Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Colton 5 year pictures

Next week we enter "birthday week" with many celebrations and much fun!  With Colton turning 5 soon, we took him in for his annual visit to JCPenney's for his 5 year pictures.  The gal randomly included the other kids and I in a few just for fun :).

Sunday, March 19, 2017

Hoffman Pallet Painting Weekend

We drove to Hoffman, MN to stay with Paul's grandma this past weekend.  A bunch of female members of Paul's family signed up for a Pallet Painting class, including Paul's Grandma, Paul's Mom, Paul's Aunt, Paul's cousin, Paul's sister, Paul's sister-in-law, Paul's great uncle's wife, and Summer and me!  We drove up Friday night, and then on Saturday we girls had a fun shopping date to the cute shops in Alexandria, where we also met up with a bunch more of Paul's family who live in Alexandria for lunch.  We then headed to our painting class which went from 3-6pm.  First, we stained our wood boards, then we assembled our signs with screws and power screwdrivers, then we prepared our stencils, and then we painted.

We all got to pick our own sayings, stain color, and paint color, and it was a really fun experience to do together!  Here is a picture of our finished signs:

After the class, we went back to Paul's Grandma's (Gee Gee Sandy's) house for dinner.  Then Kopel had a sleepover with our kiddos at Gee Gee Sandy's house.  On Sunday, we all went to Gee Gee Sandy's church, had lunch together, and then headed home.  What a fun weekend full of memories!

Here are some fun pictures of a little dance party...

Thanks for hosting all of us, Gee Gee Sandy!!!

Just for fun: St Patrick's Day Green Meal

We celebrated St. Patrick's Day one day early, as we were leaving to go out of town to see Paul's family on Friday the 17th.  We had fun eating everything green!

Pesto Parmasian Baked Chicken

Green Jello

Sparkling Juice with green sherbet

Green beans

And bread with "green" butter (food coloring ;) )

A bit o' Colton

 I had things to share about both of my girls, so I decided to post a few pictures of my favorite son so as not to leave him out :)
Colton loves to be silly and make us all laugh!  Here he is making "shorts" out of his pants in the middle of winter :)

Colton loves to be outside.  He will spend hours making his own fun and playing.  Here he loved chipping large chunks of ice at the park and lining them up.
Colton and his younger sister Larkyn's relationship has been trickier to establish than that of him and his older sister, Summer (who were inseparable since the time he could walk!).  Summer loved to create story lines and involve Colton in her play.  However, when Summer went to school, and it was just 1 year old Larkyn at home with Colton all day, it took quite a while for him to see her as a playmate.  For much of the time, they have played independently side-by-side at best.  Recently, however, sparkplug 2-year-old Larkyn has learned Colton's buttons and finds great enjoyment in pushing them!  This has led to a rocky relationship between the two as of late.  The past month or so I have been focusing my prayers largely on how to encourage their relationship to be strong.  We started a kindness sticker chart that allows each of them to put a sticker on the kindness chart when I catch them being kind to each other.  Colton has whole-heartedly embraced this concept and I cannot begin to express how it has already changed Colton and Larkyn's interaction!  It is a night and day difference!  Colton is truly leading by example and (with or without the promise of a kindness sticker!) his heart is so sweet and kind to his sister, offering to put her shoes away, help her get her blankie, jump to her rescue to help her, give her more of her favorite foods off his plate, let her choose things first, and even try to take away her punishment and give her the rewards he gets for being good!  I have been extremely impressed with him in this area lately and am so proud of him!

The conversation that accompanied this moment went as follows:
 Colton: "Hi, Princess!"  
Larkyn: "Colton, will you marry me today?" 
Colton: "Not right now, please, Larkyn."  
Larkyn: "Awwwwwww".

Colton isn't normally my artist kid, but he has been loving this book from the library on how to draw diggers!

I think his drawings have turned out pretty good!  He doesn't have nearly as many drawings as Summer did at this age, so I like to capture the ones he does!
Colton absolutely LOVES learning how things work.  He asks lots of questions!  He loves to watch youtube clips on how different things work/are put together.  He reminds me so much of my dad (grandpa k) in this love.  When we picked out a "how to make paper airplanes" book from the library, I knew it would be the perfect project for Colton and Grandpa K!

They made several airplanes and had fun discussing some basic principles of how airplanes fly!  I love the relationship these two can share!

Larkyn Dance and Gymnastics

It is safe to say that Larkyn loves dance and gymnastics and gets SO excited about both classes! 

Here is a video of her getting her ribbon at the end of the winter session at gymnastics:

She also loves dance and is a really good listener...doing what Ms. Daria says and staying on her "tape" when she is supposed to.  This last session I took a bunch of video to document her class.  I'll put a few here to remember what Larkyn is like in dance class.

Summer Ears Pierced and Gymnastics News

It was almost exactly 3 years ago that Summer got her ears pierced (see here) , and almost exactly 2 years ago that we had to take them out because they wouldn't heal :( (see here).  Unbeknownst to me, she had been picking at them before she went to bed at night, which didn't allow them to heal.  The past two years since Summer had them pierced, she has very faithfully worn stick-on earrings and continued her love of earrings.  When her pack of 120 stick-on earrings from her birthday ran out (which she faithfully picked out a pair each day to wear to school!) I asked her if she wanted to get her ears pierced or get another pack of stick-ons.  For the past few months she has been pondering the possibility of getting them pierced again, but was nervous of the pain of the process.  I told her to let me know if she wanted to, and I would take her, but only if she wanted to.  A week ago Friday, a day she had off school, she called to me in the morning.  When I went in, she said, "Mom, would you please take me to get my ears pierced today?"  I was completely shocked as I really didn't even know she was considering it!  I told her we could, but I half-expected her to change her mind!  We had to wait until the stores opened, and then I told her we would run our other errands first.  Her determination to get them pierced did not waver after several hours, so to Claire's we went!  She was nervous, she admitted, but she had a smile on her face the entire time and never cried once!

She has been so great at taking care of them all by herself, doing the necessary cleaning and turning, and thus far they look like they are healing up perfectly!  She chose sparkly ball earrings that remind me of disco balls the way they are cut.  They look beautiful on her!

Summer has been working very hard practicing her handstands at home.  We lean an old crib mattress up against a wall in our room (the only room that has carpet and a big enough space to kick up) and Summer will come in and practice her handstands.  Please ignore the laundry all over the bed as I was folding it when Summer was practicing ;).  Anway, here is a video of her perfecting her handstand.  It is pretty exciting that this week she got told she could move up to the next level at gymnastics :).

One of the many things I appreciate about gymnastics for Summer, is not only does she love it, but she also has to work hard at it.  It is good for her to not be successful right away, but to work for it, and then see success, as that is how much of life is!  I am very proud of her perseverance and I am so happy to watch her get rewarded for her hard work.

Tuesday, March 7, 2017


My parents rented a house in Florida this past week and asked us if we would like to join them!  Getting away from the Minnesota cold and February germs was amazing!!!  And, the weather could not have been more perfect - sunny and warm every day!  Here is a photo journal of our trip:


At the airport
Ready for takeoff!

The kids were awesome travelers!  Easiest flight yet with the kiddos - P and I actually got to sit by each other!

Cousin Teddy did great too!  His genius parents have headphones to block out the noise so Teddy got a good nap!

Big boy! 

Waiting for our car at the rental place

Making our own fun while we wait
My parents rented a massive 12 passenger van to cart us all around in :)  This is it parked in front of the house they rented.
Larkyn and Colton shared a bedroom, and it was sooo sweet to spy moments between them, such as this one where I walked into Colton combing Larkyn's hair one morning :)

Summer enjoyed having her own room of peace and quiet to read ;)


We headed to Kristin's friend Joni and Luke's church for church on Sunday morning

We came back to the pool for swimming

We went out for dinner


We walked to the beach on Monday, which was maybe a half mile from our house.
Family Pic :)
We made sandcastles and played in the waves

We had lunch on the beach

Teddy and Summer :)
Teddy and Me :)


After a pool morning, we went mini golfing after the little kids' naps

Teddy on Eric's back made us all laugh!

The kids loved their nightly story time with Grandpa, where he continued his never ending adventure story incorporating many of the kids stuffed friends into his story line.


We had fun going to Naples Zoo!


On Thursday we went to a local splash pad and playground

My mom got matching T-shirts for everyone - I think our traditional family pictures turned out really cute!

At dinner with Kristin's friends Joni and Luke, who were also our photographers


We headed to a beach near where Luke's family lives and borrowed their paddle boards - they were SO fun!

Grandma's four grandkiddos ready for bed!


Daddy often did breakfast with the kiddos (here they were having fun doing madlibs with Uncle Eric) while Grandpa and I got out for morning beach runs (so fun!).

We drove 90 minutes to meet my cousin and her family in a middle spot from their house at a restaurant on the beach.  The plan was to go to a waterpark after, however once we got there we found out the waterpark was closed for the season!

After lunch,  we headed to a local park and ended up having a great time despite the change in plans :)

The kids all got a long great! 

We walked to a local ice cream shop- yum!


We headed to the airport for our flight home

The kids reading their airplane magazines and safety cards haha!

Paul and I couldn't help laugh at Larkyn watching Finding Nemo - leaning forward, totally in the zone, and intent on what would happen next.   I wish I had a better picture of her face!

Silly Pic!
It was an amazing trip!  We had so much fun, great family time, and awesome weather.  It was such a great get-a-way.  Thank you for your generosity Grandma and Grandpa K!