Sunday, September 27, 2015

Family Fun Fridays - September

Family Fun Fridays

This school year, we decided to try something new to be intentional about weekly family time.  It seems that when we don't schedule family time, our calendar books up with other commitments and/or house projects and weeks/weekends will go by without us spending intentional time with the 5 of us.  Especially with the start of school and earlier regular bedtimes, we decided to commit Friday nights to fun with the 5 of us, and allow a bit later bedtime.  Putting "Family Fun Friday" on each Friday night of our calendar through the end of the school year was an intentional way to make us think twice before scheduling something else, because "something" was already on the calendar.  If something comes up for a Friday, before committing, our goal is to make sure we can move our commitment of "Family Fun Friday" to another day of that week before saying yes to the other commitment.  Because I know life gets busy, and I would struggle to follow through on this goal unless it was preplanned out, I made a schedule of our Family Fun Friday's throughout the rest of the school year.  I "penciled" in our schedule, so that if we thought of another fun idea or the weather was good/bad for being outdoors, we could easily change it.  I hung our calendar on the fridge, and it is very easy for me to glance at it before my weekly grocery trip and gather any items we might need.  So far we have had a lot of fun, and I am loving our Family Fun Fridays!  My goal is to get some sort of picture of the 5 of us each Friday - not necessarily an award winning picture - a selfie will do - but nevertheless, a picture that contains all 5 of our faces :).  I think at the end of the school year it would be fun to do a post with all of the family pictures together for a fun chronology of our year :).  I will share pictures from our September Family Fun Fridays here.

Crazy Noodle / Ice Cream Sundae Night - September 11th

Family Pic!

Crazy Noodle Night - Mix noodles from several different boxes together

Icecream Sundae stuff (plus brownies - not pictured!)




Lego Night - September 17th*

*We did Lego Night on the Thursday of the week instead of Friday because Daddy had his Men's Retreat all weekend :)

Silly Family Pic :)

Found these lego brownies on Pinterest...

Found this Lego Pizza on Pinterest...

Kids mixing up food coloring to frost our lego brownies...

And finding the correct color M&Ms to add the lego "dots"

Colton spreading the sauce for our Lego pizza

Summer adding the pepperoni to our lego pizza

Our meal - Lego pizza, Lego carrots (atop cream cheese spread crackers), and Lego Brownies.  The kids had SO MUCH FUN  making everything and loved telling Daddy that they made dinner when he got home :)

After dinner, it was LEGO creation time

Larkyn with the Duplos

Final Creations

Family Mural Night - September 25th

Selfie Family Pic

For dinner, we did appetizers - mozzerella sticks, tator tots, BBQ links, veggies and clementines - with peach slush to drink :)

The kids thought it was SOOOOO fun to push the table out of the way and carry the chairs into the living room so we could eat on the floor!  That way, we could be tracing people for our family mural while we were eating.

We traced everyone on a big roll of brown craft paper.

This little model says - take a picture of me!

Getting to work with all our art supplies

Larkyn spent a few minutes attempting to color, but had more fun putting the crayons in the shoes that held her paper flat :)

Our "people" are getting close to done!

Family Mural almost complete!

We hung the pictures on the wall in the basement... make a large family mural.

Mural is complete!

Coming Up:

Here is the list of Family Fun Fridays scheduled for the year.  All are subject to change if we think of different or more fun ideas!  If you are reading this blog and have a fun idea, feel free to leave it in the comment section below!

I'll end this post with a quick snapshot family picture we took tonight of us in T-shirts sent by one of Paul's relative's from Sweden.  She has been fun to connect with on Facebook, and this June she sent us a traditional Swedish outfit that she herself wore when she was little.  It was a big small for Summer, but we put it on her for fun!

Summer in the clothes sent to us by Paul's Swedish relative, Eva.

Eva sent us a box of goodies from Sweden this week, including family genealogies, stuff for the kids, and these t-shirts from Sweden.

In Swedish T-shirts from Eva

The requested "silly pic" :)

Saturday, September 19, 2015

Getting Into the Fall Routine

We went raspberry and apple picking last weekend :)

This past week was our first full week of fall in the new routine, and we are starting to get the hang of it!  I am tutoring two nights a week again, and all of our fall commitments officially started in the past two weeks.  Here are a few updates:


Bible Presentation

Summer had her kindergarten Bible presentation on Sunday.  I absolutely love how our church walks through important milestones with us, and encourages parents.  We had a meeting in August where we discussed how to be intentional with our priorities and encouraged us to think about ways to keep God at the center of our family, especially when past routines were about to change and kids would be spending less time at home after starting school.  They also provided a Bible for each kindergartener, full text but in easy to read language, and encouraged us as parents to personalize it for our child and bring it back before the Bible presentation Sunday.  Paul and I each chose 5-10 verses a piece that were important thus far in Summer's life and/or that we wanted her to keep with her as she grew, highlighted them, and wrote a special note in the margin of the Bible as to why we chose those verses for Summer.  Really special.  This past Sunday, Summer received her Bible along with the other kindergartners.   We have been loving reading this text now during our daily Bible reading together (it was perfect timing as we just finished her other Bible late August), and I love that she is now completely transitioned into reading "the real deal" in her daily routine.  The most exciting part for me, is that she is learning how to look up verses on her own.  She sings the books of the Bible song, and loves looking up the verses from her devotional book and finding them on her own.  She is doing amazing and can look up any verse all by herself now.  I LOVE it, and I love her LOVE for God's word - I find her reading and looking up verses in it all the time!  Here is the video of her Bible presentation:


Summer is loving kindergarten.  She looks forward to it every day, and keeps asking when she can go full day (we started her with a half day to ease the transition).  She has transitioned well, and we feel God is telling us that now is the time for her to start full day - so she will start full day on Monday!  She is so excited to now be fully a part of her class (instead of me picking her up early) and to get to do the "fun" parts including lunch, recess, art, music, PE, and library.  I will miss her so much but am trusting God's leading that it is time for me to let go a bit (it is so hard to let go!!!).  I am so excited that SHE is so excited.  :)  This past Friday she ran in her school's fundraising APEX fun run.  She was a blast to watch, with her huge grin as she rounded the corner after each 1/16th of a mile lap with a HUGE grin on her face!  The kids were given a time limit to run, and each lap earned them money for their school based on the pledges they had gathered.  Summer ran 31 laps (almost 2 miles!) in the time allotted, all with a huge smile :).  Click here to see a few clips of her running.

Before the run

Cutie :)

After the run (with friend Laney)

Awana Sparks

Summer is started AWANA Sparks this fall, and has been doing awesome at her memory work.  She passed her entrance test last week, and was awarded her book and her Sparks vest.  She already has memorized 3 sections for next Wednesday night and it is only halfway through the week :).  I am loving this program for her, and am so excited to be her leader :).


Sports Camp

Colton started sports camp this week with two of his buddies, Brody and Kellen.  It is a community ed course that meets for 45 minutes each Thursday morning.  Each week they learn about two sports.  This past week was soccer and Lacrosse.  I was so proud of Colton!  He is growing so much more confident and he walked right in, chatted with Coach Jill, and followed all the directions!  Great job, buddy!


We continued preschool this week for Colton, continuing to work on his lower case letters (especially the difference between b,d, and p)

We used dot markers on several of these worksheets to find matching letters

When completed correctly the sheet produced a lowercase version of the sought after letter.

We bridged our learning with the spoons activity, continuing specifically to work on the "b", "p, and "d".

We also worked a lot on our calendar project.  Colton would search through the pictures to find the month I requested, and then tell me the first letter of the month.  Through this activity we put the months in order, and grouped them by season.

We then transferred our knowledge to his highlights magazine, looking at each month and naming it in order.  He was able to this week, for the first time, name all 12 months in order :)  Yay Colton!

Awana Cubbies

Colton still exudes as much excitement as ever about his Cubbies program!  He absolutely loves it!  I am also loving the memory work at home.  He memorizes one verse each week.  Here is a video of his first two verses.

It's pretty cool that his handbook comes with a CD, and he has loved listening to the songs/verses/stories during quiet time.  His Cubbies handbook also has preschool projects for us to work on together, including, this week, making a letter A to go with his verse "All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God".  (we chose to make his A out of stickers).  It was adorable to watch him (after he had memorized the verse) spend 10 minutes trying to figure out which word on this paper went with the words he knew from the memorized verse, looking at first letter clues, and pointing to each word as he said it.  It turned out to be a great pre-reading activity! 


Larkyn is scaling furniture now and can work her way around most of the downstairs in a standing position by reaching and walking while holding on to things.  She is also actually "almost" normally crawling (as opposed to her army crawl) now, as getting up on her knees to stand has taught her that she can crawl on her knees too ;).  She has stood alone for for a while (albeit screaming the whole time and trying to reach my hand to hold on!).  Little by little, Larkyn is just starting to become a playmate for the older two (whereas before they would play together, and she would be the tornado that ruined their game ;) )  They are starting to involve her in their playtime.  It is fun to see the interactions between the THREE starting and I am hoping that it will continue to grow into a wonderful 3-some sibling relationship.
Colton riding and pushing Larkyn on their cars

Summer pushing Larkyn on her car and dressing up Larkyn

She still has just the two teeth, but she can manage to eat just about anything just fine :)

mmmm, chocolate sundae!

first trip to the apple orchard!
She has learned how to say "Cheese" when I take her picture (whether I ask her to or not!)  See this video...

She also learned how to say Peek-A-Boo this week :)  See this video...


I don't normally update on myself, but I will share a bit here about a fundraising thing Paul and I are doing for our friend Tracy.  Paul and I are are fundraising for my mentor friend, Tracy, who has stage 4 malignant melanoma and also has 6 kids, the youngest two twin girls are just a bit younger than Summer. Tracy and family mean a lot to us and our church and they have been such a beacon of light as they faithfully fight the battle against cancer all the while boldly proclaiming God to everyone.  Paul and I are running a marathon in October (26 miles) as part of a Run for Tracie team to help raise money to offset the costs.  For me personally, running is when I pray the best - no one is vying for my attention ;) and the struggle to push past physical walls while distance running provides amazing parallels to fighting cancer giving me specific ideas on ways to pray for Tracie during each run, such as for endurance, hope, strength, etc.  I have officially finished the hardest part of training and have two weeks of taper left, so it is time for me to look for people to join me in this cause to help my friend.  Because a marathon is 26 miles, I am looking for 26 people to commit to praying for Tracy and her family for the next 26 days and/or donate $26 to help offset the costs for this family at this link ( If you would like to join Paul and I in this, feel free to private message or email me.  Thanks :).