Wee hours card making..

Last night I stayed up until today working on our holiday/Christmas/keeping up with the Jones’ card. Which for the life of me I cannot figure out how to share here….seems like I should be able to do so easily but NO. So you will have to wait until I get a hard copy in the mail and I will promptly share.
I do enjoy making these and sharing our cute little selves with friends and family, but it seems like so many cards come with beautiful faces in matchy outfits and perfectly edited digital pics, I know we all want to look amazing, I know I do, which I think is why it seems a lot of cards just have the kids photos and everyone’s name. C’mon people love yourself enough to make it onto the card, we want to see you.
Speaking if touché, you may remember last year when I posted about how adventurous it was to get the right photo…I sent a card with only kids and everyone’s name. 2012 Holiday card
SO this year, with our lives being so hectic I just plugged in 2 photos from earlier in the year and added them to a beautiful snapfish template, one of the kids, and one of all of us. I had visions of us dressing up goofy with goofy glasses and ‘staches with a caption like “We seriously hope you have a merry…happy…”, I came close, but it is never quite what my mind dreams up…work with me people!! Anyway  I chose a cardstock paper and it allowed me to put a photo on each side and even had a little space to write a little family update. Again are these letters taboo? I feel like I have read so much satire about how these holiday letters have become inflated ego boosters for the writer, but nonetheless I shared highlights of accomplishments and activities. When we went to bed last night I was joking with Jon that next year we should dodge all normalcy and sent a lowlights list: child one is beyond sassy, the dinner dished sit in the sink overnight 75% of the time, neither of us have worked out since Thanksgiving…you now the REAL deal.

I am eager to share the card when it comes, but in the meantime, tell mw what you send in the mail, photos, cards, nothing?  Do you enjoy getting cards and letters about others lives?  I know we do, so keep sending and writing!!

Squirt Level Triathlon

Summer, how fast it flies, I love it, for real.
It seems like calendars are full of events, fairs, festivals, friends; endless opportunities.
We may have accidentally hit the ground running faster this summer than we sauntered into last school year, but there are such so many fun thing to participate in when the weather here in Minnesota is sunny and warm, we really do know how to pack a year of run into the summer.
There are so many things I would like to share, but these photos I had a chance to sit down and edit and it is so cool that Santanna has made family history by being the only one to complete a triathlon….and at the squirt level.
60 feet swimming
.9 mile bike ride
.4 mile run
I am so proud…I also hope that by involving all of our kids in these small races at young levels they will carry these skills throughout their lives as hobbies, emotional management time, a way to stay fit and/or a way to compete at their own level.



Lasts and Firsts

Last morning of school for the 3 bigs today, Avalon has been out since before Memorial day.

It seems like ages ago I took their first day of school photos.

Total we lost 7 six teeth, had 5  haircuts, 2 calls from the principals office, only 1 time did someone miss the bus, and we got one new pair of glasses.

This is Solomon’s LAST day of elementary school , where did my baby boy go?  He is so big and confident and independent…my heart!

Santanna is the LAST kindergarten class that her teacher, Mrs. C, is teaching, she will be moving to first grade next year, she has been teaching kindergarten for 25 years….she was barely holding it together this morning, I think we both almost starting crying.

Raiven in the FIRST 3rd grade class that her teacher has had and she has been amazing, I hope she is still teaching 3rd grade when our littles come through.

In a few hours it will be the start of The FIRST day of Summer vacation…

Did a little photo shoot this AM:

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Look at all those legs, just getting longer and longer!

This is the “jump shot” from the FIRST day of school this year (this is their favorite way to have me photograph them, they think it is so funny to look at themselves in this frames):

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And here is the LAST day of school jump shot (with my own personal statistic):

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You can see with all this energy at home all day my posts my become more spaced but hang with me, I have lots of ideas just waiting for these little hands to help me with, plus lots of trips to share.


Putting Modesty Aside.

This may not be going where you think:)
I want to take just a moment and share some parental pride in this post regarding our son, Solomon.
I know that as parents we are all ridiculously proud of all our children, and revel in their accomplishments big and small. This is not meant to be boastful, just a momma sharing her pride.
Solomon participates in the highly gifted education opportunities that are provided through our neighborhood public school, he tests into these with an aloof ease that I wish I had more of as a student. He is also extremely fortunate to have a fantastic, well articulated, very organized and enthusiastic teacher, who expects from her gifted students what they are capable of.
That being said, she encouraged her students to participate in Letters about Literature

What LAL Does:

LAL is a reading promotion program of The Center for the Book in the Library of Congress, presented in cooperation with participating affiliate state centers for the book across the country. LAL invites readers in grades 4 through 10 to enter our annual writing competition.

To enter, readers write a personal letter to an author, living or dead, from any genre–fiction, nonfiction, or poetry, contemporary or classic–explaining how that author’s work changed the student’s way of thinking about the world or themselves.

There are three competition levels:

  1. Level I for children in grades 4 through 6;
  2. Level II for grades 7 – 8,
  3. Level III, grades 9 – 10.

Solomon chose the book The Evolution of Calpurnia Virginia Tate, which I reviewed here, so his letter was written to Ms. Jacqueline Kelley, we edited it and he carried it off to school in his backpack.  As his mom , I of course, was proud and thought he had done a great job.

Last night my husband got an email from Solomon’s teacher that his letter has been advanced to State Level for judging at Level 1, in Minnesota there were 1,265 entires, so this is quite an honor.

The state level results will be back the first week of April, so keep your fingers crossed for him, and I will update when we find out.

Holiday Photo Card Out Takes

It’s that time of year, everyone that was on top of their sh*t got their family pictures taken in October, even November with lovely fall colors, amazingly pulled together outfits, and perhaps with that angelic yellow light from behind, or maybe it was photo shopped in but really whose judging?

Last year we did a photo shoot in late November/early December, I wanted a little snow in our picture, it turned out lovely.

This year I had a whole shoot in mind, but time slipped by, outfits and accessory got to be more work to find and pull together for 6 people than I had imagined, I worked 80 hours at the hospital in the span of 3 weeks, normally I am home….on so go my excuses.

So, no well-planned photo shoot for us this year, just me, my Cannon 7D, all 4 of my favorite players, and some natural light streaming from the windows full of crisp wonder from a fresh layer of snow.

Ahhhhh, sounds magical right?  Well here is what will NOT be sent out on my cards this year:

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Avalon was obviously having the best time….you can see here that she is mortified that no one else is having fun.

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Santa’s tassle is blocking Santanna’s face.                              Avalon, again loving every minute, and eyes on me, please.

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Ok so this might not have been the best idea, someones head got bonked, eyes of madness oing on , and again Avalon just not feeling her cooperative mojo.

Ok… lets try single pictures, just a head shot, that won’t be too hard right?!?

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ALriiighty Season’s Greeting from our family to yours,

Love, Jon (attention getter, prop man, not pictured), Sarah (behind the camera, also not pictured), Crazy laugh guy (who was apparently snacking), the
Pouter age 8, Squishy face and the Joker.

In all honesty I can’t help but laugh when I look at these,  the best part about pictures is that when you look back they mean so much and are great memories, of small teeth, hair styles, chubby wrists that are now gone, and memories made, out of the 395 photos I snapped I did get 1 that I used for the photo card and 1 head shot of each kid that I am going to make into wall canvases, but please tell me that others of you have these amazing moments stored on your hard drive as well??!!

Why is turning 5 so bittersweet?

There are just some birthdays that seem like such milestones in our child’s life.   First you count the days, then the weeks, months and the BIG ONE!  Your baby turns one, they smash the cake, they are on the verge or are walking, and soon words are going to start falling out of that cute mouth that is constantly growing new teeth.

A few years pass, the twos, the threes, the fourth, all arguable divine and frustrating simultaneously, but how sweet to watch your child grow and learn.

Then they turn 5, this is such a milestone to me, included on my list are 10, 13, 16, 18 and 21 but thankfully I am not to those yet…stay tuned.  Five years old, kindergarten, watching the excitement and apprehension as they get on that yellow bus you are certain they will look back and wave..blow a kiss, or maybe they just march right on and wave from their seat to you on the other side of the window with a big grin on their face.

And there we are mommas & poppas, moms and dads, teary eyed, proud, our hearts in our throats and then it clears, they are ok, we are ok, oh my gosh we did it!

Then one morning they wake up:













Their smile has changed, our baby is changing and growing and getting on a big bus, baby teeth know it is time to leave, big teeth are moving in, changing that little kid grin, into a beautiful/handsome smile.

We have a new smile at our house tonight….it is bittersweet, they all grow up so fast.  It is exciting for them, and us, but also for me a little heartbreaking, the world is so easy and fun for them now, I want it to stay that way, that dollar under her pillow tomorrow is going to pure joy that will not be whisked away by bills, or deadlines, that means little things mean more and touch her heart in a way that I hope molds her beauty on the inside as much as it is growing on the outside.

Back to School

Yes school stared last week, but it feels more real today.  After all the orientations and meet the teacher and back to school happenings, last week felt more like an intro into back to school.

I am actually very sad that summer is over, we had such a fun summer, evident from my lack of blog posts ;), that it was very hard to send everyone back to school.

Today it was just Avalon and me at home for the morning, and we spent the whole morning outside, she played in her water table and the sandbox, and I cleaned out 2 flowerbeds, the garden, picked up after Farley and have the tractor sprinkler watering the almost completely dead grass.

Truth: I still miss the kids but I am LOVING being productive when they are not here.

My goal, I am sure I have posted before; for the blog is to post the completed photos of some of the projects we have introduced the beginnings of on here.  For sure the corner fireplace, and some bedrooms that we have been redecorating, also we have what I hope is going to be an awesome project for the garage to post about.

Here are the charmers that I am missing while they are at school:




*sigh*….off to be domestically productive.

Golden 3

Here it is the big 3, Avalon turned 3 today marking her Golden birthday.  I really have no idea what the history is for Golden Birthdays, making me think I should do a little research for my knowledge bank.

Back to the birthday girl, she is the youngest, I can’t say last it hurts to much, I would love another, our own or maybe even an adopted,  and I can’t coin her “the baby” because I have expectations for her that are the same as all the other 3.

We went for her 3 year check up today, since she has had some minor growth delays and health issues, I like to keep a record of her growth should it stall/stop again.  Great new for Avalon she is now in the 5% percentile for height and 13%!!! for weight,  considering she was totally of the charts for most of her 2nd year this is awesome!!

It was another day packed full of normal day activities , but I snuck in a city bus ride to downtown with the kids, Avalon really wanted to ride a bus, such an easy wish to grant on a birthday.

After dinner and cupcakes Solomon, Raiven and Santanna gave Avalon their gifts, it juts warms my heart how much our kids love to give to each other and the time and thought they put into their gifts.  The girls each made cards, Raiven’s was a pop out card that I know she spent a lot of time on.

So thankful to celebrate another candle on the cake for our little sprite!  You grow girl!!!

Happy Brithday Girl!

Raiven turns 8 today, she is so excited, and told us she is not so worried about what her presents are but how happy she is to be a year older. I am glad that she is taking what we are attempting to teach her to heart, and I know she is aware of how important it is to be thankful, but come on, after soccer practice tomorrow, I hope she feels giddy about opening her presents, and that she enjoys the thought that her brother, sisters and Jon and I put into picking out gifts for her.

It seems like a year can change so much in a child’s life, her big teeth have changed her smile into a beautiful pre teen smile. She is a sensitive girl ( she gets that from me) but has a spit fire need to play hard and is not afraid to get dirty, She plays with the boys at school but also has lots of girl friends. She has a tender heart and takes kids under her wing. A boy joined her second grade class this year sometime in late September and really felt out of the loop, Raiven friended  him and his mom was telling me the other day how Raiven has really been a great friend to her son. She just has this caring personality and an innate sense to be a helper. Raiven loves to read and enjoys her math homework. She laughs and giggles easily (she gets this from Jon).

Happy Birthday Raiven So! I hope 8 is another wonderful year for you!!