January in a few pictures

Apparently it is February already or at least that is what my bills are saying.  January really went fast but I suppose that is what happens when you are sick for about 2 weeks.

Right after Christmas break we took the kids out of school and went on our first big family vacation.  We went to Florida to visit Ted’s parents who vacation down there to escape the cold MN winter.  I had just gotten rid of my fever a day before we left so I was not feeling the best most of the vacation but that did not stop my kids from having fun.

They have all said they want to live down there so they can play on the beach when ever they want.  Luke and Ryan said it would be ok as long as we fly north every winter to go downhill skiing.  I think our kids think we are rich….. There is more I wanted to write about our trip and include some more pictures but I will do that at a different time.

About 1 week after we got home from Florida, our niece arrived into the world.  Luke was excited to be the first one to hold her besides baby’s Mom and Dad (and probably the doctor and nurse during deliver but we didn’t tell Luke that).  She was an hour old. IMG_5961IMG_5971 Jenna was the only other kid who wanted to hold the baby.  Ryan said he would do it after his cast was off.  Quinn had no desire to hold the baby but she has been pregnant at home with a stuffed animal up her shirt for most of last week. IMG_5964Speaking of Ryan’s cast, it came off at the beginning of the week.  Ryan was one excited little boy.  Hopefully now life will get back to normal, the kind of normal where Ryan is still the last one out the door, still clueless to where he left his socks, still the last one ready for bed but at least able to do it all on his own and not make someone else late in the process…well except we are all waiting in the car for him or in his bedroom for stories so maybe nothing has changed.  Hmmmm.  Well at least he is happy.IMG_5995

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New Year’s Resolution

I tried to complete a 365 project 2 year in a row and in the second year I think it really burned me out.  I stopped taking pictures for most of the fall because I needed the break and my kids said they didn’t want their pictures taken any more but it is a new year and I have a new photo challenge, a 52 project.  My kids, well 2 of my kids, have asked why I don’t take their pictures any more so I thought it was time to start.  Surprisingly my 2 most photogenic kids are not the ones who asked about it.

My first word for week 1 was resolution….I know….a big stretch right.  I have never had a New Year’s resolution.  If I thought something needed to be changed in my life, I would start right away, right when I had the idea.  As a few of you guys know, we changed churches in September.  With the new church, I got to attend a new Bible study with new women most of whom I have never met before.  One evening while at Bible study, a lady said that she had a word that her family was really trying hard to learn, to see it in their life, in the world around them and to show it to others the way God wants it to be demonstrated.  The word was LOVE.  They have studied it in the Bible, read scripture, talked about what it really means and how to show Love to family and others.

I thought it was an interesting concept.  Around the beginning of the year, I saw a website talking about picking 1 word to focus on for a whole year.  The concept was similar to what my friend’s family did.  The idea is to get rid of the long list of things you want to change in your life and just focus on 1 word and how to carry that out in your life.  Well…..I decided to give it a try.  I was thinking of all these different words that I could focus on but when it really comes down to it, I think I need to focus on the word JOY.  I really need to find joy in my life instead of always thinking about what else I need to get done.  I need to enjoy the life I have and the people that are in it.  I don’t think this means or entitles me to an extravagant vacation, a huge shopping spree or anything else that may give me a temporary happiness because that is all it would be, a little bit of happiness that comes and go depending on my circumstances.  I want the kind of JOY that comes from within, that fills me.  I found this verse in the Bible, John 15: 11.  It says, “These things I have spoken to you, that my JOY may be in you, and that your JOY may be full.”  Actually I really like the whole section of John 15: 9-13 which is the part I highlighted in my Bible but it speaks of joy only in verse 11.IMG_5698

I am not sure how this year is going to go.  I know there are a lot of things weighing me down right now yet at the same time it seems really empty but I hope to find the joy in what is before me and to live out God’s purpose he has for me.  And because I am not very good with conclusions, I will end it with a picture from our recent vacation from Florida.  I asked Ryan what would happen if we found a real alligator on our path.  He told me not to worry, he has it covered because he still has one good arm to protect me (1 more week and the cast comes off the other, yeah!).  To have a one armed son protecting you against a 10 foot alligator, who can’t find the joy in that.  IMG_5894

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An unexpected end to the year.

We were looking at our blog over Christmas and realized I have not posted anything for the past 2 months partly because all of my extra time has been working on our kids Christmas presents.  I tried scrap booking a long time ago and realized that was not for me but digital scrap booking is different.  Every 2 years I make books for my kids covering the past 2 years.  The kids love them and it is worth all the time it take to make them.  IMG_5689I have been frantically editing the books all of November and the beginning of December.  I don’t even think I took a picture in November because I didn’t want to take the time to edit anything.  But I finished the books in time to start all of the Christmas concerts we had to attend.  Luke had a school concert and 3rd grade plays.  He also tested for his yellow belt in Taekwondo which he passed. IMG_5626Ryan loves basketball and he is finally old enough to play in a league.  He had a game in Dec at the half time show of a JV game.  He is definitely not the best player in his grade but he did score the first points.  We quickly moved on to the girls pre-school concert. IMG_5632To finish off the concerts season, all of our kids were in their Sunday school concert.  Ted and I made the decision to switch churches in September.  Our new church has a very active youth program which is something we were looking for.  They put on a beautiful Christmas play which included retelling of the Christmas story.  Ryan was every excited to be a Shepard.  Luke was one of the narrators. IMG_5648The girls were only on stage for one song, the little drummer boy.  Jenna loves to preform and sang loudly every rum-pum-pum-pum in the song.  The other words not so much….still working on the speech thing.  Quinn on the other hand has told us she does not like to go on stage but she was a trooper and stood next to Jenna to support her sister.IMG_5643With all the concerts done, we thought we were done running around and could settle into celebrating the Christmas season with cookie baking and game playing.  Plans were all set for all the family gatherings.  We had even worked into the schedule a Timberwolves game for the boys.  Things were good.  The Monday before Christmas I was talking to my mom about menu planning.  The kids were loud so I told them to go outside which proved to be a mistake.  About 10 minutes after my mom left, Ryan started screaming.  He had slipped off the stairs and landed head first into the flower bed.  He came inside.  I took off his coat to put an icepack on his arm he said hurt.  It didn’t look right but it didn’t look wrong either.  I decided to take him to the clinic which happened to close 8 minutes before I got there.  So off to the ER we went.  Two broken bones…lovely.

Surprisingly Ryan is doing great even when they had to reset the bones a few days later.  It is hard to slow him down.  He has a splint on right now because of the swelling and will put a cast on next week just in time for our first family vacation to go swimming in Florida.  We will see how that goes.….

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Our little 5 year olds

A bit late but better then never.  Our little girls turned 5 almost 3 weeks ago.  We were busy getting their party together.  Traditionally we have had parties where the kids invite a few friends.  We play some games and have a pinata.  I don’t think the girls really enjoy this type of party so I asked them if they would like a different type this year….a tea party.  They jumped up and down with joy.  Quinn quickly added in that she wanted a fancy tea party, the kind where you have real dishes not kid plastic dishes.  Okay Quinn, got it.

Ted and I kind of went all out for this one.  We started the morning with some fancy hair.  I of coarse can not do this so we got the help of my sister-in-law’s sister.    IMG_5079

While we were gone, Ted and the boys went all out and decorated the house with candles, rose petals, lace, tool (think wedding decor), pink and purple flowers, butterflies, beads, etc.  By the time we were on our way home, the boys were ready to escort the girls in on a path of petals to the craft table where Jenna, Quinn and a few girls made flower crowns.  The boys were kept busy helping wrap flowers on the crowns, escorting the girls around the house, serving them food, refilling their plates.  IMG_5094Luke was very hesitate and did not want to participate but half way through the party he did admit he was having lots of fun making the girls feel special.  Don’t worry they got to eat some food too. IMG_5097Not sure how to top this party next year but I am sure the girls will have a say in it.  Here are the girls interviews which I actually did on their Birthday.



How old are you today?  5
Describe what type of person you are.  Growing kind, I grow to 5.  Happy.
What’s your favorite color and why?  Purple cause that’s my favorite color in the rainbow.
Who is your favorite person in the whole world?  Bella and Emy and Momma and Daddy. What do you want to be when you grow up?  A cooker oh yeah a chef.
What’s the hardest thing in your life right now?  Open up my curtains.
What is your favorite thing to do?  Play with Daddy or toys
What are your favorite foods and drinks?  Chinese dumplings and chocolate milk
What is your favorite books/movies?   Frozen and book is In the Mud because everyone gets all dirty
What do you not like?  To clean the kitchen, that’s a lot of work.
If you could go anywhere in the world, where would you go?  Go to pre-school.
What do you want for your birthday?  Donuts with sprinkles
What are you most looking forward to in the next couple of years:  Playing with girl legos.

Quinn IMG_5233

How old are you today?  5
Describe what type of person you are.  Play person
What’s your favorite color and why?  Pink, I love pink.
Who is your favorite person in the whole world?  Sadie (a local high schooler)
What do you want to be when you grow up?  A police
What’s the hardest thing in your life right now?  Brush my teeth (mommy and daddy still do it so she really just sits there)
What is your favorite thing to do?  Play Barbies
What are your favorite foods and drinks?  Chinese dumplings and water
What is your favorite books/movies?  Frozen
What do you not like?  Clean up my room
If you could go anywhere in the world, where would you go?  Go to Grandma Doris house
What do you want for your birthday?  cupcakes
What are you most looking forward to in the next couple of years:  Doing legos.

Here is a link to their 4 year old interviews.  https://tochinaandbackagain.wordpress.com/2014/10/10/our-4-year-old-girls/  Some things have changed, some have not.  And just to let you know we did make it to Grandma Doris’s house, apparently Ryan and Quinn’s favorite place in the world.  And we just so happened to have more cake.  Go figure.  IMG_5247

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School pictures and interviews

I interviewed the kids on the first day of school along with taking their picture, you know like everyone else that has a Facebook account but I didn’t get to downloading the picture and many other pictures until today.  I also finally got their school pictures taken so I figured I would get to one big post about the whole thing. IMG_5032

Luke 2015-2016

What grade are you going into?  3rd
Who is your teacher?  Ms.  Hofmeister
What are you looking forward to in school this year?  Learn cursive.
What are you most scared of?  That there is a bully.IMG_5125

Ryan 2015-2016

What grade are you going into?  Kindergarten
Who is your teacher?  Ms. Pasanen
What are you looking forward to in school this year?  Doing lots of music.
What are you most scared of?  Having bad friends.  IMG_5137

Quinn 2015-2016

What grade are you going into?  Preschool
Who is your teacher?  Ms……..
What are you looking forward to in school this year?  I love to play with the cars.
What are you most scared of?  Participating in class. IMG_5150

Jenna 2015-2016

What grade are you going into?  Preschool
Who is your teacher?  Ms. Bartlet
What are you looking forward to in school this year?  Books. blocks, and painting.
What are you most scared of?  The pirate, this a people in boat.  IMG_5122

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A little late but here is our 6 year old.


How old are you today?  6

Describe what type of person you are.  A funny person.

What’s your favorite color and why?  Blue because I like to look at the sky.

IMG_5005Who is your favorite person in the whole world?  Momma

What do you want to be when you grow up?  A firefighter

What’s the hardest thing in your life right now? Get taller than Luke.  (They are over 2 years apart but only about 1.5 inches apart).

IMG_5000What is your favorite thing to do?  Color and do legos.

What are your favorite foods and drinks?  7UP and Chinese dumplings

What is your favorite books/movies?  Fly guy and my favorite movie is How to Train your Dragon.

IMG_4998What do you not like?  Getting in trouble.

If you could go anywhere in the world, where would you go?  Go to Grandpa Jason’s house so I can go fishing. 

What do you want for your birthday?  Momma, a new lightbulb and some legos. Then he starts laughing.  (yeah, we are still trying to figure out Ryan too.)

What are you most looking forward to in the next couple of years:  Going to the Black Hills again.  IMG_4829

Here is a link to his 5th Birthday interview (it might take me a bit to figure out how to insert a link so if you use it the day I published it, it might not work.  Sorry).

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Follow up on Panama

I realize that it has been almost 2 months since Ted and I left for Panama on our first missions trip since we have had kids.  I never did write about it because life got really crazy when we got home.  For starters Jenna and Quinn went through some weird separation anxiety that we had not seen for over a year or so.  Apparently having mommy and daddy gone for 13 days will open up a lot of their old scars.  We were a little concerned about this happening while we were gone but they did great at Ted’s parents house.  However, even now Jenna is very upset if daddy does not come back from work when she thinks he should be home.  But it is becoming less and less so hopefully it will be back to normal soon.

Anyways, our trip to Panama was great.   We were able to speak in about 7 public schools during the day.  After our little presentation we played with the kids.  In the evenings we would go to smaller churches and Pastor Brad would give the sermon.  Each night a few of us would give our testimonies or at least parts of them before the sermon.  We also do a lot of praying with the people.  I am not a person who has ever felt comfortable praying out loud for people (I blame my Lutheran up-bringing) but I did a lot of it.  Still can’t say I am comfortable with it but I can do it so that is a plus.

We did get to do a bit of sight seeing down there.  I can now say I have been to 2 man-made wonders of the world:  the Panama Canal and the Great Wall of China.

IMG_4429  I was amazed at how big those boats were and how little extra space there is in those canals.  I think this boat hit the side and we felt the ground shake beneath us.  IMG_4414I don’t know if this is true or not but someone said that in every boat that goes through the canal there is an average of 100 children and women in containers being forced into the sex industry.  Just thinking about that fact made me sad and kind of sick to my stomach.  I wish there was more I could do or even have something I could do but I think like a lot of people in the world they don’t really know what to do so they don’t do anything.   Unfortunately I find myself like that with a lot of issues.  It is frustrating.

Something that happened state side while we were gone….THAT I MISSED…. was Ryan lost his first and second tooth at Grandma’s house.  I was bummed.  I am a stay at home mom and have gotten to see all the firsts for the boys.  And here I miss not just the first but the second also.  While texting Ryan about missing this event, his reply was, “don’t worry mom, I have more teeth I will lose.”  True enough Ryan but I still felt a bit bad.  At least I know life will continue.  IMG_4757

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