Thanksgiving 2016

We had such a great Thanksgiving weekend! I found out only a couple days prior that Leyton had the WHOLE week off of school! He told me, but I didn’t believe him.. until it was true. So! We had a lot of fun with him home! But it did make me realize how 3 isn’t so bad.. 4 is tough! (especially when that added 4th is a wild 6 year old) But we played in the snow a bunch, Leyton went over to his friends house (because we do that now!), they boys saw a movie with dad, had lots of hockey practice and a tournament, did some Christmas shopping, and  just had lots of great family time! Thanksgiving day was great. We usually do both parents houses and since we live at one, it made it nice and convenient! We spent the earlier part of the day at mine then headed to Maple Grove for the Prosser side! 

I love Thanksgiving! It gives us a chance to slow down, be with family and really think about all we’re grateful for. We honestly feel so overwhelming blessed right now. We are blessed with each one of our kids, the house we are building, a great job for Luke, incredible extended family and above all, our relationship with the Lord. We thank God everyday for everything He’s given us! It’s too much to count and we’re so grateful for all He has entrusted us with. We pray that we can honor Him with it all!

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The 4 kid update

Even in the midst of this season of transition (as we wait for our house to be finished!) our kids are growing and changing daily and we are loving this season of life with them!

Not surprisingly, Leyton still LOVES school and has so much to report everyday when we pick him up! I love seeing his papers he brings home.. his handwriting is getting much better and he loves to draw and doodle on everything. He still has his “team” of boys from last year and has made many new friends in his first grade class. He’s definitely a social one! He also loves the days that he gets to ride home on the bus with his good friend Noah. My mom always comments that Leyton reminds her so much of me. He is thorough and detailed with his work and he works so hard. And he loves to memorize! On the way to school, he and I are working on memorizing a packet of 10 verses that I put together for him. He keeps repeating them over and over until he gets it! Leyton is busy with school, hockey and loves coming home to wrestle his brothers! He’s still a giant and already eats like a teenager!

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Finn is doing so well in preschool and we are so proud of his confidence and just how comfortable he is at school! When I ask him about his little friends, he gets shy and doesn’t say much. But when he gets to school, he runs right to his friends. (Levi, Teddy, Zack and Reagan are a few of them!) He’s a lot more engaged this year with his writing and working on his letters. Finn and I still have our quiet afternoons together where we do puzzles, play games, just hang out! I will sure miss these years when he’s at Kindergarten :) Finn’s still in speech class twice a week and although he has made sporadic progress, he still is working on his stutter. He is the sweetest with Ivy and loves to smile at her any chance he can get. He and Everett do get along.. for the most part. We’re working on Finn not getting so angry when he gets upset. He’s a sweet boy, but definitely doesn’t like being messed with! He finally stopped needing pull ups at night (yay!) but is still our touchy sleeper. He’s notorious for having so many random aches and pains in the middle of the night!

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Everett’s a wild man, as always! If it were up to him, he would have a ball in hand at all times. He would be running, throwing something or wrestling. We’ll be sending him the bill for all the marks in my parents wall! Oh, speaking of him costing us money.. we had an incident the other day when we got to skating practice. I was loading everyone out, while the boys are standing in the median area waiting for me. First, they are throwing rocks up in the air and watching them come down. Before something bad happened, I yelled at them for that. Next thing I know, I hear a huge noise only to realize that Everett chucked a rock at the car right next to him. Long story short, we had to exchange insurance information with the not so happy lady that was sitting in her car. (side note: during all this, Leyton is running around the parking lot yelling “vote for Trump! vote for Trump!”) Oohhh, my boys. Also, the other day Luke asked who made the toothpaste mess in the bathroom. Leyton said,”Everett did it!” When Luke asked how he knew this, Leyton said, “Well, Everett and I are the wild ones. And I for surely didn’t do it.” Haha! So yes, Everett’s still wild. When people ask how old he is, he says “six” and he honestly thinks that’s the age he is. He prefers to run with the big kids at hockey practice and will play catch with any six, seven, eight year old who’s around. He’s crazy, he yells and he gets disciplined more than any of our kids. BUT, he’s hilarious and such a funny kid. He will do great things in this world and I love watching that kid, even if I credit all my headaches to this 2 year old.

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And Ivy! She’s SWEET! She’s such an easy and happy baby. I love this age. She sits up on her own and just plays with the toys we put around her. She gets so excited when anyone (but especially me!) walks into the room. She loves to be held and will just stare at you smiling while you hold her. She loves to be tickled and that sweet giggling noise just melts me! She points her toes when she’s excited and folds her hands when she’s happy. She stares at me when I get ready and loves to sit on the couch and hang with the boys. She’s just the best. Well, not at sleeping. She’s really hanging onto this feeding at night thing. It isn’t terrible, usually just once at night, but we’re just going to deal with it until she’s in her own room (!) and in her own crib (!)  She’s eating more food and doing pretty well at it, when I can remember to feed her! I know that’s terrible but I keep forgetting to give her food. 4th child!

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These kids make us laugh everyday and keep surprising us at the kids they are becoming! We couldn’t be more proud of each of them!

So much Halloween and so much Leyton.

We had tons of events for Halloween this year! The boys all wanted to be ninjas so I found this pretty cheap costumes online and they got so much use out of them! And for little miss Ivy.. she was a cute little lamb! Last week there was a trick or treating thing at Kowalskis grocery store then the big boys went to Spooky skate (oh! Finn is doing pretty well at skating lessons and scooting his little body all around the ice!) Then of course, trick or treating around my parents neighborhood on Halloween night. It was so cute to watch the boys go around together.. Everett is definitely one of the boys now! I love his cute little voice when they rang the doorbells.. “tick ow teat!”

We also had a busy weekend with tons of Leyton things. On Friday afternoon, we did a community service event with his school, raking leaves around the neighborhood. My boy is such a hard worker! It was so fun to do that with him. Then on Saturday morning, he ran a half mile race at the school (another chance to wear the costume!) He takes his job so seriously and sprinted the whole way. His face lit up when we told him he was the first 1st grader! Then after a donut run, he had Mite hockey tryouts in White Bear. It’s so fun to watch him, he really loves it and even scored 5 goals! I love how involved we have become in the White Bear community, but it makes me excited to start this again in our new city and get to know all the families in our little world. With all these kids I’m sure we’ll have tons of chances to be involved!

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Life with the parents and life in Iowa!

We are halfway through our stay at our parents and we are loving it here! Everyone is quite comfortable and we are definitely making our mark around here (like literally, the walls are full of Everett marks). We are SO excited about the progress on our house (it’s framed!) but are cherishing this time of being with my parents. We have gone on a lot of beautiful fall walks, we are constantly at the park and even made a few new friends in the neighborhood. The kids are doing great and are so comfortable here! Over the weekend we went to visit my brother’s family in Iowa and had so much fun playing with the cousins! But Mr. sensitive Finn was whimpering as we put him to bed the first night saying that he wanted to go back to grandmas!

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Family pictures 2016!

As we were driving to this photo shoot, Luke commented how this one feels extra special because it’s finally of our complete family! These can be hung on the wall with no one missing. We just grow up from here! :) As always, this was a pretty chaotic half an hour, but we got some good shots! It’s pretty much action shots these days, but I love them all!

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Ivy Noelle, 6 months!

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Yes, I’m a little late on this post, but on October 1st, our baby girl turned 1/2 a year! I LOVE this age. She’s SO smiley, so happy and usually, very content! She’s rolled over a couple times, but otherwise, she really has no desire to move (fine with me haha!) but is so content just laying on her back, watching the action around here and making SO many noises. Seriously, she yaps! It seems so stereotypical “girl” to be such a talker! She’s definitely our most vocal one. Could be a combo of trying to match the noises around her and just being a chatty girl! Last weekend, I took her to a weekend away with my girlfriends and she yapped non stop! She loved hearing the sound of her voice and every once in a while I would put her paci in her mouth and she would breath a big sigh, like yes, I needed a little break. :)

She’s an average sleeper. Oh, the sleeping game! Someday, someday we will sleep. We’ve been trying to let her cry a little so she can learn to figure it out on her own. But it’s not easy! Especially living at my parents where she’s right next to us. So for now, some nights are great, some pretty brutal, but it’s a season. Right? Right. We just started trying food with her. We tried oatmeal cereal and her belly had a tough time digesting it and it made her pretty crabby. So, we’ll wait a bit and try again. Must be a shock to her little body! She LOVES her brothers and puts up with so much already from them. Leyton carries her around and they are constantly in her face, smiling at her and kissing her. It’s the sweetest! She has the biggest, squishiest cheeks and really no sign of hair yet! We’re waiting little girl! Until then, she’ll have to deal with tons of massive bows.

I can’t believe she’s been in our family for 6 months. Time seems to fly by! But I also can’t imagine life without her. We’re complete with our Ivy doll! Thanks for being so sweet, so smiley and such a wonderful little gift to us Ivy! We love you!

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The start of fall fun!

The time has come for us to cram in all of the fall activities that we can before the snow falls! Haha, I know, my attitude is average about saying goodbye to summer. But I do love the crispy fall air and all the things we can do as a family! Over the weekend, went to 101 Market for the corn pit, the petting zoo, the corn grenade and all the other fun activities! We stayed over night at Mimi and Papa’s and between running a bunch of “home” errands, we had a great weekend!

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10 years of Luke & Kristen!

On September 23rd, Luke and I celebrated 10 years of being married! It is CRAZY to think of all we’ve done together in the past 10 years. The years just keep flying by and honestly, being married to him is the best. It’s so easy and it’s been the best adventure. These past few years have thrown us into a crazy world of so many kids and even though our time together is much more sparse than in years past, I still feel like the luckiest girl to be married to Luke! He’s my best friend, my teammate and co-leader of our wild tribe. He still makes me feel so special and so loved. Yep, the luckiest!

We were able to get away for 5 days to Nashville and Kentucky. It was HEAVEN. We split up the crew between both sets of parents and even though I shed a few tears leaving little miss Ivy, it was honestly so wonderful! We had so many slow, wonderful meals together. We laid by the pool and went on walks. We went out, listened to music and we shopped. We went to a vineyard, watched the sunset while splitting a bottle of wine! On the 2nd half of the trip, we met up with friends and went to Luke’s college friends’ wedding (in a cave in Kentucky!) It was amount of time to get away and just be together!

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The trip was also great to have time to talk about the many, many house decisions we need to start making! Floor plan, windows, doors, lighting, tile, all of it! Here’s the brief update on the house.. we close on our lot this Friday, ground breaking hopefully next Monday! So we are in the middle of a million decisions! Now, because we are totally custom building this house, that means we have endless options (pinterest and I are best friends lately). That is SO good and so hard for the designer mind in me! It’s overwhelming but actually really great to choose everything at once. So the doors, the doorknobs, the trim.. it will all match! (amazing, I know) Here’s the mood board I have going so far! We are so excited and are loving the process. But more than anything, we are so thrilled to have a place for our family, a place for our kids to grow up in and to continue making so many wonderful memories together. We are so blessed!

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First days of school, Leyton & Finn

Leyton started 1st grade last week! He’s officially a grader, as he says :) These school transitions are pretty easy with Leyton. He loves the structure and the activity of school, that there’s really no fear or hesitation when it comes to day 1. He was a little shy when he met his teacher, Mrs. Dargay, the week before, but was so excited to see his name on his desk, along with the names of a couple other friends he knew. We decided to put Leyton in Lincoln Elementary, his White Bear Lake school for half of the year and then when we move, he will start at the new school. We are hoping to be in the house sometime in January, so he will make the change then. Being the social and adaptable boy he is, we feel good about moving him halfway through the year. Until then, this is a much easier drive for us! And he was thrilled to join his old friends. We’re so proud of Leyton and how great he is with getting along with others and having such a fun, positive attitude all the time. It’s pretty sweet though.. without fail, every morning so far as we turn somewhere around 4th street, I pray for our day. I watch him in the mirror squirming around, stretching, yawning, telling me his belly hurts. Those are his nervous signs :) When this first happened, I asked him how his stomach was feeling and he said, “it doesn’t hurt like I’m sick. It’s just those scared feelings in my belly.” Sweet boy! He did this last year for the first couple of weeks, after the nerves wear off and he gets more comfortable!

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Finn is starting his second year of preschool, at Eagle Brook church in White Bear. I drop him off every Tuesday and Thursday after dropping Leyton off so it works pretty well. After Finn’s emotional few weeks around here, I was a little concerned if he’d be ready for this. But, when we went to meet his teachers earlier this week, he saw a few friends he knew from last year and jumped right in! He gave Leyton and my mom the full report of the kids he saw and the names of his teachers. I was relieved! Again, I think this structure will be a great thing for him. Finn is still in speech therapy twice a week for his stutter. His progress goes up and down, which they say is normal. His teachers/therapists and doing such a great job.. so we will be patient and help him how we can! We’re so proud of our big boy! I can’t believe he’ll be 5 this year.. that’s just crazy! The boys wanted some silly pictures with him this morning :) Love these boys!

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The 4 kid update!

I guess this is just the new norm around here.. must less frequent blogging and very sparse updates. I blame it on 2 sort of obvious things.. Instagram being the new mini-updater, and, just way too much going around here to remember all the little updates! I knew my updates from kid 1 to kid 4 would be much different but I still want to remember as much as I can about this rapidly changing stage of life! So here’s the broad update on each child.

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Leyton will start 1st grade next week! We are both so excited for school to begin. As much as I love the chaos and the spontaneity of summer, school is a very great thing for Leyton. He loves the structure, all the different activities and the social life! He definitely feels a lot older lately. Although he is still “young,” he gets bored easily with the little ones and can only do so much toy playing before he resorts to wrestling and running circles around the house. He and Everett are a little too much alike. Everett will do anything and everything that Leyton does, which means they rile each other up and drive everyone else crazy haha! Leyton and I seem to clash a little more lately and it seems like a huge chore to get him to obey even the simplest things. I’ve seen this happen every so often and I honestly think that sometimes he needs a break from me. There are days when I feel like all I do is say no to him, which is so exhausting and I really don’t like it. But there are still enough times when he is so sweet and surprisingly thoughtful that help me get through this stage. Leyton and I went on a bike ride the other day, just he and I and it was so sweet to be with just him. It reminds me all the great benefits of having an older, more self sufficient child and it was so great to have real conversations with him. I will always have a special place for my firstborn!

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Finn! Finn’s been a little more of a mystery lately. Since moving to my parents, he’s put his full range of emotions on display and seems to be having a more difficult time with all the change. We’ve know this about him, that’s he more sensitive and more emotional than his brothers. Whereas before, he would play so well with either brother, lately he gets angry so quickly if things are going quite right and usually leads to him getting angry and hitting. It feels like I’m constantly mediating and trying to help Finn get those little emotions out and helping him not get so mad. We just pray that his sweet, softer personality won’t be stifled by his more outgoing brothers. That he feels like his voice is heard in this wild family and that all the combinations of siblings would blend so well. And it’s so sweet to see him with Ivy. He loves her! During one of his more frustrating moments, we were talking about who was rooming with who in the new house. I asked Finn who he wanted to room with and he said, “you Mom! Or Ivy.” My sweet boy.

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Everett’s still a power house and is such a hilarious little guy. He’s tough as nails and such a brute. (I know, what a contrast coming after Finn) I think we made our way out of one of my least favorite and more difficult stages in boyhood and into such a great age. He adds more cute words to his vocabulary daily and is a pretty easy going boy. Easy going in the sense of always being up for anything and always ready for an adventure. If you ask him if he wants to go on a walk/go ride his bike/go find your ball.. anything, the answer is always a huge “ok!” He’s constantly moving, constantly talking and won’t dare be caught watching TV or really sitting down at all. He loves his apple juice, his constant snacks, his hockey sticks and balls of any kind. He loves Star Wars, super heroes and legos. He will do anything Leyton does and he thinks he’s way older than his little age of 2. We love our crazy boy!

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Ivy is such a sweet little thing! I can’t believe tomorrow she’s 5 months old! She’s turning into such a girl. She’s so smiley and so happy and she yaps all the time! Seriously, she loves laying on the floor making so many noises, it’s adorable! We are so lucky to have this little lady in our family. I can’t wait to watch her as she grows up being surrounded by these boys. She loves watching them and smiles constantly at their little faces. Although she’s so sweet, she isn’t the best sleeper at night. Her naptimes are great, but she thinks she needs to eat at night and we’re trying to convince her that she doesn’t. I probably shouldn’t worry about it and let it go because she’s my last baby, but I really miss sleep! We’ll get there. Those chunky cheeks and those bright eyes help me forgive a lot of wrong!

These kids are definitely a lot of work but I am constantly reminding myself that even though this is hard, I wouldn’t have it any other way! We are so blessed with our four!