Monday, November 30, 2015


We picked up Summer from school on Wednesday, then picked up Paul from work, and then headed up to Fergus Falls to spend time with Paul's family.  On Thursday we went to his Uncle Kelly's house, where there were SO MANY TOYS, as Kelly's wife Sheena does daycare.  The kids had a blast and the food was delicious!  I didn't take any pictures (woops :( ) but it was a great day.  On Friday, we celebrated Javonte's adoption "Gotcha Day" by going bowling and out for burgers.  It was the kids first time bowling and was super fun!   They loved enthusiastically cheering for everyone and Summer even got a spare!

That afternoon, Grandma T had supplies to make "Olaf" snacks.  :)

We headed home Friday night and then headed to Woodbury to celebrate with my side of the family on Saturday.

I loved catching up with my cousins, Uncles, Aunts, and Grandparents from Michigan :)

The kids loved playing with my sister and my old toys in the basement

Grandma K had a turkey craft for them to do!

GiGi-ma and the uncles played with the kiddos too :)

So special to see GiGi-ma and GiGi-pa (S,C, and L's great grandparents)

Delicious food, great conversation, and wonderful celebration!
We have so much to be thankful for!

Sunday, November 29, 2015

Jesse Tree

As we gear up for Christmas, my goal is to keep Christ at the center for the reason we are celebrating.  I searched a long time looking for an advent calendar that would help us do this.  This year, we are going to do a Jesse Tree .  For the 25 days of December leading up to Christmas, we will read a passage from the Old or New Testament that points towards Jesus coming, and hang an ornament with that symbol on our Jesse tree.  The last few days worth of ornaments include passages about the Christmas story.  I found these free printables/directions/passages here and over the past few weeks the kids colored the various ornaments and I laminated and put ribbon on them so we are ready to go on Tuesday.  I am really excited about it!

I printed two copies of each ornament, so each kid could each color one of each ornament.  Then we cut them out and taped the matching ornaments back to back so they would be two sided as they hung from the tree.

I gathered a bunch of branches from our yard and put them in a candle holder/vase.

These are the scriptures that go with each ornament.  We plan to read these at dinner each night and then hang up the corresponding ornament.

I bought a roll of contact paper and laminated the ornaments.  Front side...

Back side of the ornaments
I then punched holes in each ornament and strung ribbon through.

I tested them out to see how they look on the tree and they all fit great :)  We start on Tuesday!
P.S. Don't worry, I didn't for get to post about Thanksgiving!  We did quite a bit of traveling, and I am waiting for a few more pictures from family members and then I will post :).

November Family Fun Fridays and Christmas Decorating 2015

 Back in September, I wrote about our plan for Family Fun Fridays to intentionally make family time a priority in our busy weeks, and posted our activities/pictures for September here and October here.  Our November Family Fun Fridays didn't always work out to be on Fridays this month, but we nevertheless attempted to allocate one day each week to family time. :)  Our themes for November were:

Family Service Project Night
Christmas Gift Making Night
Thanksgiving Turkey Hand Night
Christmas Tree Decorating Pary

Family Service Project Night

The kids and I went to the store together and picked out items to fill gallon size ziplock bags for the homeless. For our family night, we stuffed the bags with all sorts of goodies including Bibles, toiletries, warm socks, and shelf stable food.  We talked about how many people do not have homes.  We talked about how many people go hungry.  Last week, we took the bags over to a local food pantry so they could hand them out to those who come to the pantry and do not have homes.

Summer and Colton sorted items into piles

Daddy and Colton were a team, making sure to get one of each item in the bag.  Summer did her own bags.  I sealed them up.

Family Pic / finished bags

Christmas Gift Making Night

I won't post any pics yet as the gifts the kids made are a surprise for our family...shhhhhh.... :)

Thanksgiving Turkey Hand Night

We had an early "just us 5" family thanksgiving with chicken, gravy, mashed potatoes, and chocolate cake (Summer won the cake in the AWANA cake raffle!) and talked about what we were thankful for as we made our hands in the shapes of turkeys.  We hung our turkey's on the fridge and I loved the fact that the kids continued adding more things they were thankful for as they thought of them over the next few days!


Christmas Tree Decorating Party

Each year, Christmas decorating is more fun as the kids get older because they enjoy it more, help more, and know what to do!  This year, Summer and Colton did so much that everything went so quickly.  It was fun to see them remembering past Christmas's too :).

Paul did a great job on the tree, as always!
Summer and Colton unwrapped and set up both nativities, unwrapped all the ornaments and hung the majority of them, and also did other decorating.  So fun!

Larkyn kept herself busy throwing away garbage for us, putting the felt advent calendar pieces in and out of the box, and walking around supervising :)

Colton hanging his Lightning McQueen ornament

Summer hanging one of her baby ornaments

Larkyn loved the idea of going back and forth, getting an ornament and trying to "stick it" to the tree, (and continued to do so repeatedly!) but couldn't quite get an ornament to stay on the tree :)

My favorite picture of all!
 Each year when we decorate, I like to try and get random video to capture the voices/etc of the kids at their current ages.  I love going back and reliving each Christmas!  Here is a collection of random video clips throughout our decorating, including Larkyn learning how to hang an ornament, to document our decorating this year. :)

We ordered pizza, did baths, and then finished up our final decorating just before bed.  This might be our first ever family picture with everybody looking and smiling!  Score!

The Three Munchkins

We are almost finished with November, and I have not posted in a while!  Here are a few random pictures of my three favorite babies...




sat morning jammies

It is fun to have all three of them together, but it is also fun to see how they interact in "two's" as well... 

Summer & Colton reading

Summer & Colton hockey

Summer & Larkyn crawling

Larkyn feeding Summer

Larkyn & Colton tickles and wrestling

Colton and Larkyn playing food

I am so thankful all three of them love each other so much and get along so well.

I am so thankful God gave me these three goofballs!