Monday, May 25, 2015

Memorial Day Weekend - Family Stay-cation and Paul's 30th Birthday

Family hotdog and S'more Night
Lately, we have been so busy with to-do lists/commitments, extended family, going to friends birthday parties, etc, etc that we haven't set aside much time for OUR family of five to do things with just us.  One priority Paul and I have for our family is for good, quality, family time for us to strengthen the relationships within our family.  We are learning that it doesn't happen on its own - we have to be intentional or else it gets squeezed out by all the other fun things life has happening!  So....we decided that Memorial Day weekend would be set aside as time for JUST US.  That meant saying no to many invitations, which was really hard, but definitely important.  We called our weekend a "stay-cation", basically, we were "on vacation" at our own house!  Our goal was to do lots of fun things in the Twin Cities together, without having to pack any suitcases or stay anywhere else.  We also treated ourselves to eating out several times, which rarely happens at our house, and it was so nice to have less prep and clean-up surrounding meals and more time to have fun together :). 

Paul's 30th birthday was on Saturday, so we also had fun doing lots of birthday stuff!  The kids LOVE planning for birthdays - buying and wrapping gifts, decorating the house, and baking treats.  We spent much of Friday getting ready to celebrate Daddy.

Summer, Colton, and I made chocolate cupcakes for Daddy's birthday with blue sprinkles

Colton decorated Daddy's door all by himself and wrapped Daddy's presents :)

Summer wrapped all the banisters all by herself :)

She loves decorating!

When Daddy got home from work, we did the kids' current favorite family night - we ate dinner by the campfire, roasting hotdogs over the fire.

Paul's selfie :)
The tator tots are a staple of this family night...

They LOVE them and request them when we do hot dog night :)

Larkyn's first time participating in the food - she literally chowed her hotdog, tater tots, and strawberries!
Silly Summer and her celery!

Silly Colton with his carrots.

Silly Daddy and Summer

Sisters and S'mores!  (Larkyn just had a graham cracker ;) )
 On Saturday, the kids were literally ECSTATIC to help make Daddy's birthday breakfast in bed (I kid you not, we have been talking about and planning this for a month!).

Colton brewed Daddy's coffee and served up his pineapple.  Summer poured his orange juice and served up his bacon. :)

Of course, they BOTH helped him eat it...


Larkyn loved the pancakes too!

We ended up down in the kitchen for more breakfast for everyone!  Daddy gave each of the kids a birthday "whip cream" shot!  Larkyn's face was priceless - I wish I had it on video!

Colton giving Daddy his card...

He made Daddy a picture of Lightning McQueen :)

Summer's card was so creative - she made Daddy, and his hat opened up to be the card.

In leu of a card, Loo gave Daddy lots of smiles :)

We headed of to Good Times Park, where the kids and Daddy bounced themselves silly on the large trampoline!

Good Times Park has tons of indoor park play things, soccer field, basketball court, and massive blocks.

Lunch Birthday dessert - Summer picked "3" candles because Daddy is "30"!  Happy Birthday Daddy!

Daddy picked to go to a Mexican Restaurant for dinner - El Azteca.

(As a sidenote, we celebrated Paul's 30th birthday two weekends ago with friends, going rock climbing at Vertical Endeavors and out for dinner.)

On Sunday we went to church.  It continued to be a rainy and cold, so after naps we did a family movie night and the kids saw Toy Story for the first time :).  I loved the cuddles!  Then we picked up pizza from Daddy's favorite - Red Savoy's as a belated birthday celebration :).

On Memorial Day, Daddy made us all waffles for breakfast!  Then we headed off to the zoo.  We were so excited to see the new Hawaiian Monk Seals as they made their debut!

We got there early to get seats for the show!
We ended the day with a visit to Chick-Fil-A and their playplace.  This weekend was PERFECT!  I love spending quality time with our family, and can't wait til we schedule another "Family Stay-cation" :). 


We had a free day on Wednesday, since BSF is over, and I asked the kids what they would like to do!  Out of many options, they picked to go hiking at Lebanon Hills.  I love that they love it as much as I do!!

These kids love exploring, collecting, taking pictures, observing, learning, and hiking.

One memory on this hiking trip was searching down the White Egret who would land near the path in several places along the hike.  The kids and I kept trying to sneak up on it to take a picture, but when we got close it would fly farther down the lake path!  Our fourth attempt, Summer ALMOST had the picture, and then Colton tripped and started screaming and of course it flew away!  Quite the moment! 

The kids loved taking pictures - of the lake, of the flowers, of everything!

Love this pic - standing together, in their hats, taking a pic of the lake.

We saw SO many different kinds of flowers - so beautiful.  Summer is so observant and notices all the things around her!

Big boy

Taking a picture of Larkyn and me!


My littlest hiking buddy

The kids love collecting rocks along the hike and throwing them into scum covered swamp near the start of the path - the "ploop" when the rocks fall in and make the scum spread is pretty entertaining ;)

Friday, May 22, 2015

Summer Tenleigh - Ballet Recital and First Soccer Game

Summer has been asking to do ballet for a year!  When the opportunity came up to take a 6 week community ed ballet class this spring, it was the perfect opportunity to say "yes" :).  Summer loved every minute and was so excited for her recital.  Her exuberance and love for the stage make her very fun to watch.  She even surprised everyone at the end of the recital by serenading her teacher with a self-written solo thank-you song - (too bad I already had the video camera turned off!).  She cracks me up!  I love her confidence!

Here are a few pictures (Thank you Grandma Kirkwood!):

Ms. Paula was seriously AMAZING and so full of energy!  You could tell she LOVES doing what she does.

Sisters :)

Colton wanted to join the picture!

Colton did a great job during each of Summer's classes and her recital.  He packed a suitcase full of cars and his car mat and played quietly the whole 45 minutes each class.  I was SO proud of him!

Larkyn enjoyed watching all the movement and music and dressed up in her ballet tutu to support her sister ;)
Summer's recital was 45 minutes long, so I condensed it into 5 minutes worth of clips...Here is the video:


Summer has also been LOVING soccer.  She is all smiles for this as well, and is ecstatic that her Daddy is her coach!  The field is her stage in this case, and she loves it when Grandma Kirkwood comes to watch her games!  She is #4 on the blue team.  The first scrimmages and game, I would describe her as the cheerleader and team nurse, as she loved shouting encouragement to her team as well as stopping to make sure everyone who tripped was ok :).  Her strength is definitely her energy as she runs full speed the whole time!  Each time, however, she is getting better at learning the game.  She is starting to learn it is ok to take the ball from the other team.  Her two best game moments so far are, offensively, when she had a breakaway and ran down the field dribbling the ball all by herself and almost scored a goal in game number 1.  The second was, in a defensive move, when she kicked the ball away from a kid on the other team who was about to score a goal in game number 2..  For the most part, however, she stays with the ball, running constantly, and touches it sometimes :).  I am most proud of her great attitude, her smile, and her kindness toward her brother, and all on her own sharing her special team soccer snacks with him.  Melted my heart :).

Here is a few video clips of her playing soccer (sorry the sound isn't working, but that is ok you can still watch blue #4 with the blond ponytail ;)