkyn and Jemma got to meet each other for the first time!

Thank you Grandma Kirkwood for sharing your pictures with me!
On the 22nd, we got up early and headed home - but not without running the kids around the track attached to the hotel to get excess energy out before the long drive!

Yep, I made them RUN!

We packed up hotel breakfast to eat in the car...both kids were excited to drink water out of coffee cups ;)

Neither kids are car nappers and usually go the whole trip without napping - I was so thankful Colton caught a 20 minute snooze so he wouldn't be as crabby later!

This sweet girl is AMAZING about quietly listening to CDs during quiet/nap time.
When we got home around 4pm on the 22nd we had exactly 24 hours at home to have OUR "Christmas Eve" and "Christmas morning" before heading out post coming soon...

December 20th - Larkyn rolls over

 On December 20th, I found Larkyn a few feet AWAY from her jungle play mat...after watching her I realized that she can now roll over!  She had been close the last few days, and I have quite a few "almost" videos, but here is the first time I saw (and caught on video) Larkyn rolling over from back to front all by herself :).

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Tribute to Tucker

As I sit down to write this I have so many emotions.  Writing helps.  Writing makes me feel like I can process my thoughts a bit. 

Today was a really tough day.  Like, the toughest I can remember.  I don't think I have ever cried as much as I did today.

Today we had to make the aweful decision to put Tucker to sleep.   Today I fed him for the last time, pet him for the last time, looked into those big brown eyes for the last time, and held him for the last time.

Over the past several months, Tucker has been getting more "defensively aggressive", meaning that when he is startled or confused about people's intentions he has started to snap.  It culminated after an unpleasant encounter with our vet at his routine check-up.  At that point, it became all too clear what needed to happen for the safety of the precious kids living in our house as well as those we come into contact with. 

Today was so hard.  SO hard.

Despite his behaviors in the past few months, I will choose to remember him as the sweet, loving, never-hurt-a-fly dog we adopted five years ago .

Today, I will choose to remember his loyalty that would follow me anywhere I would go and wait endlessly for me at the bottom of any staircase I ascended or door I exited from.

I will choose to remember his crazy energy that had him vertically jumping half the height of door when he needed to go outside and do his business.

I will choose to remember how he was the first one to make baby Summer laugh by scrambling up and down the basement stairs.

I will choose to remember the way he held his bed in his mouth and dragged it all over to be wherever we were.

I will choose to remember how he cleaned up after the kids so I didn't have to sweep after mealtime.

I will choose to remember him as my marathon training buddy, running sixteen miles in a day with energy to spare.

I will choose to remember how he would take off running in circles for no reason and make us all laugh.

I will choose to remember how he was our little reindeer, pulling the single, double, and then triple jogger as I pushed from behind.

I will choose to remember how he curled up in such a tight little ball inside his very small bed.

I will choose to remember how he lived for popcorn, and had such a focused stare while we ate.

We have so many great memories with Tucker and he was definitely a member of our family with a Christmas stocking just like the rest of us.  He was one-of-a-kind (no one who knew him would debate that!) and we are grateful for the time we got to spend with him.  The house feels pretty empty and quiet without this little guy. 

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Reading, Spider Math, and More

I haven't posted much about pre-school and tot-school related things in a while...

Summer: Reading & More

Currently, Summer is absolutely loving reading, writing and workbook pages!  Lately we have been doing a lot of our preschool in the afternoon while the little sibs are sleeping.   Just in the past week she has made a dramatic leap in her reading and is loving reading multiple beginner reader books a day.  Here is a little is kind of long...but it shows how she is connecting the dots at this point...

She was pretty excited to read FIVE books yesterday!

I picked up this box at a consignment sale and this is what we have been reading out of lately

She will do workbook pages as long as I will sit and give her the directions ;)

Here she is coloring pictures, cutting them out, and sorting them by their vowel sound

Colton: Name Tracing, Candy Graphs, and Spider Math

Colton has definitely improved on tracing his name...

Practicing the letters in his name

He still loves making candy graphs and will request to do them!

Here is a video of a new spider math game we tried this week...


Larkyn is usually napping when we do school, so I'll just include some recent pictures here!

Summer LOVES playing with her little sister!

Colton wanted to give L a ride in the laundry basket boat...

The laundry basket boat morphed into a laundry basket train...

L is often found sucking these two fingers

Profile shot!

Grandma K!

Daddy Kisses!

Those cheeks are so kissable!

Grandma T!

Bible Learning

I haven't posted our verses of the week for December yet!  We get our verse each week at BSF and practice it whenever we eat a meal.  Then we video them each Tuesday before we get our new are the last two weeks worth...(Looking back the kids have memorized almost 50 verses this year!)

2 Corinthians 9:7 For God loves a cheerful giver.

Psalm 148:8 The Lord is near to all who call on him.

We have been enjoying reading the Christmas story A LOT out of both my big Bible and the kids' Bibles.  I love that their memory is so great at this age - they soak everything up!  We have been reading from Luke 2 and Matthew 2...Here the kids are helping me with the story...

Luke 2

Matthew 2