Monday, June 29, 2015


June has been a whirlwind!  I can't believe July is just around the corner!  We just finished an awesome week of VBS, we finished up swimming lessons for the summer, Colton finished up his sports camp, we and have also stayed quite busy with playdates, biking, going to the park, soccer, piano lessons, traveling, swimming, and being outside as much as possible!  I love summer time in MN!  I have a very random collection of photos from this month, as well as a few videos.  Here's to having more fun DOING and less time blogging ;)

I loved this day!  It was our only Saturday home in all of June (we traveled a lot this month!) and we put up the pool, hung out outside as a family of 5, ate both lunch and dinner on the patio, and just enjoyed "chillin" together :)
I took this picture because this was the first meal it dawned on me that I had three "big" kids (instead of 2 kids and a baby) - all three kids ate pizza and fruit by themselves - without me feeding anyone - and all three giggled and interacted with each other the whole time!  I just sat back and thought, "I am SO blessed!"

This picture is of Summer and her favorite fruit survey :).  She decided one morning that she wanted to make a survey and ask everyone what their favorite fruit was.  She went door to door asking all of our neighbors and took her clipboard with her everywhere we went that day, including swimming lessons, Target, and the post office.  My favorite memory is in the post office.  What normally is a very quiet 5-10 minute wait in a long line at the post office was full of smiles and interaction as our little personality bounced around interviewing people!  I enjoyed watching the elderly gentleman behind us get "into" the survey asking Summer all sorts of data analysis questions.  I enjoyed watching the mom and son in front of us perk up and smile as they were asked their opinions.  I enjoyed watching people strike up conversation with each other about their favorite fruit!  I also liked watching as people came near Summer hoping she would ask them their favorite fruit ;).  I enjoyed watching one person translate the question for another so their responses would also be included in the survey.  All of this, with me just watching.  Summer definitely makes me smile!

This was a "make lemons into lemonade" sort of day!  We were all excited for a bike ride and hurried to get our chores done so we could go.  As soon as we got our helmets on, we saw lightning.  Within minutes we were back in our garage watching the rain pour down.  Since we were already outside, we decided to hang out and just watch the rain!  Giggling, the kids caught raindrops in their mouths and enjoyed just watching the storm.  Then we headed in for the "rare" and thus "exciting" event of watching a movie!  We had been reading the Toy Story 2 in book format, and they were so excited to see it on DVD for the first time!  I even let them eat popcorn and lemonade for lunch!  Special :).

I just love Larkyn's blue eyes!  I think she is going to keep them!

This was a memorable day as it was Larkyn's first Culver's kid's meal.  Grandma Kirkwood has created a tradition of getting the kids Culver's when she comes to play :).  I clearly remember Colton's first Culvers.  This month, Larkyn officially moved from "mush" to "bits of food" and she thoroughly enjoyed her first Culver's grilled cheese, applesauce, and milk!  She ate almost 3/4 of her sandwich!  Where does she put it all???? :)

This was Larkyn's first "big kid" picnic lunch, eating lunch in the same way that the older two do whenever we pack a picnic (instead of mush with a spoon).

Larkyn loved her first trip to the splash pad (as a kid old enough to enjoy it!)

These two goof balls keep me laughing!  They have truly turned into such good friends and I love watching them interact!  Summer truly puts her brother before herself, and Colton has come a long way in thinking of his sisters feelings and even sometimes letting her go first unprompted.  I am so proud of them both!  Here Summer let Colton wear her accessory glasses!  He wore them the whole trip through Walmart!

We visited Megan - my best highschool and college friend, along with Donna, her horse.  Larkyn wasn't sure sure what to think...

Summer was ECSTATIC to ride a horse, and loved every minute, smiling the whole time!  She carefully planned her cowgirl outfit beforehand!  Summer also was pretty pumped to sit in Ms. Megan's real size "Cinderella carriage" that her horses pull!

Colton also enjoyed riding the horse, especially giving the command, "woah", to stop the horse!  He also liked seeing Ms. Megan's mini loader that she uses to move hay bales :)

I have been getting some really fun time with this little man!  During Summer's piano lessons, we play at the nearby park.  He likes his time as the oldest and the special mommy attention he gets!

Larkyn in the tunnel at the park!

Larkyn learned how to "tip" the cup in order to drink out of it all by herself this month!

 On this particular day at the park, Larkyn wanted to pick up the pebbles and eat them.  I showed her that she could put the pebbles through the grate, and that entertained her for quite a while!


We had some daisy weeds growing so the kids made a vase of them for me :)

Pool Day!

I this pool full of kids :)
Colton and Larkyn and I checked out this cool new splash pad (in Rosemount) while Summer was at VBS.  Its pretty fun how you can direct the water through channels, and my little engineer Colton spent an hour and a half entertaining himself in this one spot!
Uncle Jordan and Auntie Madison moved from Colorado to only a half an hour away from us this month!  We went to see their super cute apartment and Auntie Madison made us delicious enchiladas :).  The kids loved listening to Uncle Jordan's long entertaining story!
Summer has been LOVING soccer.  She is really improving a lot!  Here is Summer's team picture from back to front, left to right : Caleb, Lucy, Alec, Summer, Coach Daddy, Eli, Jocelyn, and Gabe.

Summer has her last game this coming Wednesday night!

 We went to a wedding this past weekend for Paul's cousin, and I think Grandpa T took some fun pictures.  Check back and I will post them soon :)

Here are a videos from this past month...

Summer Soccer Clips - Summer has scored two goals thus far this season, and is quite good at defense, perceiving where the ball will be and running to kick it from the goal.  Speed continues to be one of her strengths!  She plays her heart out, constantly doing her best, with a huge smile! 

Colton Sports Camp Clips - Colton really enjoyed his sports camp, learning bits of 11 different sports.  I saw him grow in confidence as it was his first time doing an activity without Summer.  He was the youngest kid in the class, and while he wasn't the fastest or the most talented, he was (as I saw it) the best at following directions and listening to his teacher.  I am extremely proud of him!

Larkyn Slide  - Larkyn loved sliding down into the pool and would "scooch" herself to get going and smile as she slid!  It made ME smile!

Summer Piano - Summer has had three weeks of lessons and is doing amazing at practicing (15-20 minutes a day, 4-5 days a week) and truly loves it!  The first week we practiced together each day so she would know what to do.  Now she practices by herself and can read the directions and how to do each song by herself.  She loves "recitals" where Colton and I come to listen to her :)

Colton Letters - While Summer practices and Larkyn naps, Colton and I have enjoyed working on practicing writing his letters and numbers.  While he has been able to do the letters in his name for a while, we haven't worked on many of his other letters yet.  He is so methodical and such a great learner!  He is also quite the perfectionist!  I am impressed with his ability to look at a letter he has never written before and draw it as he sees it.  Below is his favorite way to practice writing his letters - he draws a letter out of the box, tries to make it, and hangs it on the fridge.  He came up with this method and I just go with it :). Here is a little video:

Larkyn being Larkyn - I had two videos of each of the other kids, so I figured I would share this one to keep it even :)  This is Larkyn being smiley Larkyn :)

Well, since June is wrapping up, that means it is almost Larkyn's birthday!  (July 1).  It is her golden birthday!  It is CRAZY that she will be 1 in two days!!!  The older two and I have been busy baking and planning her birthday party (tomorrow) and getting things ready for her big day!

 Good thing she doesn't know we're buying presents and wrapping paper for her right under her nose ;)

We're so excited to celebrate you, Larky-Loo!

Monday, June 22, 2015

Father's Day and Kirkwood Cabin

This past weekend we spent the weekend at my parents cabin in Shell Lake, WI.  It was cool to be with my dad, in his happy place, on Father's Day :)  My dad and I have always shared a special bond as we are so similar in so many ways.  A highlight for both of us was being able to go for a long run together this weekend - we always have such great talks and I truly respect, love, and look up to my dad so much.  I am so grateful God gave him to me, and just as grateful that he is grandpa to our kids.  They always look forward to playing with him and he uses play to teach them such great lessons!  Their favorite thing about Grandpa, however, is his story telling.  They sit wide-eyed as he continues his never ending story about Blackie the Bear - with new episodes each time they see him!

Photo Credit: Kristin :)
We also celebrated Paul, amazing dad to our 3 kiddos!  Summer, Colton, and Larkyn are so blessed to have such a godly, loving, unselfish, hardworking, and humble dad to love on them, pray for them, get the biggest giggles out of them, and be the most important role model in their lives of what a man of God should look and act like.  Paul covers our family in prayer daily - I can't even remember a day he has missed!  That is amazing.  I asked each of them what their favorite thing about Daddy is.  Summer said, "when he cuddles me" (Summer and Daddy have such special moments together before bed each night as he hears all about her day and prays for her) and Colton said, "when he jiggles his ice in his cup" (Daddy does lots of silly things at family dinners :) ).  It has been so much fun for me to watch Paul as he interacts with each kid.  It has been cute to watch him coach Summer's soccer team (and literally have the whole team laughing as he acts like a crab trying to get their ball or dives really silly and pretends to fall down) and enjoy every moment of his father-daughter dance with his princess.  It is fun for me to watch him turn on his boy humor and silly noises and get the best giggles out of Colton.  It is so sweet for me to watch him cuddle with Larkyn, rock her to sleep during church, and watch Larkyn give the biggest smiles to Daddy when he comes home from work.  He is the first (and still only) one whom she will call by name.  Just today, she recognized him in a picture and exclaimed, "Da-Da!"  

The kids made special cards for Daddy and painted a sun shade for his "new" (to him) wheels...

Paul got his new wheels last month but the picture hasn't made it on the blog yet :)

The sun shade is silver on the side that will show to the public ;) but quite colorful on the inside!
I was pretty proud of Colton making these letters all by himself.  If you look closely you can see all the letters for Happy Fathers Day. Colton.

I always love seeing Summer's cards :)

Even though we didn't get to see Paul's dad on Father's Day, I don't want to leave him out of this post!  He raised my amazing husband!  I couldn't ask for a better father-in-law.  He quickly adopted me into the family and made me feel loved and special right away.  The love he has for our kiddos is so evident and he has a special bond with each of the three kids!  I especially love watching him do "guy things" with Colton, like play trucks in the dirt, play trains for ENDLESS hours, set up super longs tracks for cars, run around with the soccer ball, and give rides on the 3-wheeler :).  We are blessed!

Happy Father's Day to all the wonderful Dad's in our lives :)!


Here are a few pictures from our weekend at the cabin!  It was such a wonderful, relaxing, and WAY TOO SHORT weekend filled with biking, running, boating, fishing, playing in the sand, playing Dominos, and hanging out.  Huge thank you to my mom for all the work she does cooking, cleaning, and hosting all of us!

Larkyn and Mommy cuddles at the beach

Guys grilling

Summer's finished pottery from last weekend

Colton's finished pottery from last weekend

B-E-A-Utiful sunsets



Cuddles with Grandpa

Uncle Eric volunteered to "clean up" the kids after S'mores...

I think they liked Uncle Eric's version of cleaning up...;)

 I wish I had more pictures of the fun beach time and swimming/jumping off the boat.  I was so proud of both S and C being so brave and swimming in the deep water off the pontoon boat!  The whole weekend was so much fun and we all look forward to when we can go up to the Kirkwood Cabin again. :)

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Kiddos Weekend Without the Parents :)

While Paul and I were in Red Wing celebrating our 8 year anniversary, our three kiddos were being spoiled silly by my parents :-).  I know how much work it is to care for these adorable ones, and I so appreciate my parents being willing (i.e. proactively begging) to take care of our kiddos for three days.  They not only took care of them, but they went way above and beyond treating them to a fantastic weekend at their cabin.  I don't think our kids missed us one bit!  My mom is one of the best picture takers I know, so we were blessed with over 100 pictures when we returned to see what they were up to while we were gone!   This is the set of pictures I received that tells the story of their weekend...

Thank you does not seem to be sufficient words for the love you showered on us and our kids this past weekend, Grandma and Grandpa K!  Thank you also to Auntie Kristin and Uncle Eric for loving on our kiddos and all that you did!  Four adults to take care of our three kids?!  We are so blessed!