Friday, April 24, 2015

Larkyn's "silly" face

Larkyn has really developed a personality this month!  She loves to clap, wave, blow kisses, babble, and interact with her siblings.  This month she has perfected her "silly face", and the kids (and I!) burst out laughing every time!  She seems to enjoy the reaction that her "silly face" gets and will often smile afterwards, and then continue to make her silly face over and over again!  It is the cutest and funniest thing! 

Yesterday morning, Larkyn kept doing her silly face over and over again each time Colton would kiss her on the head.  We were all cracking up!  Colton ran to get my phone so I could get a video.  She of course decided her caterpillar toy was more interesting in the meantime, so it took a few tries for Colton to get her to do it again for the video.  While the end of the video does capture her silly face, I will try to get a better video in the future of her enjoying her siblings response after she makes her silly face!  In the meantime, enjoy this glimpse...

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Summer - 4 3/4 yrs

I haven't written about Summer in a while, so I figured I would dedicate a post to all about her :).  There are so many aspects of Summer right now that I don't want to forget.  How would I currently describe Summer?

Summer is so helpful.  She loves to jump in and do random acts of kindness for people, like cleaning Colton's room for him or surprising me and making my bed for me :)

She is a super cleaner, and knows where everything goes, and can clean a room covered with toys in no time, putting everything back exactly where it goes. 

Summer continues to "feel things" very intensely.  She has the most exuberant and ecstatic highs and the most devastating lows, all in a matter of minutes :).  She is learning so well how to control her emotions and will often, when frustrated, be heard loudly "breathing" in and out several times to prepare herself to say what she wants to say in a correct tone of voice.  While she can escalate to a matter of utmost frustration in minutes, she also can do the same with her exuberance!  Her whole body will respond in excitement when something fun is happening or she is excited about something.  She is one of the most fun people in the world to be greeted by, and she easily turns a normal situation into an exciting one by her enthusiasm.  She has grown so incredibly verbally grateful lately, and heartfelt thank you's occur daily for even the littlest things like allowing her to have a treat.  Today she told me, "Thank you Mommy for using your money to pay for me to have dance lessons."

She is so perceptive to the sacrifices others are making, including often noticing when I haven't eaten a meal yet (and am just running around getting food for the three kids) and will say, "Mommy, you take a bite first and then, when you get a chance may I please have some more milk?"  Love her.  She also remembers to pray regularly for people who are struggling, and all on her own decided she would pray for the person who stole her Grandma K's fine jewelry.  I hadn't even thought to pray for that person!  Bless her.  She teaches ME.  She notices details all around her and remembers them like crazy.  If I am ever missing something, she is the one I ask to help me find it. 

She is very into accessories and putting together her outfits.  She can always be found in color coordinated jewelry/hair pieces/glasses/fairy wings/ etc and prefers to wear a dress over pants.  I have enjoyed watching her style grow as it is so different from my own!  When there was an 80% off sale at an online kids store we shop at (RUUM), we sat together and scrolled through the clothes and I let her pick out what she wanted to order.  While I would have picked jeans and sweatshirts, she picked out sequin skirts/dresses and she loves wearing them :).  Unfortunately, if her outfit of choice is not weather appropriate or there is some reason I need to ask her to change, we do have quite a bit of tears.  However, we have mostly gotten through that phase (for now!) and we discuss, discuss, discuss - I am so thankful for her love of talking and her ability to use her words so well to tell me what she is thinking and feeling.  I try to keep a pulse on her love for accessorizing and her super-awareness of her appearance, as I want her to make sure she remembers that what is on the outside is not what is important,   We talk often about what makes her beautiful (God made her and loves her and she is special).  However, it IS fun to watch her have such fun with accessorizing!

She is so outgoing and will talk to anyone, any age, anywhere.  She loves telling people about Jesus and she went all over our street all by herself (with me watching through the window) inviting our neighbors to our Easter service at church!  She is a natural leader, and has been doing a truly remarkable job of overcoming her tendencies to be bossy and will, all on her own, often let Colton pick aspects of their play.
She loves to compliment, write people notes and pictures, and give gifts.  She holds her possessions very loosely and will often be seen giving away her jewelry or coins/money to her friends - she LOVES to give!  She is very creative both in playing pretend and in artwork.  She loves to write and draw and has filled many journals with her artwork.  I will keep these for her so she can go back and see what she did at age 4!  She is also very organized, and will during her quiet time, reorganize her jewelry box, bookshelf, or other area of her room and excitedly show me when I come in :).  She is such a bundle of personality, flair, and joy!

apple/animal cracker rocking horse
Summer has such a strong faith in Jesus and such a young age and such a strong conscience.  Her whole body reacts when she does something wrong, as she bursts into tears.  She is so honest and will tell me every little thing she does that is wrong and want to make it right.  Because she is such a perfectionist, we have spent quite a bit of time talking about her faults.  A few months ago, this developed into a lack of confidence, as she saw herself through a lens of the things she did wrong.  She would often ask questions like, "Mommy, what are you proud of me from today?"  The outlook really affected her whole person and confidence.  I prayed so much about this on ways I could help encourage a healthy confidence in her.  A few months ago we started an "encouragement" jar.  It is nothing fancy, as I literally threw it together in a few minutes, but it worked to increase her confidence!
Each night, I write one or more notes to her about specific acts she did that day that made me so proud of her.  The idea behind the jar was that anytime she asked me, "Mommy, what are you proud of me from today?" , that we would go back and read the notes together.  What surprised me, is that we never have needed to!  Her confidence soared, literally, overnight, as she knew each night she would be hearing good things she had done that day.  I just peeked tonight and she has close to 70 notes in her jar!  Many of them refer to specific situations where she demonstrated one of the qualities I wrote about above.  I can now say, that despite a bit of a bump in the road, she is a very confident little girl and I cannot believe the transformation I have seen in her in this area.  Thank you, Lord!

 Here are a few videos I chose to put on this post:

1) Summer is reading like CRAZY!  I cannot believe how she has literally taught herself words and endings just by watching me read and sounding things out.  Here is a video of her reading a chunk from a very wordy book - it is only a small part of the full story she read to Colton today.

2) Summer loves stories!  She loves to read stories, hear stories, and tell stories.  Our meal time conversation is often telling and retelling Bible stories.  I love the dramatic flair she has when she tells her stories, as she acts out the different characters and sound effects.  The particular story I got on video tonight is Daniel and the Lion's Den.  Jonah and the big fish is also a fun one to hear her tell!  Listening in on her pretend play during quiet time with her dollhouse or Barbies sounds similar to this as well :).

3) Summer and are currently working on telling time this week in preschool.  Here are a few activities we did.

I am so proud of you, Summer Tenleigh!  You stretch and grow me as a person, and teach and encourage me at the same time!  God has bundled so many amazing things into you, and I love watching you grow.  I love you!

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Colton 3 yr and Larkyn 9 month stats

The worst and longest lasting and messiest stomach flu my kids have ever had took its toll on our house all last week, so I am just now climbing out of the hole of laundry, constant cleaning, and life that a bug like that produces!  Anyway, I did take the younger two in for their milestone checkups, and wanted to document their stats:

My big 3 year old now weighs *at least* 32 lbs and 6 oz (58th percentile)...

*(Although I would imagine he actually weighs a bit more as he was coming off of a major stomach flu where he literally ate 1 piece of toast and a few crackers over a span of 3 days!)
Colton is 37.5 inches tall, which places him in the 52nd percentile.

Colton did AWESOME through the whole appointment, and we were all happy he didn't need any shots!

Our little Larkyn had the stomach flu at her appointment, so likely weighs a bit more, but either way she is our little peanut!   She weighed in at 16lbs (12th percentile) and is 26.5 inches tall (7th percentile).

Both "big kids" did a great job reading quietly while Mommy talked with the Doctor :)

Monday, April 13, 2015

Happy 3rd Birthday, Colton!

My little boy turned 3 on April 10th!  Colton is such a sweet, giggly, silly boy who gives the best hugs!  I absolutely love this guy more than words can tell!!

We love birthdays at our house, and we have been anticipating this one (literally) since last August, when Colton saw Summer get breakfast in bed on her birthday.  At our house, breakfast in bed is a borrowed tradition from Paul's family growing up that starts at age 3, and more than presents or cake, Colton has been excitedly anticipating his breakfast in bed!  Before writing about his actual birthday (April 10th) and his breakfast in bed, however, I will start on April 9th when my big boy and I got to go for our birthday date.  After a birthday lunch with Grandma K with his favorite Culvers, Grandma babysat the girls while Colton and I headed out to the Minnesota Transportation Museum.  I had bought tickets for us to go several months prior (Thanks Auntie Kristin for finding us the Living Social deal!), and couldn't wait to take him to see all the trains.  Unfortunately, after we drove the half hour to get to the museum, I realized that it was only open on Wednesdays and Saturdays (mom FAIL!).  A kind mechanic who was there working on trains let us still come in and look around, however, and even gave us a little tour!  My sweet, sweet, boy had so much fun and made me feel like it was the best date even though he couldn't ride the train or do all of the things.  He kept saying how much fun he was having and he was seriously just such a sweetheart!  We looked around for about an hour, and spent quite a while looking at the outdoor trains which we could see even though the museum was closed.  We will definitely have to go back when it is open, as it is really cool! 

 Since we were only a few minutes from where Daddy works, we stopped by to say hi and to do some skyway watching :)
 I think Colton enjoyed being the center of attention from both Mommy and Daddy :)
The next morning, Colton woke up to the much anticipated BREAKFAST IN BED!

Chocolate Chip Pancakes with whip cream, berries, and orange juice

Summer and Daddy got breakfast just perfect while Mommy fed Larkyn :)  Daddy usually leaves for work a bit after 6 am each day, so the kids don't usually see him in the morning.  Both kids were excited that he went into work late so they could see him before he left for work!


Could not be happier!


All snuggled on Colton's bed
 Grandpa T sent Colton this video...which he LOVED...

Traditional decorated door

Paul does a great job with the decorations each year!

Colton got to SEE his presents but couldn't open them until Daddy got home from work :)

Trying to reach the balloons

Colton's morning activities included playing trains for a long time!

And reading the new library books we got that week

Because all of our friends have so many kids now, hosting a party for everyone seemed a bit daunting - however we didn't want to leave anyone out!  So we did a "birthday playdate" instead of a "birthday party" this year and it worked SO perfectly!  We decided to go to Burger King (awesome playplace!) for lunch on Colton's birthday and invited everyone to join us if they were free - and we would bring special birthday cupcakes.

Colton picked Lightning McQueen, Mater, and Planes cupcakes.  The toppers were party favor rings.

I LOVE this play place because you can see it all - no hidden tunnels :)  The kids ran off energy for over an hour!  It turned out to be the perfect place to have our party that day, as it was snowing on the morning of Colton's birthday and an outdoor venue would not have worked well this year.

We took over the playplace with many wonderful friends!  Here Colton and Summer are eating with friends Addison, Brody, and Tenley.

Chicken nuggets, french fries, apples, and chocolate milk!  Bonus - a mini Clifford book came with the kid's meal ... and of course.. the Burger King crown is a huge hit for my kiddos.

The group of kids that came and blessed my little buddy - 19 kids 4 and under!  Colton's smile when they all sang to him was ADORABLE!  I wish I had thought to get it on video :)

Mommy got to be "cupcake lady" :)

Grandma K was a huge help - taking pictures, holding down the fort while I took kids to go potty, and helping to feed Larkyn.
After the party the kids had quiet time/mini naps in their rooms to prepare for more celebrating!  Then we took off for our annual run to Cub Foods for birthday donuts (a tradition that I had as a kid).  We really only go to Cub for donuts, but when we do, the kids love pushing the mini shopping carts.

They get so excited about these!

We, um, attract a lot of attention..and smiles...from other customers with our parade...its quite amusing.

Colton picked blue sprinkles

Ready to go checkout!

Waiting in line at checkout...

While we waited for Daddy to come home, we rode bikes.
 We opened gifts before dinner this year, as the kids had a big breakfast and lunch!  This year we did a "space" them for Colton's gifts as he has been talking about wanting to be an astronaut and interested in all things space related.
I love this little astronaut!

Where is Colton?
Here is a 2 minute highlight video of present opening this year...with shout out thank you's to my generous grandparents and Aunt and Uncle who bless Colton with presents on his birthday.

For his birthday meal, Colton picked Kraft Mac n Cheese, grapes, and carrot sticks.

THREE candles!
And now we move to DAY 3 of celebration ;)...on Saturday April 11th, Colton's grandparents, and local Aunts and Uncles all came to celebrate!

Grandma and Grandpa K gave Colton one whole bag of Dusty the Crophopper stuff and another one of all Lightning McQueen stuff!  They know our little guy! 
He loves his Dusty jammies and stuffed Dusty!
Another favorite was the Lightning sunglasses and case.  He also got a much wanted camera so he can take pictures like Summer.
From Auntie Sarah and Uncle Ty, Colton got a cool ball called a Wubble
It looks like a giant bubble and is so light that it bounces off of things instead of knocking them over!

Auntie Kristin and Uncle Eric found a Lightning McQueen picture for Colton's room and a Lightning McQueen ring toss game - Our little boy LOVES Lightning McQueen!

Grandma and Grandpa T gave Colton nerf guns, which were a HUGE hit!  His face and giggle was priceless when he would repeated shoot it!

Grandma and Grandpa T also found a Lightning McQueen race track with remote control cars.  Both kids love playing with it!

Thank you Gee Gee Sandy for the cool kickball set!
Colton picked Lightning Mcqueen paper goods (big surprise!)

Colton picked the menu: tortellini, garlic bread, and blue jello with berries and whipped Cream

The menu was also a hit with big sister
and little sister, who ate her tortellini pureed :)
What an awesome family - we are blessed!

Colton had the same cupcakes as for his kids party, and did a great job blowing out all THREE candles :)
 One of the best parts of birthdays is seeing our wonderful family...

Grandma T and Larkyn

Grandma and Grandpa K and the birthday boy!

Uncle Eric and Summer belting out songs on the plastic knife microphones

Silly faces with Uncle E

Goofy Selfy :)

Cuddles with Uncle Ty and Auntie Sarah

Grandma T's lap full of Grandkids

Auntie Sarah and Larkyn
The two best Grandpas!