TN Bound

We left bright and early this morning for a 6-day trip to Tennessee to visit my brother Micah, his wife Missy and their 5 kids. We are all excited! 
The last time we did a road trip like this was 3 years and 2 kids ago. It's sure to be an adventure! 


10 Years

I love him more now than ever before in our journey together. All the cliches are true -- it just keeps getting better. We've had our share of ups and downs, but he has always been the perfect man for me; able to lead me in my stubbornness, comfort me in my weakness, encourage me in my strengths, and love me no matter what. He is quick to apologize and quick to forgive. He is honest and helpful. He is an incredible dad, and his children adore him. He is my husband, and I love him wholeheartedly, forever. 
Happy 10 years, babe. I can't wait for the next 60 together. xoxo



S'morenuts: a roasted marshmallow and a glazed donut hole sandwiched between two fudge striped cookies. S'morenuts.

Enough said.

Silas - Keeping Life Exciting


Our Silas Arthur is full swing into being 2.5 years old. He's as masculine as they come, and all of the rumors are true about boys being more work than girls at this age (I think I'm qualified to say that). He's all trucks, trains and bulldozers, and his two key love languages (quality time and touch) combine to require almost daily wrestling matches.

I'm learning more and more that I can't take my eyes off of this boy for more than a minute. Last week was especially -- how shall I say it -- exciting. It started on Tuesday night. All of the kids were playing outside along with the two neighbor boys. I was in and out of the house, but was currently out in the road chatting with my two neighbor friends. It was around 8:30 pm, so I hollered to the kids that it was time to go in for bed, and we all went inside.
I looked around and noticed the girls had followed me in, but not Silas. I asked where he was, and the girls said they thought he had gone inside already. We searched the house with no trace of him, then went back outside to look. We couldn't find him. Pretty soon the whole neighborhood was out searching for him. He wasn't in any of the usual places.
After about 30 minutes of this, we called the cops. Someone from the Sheriff's offie came out and got his description. By this point I was thoroughly freaking out and the girls were all in tears. JP was in scared/angry mode.
We continued our search while the police got word out and was calling for dogs to come help in the search. It was around this time that one of the neighbor boys suggested that Rae check inside a couple  old vehicles we have parked out by our pole barn. When she did, there was Silas, stuck inside one of the vans. He had somehow gotten in, but couldn't get out.
We all ran to him and collapsed in a ball of tears and prayers of thanksgiving. I get sick to my stomach when I think of how bad it could have been, and can only offer thanks to God for His mercy: it was a cooler evening, the car was parked in the shade, he wasn't in there too long, etc.

One would think that would be enough action for one week, but not with my Silas!  Only two days later, Silas was wrestling with Rae upstairs in the living room. I was downstairs working on my computer. All of the sudden I heard a loud thump followed by a pause and then screaming. As a mother of 5, I don't automatically jump up when these things happen, so I waited for him to come down to where I was to show me what was wrong. He did, but when I nonchalantly looked up at him, I was startled to see blood (and lots of it) running down his face. Apparently he had hit his head on the corner of the coffee table and cut a big gash into head, just inside the hair line.
A closer inspection and some clean up revealed a pretty deep cut about an inch and a half long. I took him in to the emergency room and he ended up with five staples in his head. He was a trooper and barely fussed at all during the stapling.

I'm thankful that God gave us two boys, and I guess it's better to just jump right in to this whole parenting boys thing rather than ease into it. I love my little dude, and I'm excited to see what bold and exciting adventures God has for him in the future. He's a born leader and commander, just like his daddy.


Munsinger Gardens and Splash Pad

We made our annual summer trip to St. Cloud to visit the Munsinger/Clemens Gardens last week. The kids love strolling through the beautifully manicured gardens, splashing in the fountains, visiting the peacocks, and throwing crackers to the ducks in the river. My friend's 9-year-old son offered to take a picture of me with the kids, and I think it is the first one I have of me with all five of them. 
Now for a silly one:

After the gardens, we visited the Lake George Splash Pad & playground. While we were there, an ice cream truck showed up. The kids had never seen one before. They watched it with amazement, but not one of them asked if they could have some. They probably just assumed I would say no. Imagine their surprise when I suggested a treat! They were beside themselves. Silas got a Spider Man treat that stained his hands and face red and blue. I thought the girls would be more adventurous with so many options, but they all stuck to what they knew. 


House Progress

The railing is done and the walls are painted. We moved the furniture up yesterday, but I think we may need to trade these for a big sectional to make it work right. There's nothing on the walls yet, and I need to add some color somewhere, but we're getting there!

Note: the wall color is more gray in real life than these photos are showing. These are cell phone photos, so pardon the quality...and the goofy kids. :)


Picking Out Paint Colors

Turns out I hate picking out paint colors. I was going nuts! I had 17 different samples scattered across my walks and none of them seemed right. Finally I reached out to my friend's mom, who is an interior decorator. The very first color she suggested was a winner. Lesson learned! Out kitchen and living area will soon be Benjamin Moore's Sandy Hook Gray. 


Mini Remodel Project

JP had a great idea the other day to take out the wall between our kitchen and the lofted living room. The idea is to open up the space and make it feel more like one big room instead of two separate ones.  He put up a railing, and it looks great. We are in the process of picking out paint colors, and that will make a big impact, as well.

We plan to move our living area (which is currently downstairs) up to the lofted area and make the downstairs the new homeschool room. We may even switch bedrooms with the girls to make the whole downstairs area a "kid" zone.


Contains Fragile Material

The other day, Ruby & Rosie declared they wanted me to mail them to their friend Shiloh's house. So, I got a large box, put them inside with some crackers and water, plus the bags they had packed, and we taped them up. Rae addressed the box, and together we dragged them out to the mailbox. Hilariously, Ruby & Rosie thought the whole thing was real! After a few minutes by the mailbox, their excitement started to turn into nervousness. I told them it was illegal to mail children, so they'd need to be very quiet so as not to be discovered. They finally decided they didn't want to break the law, and we released them. 
I felt badly after the fact because Rosie actually got pretty emotional and admitted she was scared. I assured them I would never, ever do anything like that in real life, and we all had a good chuckle over it after the fact. 

Kelley Farm

I have been wanting to take the kids to the Historic Kelley Farm for some time now, and the opportunity finally presented itself. The farm was holding an event called children's day, during which kids could participate in daily farm chores, demonstrations, games and activities. Silas could have pumped water at the well all day; Ruby was chasing kittens all afternoon; Rosie stayed near the horses, and Rae kept herself busy (and got soaked) hauling buckets of water from the well to the horses and gardens. 
This was a great educational trip, and I would highly recommend it! It coincided nicely with our Little House on the Prairie history theme this year. 
I was drooling over this beautiful house!

Father's Day 2015

We are so thankful for the fathers in our lives. Each one of them plays a vital role in helping mold and shape us into the people God purposes is and our children to be. 

While we were not able to see all of our dads this Father's Day, we took advantage of Missy & the kids being in town to join my family at Big Marine Park Reserve for a picnic and playground fun. 

We planned to swim, but signage warning of swimmer's itch deterred us. Luckily, my dad noticed a hose near our picnic site, and the kids had a blast spraying each other all afternoon. 


Good Quote

"We must return to viewing our lives through the filter of the scripture rather than viewing the scripture through the filter of society."
-Vern Peltz


Ice Cream and Cousins

My monster-in-law Margie brought Ava, Vinnie & Florie out to our house for a visit tonight. We played in the yard and the pool, then went to our favorite pizza and ice cream parlor for dinner. I wish these kids got to play together more often. I can't believe how big they all are! The twins will be 7 next week. 

Thanks for the fun night, Gammy! 

Simeon & Grandpa

Simeon is 7 weeks old already! He has outgrown his tiny newborn clothes and is getting to be more interactive. He's fairly generous with his smiles now and is sleeping about 7 hours at night on average. I am already sad that the "newborn" phase is ending. 

In other news, Missy and the kids came to MN for a visit this past week. We had fun soaking in as much play time as we could. On Thursday, JP watched the kids so I could go to dinner with my mom and sisters for a triple birthday celebration. 


The Boys

They're going to be best buds! 

Simeon is 7 weeks old now and a pure joy to our family. He is starting to coo and smile more, and he definitely keeps an eye on mama at all times. 😊